DJP

Time to say farewell 1 year on - Lexus to Tesla

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One year ago today I parted company with my third Lexus, an NX300 F Sport (previous were IS250 SE & IS300h F Sport) and took delivery of a Tesla Model S 75D. I posted a fond farewell then:

And an update a couple of months later here:

https://www.lexusownersclub.co.uk/forum/topic/111906-time-to-say-farewell-but-happy-memories-update/?tab=comments#comment-998482

 

There were a few requests for regular updates so I thought exactly a year on would be a good opportunity. I will be honest and welcome feedback, questions and have a referral code for free Supercharging if anyone's thinking of buying a Tesla. If you want some pics I'll happily oblige. Having read this it is far too long but I can't do the subject justice, so apologies.

 

The tl;dr - it's a brilliant car but not perfect. The full story: 

Performance & Driving Experience

0-60 was 5.2 secs and the immediate torque always produces the "Tesla grin". 6 months into ownership Tesla announced a performance enhancement and tweaked the software. It's called "uncorking" and my 0-60 is now 4.2 secs . The enhancement was free of charge and the standing start acceleration is utterly ridiculous. Nothing can touch it away from the lights up to legal speeds (not that I'm a Grand Prix merchant - but on occasion). It's called a launch and my family have banned me from doing it whilst they are in the car.

Anyone who has a hybrid will know how good the electric drive is, and it truly makes an internal combustion engine (ICE) feel archaic. I've driven 15k miles against my normal 10k, it's that good.

Technology  

The car is an iPad on wheels, and the Tesla OTA software updates are eagerly awaited, arriving every 6 weeks or so. Sometimes they are eagerly awaited because the last update introduced bugs that hopefully the next one cures - they are far from perfect. That said, in the last 12 months I've had improvements to functionality that you just don't get elsewhere - you get the car you bought and that's it. A few examples -  "chill" mode was introduced which is similar to the "Eco" drive, it mutes the acceleration and can make for a more relaxed drive. "Easy Exit" - you can amend your driver profile so the steering wheel lifts and drivers seat goes back. Auto high beam, and auto wipers using the camera and neural network learning not the traditional rain sensor.

Of course many features appear of other cars, but Tesla adds these to your existing car during your ownership and for free.

Improvements to  "Autopilot" eg auto lane change on the motorway when the indicator is activated and general improvements to the cars autonomous ability - although it is a very very long way away from true self driving"

Range

The big question, how far will it go? Firstly, I have a "fuel station" attached to the side of my house. I don't even need to think about range unless my daily round trip is over 220 miles in the winter, or 275 in the summer. The official NEDC range is as much nonsense as the official mpg figures fro ICE cars. Mine is 304 mile - pretty much the same as for the Jag I Pace being unveiled today. Range is definitely impacted by weather and one of the challenges is getting away from the concept that the Battery holds "miles." It doesn't it holds energy and the car will display a range in miles which is calculated on a set energy usage only achievable on longish journeys. In this weather, I will "use" 8 miles to do my 4 mile commute. Conversely, on a long journey with good weather and steadily 70 mph I will "use" 85 miles but have driven 100. It is better to leave the Battery displaying the percentage Battery and assume 2 miles per percentage. It takes a little betting use to but not long - and the Battery doesn't do what the phone one does - 25% one minute and 2% the next! The Battery management system is superb - what you see is what you get.

Journey Planning &  Charging Time

Tesla Superchargers are situated up and down the country, mainly at motorway service stations. They will recharge the Battery from 20% to 80% inside 25 minutes - enough time for a comfort break and to grab a coffee. They are free, dead easy to use and without them I simply would not buy a fully electric car. They are extending the network but the legal delays are a major pain in the neck. 

The network of public chargers, Ecotricity at the motorway services, are unreliable and slow - a Tesla Supercharger starts at 120kW and gradually reduces as the Battery fills up. Ecotricity deliver 50kW at best, on the odd occasion I've used one I've only seen 35kW.

