Motley Fool: 4 Things I Learned From Driving Tesla Model S For 10,000 Miles


Tesla Model S.

Tesla Model S.

The Motley Fool has driven a Tesla Model S 85 kWh for over 10,000 miles and learned quite a lot:

Tesla Model S.

Tesla Model S.

1. “Charging is easier than you might think.

The 85 kWh Model S is rated for 265 miles of range. Motley Fool mentions that “they rarely have to charge the car anywhere but home.” Whether it be charging at home or out on a road trip, simply plug it in and walk away. When you walk back to it, you either have a full charge ready to go, or you’ve got some juice back into the battery from a place that you were going to stop for that amount of time anyways.

“The freedom of not having to stop frequently to fill a gas tank is absolutely worth the one time in 10,000 miles I’ve needed to stop somewhere to charge the car when I’m out and about. ” -Motley Fool.

2. “Tesla’s Supercharger network is a game changer.

If there were no Tesla Superchargers, the Model S would not be the same vehicle.  Simple as that.

These Supercharger stations recharge the Model S’ battery pack from 0-80% in ~ 30 minutes.

The Supercharger stations are and always will be free to Model S owners. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors promised this. In addition, the Supercharger network is expanding.

Per Motley Fool:

“On our trip to California, plenty of charging stations were available at every Supercharger location. I have heard from some Tesla owners, however, that they occasionally have to wait for a charging station to free up at some busy California locations. Perhaps this is one of the reasons Tesla recently launched a beta battery swap location in the state.”

Tesla Model S Interior.

Tesla Model S Interior.

3. “Range anxiety is overstated.

If we had a nickel for every time we heard something along the lines or “range anxiety”, I think we would all be able to afford a Model S.

Range anxiety is the fear of running out of juice in your EV while away from home, resulting in being stranded.

It takes only a small amount of planning to avoid being stranded.  Understand that there are many helpful tools such as charging apps, websites, in-car navigation, etc to help you plan a doable route.

Here is a nickels worth of free advice from Motley Fool:

“To put the impact hills have on range in perspective, Nick J. Howe explained in his book, Owning Model S, that “gaining 5,000 ft of elevation in Model S takes the same amount of energy as driving 30 miles at 60 mph.” That’s a pretty nasty dent! But here’s where the Model S makes up for this drawback: As long as the driver comes back down the hill, much of this loss is regained with regenerative braking. “Model S gains most of that energy back (about 80%) when you come down,” Howe writes.”

“It’s also worth noting that, unlike the gas-powered cars around me, not once during these 30 miles did I ever have to use my brake pads, since I could use regenerative braking going downhill to slow the car.”

Tesla Superchargers

Tesla Superchargers

4. “Most people are clueless about Tesla.

I have experienced this myself. It is the truth.

As Motley Fool explains:

“One of the most common initial questions we get from strangers and friends is, “Who makes the car?” After we explain the car is made by Tesla, they often persist: “But who makes Tesla?” “

“Furthermore, most people don’t know Tesla now has an all-wheel-drive version of the Model S, are completely unaware of the fast-growing Supercharger network, and have never heard of regenerative braking.”

Are you a Model S owner?  If so, what have you learned from driving the Model S?

Tesla Model S Supercharging.

Tesla Model S Supercharging.

Source: The Motley Fool

Categories: Tesla

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60 Comments on "Motley Fool: 4 Things I Learned From Driving Tesla Model S For 10,000 Miles"

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“One of the most common initial questions we get from strangers and friends is, “Who makes the car?” After we explain the car is made by Tesla, they often persist: “But who makes Tesla?” ”

*Facepalm!* Can someone help me reconcile this with the fact that Tesla was fifth in brand recognition?

If that brand recognition survey was taken online, then yes, that makes sense. The retired couple next door to me has no idea what a Tesla is but they can talk a lot about GM and Ford.

The motley fool guy is a real idiot. He bought a Model S and some Tesla stock. So, he has been producing garbage pump pieces for over a year. He will go down in fool’s history as the biggest fool.


Well, “See Through”, I found his article to be a pleasant and enjoyable read, filled with a lot of useful information that represents conditions in the real world.

None of those things is true of your frequent Tesla bashing posts, both here and on Seeking Alpha, which -all- appear intended to promote a short-seller position, rather than representing facts or reality.

Furthermore, the author concludes his article on Motley Fool with this:

“I’d tread carefully when it comes to -buying- shares of Tesla given the stock’s pricey valuation.”

