Model S Third Year Anniversary – November 8, 2016

I am drafting this post around 3pm Pacific/6pm Eastern on November 8, 2016 as the pundits and media discuss the initial returns of the current Presidential Election Cycle.  Everywhere else in the country folks are talking about Election Night 2016.  As I write this, we didn’t know who has won the race. The polls in California are not even closed.  It’s been a very challenging election season and I thought that it would be good to step away from all that and focus on something I really like to do.

…and that’s write about EVs and my experiences on this blog.

It so happens that November 8 is a significant day in our family.  It’s the day that we flew up to Fremont to pick up our Model S from the factory and started our ownership of the Model S.  This is one of the big benefits of Tesla, they’re an American company with a factory that actually builds its cars in California.

I did a bunch of “near real-time” posts on the blog that probably would have been best served by Twitter three years ago.  But if you’re interested in following that, just click above and follow the subsequent posts.

I decided to publish this post on November 10 to separate my car’s three year anniversary from Election Day and post-Election Day coverage and to emphasize that US produced electrons from the Sun has done its part to save me money and to ensure that we don’t create more veterans of wars for oil.  Energy independence means less need to go and fight wars, but I digress.

On November 7, 2016, we brought the Model S in for its annual service.  It was originally scheduled for the previous month, but the Roadster has been in for an extended period, so we tried to time it when the Roadster was going to be ready.  We brought the car in with slightly above 66,500 miles and picked up the car and brought it home with 66,569 miles on the odometer.

IMG_20161108_131738

So, what do they do for the three year service?  Well, apparently they match it against the mileage of the car.  Our car got service as if it was a five year old car at 62,500 mile service.

Tesla Service Model S 2016-11-8-1

We had prepaid our first four years of Model S service and were charged accordingly.

Ironically, when we were exiting the freeway to drive to the service center, the TPMS warning light went yellow and rather than stop and check it out ourselves, I figured to go ahead and drive to the service center directly and just report the notice to Tesla.  I’m glad to report that even though the tire had a nail in it, and Tesla’s previous policies were to replace the tire, the service center are now patching tires under certain conditions (in a nutshell as long as the sidewall is not compromised.)  We are still on our original set of four tires.  We even added a fifth one (that is usually in the frunk) and that one is at 8/32.  We’ll need to replace those four tires soon (Tesla recommends replacement at 3/32)

Tesla Service Model S 2016-11-8-2

The other thing that we reported to Tesla (and had reported it earlier in the year as well) is the continuing and increasing level of milling noise coming from the motor. Our previous request to repair this noise resulted in Tesla notifying us that the noise was within parameters. The last time this occurred was around 25,000 miles and it resulted in the motor being replaced. The noise is a constant whir that occurs between 20-35 mph (32-56 kph) and gradually lessens (though still existent) as the car approaches 55 mph (88 kph) and then is imperceptible to my ears.  The error was not as bad as the drivetrain failure on the loaner P85D but is quite irritating and I don’t know if it’s a symptom prior to a bigger failure.

This time around, apparently the noise has gotten to the point that Tesla Engineering has approved the replacement and we are waiting for the replacement part to arrive to re-schedule the repair.  Since we just got the car back today, there has not been an estimate on when the service center expects to receive the replacement motor.

In all, the car spent less than 24 hours at the service center and we were able to pick it up “good as new.”

So, how does our three year old car look?  Let’s compare to previous pictures at pickup at the factory.

Three Years Ago

IMG_5283

Today

IMG_20161108_132822

Three Years Ago

IMG_5287

Today

IMG_20161108_132848

Three Years Ago

Untitled

Today

IMG_20161108_133010

Three Years Ago

Untitled

Today

IMG_20161108_133133

So, our car still looks pretty close to how it looked when we picked it up three years ago. Not bad. In fact, if Tesla had not modified the fascia of 2016 Model S, I would dare say that our car would still look brand new.

With the service that we receive from Tesla, we can hopefully say the same for the car many years to come.

Drivetrain failure on a P85D loaner and a temporary solution

So, we brought my better half’s Roadster in for its annual service .  Since we scheduled our service a while back, we were able to request and receive a loaner. Our first loaner was a regular P85 and it was a nice ride.  However, while the Roadster was in for service, the guys at the service center found an issue when the car was headed back to us after completion of the service.

