I can safely assume that anyone who switches from their standard gas automobile to a full electric Tesla for the first time will be very excited and find Tesla almost flawless. I was there myself and have experienced every little bit of that excitement. However, I have few reservations now as years went by and problems started to pile up. I have documented the issues that I have experienced in the Tesla Problems Review and Tesla Autopilot Problems Review. In this blog, I want to share my prioritized list of top things that I hate about my Tesla. Don’t get me wrong I still believe that Tesla is the most advanced automobile on the road and I would think twice before buying anything else. However, Tesla is not perfect and as long as the list of things that I like about Tesla is longer than the list of things that I hate about Tesla, I should be fine.
Lets start with a lowest rated pain point item first and work our way down to the highest pain point. Note, none of these items are critical deal breakers for me as I enjoy Tesla every time I drive it.
10. Low Ground Clearance
Both Model S and Model 3 sedans sit close to the ground which gives them a lower center of gravity and a phenomenal grip of the road and better aerodynamic handling. This helps to take sharp corners at high speeds much easier. Both sedans have very agile driving characteristics. However, there are also problems with low ground clearance.
- Cannot drive through the deep snow
- Debris and stones damage the headlights and lower bumper
- Speed bumps are hard to drive over without hitting the battery plate underneath Tesla
- minimal to none ability to drive off road
9. No Air Suspension
Model S and Model X cars which came without adaptive air suspension get standard suspension. Model 3 does not even have an option to add adaptive air suspension. What is the problem with the standard suspension? It is quite hard and mostly tuned for sporty handling. This normally results in passengers feeling every bump and pothole on the road. This also exaggerates a lot of rattling noise inside. Adaptive Air Suspension, on the other hand, would allow to choose a softer or firmer suspension. It also has HIGH and VERY HIGH options which would raise Tesla quite a bit above the ground and solve the low ground clearance issue mentioned above. So if you do not mind hide ride and low ground clearance, then adaptive air suspension is not for you and Model 3 should also be a fine choice.
8. No All Wheel Drive
This is a hard topic for me because I love my rear wheel drive Tesla. I love it for two reasons: great handling in corners and Tesla stopped producing rear wheel Model S. This makes my Model S very unique and if you are interested to buy, let me know 🙂 There are situations, however, especially in the colder months, when I would have felt a bit safer with AWD. The bigger problem than AWD however is the absence of a gear box. Normally, in icy or slippery conditions, you would switch to a lower gear and slowly drive at higher engine power setting. With Tesla, the only option you have is to modulate power manually with the power pedal. This makes it very hard to control power.
7. Limited Battery Capacity
This one would apply more to the older Tesla cars with limited battery range rather than latest models. Having a larger battery range of 300 mil or more would greatly benefit anyone. For one, it reduces the number of times one needs to charge during long trips even though Tesla Supercharging network has a very good geogrphical coverage. Second, larger battery capacity helps to reduce number of times one needs to re charge at home especially during winter season. Cold weather presents a unique problem with electric cars. They consume too much battery in order to heat up. So having more battery capacity always helps.
6. Flat Exterior Paint
I covered Tesla exterior paint care in the Washing Tesla post. From my experience, multi coat paints are easier to care for than flat paints. Also, because multi coat paints have multiple layers, the fine scratches and swirls from road debris and stones are not as noticeable as on the flat paints. If you are in the market for a new or used Tesla, I would seriously consider cars with multi coat paints. Even though I love black color on Tesla, but I would think twice before committing to a solid black color option.
5. Cheap Interior Materials
Tesla is using a lot of plastic parts in the interior. Plastic is everywhere on dashboard, doors, and side pillars. The use of plastic generates a lot of rattling road noise. Some parts are leather wrapped. Leather is another problem. Tesla is using only artificial leather. The problem with this leather is that it is not durable over time and forms cracks and scratches which might not be possible to repair. Most luxury car brands such as Mercedes, Lexus, and Audi use mostly real leather which prolongs the life of beautiful interior. At Tesla’s current price point, company needs to consider to build more luxurious and quieter interior.
4. Problematic Touchscreen
In both Tesla Touch Screen Yellow Border Fix post and Tesla Disabled Touch Screen post, I went into details to describe what troubles I had so far with the touch screen. Also, in Problems with Tesla Web Browser post, I described issues that I had and still have with the Tesla Web Browser. The MCU hardware in my Tesla is defective and Tesla did fix the problems but I am not sure how long this fix will last for. Tesla is selling the new Infotainment upgrade package for $2,500 plus applicable tax to owners of Model S and Model X built March 2018 or earlier. One thing to note about this upgrade is that owners will lose access to AM and FM radios. Tesla, come on ! Why we should loose access to common radio features? Recently, Tesla also started offering the new full self-drving upgrade which I covered in my Full Self Driving (FSD) Upgrade
3. Subpar Service
The quality of Tesla service is an evolving process. Over 2.5 years of ownership, I had several difficult encounters with Tesla service personnel local in Pennsylvania. There are few practices which are not common to other car manufacturer’s service workflow. I hope Tesla service will become better over time.
2. Ever Changing Prices and Packages
Tesla tends to change prices on cars currently in production such as Model S, Model X and Model 3 several times a year. Other car manufacturers also do this but differently. Traditionally, car manufacturers offer cash rebates, discounts, or lower interest rates. Due to COVID19, many of car manufacturers also started offering deferred payment and payment relief plans. Tesla, on the other hand, just slashes the base price on their models. At the end of the day, this achieves the same saving effect for consumers however, this pricing strategy also makes owners who recently purchased their Tesla feel that they were cheated.
1. Tesla Price
Does Tesla build affordable cars? With introduction of Model 3 and Model Y, Tesla can safely say that they are building more affordable cars. However, Model 3 is a small sedan more comparable with BMW 3 series or Audi A4. Model Y is a small cross over SUV comparable with BMW X3 and Audi Q5. I agree there is a big market for these cars. But, there is also a big market for mid-size SUVs such as Model X. Is Model X affordable? Model X with Long Range option is currently priced at 80 K and with performance option at 100 K. The following table contains a brief summary of prices between Model X and other luxury cross over SUVs as of June 2020:
|Model X||80 K to 100 K|
|Audi E-Tron||starts at 78 K|
|Audi Q7||as high as 71 K|
|MB GLE 580||as high as 72 K|
|BMW X5||starting at 76 K|
|Maserati||starts at 75 K|
|Porsche Cayenne||starts at 67 K|
|Lexus RX 450 Hybrid||at around 55 K|
Table above shows that Model X is actually priced fairly competitively compared to other SUVs. We should note however that many of the manufacturers listed above do also offer lower priced versions of the same SUVs. For example, there are 4 different trims of BMW X5 with lower prices for 3.0 liter engines to much higher prices for 5.5 liter. Should Tesla also consider to start offering a lower priced trims of Model X with limited speed or other drive train features ? I believe it would help make Model X more affordable for different market segments and increase sales. I would not however start offering trims will lower battery capacity because this could turn potential buyers away from full electric.
Readers, share top things that you hate about Tesla in the comments section below?
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