Sounds like good advice, given how overpriced the stock continues to be.

There’s some garbage here, all right, “See Through”. But none in that article.

See Through,
Can I ask you to answer two questions honestly?

What industry do you work in?
What position do you hold at your place of employment?

Of course, I have no way to know whether or not you do answer honestly, but I’d just like to know how you answer these questions.

Thank you.

Also, Motley fool doesn’t drive nor has a home to charge. This car belongs to one of their fools named Daniel Sparks. He owns Tesla stock. The Motley fool pieces are just like any blogger’s post. See the disclosure of his articles.

“Daniel Sparks owns shares of Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Tesla Motors.”

And if you gave us full disclosure, we’d know exactly how much stock you own in every gas, oil and ICE vehicle company – and therefore why you keep whining about Tesla.

You are a shill for oil companies, pure and simple. It’s obvious to the regulars around here, but needs to be continually pointed out so newcomers don’t get the impression that you have any integrity.

Future generations – including your kids if you have any – will look back at dinosaurs like you with disgust.

Congratulations on doing everything you can to prevent our species from evolving.

This post is the essence of eloquence TeV, well done!

A shill, a total loser like seethrough? I think the oil industry could afford more effective shills.

He is not a shill, he is a sideshow.

I don’t see what the problem is!
Motley Fool is a group of investors.
What is wrong with them promoting a product of one of the companies that they see as a good investment?

I actually find it refreshing that they post whether or not they have investments in whichever company they report on. It shows that their interest is in full disclosure to put perspective on what they say about the company. I’d also point out that both Sparks and MF crowd in general have stock (by their own admission).

I’ve also seen other sources mention that TSLA seems overvalued now, a fact I agree with. It’s what’s stopped me from buying into them yet.

With some trepidation I will swallow hard and say I have to agree with See Through that Daniel Sparks is true fan-boy of Tesla. Of course I am too, as such my opinion is colored to give Tesla the benefit of the doubt. Is that benefit misplaced? I don’t believe so, but if I were to objectively analyse certain views of Tesla in articles which are frequent and always positive, it would tend to make me think that those views are not entirely based on objective realities.
It is a slightly nuanced position, though I still like Tesla.

Yeah claims they own an EV, ever said which EV? Claims they don’t drive it because they’re worried about the battery whilst gas is ‘cheap’. Is pro every ICE/FCEV story and anti every EV story.

It really doesn’t add up.

Thank you, that actually does make sense.

This coincides with my general determination that people are ill informed due to laziness.
I apologize for saying this, but my experience continually supports my assertion. They just can’t be bothered to learn anything as they tend to think they know it all already. I would include myself in the set of all humanity, but I am willing to try and learn new things, or at least keep abreast of what is going on.

Not saying you’re wrong, but I’ve always felt that it is a combination of things: laziness, overwork, media propaganda and misdirection, lack of meaningful free time, etc. I could go on, but you get the point.

This whole “they think they know it already” bit is probably saving face. No one likes to be the one who doesn’t know anything so they pretend they do and people are too polite to correct them for fear that they’ll get mad.

Personally, I don’t know everything but I have caught myself on some occasions speaking as if I did. What I’ve tried to do is make it clearer if what I’m speaking on is more of a supposition rather than actual fact.

Clearly you are correct there is a lot more too it than just lazy thinking. Everyone’s personality is different, though I think there is an attitude of professing knowledge so as not to appear to be an idiot in American society. An eminence front, so to speak. So I get that.
Also I try to keep informed about things and am more of a generalist than an expert, so maybe I am an expert at being a generalist. Point being for me is that when run up against a true expert I will try to learn something, and if not then it is easier for me to determine that a person is not as well schooled in a topic as they portend.

“Jack of all trades. Master of none.” Yeah, I feel that way quite often, even about my vocation (Mechanical Engineering). Like you, I try to learn something from the experts, but if someone portends to know more than he/she actually does, I tend to just nod and smile and file a note in my head “they don’t know what they’re talking about.”

On a side note, I always like Socrates’ definition of wisdom, which is that true wisdom is admitting that you know nothing about a subject.

