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Tesla Model S: Glitches, Quirks, and Peccadilloes Roundup


2013 Tesla Model S

2013 Tesla Model S

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To put it mildly, the Tesla Model S has been a resounding success.

The New York Times has called the all-electric luxury sport sedan a game-changer, comparable to the Model T Ford. It's won virtually every 2012 "Car of the Year" honor, including the only unanimous Motor Trend award in the magazine's 65-year history.

Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] has a waiting list of nearly 20,000 eager buyers. Its production line is now humming at full capacity. And the 3,000-odd customers who've taken delivery of their cars are, for the most part, ecstatic.

But nobody's perfect.

In fact, it would be something of a miracle if there weren't at least a few teething troubles from a revolutionary, clean-sheet-of-paper design, built by a fledgling startup company, relying heavily on software, and assembled on a brand-new production line.

The Tesla Model S, too, has had its share of glitches, quirks, and peccadilloes.

In an ordinary car, these minor blips would likely pass unnoticed. But the Model S is no ordinary car.

Under a microscope since the prototype was revealed four years ago, the car has attracted a devoted clique of fanatical followers who pore over every scrap of Model S minutia.

(Count me as one of them; my 2013 Model S, with the 60-kilowatt-hour battery pack, is now due to arrive in just a couple of weeks.)

Here, in any case, are some of the handful of blemishes sighted on the otherwise happy face of the Tesla Model S, as recounted by owners on Tesla Motors' own online forum.

*Self-opening door locks. Several owners report having returned to their supposedly locked cars to find them unlocked, with one door slightly ajar. This has occurred both after manual remote locking with the key fob, and in the "walkaway" auto-lock mode, where the car locks itself when the key fob recedes to a certain distance.

*Sticking sunroof. Owners have reported difficulties opening the sunroof, which is controlled entirely from the touch screen.

2012 Tesla Model S

2012 Tesla Model S

Enlarge Photo

*Software glitches. Model S software update 4.1 was designed partly to offer a "sleep" mode to reduce power consumption when shut down.  But it has proven prone to bugs, with numerous reports of unpredictable glitches with the panoramic roof, door handles, locking, wipers, displays, and controls. (In fact, the two problems listed above are likely software problems, not mechanical.)

Rebooting seems to resolve many of these malfunctions, but for a few owners, rebooting has become almost a daily occurrence.

Laments one owner on the Tesla on-line forum, "You shouldn't have to look to the east, raise your right hand, do the hokey-pokey, and tap the screen randomly to make something work!!!"

Responded another owner, wearily, "You obviously have no experience with software. The hokey-pokey is a basic required user skill."

Tesla is currently remotely downloading Model S software version 4.2, to cars in the field. It eliminates the sleep mode that apparently caused most of the problems. "Reduced power sleep mode remains a high priority for future software releases," says Tesla.

*Fogged windshields.  Numerous owners have reported poor defogger/defroster action in cold or humid conditions. Tesla has already come up with a new vent design, and expects to have retrofit kits available  at its service centers soon. Estimated installation time is less than an hour.

2012 Tesla Model S

2012 Tesla Model S

Enlarge Photo

*Balky charge port doors. Owners report that the doors, disguised as part of the left taillight, occasionally don't open or close properly, and sometimes  pop open repeatedly. One poor fellow had his charge cord jam in the socket, immobilizing the car. He had to be rescued by a Tesla service rep.

*Substandard Floor Mats. Even top-of-the-line Model S cars come with no mats for the back seats, and cheap, low-quality mats in the front footwells.  "They are the crappiest ever," complains one owner. If you want nicer ones, Tesla will sell you "premium" mats for the front and rear footwells for $400.

*No regenerative braking in the cold.  The recent Midwest cold snap has revealed an odd characteristic of the Model S: In subfreezing temperatures, the regenerative braking doesn't kick in until the car has been driven 10 or 15 miles.


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Comments (132)
  1. Congrats on your Model S.
    I believe you feel the same I did, when I waited for my 2011 Leaf...
    I wouldn't worry about the software glitches, these are the easy solution ones.
    Looking forward for your real experiences with the machine.
    Regards!
     
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  2. We have 9500 miles on our Leaf (received mid Feb. 2012) with zero warranty issues. It does all we want. Losses run about 20% with no heat or air. Losses do increase to maybe 50% running full heat. For our daily range to and from work it works great.
    We have a Model S on order and hope to receive late Feb. 2013.
     
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  3. "I wouldn't worry about the software glitches, these are the easy solution ones."

    Actually, that is very unlikely to be the case.

    The software which controls these vehicles is extremely complex. Most of it is written either in Java, itself an extremely complex and inefficient language, easy to make mistakes in, or if it is written in C, it has to be cross-compiled on a PC-bucket and then sent over to the embedded target hardware to test. These types of programs contains lines of code in the millions; typical vehicle control program has 100 - 300 million lines of code.

    This is one of the reasons why you, as the buyer, should thoroughly test any vehicle which has such electronics in it and is mostly controlled and driven by software.
     