Roadster parts and service is a little bit more of a challenge to Tesla than Model S service.  The issue with the car is still ongoing and the fault has been isolated.  In the meantime, the loaner will be with us a little longer than expected.  Having never experienced Autopilot as a driver, I requested a swap out of loaners to an AP enabled one, should the service center be able to accommodate.  A while after the request, and about a week after we’ve been driving a standard classic Model S P85, we got word from the service center that an AP enabled Model S was available for a swap, so I hurried down to the Service Center to swap out the P85 loaner for a P85D loaner.

IMG_20160927_150103

IMG_20160927_143622

IMG_20160927_150111

Not a Ludicrous P90D, but still insane.

IMG_20160927_150744

So, aside from auto pilot, we also got Insane.  I’ve been through a few Insane launches previously, so I didn’t really care to try that again.  One of the things that struck me with this Model S is the upgraded TPMS system that these newer Model S has.  Older Model S TPMS did not indicate the status of each individual tire pressure.  The Roadster does, but early Model S did not.

IMG_20160930_123949

The car had firmware 7.1.

IMG_20160930_124003

One of the best tests for Autopilot is in stop and go traffic and you can see this loaner handling that fine.

IMG_20161005_112454

Speeding up when the traffic ahead starts to move faster.

IMG_20161005_112445

We took it out for the weekend.  Both the Tesla Owners Club of Orange County (meetup, TMC, or Twitter) and Los Angeles (website or Twitter) decided to go Apple Picking in Yucaipa.  We figured it would be a great way to try out the autonomous features and get some experience with Auto Pilot since none of our current Tesla cars have it.  We met at the Rancho Cucamonga Supercharger and left for the Apple Farm from there.

IMG_3442

IMG_3445

IMG_3446

IMG_3447

IMG_3449

The caravan was fun, but we were in the back, and the group ahead of us got there a lot sooner than we did.

Here we are at the Apple Farm with the group.

IMG_3450

It was a great long trip to Rancho Cucamonga and Yucaipa.  The car performed admirably and I still was not as comfortable as others with the Auto Pilot.  It worked great, but I’m just too much of a control freak.  The car seems to sit closer to the right side of the lane than I do.  Either way, there’s a lot of coverage on AP and now that 8.0 is released and AP 2.0 is getting produced, I’m not adding anything to further the pro or con case for AutoPilot 1.0.

However, I can give some hints on what can be done should you encounter some trouble.  This is not an all-inclusive list, just a story of what happened to us and how we temporarily resolved it.

A few days after our club trip for Apple Picking.  Something distressing happened.  The drivetrain failed.   We were doing some errands locally.  I was making a left and had the PRND status on the driver dashboard go red, that was strange, so, I put the car on park, and the PRND status went to P.  I then switched back to D and it engaged.  Figured that this was a weird event, we decided to head home and swap cars.

Five minutes later, we were at a stop and the PRND status went red again.  Once again, I didn’t get a picture of the failure because of traffic.  Unfortunately for us, we were in Pacific Coast Highway at a stoplight.  Now this is a very busy road, and we were a little stressed at the speeds that people behind us were traveling before the stop.  We called Tesla Roadside Service to see what was going on.  Their solution was to send a tow truck to pick us up.  However, we were stalled in the middle of the street.  So, we called our service center and were advised to reset the car.  Now, it was too dangerous to get out of the car to do this.  Turning the car off would have turned off our hazard lights.

The service center had a novel and ingenious way of restarting the car to see if the car can fix itself.  While parked.  Brace yourself so that you can raise yourself off the seat.  Open and close the door quickly.  What this does is reset the vehicle.  The car went off and then turned back on.  Guess what.  It worked.  The drive train was able to be re-engaged.  We were a few minutes from home and were happy to get home unscathed.

Called Tesla back to redirect the tow to our home.

IMG_20161010_161505

As with any Tesla, the car needs to be towed by a flat bed.

IMG_20161010_162026

IMG_20161010_161505

IMG_20161010_162026

IMG_20161010_162030

It was an afternoon in Southern California, during Rush Hour…  So, we spoke with the service center and they were able to get us a replacement loaner.  No auto pilot, but a nice Silver P85.  Here is the P85D getting towed.

