Its worth saying there are a lot of great things about the car and brand, however anyone switching from a premium car such as a BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Volvo or Jaguar needs to be aware of where the company and electric technology currently is. Forewarned is forearmed, many people can live with these things, but for some they get under the skin. There is a lifestyle element to owning the car which is not for everyone.
This is a contentious point, but Tesla like to play with facts and figures. It got really messy with the P85D and the "motor power" not being additive with people thinking they were buying 760 bhp and they were actually getting less than 500. Law suits have recently been settled and not in Teslas favour. Tesla have also been less than charitable to those that took issue. Then there is the 0-60 time. Tesla deciding for the performance cars to use a non-standard (for road cars) approach on the P cars only to use a 1 foot roll out. Their own figures for their cars are not comparable and the approach artificially accentuates the performance gap between their models. Then the battery size and range - well we all know claimed figures for any car can be a little fanciful, but when the 90 battery was upgraded it promised 6% more than the 85, but when they finally released the figures it was only 3% more. And then the batteries don't seem to come close in some instances to the claimed capacity. The difference between a 60 and a 90 for instance is much less than you're led to believe, from the name plate you'd expect 50% more, you actually only get 30% more, and on the 60, because its software limited, you can use the available capacity easily. Tesla do seem to be learning from this, although the Enhanced Autopilot capabilities are still ambiguous and Full Self Driving cars are a long way off.
Promises of anything take longer than you'd imagine. Autopilot took longer to arrive than people thought. Service centres are appearing slowly but getting an appointment can take a long time. Super charger roll out in the UK has virtually stalled in 2016 with some locations actually closing. Gatwick area, the promised upgrade around Warrington, nowhere. There have been some, but the point is simply if you buy a car thinking some key infrastructure is a few months away, don't rely on it.
Probably the most controversial one and probably not a staff issue as such, more a function of their growing pains. Most staff seem to be very friendly and personable but the pressures are creeping in. There are stories of staff making fundamental mistakes in how things work and informing customers. Some are less important than others, but it's just wrong. We have verbal only instructions that you can use the access only roads at Keele, but they don't put it in writing. The airport parking promises have been taken away. We have heard of cars being serviced with no paper work provided other than a single line on an invoice, whereas others are given comprehensive documentation. Staff have really pulled all the stops out for some, yet fail to return any answer machine messages. Cars are dealt with but new owners have to take their car back several times for resolution of delivery issues which should have been detected before prior to the customer getting their car. Frustrating, as for every story you hear of a great job, there is likley to be a horror story.
Tesla suffer from some pretty significant build quality issues with many owners reporting their cars have required several trips to the service centre to be fixed. The issues are largely ones of panel and trim fit and fairly significant paint defects including very heavy "orange peel" which is essentially a variable thickness of the clearcoat preventing a lovely mirror finish.
There are however other issues including problems with pressings as the image shows. There is a clear split in the A Pillar and further the split was painted over at some point. It's not thought to be a major structural part of the car; however it is somewhat alarming that such a fault could be missed through all the build inspections, or deemed acceptable quality. Our check list helps advise on what to look for when collecting a car.
Even Elon now admits the flappy doors were a step to far but it's actually the front doors which are causing owners some issues.
The doors open electronically however the sensor to detect if it's safe to do so is mounted in the rear door, you can tell what's going to happen if you park next to a post or if there is an object above the car. Secondly the doors seem to open by varying amounts at will which can also result in hitting walls or adjacent cars. Finally, some doors don't like the car being on an incline. Tesla had problems with detecting trapped items which caused some of these issues, so they reduced the safety mechanisms. Its now easy to find youtube videos of people chopping things in half with the rear doors.
Not all owners seem to experience this but the front wheels can rub on the wheel arch.
The front wheel can quite clearly be seen to be touching the wheel arch on when the steering is turned to almost full lock. It's unclear whether this is a tolerance issue or an incorrected fitting panel but either way it's not a great sight. This will obviously damage the wheel arch over time but more worryingly it could damage the tyre. Its only on full lock so not a constant wear when driving, but still something that shouldn't occur.
Quite a few owners report the heating element failing. They hear a loud pop in the cabin and the heating then stops working, the heating matrix has failed. It's so common, service centres are now holding stock of the part and the fix is relatively painless taking a few hours under warranty. Primarily a MX issue
A very common problem is the appearance of a yellow band around the edge of the screen. It's caused by the glue behind the screen failing and while the screen will require replacing, it still generally functions ok. Tesla have not found a permanent fix for this yet and are holding off replacements as it may fail again.
A slightly more unusual issue but one that occurs from time to time especially in the cold. On full lock, in reverse, the front suspension pops apart and collapses. The car is undriveable. Tesla have argued with a number of owners that they must have hit a pothole or otherwise damaged the suspension, but the failure scenario is all too familiar. Try to avoid full lock and reverse if possible, especially when its cold and the suspension bushes are cold and more brittle.
This is an issue that occurs to many cars with led lights. Moisture gets in and eventually the light unit can fail. Depending how bad, Tesla will consider replacing under warranty, but if its just a very small amount and only some of the time, its just mild condensation.
As mentioned elsewhere on here Tesla have parted with Mobileye, the company that provided the original autopilot hardware and a high degree of the know-how. AP2/EAP. Teslas attempt without Mobileye is lagging behind, and full self-drive is anybody's guess. Nobody really knows what the target feature set is for any of these versions or when it will be delivered. What we do know is that the AP2/EAP version needs a lot of care when using, and it's sad that there are increasing numbers of reports that the original AP is actually getting worse rather than better. As a result of past fatal accidents the cars are now very sensitive to bridges over motorways and the cars have been known to slow down sharply on the approach to a bridge on the motorway resulting in the potential for a rear-end shunt.
AP2 cars seem to be very sensitive to calibration and as such auto pilot nay not initialise.
One of the common issues of Teslas is the terrible sat nav routing at times as seen in the screenshots below. The problem is partly thought to be because the screen, while looking fantastic and showing a live Google maps display complete with traffic, it doesn't actually use any of that information in the Nav. It's thought to use am old Garmin Nav, the maps become out of date, and the traffic news used for routing is thought to be TMC.