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  4. Tesla seems to have a different model. I recently installed the third software update since I took delivery in mid-December, each one adding features and/or fixing minor bugs. One thing that is important to note is that none of the software issues have any impact on driving performance.* Tesla appears to have successfully ring-fenced the driving mechanics from application bugs. It's a bit scary rebooting the screen while driving, but it works fine.

    *the door-opening issue is apparently a hardware issue with the door handles, not a software issue. It is an issue, though, and one that Tesla is addressing on a case-specific basis.
     
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  5. "typical vehicle control program has 100 - 300 million lines of code."

    Can you cite the source for that statement?

    From what I know and recent analysis of the Volt' SW codes (posted by GCR), it is in the 6-10 million lines range. That already pretty complex comparing to typical ICE cars...
     
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  6. "Can you cite the source for that statement?"

    Yes, I can, but I am quite certain you will scoff at it: experience.

    Do you actually expect me to show you the source code? You should know it is proprietary and a trade secret.
     
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  7. Learn how to read. He asked you for the source of your information, not for the source code. What part of the he never mentioned sending him the source code was the difficult part for you?
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  8. "Learn how to read."

    Learn how to communicate better.

    "He asked you for the source of your information,"

    I am the source.
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  9. @Annatar,

    "I am the source."

    First of all, that is NOT a good sourse since we don't even know your "real name"...

    Second of all, you didn't say which type of cars you are talking about...

    Third of all, I think you missed the numbers by a magnitude...
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  10. This is a good thing. With such a highly scrutinized car, the bugs will be flushed out and fixed before the vast majority of owners purchase a Tesla vehicle (S or beyond).
     
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  11. Motor mags are accustomed to testing acceleration, handling, etc
    They never consider driving range because for their usual gas powered vehicle, its never an issue. Therefore they have produced invalid testing for the Model S, which has an unacceptable driving range,for all its models, for extended travel. I laugh out loud at Tesla website's claim that implies a 300 mile range on the Interstates. Or the EPA's "highway driving range"of 264 miles, also a piece of nonsense. Both are fantasies, which Green Car Reports seems unable or unwilling to
    deal with. Expect 200 (or much worse) rather than 300 (or 264) range. The Model T was a game changer because it was cheap. The Model S is not. It's an around-town car. The Model T is as fast on trips.
     
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  12. What's your source of info for the "200 (or much worse)" figure for the Model S range?

    Owner feedback that I've been following for the last few months suggest that the EPA range number (actually, it's 265) is reasonably within reach in normal driving.
     
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  13. Clearly you're not a good customer fit for electric cars. Not everyone is.
     
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  14. Why, because he does not think electric cars are all that?

    What kind of criterion is that anyway?!?

    Anyone should be able to have their pick of an electric car in any configuration they desire; and it should live up to their expectations.

    We should NOT, repeat, NOT have to make compromises just so we can own an electric vehicle!

    Owning an electric vehicle is NOT a privilege!
     
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  15. All cars are a bundle of compromises. My wife's BMW 535xi makes noise, spews pollution, requires weekly stops at the gas station, and generates only 300 ft lbs of torque, and only then in optimum torque bands. My Model S requires that I plan some extra time on driving days when I'm driving more than 250 miles. The BMW's compromises impair my driving pleasure every time I drive; the Tesla's, three or four times a year.
     
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  16. Great point!
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  17. One should not have to make compromises on basic functionality, period.

    And by the way, while Tesla might not directly emit any emissions, unless you are charging it from renewable energy sources, it will use electricity from coal and nuclear sources, both extremely detrimental to the environment.

    Also, producing the vehicle causes not only carbon emissions, but pollutes the environment as well. What do you think, how much pollution happens when the battery is made? The rubber for the seals? The fumes which are produced when the metal is cast? Any car production causes pollution. Why some people believe that the Tesla car is magically exempt, is truly beyond my senses.
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  18. Any EV charged from anywhere on the grid is less overall polution that a gas powered car, this has already been refuted many-o-places: http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_vehicles/smart-transportation-solutions/advanced-vehicle-technologies/electric-cars/emissions-and-charging-costs-electric-cars.html
    Our power here in the Pacific Northwest is 85% hydro, and on top of that I have a 6.88KW solar array and pay zero electric bill. 2011 Nissan Leaf, 2000 Ford Ranger both driven about 25K miles a year, for free on sunshine in Seattle. Expecting our Model S April/May.
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  19. There are more comments in this thread
  20. Kent - Tesla claims a range of 300 miles at 55mph. If you lock in cruise control at 55mph, you will get a range of 300 miles (on all but mountainous roads). If that's not enough range for your daily commute, the oil industry will gladly sell you gasoline at the going rate.

    btw - I do a lot of highway driving in my Model S. Down here in Florida averaging 75mph with the AC on, I normally get a range of about 240 miles. That's enough for me.
     
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  21. Not to mention the guy that got 420 miles on a single charge. Sure it wasn't highway driving, but still.
     
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  22. When Tesla gets their stations inplace all within 200 miles of each other @ 240 PC we should be good to go.
     