Yes, a little more planning is required but it really isn't a big deal. That said, an analysis of what driving you do before embarking on the charge is vital. The standard retort " Until I can do 300 mile without stopping I'm not interested" is IMO more a shoot from the hip reluctance to the concept of change

At home, I have a 7kW charger which I use at night on Economy 7. I generally charge for an hour or two a night, depending on what I've been doing during the day.  An overnight charge would fill the Battery without trouble - but I hardly ever do 200 miles a day. 

Fit & Finish

For an American car it's well made, but it's not up to the standards we expect in Europe. Panel gaps are wider, can be inconsistent and the general "premium" feel isn't quite there. The interior is starkly different to anything else out there - not least of all because of the 17" iPad.

There is definitely room for improvement here, but it certainly isn't anywhere near as bad as some commentators would have you believe.

Running Costs

Mileage costs are cheap as chips compared to an ICE. Using E7 electricity its costing me les than 3p a mile against about 20p a mile in petrol, assuming 35mpg.  Long distance travel is free using the Supercharger network.

Servicing costs are approx £500 a year, which is a bit pricey considering there isn't a lot to service. My own view is that they are covering a lot of warranty work within the cost. They are very proactive at changing something if an improvement has been made - e.g. the self presenting door handles are great, but the early generation ones broke a lot, so they routinely repalc them at service time.

Insurance

 It's in the highest Group so is never going to be cheap, and repairs are expensive and getting parts is a nightmare. The biggest single worry of a Tesla driver is not range it's being without the car for 3 months while parts are awaited from California. It's been  a problem since before I got the car and despite assurances to the contrary it still is.

Tesla the Company

I love the car and do not see me ever going back to an ICE. Tesla can be horribly frustrating to deal with. The staff are incredibly hard working but are under resourced, under trained and have no proper systems and controls. My own experience has been excellent but as a generality emails often go unanswered, calls not returned, PDI's are questionable and Lexus leave them for dead in this department. Luckily for Tesla the car is so good they get away with it, and as "early adopters" owners understand the growing pains but that won't be the case for ever especially when the Model 3 hits the UK. That'll be in "Tesla time" - defined as a "unit of time" that has an undefined start ad finish point".

The competition

I wish there was some proper competition and whilst it's great the I Pace is launching without a high speed charging network it is a deeply flawed offering. It'll be £60k at least and that's very expensive for a car that you cannot use for long distance trips without a major change to your driving habits.  Jaguar claim it'll charge in 20 mins, well it will if you can find a 100kW charger. Apart from Tesla's (which they can't use) there aren't any in the UK and Jaguar have confirmed they are not interested in building a network - in much the same way manufacturers don't do petrol stations. It'll take 90 mins to fill an I Pace up, and that's also relying on the public charging network. 

Other manufacturers are all promising something in the near future, and I truly look forward to something that's comparable to Tesla, by which time goodness knows where Tesla will be - assuming the Model 3 hasn't killed them!

Will Lexus bring out a full EV to tempt me back? Maybe but I'm not holding my breath.

 

 

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A very good review David thanks for posting it up.

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well done, thanks for that .....  technology in its infancy with significant growing pains I guess ............  maybe BP and ESSO etc will develop the appropriate charging facilities at their stations at some time ..........................  BP has to my knowledge been a significant player in the solar power research and development scene for very many years, at least 15 to my knowledge and with the likely change in motoring power and oil in it's possible decline I know that I for one would explore this substitute energy facility for the " new " motoring world.

They sure have the dosh to do it, much more so than individual car manufacturers whoever they are ........  why on earth haven't car manufacturers got a common charging filler, like petrol cars etc ?  They must be mad :whistling: 

Malc

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Really enjoyed your update and honest review and agree that they have some way to go with there interiors and quality control but i'm sure they will get there, unless like you said the model 3 popularity becomes too much.

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1 hour ago, Malc1 said:

why on earth haven't car manufacturers got a common charging filler, like petrol cars etc ?  They must be mad :whistling: 

A Betamax v VHS battle I think. CCS is the winner in Europe thanks to the German manufacturers, leaving the Nissan CHAdeMO  rather out in the cold. Shell have installed a 50kW units at a handful of stations, which is great, but looking ahead petrol stations will diminish like pubs have but for different reasons. Anyone that can park off road will have charging at home and "filling up" will be a thing of the past except for long journeys.