IMG_20161010_172148

IMG_20161010_172150

This loaner has the built in center console and I used to want one.  Now, I’m sure I prefer to have the open space.

IMG_20161010_174827

Bottom line is, the car is great, but if you ever find yourself in a situation where the drive train won’t engage.  Try a few things.

1) Put it in Park. (and then switch it back to gear.  This worked ONCE and wouldn’t again.)

2) Step out of the car and step back in. (or make it think that you do by lifting your bum off the seat, then open and then close the door.)  Car will go “off”. Then start the car as normal.

Hope that helps.

Driving the Model S. P85, P85+, and P85D (or loaners while the Roadster was in for its second Annual Service)

The following experience with various Model S was before the release of 7.0 and Auto Pilot.   It was drafted and the experience was in September 2015.

In the beginning of September we brought our Tesla Roadster in for its second annual service. We scheduled the service far enough in advance to ensure that we would have access to a loaner.

As is customary with Tesla Service loaners lately, we received a CPO P85 for our use while the Roadster was in service. This is not the first time that we drove a P85 or P85+  Longtime readers would remember that we suffered a charging disaster the first day that we picked up our Roadster from Tesla.  Since the initial draft of this post, it has been reported on teslamotorsclub.com that Tesla no longer provides loaner Model S for Roadster Annual Services, i can’t confirm this post’s assertion as we’re still under our CPO Warranty, and don’t know if that provides a different level of service than Roadsters ex-warranty.

The differences between each iteration of the Model S is quite subtle. From the Sig P85 to the P90DL, the car looks pretty much the same. Most stock Model S that have spoilers are Performance models and without the spoiler, usually a Standard model. Additionally, most of the Model S with Red Calipers are also Performance models, but that’s not necessarily a guarantee.

The P85 that we initially received for my wife’s Roadster scheduled annual service was Blue and had a Vin number almost double ours (in the 40XXX) and had 19,276 miles when we took delivery of that loaner as they took her car in for service. It was a CPO vehicle that the previous owner traded in as was evident when the car was lent to us with “regular” California license plate and not the typical MFR or DLR plates that is indicative of an “inventory” Model S.

It had the same blue as our Model S, but had both the Spoiler and the red calipers. As a newer P85, it drove very quickly and performed well while we used it in lieu of the Roadster or even our own S85. As our car was close to the 50,000 mile initial warranty limit and I wanted to delay the inevitable “buy a warranty or pass on it dilemma” I wanted to delay that decision as long as I can.

Her vehicle was taken into service on September 8. We had hoped to get both the Roadster and Model S in for service the week leading up to National Drive Electric Week (NDEW) 2015, but there were some issues found on the PEM and some of the wiring that connected the PEM to the rest of the car that we had the loaner with us as we participated in the first weekend’s activity for NDEW 2015.

Here is the loaner P85 at the LA NDEW2015 event.

IMG_9888

Aside from the power of a P85 vs an S85 to clue me in that I was driving a loaner and not my own vehicle, the loaner P85 had cloth seats and black gloss interior versus the Obeche Wood Gloss that we had.

The P85 Model was nice and clean and served as a nice proxy as we attended NDEW 2015 events in Long Beach, Diamond Bar, and Los Angeles CA.

The vehicle was a lot quicker than our vehicle and was more of an electricity hog as it was equipped with 21 inch wheels and had a bigger motor. Into the second week of our use of the P85, it started to have some systems fail. The first was the driver’s side door handle started to get stuck and we would be unable to let ourselves into the car via the driver’s side door handle. We had to enter in through the passenger door and open the driver’s side from there. The service center was quite busy and did not have a replacement loaner at the time. The day after the vehicle developed this door handle issue, my wife had used the loaner to go on an errand. While out and about, she stopped to charge the car and the car started to fail. It displayed some sort of low-voltage error and stopped charging. We called Tesla and it appeared that a 12V fault had occurred. Lucky for us, there was another loaner available, and Tesla drove out to her to swap out loaners with her and wait until the tow-truck arrived to take away the P85 that had issues.