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  23. There are more comments in this thread
  24. Most of the listed faults don't sound out of the ordinary all cars experiance glitches. Though returning to find the car unlocked and the door slightly open is concerning and must have scared the owner a little.
     
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  25. Yeah, that one is a bit disconcerting to me as well.
     
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  26. Don't take stories about doors spontaneously opening themselves too seriously. That mostly happens in fairy tales and the fantasy of anonymous commenters and bloggers. Probably people not closing a door properly.
     
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  27. Door locks are electronic on many cars. If a solenoid misfires, the door unlocks. I don't see why that would be a fairy tale.
     
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  28. Yes, doors may unlock, but they don't open spontaneously.
     
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  29. If there is a spring loaded mechanism, which locked by a solenoid, yes, in theory it can. The door handles are purely electronic on the Model S and the force of a spring might open it a few mm.
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  30. "I don't see why that would be a fairy tale."

    Because a lot of people here are really, truly desperate for an electric vehicle, and so in their eyes, an electric vehicle can do no wrong; it is the panacea which they believe will solve global pollution.

    And if I wrote that one, just one tanker produced as much pollution as all of the cars in the United States in one year, doing just a one-way sail, what would electric advocates say then?

    Dear electric advocates, how do you plan to solve the tanker problem? The factories' problem? If you are truly concerned about the environment, why haven't you lobbied our government to give us more subsidies for solar panels, for example?

    Or is this all just hypocrisy, since EV's are the new fashion?
     
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  31. I installed solar and lobby for more solar credits...

    Reduce everywhere we can. If we can reduce 1 tanker at a time, I will be happy.

    Complaining about NOT doing enough is NOT an excuse for doing NOTHING.
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  32. tankers may have to switch to #2 Kero from Bunker oil. The Bunker oil produces phenomenal levels of particulates, it's why when a tanker fires up, it's producing a big cloud of smoke particles. but don't confuse particulate emission with CO2.
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  33. Annatar. What good are low interest government loans to domestic solar panels manunfacturers when our benevolent government allows the Chinese to dump solar panels below cost in our market?
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  34. Noland - Strange that you seem to have a comprehensive list of glitches for the Model S, yet you haven't received your car yet. Well, I've had my Model S for 5 weeks and I haven't experienced many of the items you report. Your description of "self opening door locks" sounds like someone thought they locked their car, but one of the doors was ajar, so none of them locked. They returned to find the car wasn't locked afterall. Operator error.

    Sleep mode worked great. Not one issue. However, I do wish I had floor mats for the rear seats. Although some auto companies charge extra for all their floor mats.
     
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  35. Yes, my 2012 Nissa Versa does the same thing. If one of the doors is ajar, it will not lock any of them. This is not a fault of the company, it's an attempt to remind you to close all the doors. If I press my fob and don't hear a "whoop, whoop!" of the car locking, it's not locked. Sounds to me like a little chime when the Model S locks may be in order, but nothing else.
     
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  36. Noland. Other than floor mats not a single complaint on my "S." Everything works perfectly, software and hardware. Fit and finish is excellent. It is like flying on a magic carpet - smooth, quiet, quick. Almost as good as biking in Mynamar.

    You should consider writing about your experiences, not second hand reporting from the TM forum.
     
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  37. I'm sure the guy desperate to return his car can sell it quite easily, and probably even make some money on the sale.
     
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  38. Interesting thing about the regen not working in the cold. I've found the Renault Fluence ZE doesn't give full regen if the battery is above 97% leading to a strange driving feeling of having to use more brake than I'm used to. I've experienced this when picking up a full charge in Jerusalem (up at 800m) and coming back down to Tel Aviv. Temperature wasn't an issue there.
     
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  39. We find the same with our Nissan Leaf. We have no DB when we charge to 100 %. That is because the battery is fully charged and there is no place for the DB charging current to go.

    SM
     
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  40. I understand the technical reasons for no allowing regen on a full, cold battery. But Tesla should have warned the driver with a message on the in-dash ipad. A few lines of computer code and nobody would have complained about it.
     
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  41. Tesla does warn the driver. There is a hatched yellow line in the regen area showing the regen limit. It moves out towards 60 as the car warms up. (Granted, there is not a long explanation, but I figured it out once I left off the accelerator on cold morning and saw the regen barely dip into the green.)
     
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  42. We have a Fusion hybrid and it does not provide regen braking in very cold weather either. I don't, however, remember anything in the manual about it. I have noticed that the Volt does seem to have reduced regen in cold weather as well, though that could just be my perception. It would be interesting to find out what Chevy does, or does not, do differently
     
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  43. Thanks for the clarification.
     
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  44. They need to add a resistor bank to dump the load so the regen response is consistent.
     
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  45. Exactly!! Not to mention that since this happens in cold condition, wouldn't this extra regen power turned into "heat" for the cabin if the battery can't take it?
     
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  46. How about a capacitor bank to store the charge?
     
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  47. There are more comments in this thread
  48. It is always interesting to learn about issues with any car but in this case it's mostly based on comments anonymous people make on forums, not really the soundest foundation for quality problem allegations. Doesn't mean that at least some of the complaints aren't real, but it is rather inappropriate to quote some anonymous commenter as saying he had so many problems that he wished he could return the car unless his story is properly fact checked which -let's face it- it isn't.
     
