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.


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.


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.


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.


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 –


or the official Tesla Motors site:


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:



Van Nuys:


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.




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


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



or just coffee


each of these options can be “boosted”


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.

Roadster Annual Service… interrupted…

So, the Roadster went into its first Annual Service on September 2nd.  I made sure to communicate my ongoing concerns about the drop in ideal range in standard mode from 186 a year ago (when we picked up the car) to the low of 171 miles before I started doing the conditioning tests (and a high of 175-176 that I’ve had since the beginning of July.)

Today, when I picked up the car (not quite done with some of the work as we’re waiting for parts from Fremont) I was pleasantly surprised to see that the standard charge is now at 183 miles. After one year, a degradation of 3 miles (in about 10,000 miles and one year of CPO use is a LOT more acceptable than the 15 miles that had caused me to raise the alarm last month.)


In the USA, Tesla Roadster Annual Service is $600. So, what do you get for the $600…

1) Fix things… In our case, we had a fracture in an AC line. Waiting on the part, so we’ll have to bring the car back when they get the part. (which is why the service was interrupted.)

2) Replaced a few more things:
Wiper Blade (2001366) 1
BAFFLE, INLET, PEM, DSTAR 1.5 (6002570) 1

3) Tire pressure (then again they ALWAYS do this, it’s mandated in California

4) Got a Model S Standard 60 loaner.

Our loaner for today's Roadster Annual Service. Is an uncommon .@TeslaMotors Brown S 60

5) Some parts were replaced after inspections –

Concern: Part missing following service
Pay Type: Goodwill
Corrections: Power Electronics Module (PEM) – Roadster 1.5
Power Electronics Module (PEM) – Roadster 1.5
Part Quantity
NUT,HEX,M6,ST STL,NYLOC (2000821) 4
Parts Replaced or Added
Corrections: Soft Top Assembly
Soft Top Assembly
Part Quantity
SCR, CABLE TO SOFT TOP (6002461) 4

6) We complained of some “weird” noises…

Concern: Customer states: Vehicle noisy while driving – noise from rear
Pay Type: Goodwill
Corrections: Upright – Suspension – Rear – LH
removed and replaced upper control arm- left rear bushings
Part Quantity
+INTERLEAF (2001482)
Parts Replaced or Added

7) The rear tires are worn… After 10,000 miles, looks like it’s time to replace the rear tires… Have to do it when we get back. Though I told them to replace the tires, there is still some wear left and we’ll do it when the part that we’re waiting for is ready.

8) Also waiting for a replacement driver side door sill that has a crack. So that’s something that we need to wait for as well.

9) Pulling logs seemed to have gotten stuck. So, the tech freed it up so that I can pull logs again.

In all, I’m very happy that after the battery bleed test and whatever else the technician did, we’re back over 180 miles for a full standard charge. I count that as a win.

It’s great to get an explanation on the delays in Roadster parts. In my case, some parts were readily available and fixed those things, but others are delayed because, per the Service Advisor, the Warehouse that houses a majority of Roadster parts is being moved. So, we’re now waiting for the move to complete so they can get the parts to us. Hopefully this means next week.

So, all the parts we’re waiting for are covered by the bumper to bumper CPO warranty, with the exception of the tires. They’re not the cheapest in the world, but along the same lines as other “high performance” tires.

What else will Tesla give you? Free Wi-Fi of course.

I spend a lot of time at Tesla facilities…  Whether it’s a supercharger, a Tesla Store, or Tesla Service, I tend to like to be at Tesla facilities.

Yes, I’m obsessed.  Either way, what else do you get for free at Tesla, well, their guest Wi-Fi is free and the password is the super secure “abcd123456”.

So, if you find yourself supercharging at Hawthorne, CA or at a Tesla Service Center, just remember to connect to the “Tesla Guest” or “Tesla Motors Guest” network and use that super-secure password.

Now, remember, it’s a shared wi-fi network, so be warned, be careful, and be safe.  Use some sort of protection when connecting.

Here’s my Model S at a late night stop on the way home from Hawthorne on our first Tesla Weekend… using the free wi-fi at Hawthorne Design Center/Supercharger.


Five Days with a Tesla Model S P85+ compared with an Active E

Our Roadster is ready for pick up… So, we’ll be getting it back later today.

So, I don’t know if it’s normal or not, but I was hoping that Tesla would send an update to the P85+ loaner from firmware 4.5 to the latest, but it did not get it during its five days with us.

Aside from the lack of a hook for a jacket or dry cleaning…

So, a few more nits and revisit a nit and positive… Let’s start with combining these two from the three day post:

“4) This might be because it’s a loaner, but I can’t sync my contacts nor recent calls on the car. It is ALWAYS refreshing. I just disabled it. As a result, I have to dial by number or launch the call from my phone. Once again, the car IS a loaner.”

So, these two might be related… But inconsistent. The lack of sync might be a “privacy issue” and ensures that folks with loaners don’t leave their contacts on the car…


“3) Automatically remembers places that one has charged (and what level charger to set up for.)”

This is not consistent because my home (and presumably other homes) are cached in the car.