Those that don't have off street or workplace charging will need different solutions, eg lamp post charging (being successfully trialled in a few places),  supermarket/shopping centres etc.

I'm certainly no expert and the transition will take many years but it's exciting times.

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5 minutes ago, DJP said:

I'm certainly no expert and the transition will take many years but it's exciting times.

bit like watching paint dry with excitement for me .................  Toyota are well advanced with their Hydrogen Fuel cars ........  an 80 vehicle fleet of Toyota sponsored taxis in London I believe at least !

We did think at one time that LPG would be interesting, it's CNG in India with 20% of the world population ( less volatile I believe ) ....... doubtless there'll be something else in the melting pot to consider before I pass this mortal coil ..........  how about tap water, surely someone can develop that, or salt water using the electrolytic effects to power motion ...  or harness earwigs or some such amazing power driven creatures.............  I doubt we have heard the last of power from differing fuel types ......  the vast majority of vehicles around the world will doubtless be using petrol and diesel for the rest of my lifetime methinks :zorro: 

( how long's a piece of string ?  what shall I do with my SIPP  :whistling:  )

Malc

 

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Hi David

A very interesting read and thank you for taking the time to keep us informed. I'm not likely to change to an EV anytime soon but I enjoyed reading about your experience.

I think the last paragraph about the competition and the charging network was the most interesting. As someone said Betamax and VHS again. The sensible option, to my way of thinking, would be for Tesla to license their charging networks to other manufacturers (who should be prepared to pay) in order to allow the market to grow.

Obviously, this is why I'm not in charge of a multi-national conglomerate :zorro:

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A long term review is very insightful and I appreciate you taking the time to pen your experiences.

Did anything break?  I see lots of vid's on folks having issues with their Tesla's and have my own concerns about a new company offering new products to the market that are high tech and costly.

High Purchase, Servicing and Insurance costs are big negatives.

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Interesting stuff,

And to your last question - Yes every Toyota should have an EV for every model. Lexus will probably follow. 

I would also like to know how servicing has been and the cost, including any issues with the vehicle.

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Interesting read, David, thanks for the effort in writing it.

Electric vehicle are clearly the future - or some more advanced ICE Hybrid - but I think for the majority of drivers they are a long way off; there just isn't the charging infrastructure or the used car stock yet (today of 434,979 cars listed only 746 are electric). Buying a new Model S is very different experience to buying a eight year old Nissan Leaf, I suspect. Tesla leading by example but a filter down of technology needs to come into the mainstream market.

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4 hours ago, Farqui said:

Did anything break?  I see lots of vid's on folks having issues with their Tesla's and have my own concerns about a new company offering new products to the market that are high tech and costly.

 

3 hours ago, rayaans said:

I would also like to know how servicing has been and the cost, including any issues with the vehicle.

The most common problem on the earlier cars was the self presenting handles. The internal mechanism has since been improved and they still occasionally fail but not nearly as often. It’s difficult to put into words, the fit and finish isn’t to Lexus standard but the car is so enjoyable to drive and just so different to anything else you get past the odd bit of rubber trim not quite fitting. 

I haven’t had a single thing fall off or break, no rattles, squeaks, creaks or groans - the loadest thing is the fan! 

I loved all 3 of the Lexus’s I had ( a colleague is still driving my IS250 without trouble) but they just feel so dated - the number of knobs and dials makes my head spin! It not just Lexus, any convential layout with a tiny screen just seems...antiquated. 

Service wise, there is no need to have one for warranty purposes but the ‘recommendation’ is 12,500 or annually. I think a link was posted earlier. Even if my car wasn’t in finance I would still have it serviced for peace of mind, and as I said earlier they proactively change things if required. 

It’s childish I know, but the anticipation of the next software update is crazy. You can turn the HVAC on via the official app (there’s a 3rd party app that enables you to schedule it like your central heating lol), and the OTA update yesterday improves that functionality by also turning on the rear defroster and heated steering wheel. 

 

 

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5 hours ago, bobmc said:

The sensible option, to my way of thinking, would be for Tesla to license their charging networks to other manufacturers (who should be prepared to pay) in order to allow the market to grow.