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  49. The Chevy Volt regen should not be compared to the Model S because I believe the ICE will turn on around 28F to warm the battery if too cold out on 2011 and 2012. I am not sure how it works with the 2013 and the engine assisted heating set to a lower temp. A good comparison would be what does the Nissan Leaf do with regen in the cold.
     
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  50. The point was that the "experience" shouldn't change. Regen energy should be recovered anyway you can in an "EV"...
     
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  51. I just picked up my 60 kWh last week. drove it back to Southern California with 2 supercharger stops. It had 4.2 already on it. so far no problems. Also you will be very happy with the performance. It is very close to what I remember test driving the 85 kWh (non performance) at the 'get amped tour".
     
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  52. Concerning the no DB in cold weather and you may also find no DB in warm weather if the battery is fully charged. We have a Nissan Leaf and there in no DB when I charge to 100 %. There has to be some charge reduction in the battery before the DB will work.
    We have a Model S on order that we hope to have late FEB. 2013.
     
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  53. David, I've seen a lot of reviews on the 85KW Model S and hope you can write about your driving experience when your 60KW is delivered.
     
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  54. I drove my 60 kWhr car safely home from the factory and I can report that all my adventures had happy endings. The car is a high-tech wet dream. The only way you can tell you're accelerating up a 7% grade is that you are tilted back in your seat. I am always cautious of version 1.0 of anything, but so far this is awesome!
     
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  55. Getting version 1.0 reminds me of the old story about the Pioneers. You can always tell who they are by the arrows in their backs.
     
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  56. This is one of the reasons I took myself off the Model X reservation. I'll let them work the kinks out prior to ordering. Thanks for sharing Green Car Reports and providing both pros & cons.
     
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  57. The Model S will work the kinks out for the Model X.
     
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  58. I wonder if this story scares more people in cancelling their reservations. In light of Mr. Noland's consistently negative reporting on Tesla I even wonder if that would be just an unintended side effect of his stories.

    I can't help noticing that with no bio and no picture Mr. Noland is basically as anonymous as the forum commenters whose claims this story is based on and that he has no other basis for his authority than his claim of being an early hour fan who ordered the Model S which however is rather at odds with the lack of real heartfelt enthusiasm for the car and emphasis on FUD in his reporting.
     
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  59. "Several owners report having returned to their supposedly locked cars to find them unlocked, with ONE DOOR SLIGHTLY ADJAR."?? ...ANY car, if one door isn't shut tight, it will not lock. period. That is someone not shutting the door, nothing to do with the car itself. Moot!
    "Substandard Floor Mats"? Really? Most cars don't come with floor mats AT ALL! Toyota charges $300 for carpeted floor mats. $400 is not unusual for this market. Moot also!!
    Software glitches are an easy fix. But, Americans expect immediate perfection and can be very impatient. Patience can go a long way. There are people working on the software glitches, report them and it will help them fix...complaining to others is a waste of time and creates stress for yourself.
     
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  60. They could always add a notification to the locking process if a door is ajar. The beauty of software updates :)
     
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  61. My Renault flashes the indicator lights twice when it locks from the fob. When a door is open/ajar, the locking sound is still heard, but no lights, which is a good warning that it isn't secured.
     
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  62. I also have to say this: Please, please, please, stop comparing apples to oranges, they are not the same. The Chevy Volt is a HYBRID, not an all-electric car, I don't care what marketing term GM chooses to use. Compare electrics to other electrics please. Plug-in Hybrids are NOT electric cars. Period. (I see that car mentioned so much I am beginning to think GM owns High Gear Media).
     
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  63. It is an electric car, with a range extender. Period. Lets see you get the 11,000 miles on electricity that I have gotten on my Volt on a regular Prius Hybrid, not going to happen. When the battery is charged, it never uses gas, it only uses battery, that is not how hybrid's operate.
     
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  64. I realize we're drifting off-topic, and have a lot of Volt and/or GM fans here, so this will be probably be modded down just as well, but the fact remains: by every official or legal definition, the Volt is indeed a plug-in hybrid.
    E.g:
    http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/consumer_info/advanced_clean_cars/glossary.htm
    http://driveclean.ca.gov/pev/Plug-in_Electric_Vehicles/PEV_Types.php

    Mustang owners don't get worked up over the fact the Geo Metro is also a gas car, as no sane person will say they perform the same. Ditto for the Volt vs other plug-ins today... right?

    Re getting 11k miles electric on a plug-in Prius (Micheal, I assume that's what you meant), it will take at most 4x as long as in a Volt, or about 3 years for someone charging daily
     
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  65. @Just O: I try to moderate sparingly, largely for personal attacks and profanity--and sometimes I'll comment on blatantly incorrect facts.

    To be the best of my knowledge, I've never moderated a comment on the three-year debate over whether the Volt is a 'range-extended electric car' as we call it, or a 'plug-in hybrid' as others would have it.