The second loaner that she was provided was a Grey P85+. This P85+ was another one from the CPO inventory as it also had regular CA plates, 17,551 miles on the odometer when my wife took delivery of the vehicle. We had driven over 423 miles in the Blue P85 loaner and would add 333 miles to the Grey P85+ loaner that took its place.

I could not tell much difference between the P85 and P85+ as they both had the same motor and the enhancements to the plus were negligible. The VIN # on the P85+ was in the 19XXX and is thus older than our vehicle and it did not have the parking sensors and other enhancements that came by the time our vehicle was delivered to us in November 2013. It’s amazing to see how low the mileage was on the P85+ that we were using for a few days. Tesla had to reclaim that vehicle from us because it apparently sold online to a soon to be new CPO owner and they were still working on my wife’s Roadster.

They quickly located another vehicle for us to drive while the Roadster spent its time getting repaired and the like. Tesla brought us another Grey Model S. This time, it was practically new. The car was a grey P85D with only 228 miles. It was an Inventory model and didn’t have any plates on it, yet. The inventory vehicle came from a store that just took delivery of a P90DL, so the P85D as moved to loaner status.

IMG_20150924_112853

The P85D was equipped with the latest sensors and the like.  It had the active cruise control on, not auto-pilot, but at least the hardware for it.  As I mentioned in the beginning, all these experiences was in September 2015, before auto-pilot was released.

Aside from the label on back, we know that the vehicle is a P85D because it was equipped with Insane Mode and not Ludicrous Mode.

IMG_20150924_112604

Thought to do a little recycling with the P85D.

Even @TeslaMotors P85Ds stop off to do recycling!

Thought to try out the CHAdeMO adapter (ours) on the loaner.

Untitled

One of the deficiencies of the D is the small Frunk (for a Model S, big if comparing it to the i3.)  They had to make room for the second motor, so that takes the place of where a large frunk would be.

After several weeks with the various P85 models, we finally got our Roadster back and the P85, P85+, and P85Ds were all returned to Tesla… But that’s just part of the story…

Since the Model S was scheduled for service as well, we got a 70D to try out while the Model S went in for service.  But that’s another post… (perhaps in a week or so…)

[edited, added 2/20/2016 9:47AM Pacific / 17:47 GMT]

Figuted that this might be helpful to those looking at these “out of production” Model S –

http://ev-cpo.com/

or the official Tesla Motors site:

https://www.teslamotors.com/models/preowned

Here, There, and EVerywhere – Day 07

A quick note of thanks to the Beatles for inspiring the title for this series of posts. This is the seventh in a series of posts written about our trip that will be published four weeks to the day of the trip.

Missed Day 6, click here.

Day 7 – Visiting Copley, OH and Tesla Activities on Friday, May 8, 2015

We’re spending the day with family this Friday. Granted the kids are in school and the adults are at work, so it’s a “free” day.

We charged the car at my cousin’s house overnight and we rolled out at 130 miles of Rated Range. This means that we added 55 miles in 14 hours and 45 minutes. That’s an average of 3.7 rated miles per hour that was added since the previous evening’s arrival.

IMG_20150508_111609

Having traveled close to 2,500 miles over the course of the last week, it might behoove us to have the car “looked” over and possibly washed again, so we contacted the Tesla Motors Service Center in OH Cleveland Lyndhurst Sales and Service Center. When we purchased our spare wheel and tire in preparation for the trip, our “regular” service center installed the rear passenger’s side wheel with a new tire on the rear driver’s side. This would’ve been fine, except our passenger side wheels both have a “rash” from the nearly 35,000 miles of driving and that we did since the factory. So, I requested that the Lyndhurst Service Center swap the two wheels so that all the “rashed” wheels are once again on the passenger’s side.

Visiting the Service Center at this location also gave us the opportunity to fill in information on the service center for the beta of the (now released) Teslarati App for iOS. The App not only provides for feedback to Tesla owners on superchargers, but on Destination Chargers, Service Centers, and Sales Centers. So, we were able to do “something” today for Teslarati.