Well, everyone I speak with with knows about Tesla. I saw Tesla on a billboard in the Geneva airport (not as a Tesla ad, but an ad for a supplier of sorts to Tesla). People in Europe know about it, even in Eastern Europe – I met someone saying, hey there is one of those in my country now, it was on the news.
Tesla built a brand very similar to Apple. Educated people know about it and are intrigued. It is new, fancy, smart and special. All these other automakers look dynosaurian in comparison.
I would buy one if I could. Just for the cause if not for the financial sense 🙂

I saw my first Tesla only a couple of weeks ago. To be honest, it was only when I saw the badge on the nose that I realised it wasn’t a Maserati, but a Tesla!

Hah! Why am I not surprised that Europeans are better informed!

The original article is kinda old. But recent enough so that many should have known.

The same thing happens with the Think City, of which I know several owners. It’s always

“Who makes this?”


Blank stare

“They aren’t made anymore. Think was a Norwegian company originally owned by Ford, etc.”


Although Think was owned by Ford for a time, it was started as an independent company and bought by Ford many years later.


See that actually would not surprise me. Think was never ranked in brand awareness but Tesla (a year or so ago?) was ranked as being 5th in brand awareness. Now if this was either a) an online survey or b) a worldwide survey, then I can see how Tesla could rank 5th and Americans can still be ignorant of Tesla. If this was a North American survey and not restricted to being online, then I can’t reconcile the result with the authors experiences.

Wow it’s great to see articles like this in the mainstream media, not us preaching to the choir here! I keep telling people I save so much time not filling gas, and have never charged my Soul EV away from home! That I have a “full tank” every morning, unlike gas cars that surprise you with an empty light just when you are late! Will take another 5 years, but the message will get out there…

How are you liking the Soul EV? We love ours and we still think the Model S is great too. No more gas FTW.

The Kia Soul EV after 3 months of driving is miles ahead of the Nissan Leaf we drove for 3 years. I’m getting over 100 miles of range, regardless of driving speed, air conditioning, etc. The gear shift is normal, put it in “D” and drive! And the “B” mode for regen braking is fantastic. If they just started selling these in quantity nationwide, then we would have a real competition between Leaf, i3, and Soul EV!

— Vinod

Idea for new Tesla Commercial:

The ‘Dusks of Hazard’ Boys Replace their beloved General Lee, for a Tesla S P85D. Fun ensues.

The rednecks will love it!!!

From one redneck to another…..
That’s “DUKES of Hazard”

Have you seen them lately??? They’re gettin’ old– and they’re not aging well. 😉

From a person who can’t stand incorrect corrections:

That’s “The Dukes of Hazzard“!

I think they’d kill it in the opening credits!
They don’t build ’em like they used to…

That fourth point is meaningful, because about 90 % of all potential Tesla customers have not even heard of Tesla and if they were, they have no means to make decision that they actually want or do not want to buy the car.

Therefore the claims that Model S demand has reached its full potential are just ludicrous.

“Most people are clueless about Tesla…” Yeah, that sounds like a good investment. There have been tons of great cars over the decades that never made it… why is Tesla any different.

And, if people start to realize the drain on electricity by converting all cars to batteries… then it starts to go against the whole “zero emissions” argument.

I still feel that although it is a great idea and very cool… these current designs are not going to make Tesla profitable.

Did you mean to use the rest of your comment to reinforce the quote?

+1, perhaps it is that 91% of potential customers of Tesla do not have sufficient knowledge on the product that they could make a buying decision. My guess is that Tuco also has not been test driven Tesla.

OK, so half of all cars are suddenly electric.
So we have to build more power stations.
How many will be powered by coal?
Surely if they ALL were, the emissions they would produce would be LESS than the cars would have if they wee all powered by diesel/petrol…
There is nothing to stop owners from installing their own small zero emission generating systems to generate their own electricity to charge their car batteries.
It seems to me that your argument is one used by muppets to put down electric vehicles.

If half of all cars were suddenly electric no new power plants would be required, numerous studies have put the number somewhere around 85%. This doesn’t count all the electricity used to extract, refine and distribute oil and refined products that would be saved, or the NG better used in power plants ect. Quit worrying about the electricity, it’s a non issue.

For now, there are so few EVs thst we need not worry about over taxing tbe electrical grid. We can decide as a country hiw to expand tbe grid over the next few decades if it should ever be a problem. But here’s tbe thing: it is possible to clean the electric grid. It will never be possible to clean tbe petroleum industry. In fact, over time petroleum is getting increasingly dirty, with fracking and shale oil which have terrible. EROI and worse environmental impacts over time.

Not to mention the fact that oil leads to war.

Let’s electrify and solve the grid problem as we go. The electric companies have already projected that it will be a relatively easy fix over time

+1 …

I had a dream last night that I bought a beautiful white Model S. Alas, just a dream.