    We've made our decision on this site, and I understand that some readers disagree with it--and say so. Fair enough. That's what comments are for.

    In fact, I find the whole debate rather entertaining.
     
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  66. “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.”

    -- Voltaire
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  67. "every official or legal definition"

    Well, we are in the "cutting edge" realm here. Just b/c government says one thing it doesn't make it right or well defined.

    Do you call the upcoming BMW i3 an electric? If that option of "extender" is true, do you call that extended version "EV" as well?

    The line blurs, doesn't it?
     
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  68. @John: oops, sorry to add to a 3-year discussion then. I didn't know about your decision, I was merely replying to Michael stating that the Volt isn't a form of hybrid.

    @XL+, re definitions:
    Diesel, hybrid (series, parallel), plug-in hybrid, hydrogen (ICE, fuel-cell), CNG, electric... all those terms key unambiguously on fuel(s) and engine(s) types. They never depend on components size, performance, usage scenarios etc.

    Now, EREV. To me it is a subset of plug-in hybrid; if you think it should be a separate category instead, what key characteristic(s) should be used to differentiate them? I'm really just asking.
    Full performance on electric only? The Fisker Karma is out.
    Uses no gas until battery exhausted? Then hacked Priuses qualify. :/
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  69. Well, the reason EREV is different is b/c EREV can operate with no performance limitations as an EV with its full battery. In fact, its EV powertrain is even more powerful or more a primary powertrain than its ICE "backup"...
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  70. Also, EREV can operate without a single drop of gasoline and with no change in performance degradation as if the car was in "battery" only electric.
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  71. I'm with Mark here. For the sake of clear terminology electric cars are pure electric. Standard hybrids are efficient gas burners. Plug-in hybrids are both.
     
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  72. Well, if that is the case, then call your Electric cars BEV instead.

    Define it clearly. Do you call Fuel Cell cars electric?
     
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  73. Last I checked, the Volt and PIP had batteries too...

    Your point is valid though, and illustrates that as car drivetrain technologies get more blended the terminology will get even less clear.
     
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  74. So does every ICE car... What is your point? Every ICE car comes with a 12 V battery and if you put it in gear and crank it and it will move few feet (assuming manual transmission and you bypass the starter lock).

    The point is that Volt is as electric as any traditional BEV in its EV mode. Absolutely NOT different.

    It is ONLY different outside its "battery" range. Well, in that case, call Volt EV+ then...
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  75. " Do you call Fuel Cell cars electric?"
    I call fuel cell cars bad science fiction written by the natural gas industry, but that's just me.
     
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  76. The point was whether to consider it as an "EV".

    Both depends on "chemical" power to generate electricity which powers the car. Both of them have batteries...
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  77. to me if the vehicle can run down the highway for more then 10 minutes on full battery power, it's a battery vehicle with range extension. FIskar Karma, Volt, CMAX Energi, Fusion Energi, BMW I3, these are all electrics with rang eextenders.
     
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  78. Pat - Not quite accurate. The Model S can "run down the highway for 3+ hours on full battery power", and it's not a range extending hybrid.
     
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  79. @Mark,

    I disagree with you since you obviously lack the knowledge on the Volt.

    If the Volt operates just like an EV without a drop of gas up to the same standard of any other BEV, why isn't it an EV? Just b/c it can run on gas once its battery is out?

    Well, sorry to break it to your, all your "EV" will burn diesel or gas too when they are out of battery range and getting towed by a tow truck...
     
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  80. By including a gas engine, Chevy added a substantial amount of complexity to the Volt. BEVs excel in no small part because of the simplicity allowed by a single power source, a single drive train, no transmission, no emissions control equipment, etc. The Volt is more complex than either a Model S or a Cruze, and with higher complexity comes higher maintenance costs and lower reliability.

    Here's my cut:
    EV
    EREV = REEV = cars that can operate with full competence on electricity alone, using gasoline only to extend range.
    PHEV = plug-in hybrids

    Just like you can't label wine "Champagne" if it includes grapes grown outside Champagne, a car with a gas tank shouldn't be called an "electric vehicle".
     
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  81. By your example, is "Champagne" part of the "sparkling wine" group? Yes. But that is from a "special region" of France. So, BEV is a sub group of the EV, so is EREV. It like called Cab and Merlot and Pinot all "red wines"...

    So, why don't we put BEV as part of the larger "EV" group then? In fact, you can almost place BEV such as Leaf as part of the sub EREV group.

    As the upcoming BMW i3 concept demostrates, it has an optional "range extender". Do you consider i3 in its concept as an "EV"? If so, whether it has an range extender option or NOT, it is still an EV...

    EREV should be called EV+.

    Volt is built differently from other PHEV. It is mainly an "EV" b/c it is designed with the max power and speed as an "EV"...
     
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  82. With the large short position on the stock, is it surprising that some posters have negative things to say about the car? The post about regretting the purchase lacked details to support their comment even though others requested the information. Good journalism requires verification of information prior to quoting it as a source. We have had our S for a month without problem--just a couple of minor software glitches.
     