IMG_20150508_134418

IMG_0790

Understanding that we were long distance travelers and to save us the time of having to stop of at Macedonia for a charge, the Service Center topped us up with their in-service center supercharger. Apparently, this location is not only a Sales and Service Center, but also has a supercharger within the service area. This means that the supercharger is not necessarily for “heavy” use, it could only be accessed “during hours” by cars that are being “serviced.” Current hours in May 2015 are M-F 8-6 for Service and M-F 10-6 for Sales.

IMG_20150508_141527

IMG_20150508_141530

Pictured below and looking like refrigerators is the in-service center version of the supercharger that the Cleveland-Lyndurst Sales and Service Center has in the back (service area). It is within the service center and thus subject to the service center hours.

IMG_20150508_140847

IMG_8051

The Sales Center part of the location had many CPO Model S in stock.  It seems to be the main distribution point for CPO in this part of the country.  As with most CPOs, check the website for what is offered.  Though based on what was online versus what was at the site, I would surmise that it would behoove interested parties to talk to a sales center to get a more accurate inventory of CPO cars.

IMG_20150508_134833

IMG_20150508_134819

IMG_20150508_134822

IMG_20150508_135007

IMG_0792

A picture of the Service Center part of the location.  It was nice to see a couple of Roadsters in the Service Center.  I wonder how often folks that experience winter drive their Roadsters.  I know of at least one that used to drive in all sorts of weather, but we tend to be the sort to drive ours in “better” weather, the luxury of being Southern California based.

IMG_0796

The Delivery Center portion of the Sales and Service Center.

A lucky few look ready for the pickup appointment.

IMG_0794

IMG_20150508_135209

IMG_8050

I forgot to take pictures of the waiting area, but I have to complain about the “level” of coffee service at the location. It was at the “standard”/first or K-cup level and not at the premium ones found at the new Costa Mesa and West Los Angeles service center levels.

While we were waiting for the service to be performed on our vehicle, we asked Rudy Graham, the Service Concierge, where the nearest place was for a “meal.” Rather than have us walk to the rather pedestrian choices near the Lyndhurst Sales and Service Center, Rudy was able to provide us with a 70D loaner with the directions to a nearby mall with much better food choices.

The 70D was very new. It only had 43 miles on it. We ended up adding a few miles to the car and I couldn’t tell any difference with the way it drove. It had newer seats and I can tell that Tesla made some changes with the newer seats, namely, it felt “bulkier” with more padding. Additionally, like other recent loaners, the car displays the speed limit of the road on the dashboard as you come up to a speed limit sign.

We were missing “familiar” food to us, so we ended up at the Cheesecake Factory. (Though the chain is nationwide, the chain did start in Southern California.)

IMG_20150508_134348

IMG_20150508_134342

IMG_20150508_131550

Visitors to the center need to be aware of the center’s “mascot” – a goose, we think it’s of the “Canadian Canada Goose” variety, but we’re not bird-watchers, or experts in anything “wild.” (Remember our trip acquired Deer Crossing-phobia).

IMG_20150508_141034

During our entire stay at the service center, this goose was standing watch over the entrance to the service bay area. It was there when we arrived and turned our car in for service and it was there when we did our tour of the facility.

IMG_20150508_141047

We were so happy with getting our car back in great condition.

IMG_8052

IMG_20150508_141424

What can I say, Tesla Motors Service is awesome, no matter where in the country you go. Rudy did a great job representing Tesla and we were happy with his assistance.

Of course the other benefit to having the car worked on, a clean car after we picked it up (something which we normally opt-out on at home as we wash our own cars as I find it very therapeutic.)

IMG_20150508_143145

Getting the car back in this condition is a great way to represent Tesla to the folks in Ohio.

We went out to dinner with my cousin and his family for dinner on Friday night. We went to a restaurant called Tre Belle in Bath, OH. The food was good and enjoyable, but the evening was quite memorable (in a “car” sort of way.)

Apparently, the local Porsche club had a meeting at Tre Belle when we pulled in for dinner with our Model S. The valet’s eyes lit up when we pulled in and I handed him the key to take care of the car. I asked for a valet ticket, but he said “I’ll remember you.” And we went in. The valet parked the car in between two Porsche 911 convertibles and seemed to have caused a stir.

However, we were not approached by the Porsche club members, so I hope that they can be convinced to give Tesla a try.

After dinner, we headed back to my cousin’s home.