I had a dream where I bought everyone that comes to insideev’s one. As dreams go that was a whopper. This will never happen by the way.

Supercharging is not free. It’s a one-time cost of $2000. It’s mandatory for the 85 kWh cars so it’s baked into the price for the car but it’s still there.

$2000 buys you quite a lot of electricity but then the superchargers are not just about electricity but also convenience.

No, Supercharger costs $2000 only for 60kWh version. For 85kWh version Tesla pays all the electricity bills.

Is this for only the initial owner, or does this benefit get passed on with the car?

Free Supercharging is for the life of the car and it gets passed on to subsequent owners.

After 10-15 years the car will need a new battery or have to be scrapped. I bet that Tesla will price replacement batteries with enough margin to keep funding the Supercharger network.


It will be interesting if/when the Stretchla is complete, if it can still Supercharge.

It also cost $2000 for the 85kWh version, it’s just not line itemized and baked into the base price of the car.

Evs are what snowboarding was several years ago. I remember the time when snowboarders were not even allowed on certain hills and if they were allowed on the hill then certain lifts were off limits to them. But snowboarding caught on and so will EVs – just wait and see.

Did you write that comment from 2005?

I saw 7 Teslas in the wild today and 1 fisker

My commute takes me through Northeast Philadelphia, most days I see one one or two Tesla’s. I can’t tell you how happy this makes me. This area is not known for it’s adaptation to “new things”.

Steven: Reporting here Boucks County, Pa. We see Teslas several times a week around here.In fact, on my commute in and then back I passed 2 different parked Teslas in Ambler, PA. Heck, a guy in my neighborhood has one(and we are not a wealthy neighborhood, but I guess the guy just was able to afford one). Also, starting to see more and more BMWI3’s too.


I’m famous! I think. I believe the photo is of my car at the Columbus Texas SuperCharger. I’ve charged there quite a number of times, including during the ribbon cutting day.

“what have you learned from driving the Model S?” affirming the decision not to go with 60kwh has been. Even this much higher than 20-30kwh (Leaf,VW,Fiat,i3…), having more is still demonstrably better.

Whether “opportunity charging” with a larger piggy bank, or the reduced planning associated with buffers and range math, having those extra 25kwh buys freedom. The S60 may be more efficient, but when it is possible to witness 1.6 miles per kwh, or the loss of 2 miles of rated range for every mile you travel, in poor northern conditions, you look back without regret. You also recover when you sell.

I think informed EV buyers are eager to write $400, to $500 checks, for each additional $200-300 kwh. It’s up to manufacturers to learn this, and option a profit-center for themselves. Here, let us write you the check.

>*Facepalm!* Can someone help me reconcile this with the fact that Tesla was fifth in brand recognition?

Considering that many Americans couldn’t point to the state that they live in on a map of the USA, then no, not surprising.

Yeah, reminds me of a young lady I met from Austria. When she told me where she was from, she asked if I knew where that was. My answer: “Isn’t that a country neighboring Germany?” She was shocked…that I got it right! She told me that most Americans she met thought she meant Australia. *sigh*

Nice article that confirms what I already knew about EVs. I was expecting a little more from a publication such as Motley Fool. Specifically I was hoping to hear about the 10,000 mile cost of ownership especially when comparing it to a similar car in its class. This is the information I am waiting for.

Ok I admit I’m totally confused. You mean the guy who wrote the Motley Fool review, neither lives in a single family house, nor has a driver’s license? Please clarify.

I own a model S and all four points made are true. Charging is easy, super chargers are great, range is not an issue and yes most people don’t have a clue about Tesla. I get annoyed when the media show it has no clue as well. 60 Minutes adding engine noise or Car Matchmaker not knowing it is made the US. If your on TV to inform people you should know the basic information. The Model S is very easy to live with. After taking delivery in May 2013 and using it as a daily driver. I don’t have a lot of stories of being stuck. Only once did range become an issue. My poor planning and a 30 amp charge on a 15 amp breaker had me charging late at night in abandoned campground in rural Maine. (Spooky) Trips from Boston to DC using super chargers are easy. Trips to rural areas takes planning and campgrounds. Campgrounds are a great way to charge at 40 amps in areas without EV charging infrastructure. In New Hampshire I charged at a campground next to Storyland. The kids loved it. I’m rambling on at this point. Simply know the Model S… Read more »