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  83. Interesting article. What I find interesting is that Tesla owners are fanactical about their cars. Anyone one paying a $100k & waiting 6 months is not going to complain unless it is something serious.
    How do you get into your Tesla if there is a problem with the 12V system? You can't get to anything inside the vehicle?
    I have been critical of Tesla because there is too much they don't know, that they don't know. But the recent issues with Beoing & their battery fires w/ the same battery chemistry that Tesla uses (the only car company using Li Cobalt Oxide)gives me further concerns. What happens if the charger, or BMS fails or a clich in software causes a battery over charge? Failure mode is deadly. Just wait, it will happen.
     
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  84. What happens if an accelerator gets stuck in an ICE? Failure is often deadly with vehicles and it happens with alarming regularity. Your criticism of Tesla is long standing and no more founded that should be your criticism of Toyota.
     
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  85. @Richard: Suggest you read Green Car Reports article on 787 and differences between its battery vs. batteries used in EVs. Summary: they're different (design, chemistry, & operational patterns)
    http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1081753_boeing-787-batteries-same-as-those-in-electric-cars-umm-no

    As of Sunday, NTSB turned its focus from batteries to the battery management system (BMS). http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2020230108_dreamlinerbattery28xml.html

    A BMS is no more complex, and just as likely to fail as the ABS, or Drive-by-Wire system in a modern vehicle (including the software). ie: Probability is extremely low & there have engineered built-in redundancy, plus fail-safe modes.
     
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  86. I believe Tesla uses a DC-DC converter to maintain charge on 12V circuits. The high voltage battery pack voltage is converted to 12V. The current (power) draw on the pack is a relatively small value.
     
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  87. My Prius uses a similar system. However, if the 12v pack dies (and it did after 5 years), the car does not work. The 12v pack is used to latch a relay to turn on the high voltage system (for safety reasons). But if the 12 V system is not working, you are stuck, and I was.

    It was the only time in the six years that I have had the Prius that I have been stuck. But still very frustrating.
     
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  88. There are more comments in this thread
  89. My CIVIC Hybrid has the same issue when cold.....it will not kick in the regenerative breaking until the battery warms up. It can take a good 20 minutes when real cold.
     
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  90. "regen is automatically disabled or limited until the battery warms up."
    That is strange. I would think that Tesla has battery climate control and keep its battery at a constant temperature like the Volt. If it doesn't, then how can Telsa ensure the longivity of the battery? Isn't that the entire point of battery thermal management?
    Does this happen even if the car was plugged in before driving in extreme cold?
     
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  91. You will be able to preheat the battery in the future but that isn't enabled yet.
     
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  92. I assume that would be a SW upgrade then?

    B/c leaving the battery "freezing" to "death" doesn't make sense for a large battery pack based BEV. I certainly don't want that for my EV.
     
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  93. There's a difference between keeping the battery warm enough to prevent damage vs. warm enough to charge at high rates. Tesla does the former, not the latter, thereby conserving power.

    Keep in mind that, at max regen, the Model S is pushing 60kW of energy back into the battery, 20 times higher than the normal charging rate of most EVs. I'm glad Tesla isn't letting me accidentally damage the cells by allowing regen when the batteries aren't warm enough.
     
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  94. Okay, does Telsa allow you to drive @ max power when the battery is "cold"?

    If so, based on my battery knowledge, I don't see why draining it at 225KW or 270KW is NOT a problem but regen it at 60KW is a problem...

    If this is true, then I think this demonstrates an issue/limitation with the particular Li ion battery chemistry that Tesla has selected for its battery pack...
     
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  95. One more thought,

    if the charging of the battery is really a concern, then wouldn't the regen energy be better used to generate "heat" for the cabin" instead of "wasted" at the wheel? At least don't change the behavoir of the car or its driving dynamic... I would think Tesla would try to recoup that energy for something.
     
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  96. Li-ion typically supports discharges down to about -20°C, however charging at high currents while below 0 to 5°C causes disproportionate degradation.

    Tesla, like Nissan, adequately reduce regen and quick-charging depending on battery temperature (and reflect this on the dash).
    This effect is probably more perceptible on Teslas, which regen more aggressively when the accelerator is released.

    Re dumping all regen as cabin heat: let's just say it's nowhere near practical, nor desirable. Imagine a stack of 50 space heaters...
     
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  97. Well, that goes back to the battery thermal management issue. I don't think Tesla should allow the battery pack to cool down to -20 deg C. If it has thermal management, then it should allow it to keep the battery pack warm. Now, if you park it overnight outside, the battery pack can be between -20 and 5 deg C. But as soon as you start to drive, the battery will start to warm up or the battery thermal management should kick in.

    The regen power can still be used for warming up the battery. I seriously doubt the regen is that large. Do we know what the "regen" power rating is?

    For efficiency and driving experience, it is better to recover that energy.
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  98. Also, this will change the driving characteristic of the Telsa, potentially require a "warm up" for the vehicle. One advantage of the EV is no need of "warm up".
     