IMG_20150508_223713

IMG_20150508_223716

We parked the car with 200 miles of Rated Range left.

Go on to Day 8. Click here.

07_Copley to TSC to Copley

Quick update… after firmware patch.

So, the first 90% charge after the firmware of the Model S at 29,000 miles was updated from V6.0 (1.67.125) to V6.0 (2.0.81) and I was able to remotely verify that it was still holding at 226 miles for that charge. This is only a few days after the 29,000 Mile post (also, mileage is now 29,460).

Inconsistent Tesla Service at Tesla Service Centers… (make that Coffee service)

…You’ve been click baited! 😉

I’ve had service on our cars done at pretty much all the Los Angeles and Orange County service centers open by the end of 2014.

And I’ve found that the coffee service at all the centers have been inconsistent.

So, what are the levels of coffee service at the centers?  I have it in three levels.

The first level can be found at the (old, pre-late 2014) Costa Mesa, Torrance, and Van Nuys location.  And we’ll call this level the Good level of coffee service.  I enjoy K-Cups and these centers all used a well stocked, well maintained K-cup machines.

Here are pictures from Van Nuys and Torrance:

Torrance:

IMG_20140904_171519

Van Nuys:

IMG_20141012_120315

The previous Costa Mesa Service Center had similar machines as well.

The second level first debuted in the Los Angeles and Orange County service center areas at the large West Los Angeles Service Center on Centinela. I would call this the Better level of coffee service. These are similar to the automated espresso/coffee machines found at some airport lounges.

The same machine that debuted in Centinela is pictured here from the “new” Costa Mesa Service Center.

IMG_20140927_154854

IMG_20140927_154916

IMG_20140927_154906

In fact, if you don’t like coffee… These machines can also do Hot Chocolate

IMG_20140927_154947

Or perhaps you DO like different kinds of coffee and coffee drinks

IMG_20140927_154932

IMG_20140927_154939

or just coffee

IMG_20140927_154925

each of these options can be “boosted”

IMG_20140927_154954

However, what I’ve found is that the First one in the area continues to be the best one.

The original Service Center in West Los Angeles provide customers with the locations’ own Starbucks Gift Card to use to go and purchase Starbucks coffee from next door.

Now, this center continues to be rumored to be closing soon and be re-converted back into a showroom. So, until then, if you like Starbucks coffee and rate that as I do… Then, perhaps you would consider having your Tesla serviced at the West Los Angeles (Santa Monica Blvd.) location.

25,000 Mile Model S Service, and a replacement drivetrain

It’s been nine days since we celebrated our Model S First Year Anniversary.

With the Active E, we would’ve been in for five service calls at this point, the Model S has a more generous 12,500 or annually service plan.

IMG_20141117_074852

I try to time these appointments to be “on the dot”. This was a lot easier with the Active E, however, with the Model S, Tesla comes out to the office to pick up my car for the service, so I get it close and let the valet drive the car to the Service Center.

What is involved with the 25,000 mile (or two year service). Apparently more than the 12,500 mile/one year service. Tesla picked up the car earlier today. When I scheduled the appointment, I was advised that more things are done on the 25,000 mile than the 12,500 mile service, so I was prepared for the possibility that our car would spend the night at the Service Center. Aside from this normal service, I had a weird sound happen with the car about four to six weeks ago that I felt I can wait for the 25,000 mile service to have it taken care of.

Apparently, it’s a good thing that the car has an “unlimited” mile warranty on the drive train. Apparently the noise that I noticed in the car was a drive train error that requires Tesla to swap out the drive train and was given a late tomorrow estimate. I have an early dinner scheduled that may push the delivery of our Model S back another day, but it’s interesting to hear that Tesla chose to replace the drive train.

I hope to get more information when our Model S is returned to us.

It’s impressive to have Tesla make such a major component repair be approximately 24 hours for the work. I remember when similar challenges were occurring with the Active E community that many Electronauts had to wait a week or longer.

This repair just makes me think of things that Tesla doesn’t cover… Like a battery degradation warranty? Let’s get that going Tesla!

On another note… How do you get across the country without charging?

IMG_20141115_094710

Need to go downhill all the way… 999 Mile estimate? It’s kind of a cool graphic.