Lastly, I am unimpressed with how well the guesstimator for the Model S functions. I like to drive in rated range rather than ideal range. This is just too much car to drive at 55 mph.

As a result I compare my rated range with my actual consumption. I find that the Tesla is still too optimistic with my expected range. Now, the effect is minimal considering how big the battery is, however, the Active E is more precise. For example after a few days back from service and consistent duty, the Active E will predict a certain range and when I consume the mileage, the range left over is consistent. Whereas the Model S would be lower than the consumed miles.

I would expect Tesla to have better prediction algorithms than BMW, but it does not seem that way.

Welcome home Tesla Roadster #40… And first disaster…

So, I announced a few posts ago our intent to bring home Tesla Roadster Signature 78. We hit to visit, test drive, and wait… And wait…

Apparently during the pre-delivery inspection (PDI) process they noticed that the motor was making an out of spec noise. It turns out that the solution to the problem is a replacement motor. It was going to take about three weeks to get tis problem fixed.

So, Tesla made us an offer to swap out #78 for #40.


If you looked at our initial picture from the previous post on Roadster 78, Roadster 40 is behind me in the picture.

So, what are the differences between 78 and 40? Frankly, color of the interior and 40 did not have a hardtop. Oh… And mileage, 78 was closer to 21,000 miles and 40 has closer to 2,200 miles. Since the problem was found late and prior to delivery, Tesla offered us a swap of 78 for 40. We deliberated and agreed to the swap with some other adjustments. Namely, we wanted the same hardtop to move from 78 to 40, so Tesla agreed to move it with a price adjustment to cover the hardtop.





Author with that specialized EV Grin known as a Tesla Grin


A View of the Tesla Roadster from its sibling in our garage, the current star of this blog, the Active E… Yes, the one that made us Environmental members of the rEVolution.


Our first day with the Tesla Roadster was awesome. I had planned an ambitious drive and asked the store to charge the vehicle using Range Mode as I was looking at a 170-180 mile range first day to drive around the Los Angeles Basin to show family our new addition. It was suggested by our contact at the sales center (and current Roadster owner) that this might be ambitious for a first day, I capitulate and drove down our itinerary. We ended up with a 120-130 mile drive that was excellent. We arrived home with about 81 miles ideal range (about 70 miles of estimated range).

It was great driving the car around. This warm end of summer day and when we reached home, we decided to try our various charging set-ups. We have an MC240 to use with our Roadster 1.5, this is the pre-cursor to the UMC that has universal ports and supports a NEMA 14-50 on one end and the Roadster plug on another. This runs at 30 Amps and we plugged it in. The port went from white to Red and we encountered the dreaded “Powertrain Problem, Service Required, ID 287” fault. Thinking that we had a bad MC240, we tried using the CAN (a J1772 to Roadster Adapter that is all too elegant) from HCSharp. Adjusted the Amperage to 32A, the maximum that our EVSE can handle, dropped it down to 16A then finally 12. Still the same challenge. This was perplexing and unnerving. We just picked up the car about six hours prior. Numerous attempts and checks with no joy. Even went so far as to use the included 120V mobile charger at 12A (this would be 20-40 hours from empty to charge a Roadster), still with no joy. Same reaction and error.

It would seem that there are a lot of Roadsters with this particular challenge, and Roadster 40 is no exception.

So, called Tesla Service for Ranger Service and was promptly told that the chances were slim to none of getting anyone to pick up until Tuesday. (it is a Holiday on Monday, Sept. 2, 2013). Went scrambling back to Google and read, and read, and read on the teslamotorsclub.com website. And found differing challenges that people had faced and what their resolutions had been. It was a long list of things. And feeling defeated, dejected and downright depressed over the woes of first generation EV car company purchases, we went to sleep.

Flash forward to early morning 9/2/2013. It has been a very hot weekend, and I was jolted awake by the rustling of my better half. I thought to try to just plug the car in. 120V at first. Voila. It worked. 12A, but it started to take the charge. Feeling a little better. I thought to swap out the 120V for the MC240V at 30A, and that started to work as well. Thus, you find me here reporting our success to you, our fine reader. In fact, prior to publishing this post. I went back to the garage to check on the ideal miles on the Roadster (as it still charges), rather noisily compared to our Active E (a negative mark for the Tesla Roadster), shows that it has increased 26 miles since I plugged it in about an hour ago? Not really sure as I was QUITE asleep when I first ventured to plug it in again.

So, what was the resolution? I suppose it was to let the car “cool down” and/or “dry up” before having the charge cycle start. We ran the HVAC unit all day since we got the car and there was a post regarding moisture and the same error (I’ll re-edit a link to this once I find it again.) Or something. Either way, I need to get back to sleep.

So, as the house cools down, I find sleep beckoning again and I think I shall return to slumber.

The tan interior is warm and inviting, so if you don’t see updates on the blog for a while, we’re just busy EVangelizing with our two EV car family!

For more Tesla Roadster pictures (both 78 and 40), though I suspect there will be more 40 as the years progress. Click here for Flickr.