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  99. David Nolan: A few issues here. I'm sure people at teslamotorsclub.com are happy you visit the site but you seen to use their posts only for your reporting and never actually contribute to the website. You've fallen back into the habit of not even listing the screen name of the person you are quoting or providing links to the quote so people can see the post in context of the discussion. I seriously doubt more reporters lift quotes from sources but don't verify their validity or at least cite their source. I realize this is a blog post essentially and not the New York Times but I think some basic jounaisltic standards might be warranted. Thanks.

    Also, the premium interior mats are $250, not $400. The frunk and trunk mats are extra
     
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  100. I realize you actually used the official Tesla forums for this article now but the criticism remains the same. This would be the same as me writing an article about something I read at the New York Times and providing one link to the entire webpage then just throwing out random quotes but not providing links to the articles they were pulled from, contacting the authors for permission to quote them or doing basic journalism to confirm these stories or verify the problems that are being reported. Using anonymous internet forums as your primary source with zero journalism effort to confirm what is written is highly suspect.
     
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  101. @David M: As David Noland's editor and the guy who runs the site, I have to disagree on this one.

    You have complained several times before about use of material from TMC. This article doesn't use any.

    This piece is a neutral, fair high-level summary of a handful of issues that have been raised by Tesla owners who have posted on the company's own site.

    I note your instructions on how Noland and GCR should practice journalism. Your advice raises a few questions: What degree of confirmation would be acceptable? Should we require confirmation of ownership? Photos of the offending condition? Sworn affadavits by eyewitnesses? Statements by Tesla that it is aware of a complaint by said owner?
     
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  102. "Statements by Tesla that it is aware of a complaint by said owner?" No, not that particular owner. But serious journalists would seek comment from a manufacturer whose product was allegedly suffering flaws. It would have added a valuable dimension to your story if you had been able to include a reply from Tesla, e.g. "Tesla is aware of these issues and is addressing them through future software updates or individual car repairs under warranty." What Mr. Noland has done is to summarize posts on a website; how is that journalism? Good journalists attempt to independently verify information and to get all sides of a story. Mr. Noland has done neither of these.
     
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  103. Nothing would make me happier than an official response from Tesla. But every inquiry I’ve ever put to their public-relations department has been either ignored or deflected. I don’t even waste my time trying anymore.

    Most of the time my questions go unanswered. Occasionally I get an evasive response, or a promise that a response will be forthcoming. Example: when I asked a question last June about cold-weather performance, I was promised an answer in "early to mid-fall." Then it became "January." Seven months later, I'm still waiting. And that's one of their better responses. At least they actually got back to me on that one.
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  104. @John Voelcker: But what if it was Mr. Noland himself who posted the complaint that he had so much trouble with his car that he wants to return it on the Tesla site, just to spice up his story a little? I'm sure that's not the case but my point is: these internet forums are anything but reliable news sources and I really wouldn't call any article that completely hinges on unchecked statements from anonymous commenters on some forum serious journalism. Even if it's Tesla's own forum, anybody can post on that too.
     
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  105. @Chris O: I know David Noland, and I'm QUITE confident he wouldn't do that.
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  106. Yes, and while you're here repeatedly attacking the credibility of every person who ever disagreed about anything Tesla-related, did it never occur to you that people could do the exactly opposite thing, too? You know, people who don't even own a Tesla writing about how great it is?

    I know by now, Tesla is perfect, the door problems are a lie despite Tesla's publicly acknowledging the problem, etc... When people write good things, they are true and you don't question them. When minor criticisms arise, then people are being dishonest, etc...

    It must be fun to live in irrational bizarro-land, where a guy spending roughly $100K on a Tesla has his commitment to EVs & honesty questioned by someone who's never owned any type of EV whatsoever.
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  107. I can add one ting to this. In a room full of Model Ss, when we opened the charge latch of the Model S we were picking up, all 33 others opened. It was comical.

    It is to be expected. When Apple came out with OS 10.1, it was nice but needed a lot of work. In many ways, Tesla has done an amazing job here, considering it is a car, knowing how difficult it is to bring a car to the market and with today's copious use of technology. It's a wonder it is out.
     
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  108. There are a few other nit-picks collected in this video.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFX5R8udRO4&NR=1
     
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  109. i met a Model S Owner at the Superchargers in Deleware, he was just very happy after 60 days.
     
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  110. This article does not feel balanced. I have owned a Roadster for 3 + years and have not had any significant issues, and just simply wonderful service. I have been blogging about this too with zero financial incentive.
    http://teslaowner.wordpress.com
     
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  111. I find this interesting. There are usually 3 distinct groups of people on the comment section.
    1. EVs are perfect and they can do no wrong and there is NO reason why there should be any complains. Everyone should rush out to get one. Any design that has anything beside a battery and electric motor are wrong and should NOT be allowed call themselves EVs. EVs are reserved for the purist and greenist of them all. They are the "angels" of the world...
    2. EVs are great. They will work perfectly for some people in certain situtations. All Plugins will help with the spread of EVs whether they are EREV/PHEV or BEV. They are moving the population toward the future. In the mean time, let us embrace what works for us now. The more electric the better.
    3. EVs are evil. They are bad science project protected by the liberal bias with tax payer funded credits. They will never work. They are slow, ugly and pollute b/c they are powered by coal. They take away my enjoyment of driving something that is loud, noisy and dirty.
    I think both group #1 and group #3 are bad for the future of the EVs. We need to support the EV movement with realistic approach. Tesla S is an awesome car. By far, the best BEV product that we have today. But it doesn't mean it can't have faults or room for improvement. Looking at it with critical eyes will only help to improvement EVs in the long term.
     
