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Life With Tesla Model S: Three Days Of Service Nirvana


2013 Tesla Model S P85 service loaner vehicle [photo: David Noland]

2013 Tesla Model S P85 service loaner vehicle [photo: David Noland]

Enlarge Photo

A few months ago, some minor glitches in my 2013 Tesla Model S were fixed at the Tesla service center in White Plains, New York.

It was a perfectly satisfactory experience, pretty much like any other service visit: Drive to the shop, read magazines for a couple of hours, get the car back, drive home.

The notable differences: a longer drive (about 45 minutes each way), a mechanic who took the time to talk to me in person, and no blaring television in the waiting room.

Not bad, as far as servicing your car goes. Still, it was a wasted, boring day.

ALSO SEE: Life With Tesla Model S: Trying Out The Service Program

But that was "then", before Tesla's service program was completely up to speed. I've just experienced the "now" of Tesla's new fully-formed service program.

If my experience is typical, it appears that Elon Musk & Co. have once again changed the automotive landscape.

As with the car itself,  it will be very difficult to go back to car-business-as-usual.

Fob story

My second Tesla service adventure started one day last month when I came back to my Model S in a parking lot to find all the windows down. 

A week later, as I was getting out of the car, all the windows went down again--on their own.

When I called the service center, the rep suggested the problem might be the key fob, which can lower the windows remotely if the lock/unlock button is held down.

Sure enough, I noticed that the cover over the lock/unlock button had fallen off, exposing the button and making it much more sensitive to any pressure.

With the key fob in my pocket, I had apparently been doing the automotive equivalent of the cell-phone pocket dial (aka butt-call).

2013 Tesla Model S P85 service loaner vehicle [photo: David Noland]

2013 Tesla Model S P85 service loaner vehicle [photo: David Noland]

Enlarge Photo

I needed a new fob. And unfortunately, I was told, they couldn't just send me one.

The new key would have to be programmed to the car itself, a process that took a couple of hours and could only be performed at the service center.

But instead of me having to drive to White Plains and hang around for a couple of hours--essentially blowing another day--Tesla would now send someone to pick up my car and leave me a loaner.

And not just any loaner: a $100,000 Model S 85-kWh Performance, the tippy-top of the Tesla line.

DON'T MISS: Will Tesla Alone Double Global Demand For Its Battery Cells?

Punch list

Since my car was going into the shop anyway, I added a few other minor items to the punch list:

  • The right rear door handle wouldn't extend when touched, though it extended normally when any other handle was touched
  • The cover over the button on the charge cord had also fallen off. (What is it with these button covers?)
  • The "smart" wipers had been acting remarkably dumb lately
  • The front fascia panel under the headlight didn't seem to fit snugly
  • Lastly, I requested the just-released software update Version 5.0, which is said to reduce the dreaded vampire power drain.

I had to wait almost three weeks to get an open slot. But on the appointed day and time, an enthusiastic young Tesla guy (does anyone over 30 work at this company?) showed up at my house in an immaculate black P85 Model S with about 600 miles on the odometer.


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© 2014 Green Car Reports. All Rights Reserved. Green Car Reports is published by High Gear Media. Send us feedback. Stock photography by izmo, Inc.