 

I agree, and so do Tesla. They have said they are happy to share the network on agreed terms but seemingly there are no takers (or maybe Tesla want too much for the privilege, who knows). Jaguar have plenty of ex owners among the Tesla fraternity, and today’s launch of the I Pace has seem a number of them (via the Tesla closed Facebook Group) wringing their hands in frustration that a viable competitor isn’t because to charge the car on a long journey is going to take 90 mins instead of 20, IF you can get onto the one ‘high’ speed charger at the MSC. 

How many people are going to spend £80k with that sort of compromise? 

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Agree with comment about the buttons (on Lex). Recently looking in depth at Phaetons, which have so many electronic bits (to fail at some point-expensively.

Running my hi-fi on the 'K.I.S.S. principle, the idea of a simple car appeals. I don't 'need' electronic adjustable/heated/cooled seating (except on Mar 1st this year in snow!!-I can use a hot water bottle to sit against!), just a wiper, lights, maybe air-con if it's reliable, as a luxury. I can open my own boot without a motor......

 

A friend had a Peugeot 607 written off because they couldn't fix.....the computer that operated .....the WIPERS!

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 Tesla say  "Our inspections instead focus on checking wheel alignment and tyre condition, assessing replacement parts like key fob batteries and windshield wiper blades "

and the electronics updates too of course .

BUT to major on something that any self respecting owner of absolutely any car would do on a very regular basis, well, I for one would most certainly pay for the privelege :withstupid:  ................  don't we all regularly " check " our tyres and wiper blades and understand when the key fob Battery is starting to play up ! 

Bit like making sure you never run out of loo paper ..........

Malc

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6 hours ago, Malc1 said:

 Tesla say  "Our inspections instead focus on checking wheel alignment and tyre condition, assessing replacement parts like key fob batteries and windshield wiper blades "

and the electronics updates too of course .

BUT to major on something that any self respecting owner of absolutely any car would do on a very regular basis, well, I for one would most certainly pay for the privelege :withstupid:  ................  don't we all regularly " check " our tyres and wiper blades and understand when the key fob Battery is starting to play up ! 

Bit like making sure you never run out of loo paper ..........

Malc

Yep, and about the only item that can't be done by someone else is changing the drivetrain oil, and that's something that's done at the first service. Plenty of owners have not had a service until the car has done 25k ish, and then possibly again just before 50k when the warranty runs out. Of course those of us on PCP  have to follow the recommended schedule to protect the very generous GMFV (mine is 54% of purchase price at 48 months).

As I think I mentioned above, my belief is that the proactive swapping out of parts under warranty is factored into the service cost and I view it as part of the TCO. YMMV of course.

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Great writeup. Honest and objective. Doubt I'd ever tire of 0-60 in 4.2s and 3p per mile (fuel) running costs. I could put up with quite a few niggles and issues for that! Servicing is expensive though. My kids are on at me on a regular basis to get a Tesla but I think Tesla are at a crossroads as a company. They have to get better at execution - they are still failing to hit their production targets and burning cash at an incredible rate - and if they don't the company will fail. Once the major manufacturers bring their own comparable products on stream then Tesla will really be up against it because the established manufacturers know how to and will execute in numbers and that will leave Tesla in trouble because consumers will have the choice between buying from an established manufacturer or still taking a bit of a chance on a niche Tesla. I really want them to succeed because there is no doubt they have changed the status quo and made EVs much more relevant than almost any other company to date. At the end of the day though they have to deliver on their promises and they have to be able to build in large volumes, the Model 3 in particular. They are falling woefully short at the moment. Can they really become a proper car manufacturer capable of building hundreds of thousands of cars each year? They have to concentrate on working out how to build in volume rather than chasing headlines like electric trucks, Battery packs for Australian cities, etc, otherwise they will remain a bit part player and possibly even disappear altogether. But boy oh boy, would I like that kind of effortless performance and I've been tempted on more than one occasion. Love the my family have banned me from using this mode bit, this made me chuckle - cheers David!!

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France seems ahead of us (surprised?). Paris has a fleet of EV cars (with super capacitors to  extend range0 and they want to ensure all charging points are 'universal'.

 

I recall in the (19!)70s that France were investing heavily in Atomic power, whilst Britain frittered away its Oil bonanza £££s.

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