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  112. I agree with your conclusion. That is what we should all be doing, and where we should be going.

    The issue right now, for me personally, is that what is offered is so far off in terms of what I want and need, that electric vehicles would be a major step back, not a step forward. Again, this is for me, I am not speaking for anyone else, although I suspect lots of other people feel the same way.

    For example: Tesla only comes as a sedan. Not only is that impractical for my needs, but I also detest sedans. Strike one.

    Electric motor does not need a manual transmission, but I want one because for personally, if I do not have a clutch and a shifter, that is not driving; I might as well walk or use a bicycle. Strike two. Strike three is infra.
     
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  113. Well, clutches and shifter is a product of maximizing ICE's power curve. It is a relic. It has nothing to do with the advancement of the technology. Even the race car today is moving toward the electronically engaged clutches..

    Just b/c you like riding horses, it doesn't mean we should install saddles in automobiles.
     
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  114. Saddles and transmissions make a very poor metaphor.

    If I want to give my money for en electric car with a manual transmission, I feel that I should be able to buy one. I should be able to get what I want if I am fairly compensating someone for it.

    There are a lot of "relics" people keep around in machinery, art and daily life in general, not necessarily because they are needed, but because they like them.

    For example: there is no reason why cars could not be controlled by a joystick instead of the steering wheel, but we collectively kept the steering wheel because we like controlling a car that way.
     
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  115. "Tesla only comes as a sedan"

    Actually, it is a "hatchback".
     
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  116. "First of all, that is NOT a good sourse since we don't even know your "real name""

    This is not logical: the only thing it matters is whether the information is correct and useful. Knowing what my "name" is will neither change nor affect the information.

    If you believe I have "missed the numbers" by and large, go right ahead and buy a vehicle laden with electronics and software. I guarantee you will remember me.
     
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  117. I have a car that laden with electronics and software. I work for electronic industry and I don't believe your statement is accurate.
     
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  118. Like I wrote before: I guarantee you will remember me every time you encounter a bug in the software, every time the electronics bust, and every time the software overrides your commands, either because of a deficient algorithm, missing code, or a bug. No worries!
     
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  119. I don't. I have figured to manage my car and my computers very well.
     
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  120. "3. EVs are evil. They are bad science project protected by the liberal bias with tax payer funded credits. They will never work. They are slow, ugly and pollute b/c they are powered by coal. They take away my enjoyment of driving something that is loud, noisy and dirty."

    Electric vehicles are not evil. Give me that Tesla Sportwagon featured here recently, with a clutch pedal and a shifter, a true range of 300 miles under diverse conditions, and the charging infrastructure to support it, and I'll be happy to drive one!
     
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  121. You are certainly unique in your taste.
     
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  122. You better believe it. I know exactly what I want, I am demanding, and I will not compromise, nor will I allow anyone to short-change me.
     
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  123. What is this infatuation with the manual gearbox? Manual ignition, hand cranking, choke, reading a map, it all disappeared.

    Behold, see the men clinging to the last ritual. The only thing left to make them feel like they are in contact with the technology and master of the machine. Very entertaining.
     
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  124. "What is this infatuation with the manual gearbox?"

    If you drove a manual transmission vehicle, you would know. I do urge you to learn how to drive one, and I mean REALLY learn how to drive one, master it. Then you too will know, what the infatuation with the clutch and the shifter is.

    It puts enjoyment back into driving, instead of turning one into a mindless plant which vegetates behind a steering wheel.
     
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  125. I have driven manual transmission for decades. The issue is really control and connection to the powertrain where you get to control the engine at its best torque and power point.

    The Electric drivetrain gives you exactly that without the need of shifter and clutch. It also does so without any delay.

    But feel free to "like" the old technology. It is your choice but don't tell me that it is "mindless". Just b/c you love to move a stick, it doesn't mean that motion is better.
     
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  126. Over here in Europe, the majority of grannies drives a manual. What was it again that is so special?
     
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  127. "The only thing left to make them feel like they are in contact with the technology and master of the machine. Very entertaining."

    That is correct. It is entertaining, very, very entertaining, although that is likely not what you had in mind when you wrote your cynical remark.

    It is very entertaining for me, as the driver. When I am in a vehicle and if I am the person behind the steering wheel, I want to DRIVE, not to be driven around.
     
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  128. "Behold, see the men clinging to the last ritual."

    And by the way, that was a very chauvinistic and sexist comment; it was completely uncalled-for. The "I want to be driven" rather than drive oneself is stereotypical.

    Did you know that most European women refuse to drive automatics? What have you to say to that little tidbit? Are they "macho" as well because of that?

    I just cannot believe the chauvinism.
     
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