My Tesla laundry list is being made during the final leg of my third over the road business trip. I will have been driving the X 100D for 4 months and almost 22,000 miles. I will always drive a fully electric car. When asked if I love my Tesla, my answer is a resounding yes with this explanation - I’m not perfect in every category but my wife won’t trade me in for anyone else. I still make an effort to improve myself in all the categories needed. Some are easy like putting the lid down on the toilet after use. Others require more effort like actually being nice to her friends and family.
As a business vehicle aiming for 60,000 + miles per year on interstates and dirt paths, the Tesla X performs beyond my expectations. When I rent another car (about 55 days per year) I find similar features (traffic aware cruise, lane assist, auto-steer, emergency braking, Bluetooth connect). Yet I miss and long for returning to the power, smoothness, and overall feeling of quality I have in the Tesla all electric vehicle. After driving half a million miles in a 6000 pound pick up truck with the weight over the front axle, I find comfort in the 5500 pound curb weight of the X laying low and evenly placed between the axles.
The power and amazing acceleration is worth the price, though driving the X P100D in Ludicrous mode once is another thing entirely and a lot more money. Not necessary for a business vehicle.
With much respect and admiration for the quality, design and engineering of the 2017 Tesla X 100D, there are a few things on my laundry list needed to improve it. They are divided into 3 categories.
1) It is impossible to see out the windshield in heavy rains. I have never had this problem in all the other cars owned or rented. The volume of water on the expansive windshield cannot be removed adequately. But I also think it is a matter of optics and refraction of light because wearing polarizing glasses vastly improves the ability to see through the water. The engineers need to resolve this one thing now before a less seasoned driver becomes injured or dies.
2) Auto lane change is very abrupt and is not fully aware of the surrounding traffic. In many situations and on 4 lane divided highways that are not interstates it just doesn’t work. My work around is to disable it in settings.
3) Auto steer becomes confused when a painted line is missing such as passing an exit on the interstate. The only work around is keeping your hands on the steering wheel.
4) Emergency stopping for ghosts. Spontaneous micro bursts of the brakes at any speed is enough to doubly your heart rate. They are common enough now for me that I have learned to live with them. Again for the less seasoned driver, this could be intimidating.
5) End the permanent disengagement of auto steer. Twice in the past week I have elected to accelerate to 90 mph from 77 mph on an interstate to avoid a traffic situation that braking would not be the safer alternative. I do not think of permanently disengaging the auto-steer while accelerating is fair and is possibly a safety issue with some drivers.
Stuff that really should not happen
1) I connect my iPhone via Bluetooth and synchronize my 6702 contacts. Every rented car does this effortlessly and completely. The Tesla stops somewhere in the R’s. My wife’s new last name starts with “aaa” to get her to the number 1 position. This after she had already changed her last name once for me 😉 Tesla needs to increase the contact storage to unlimited. Now!
2) The owner’s manual needs a search bar, an alphabetical jump to section (rather than scrolling forever down) and a voice command to look up something from it. In fact the voice commands should be expanded to EVERYTHING in the controls and settings sections.
1) Cruise control - currently the Tesla allows for me to set the cruising speed a certain number of units above the posted limit. In the village you may want 2 or 3 units above but 6 to 8 on the interstate. Let’s follow the advice of off the record conversations with police officers who say their limit is 10% above the limit unless it is a school zone. 33 mph in a 30 zone. 60.5 in a 55 zone. 77 in a 70 zone. How hard would it be to give a percent option here?
2) Navigation - This needs an overhaul. It is inaccurate in arrival time and often gives a longer route. When calculating it should offer alternative routes for drivers to choose from based on local knowledge. We should be able to find food or points of interest and add them to the route. Drivers should be allowed to temporarily or permanently edit closed roads allowing for automatic re-routing.
3) Dashboard - Speed limit sign - Change the color, not just the size, when exceeding the preset speed. Also allow the driver to adjust the set speed - or at least report it when the car determines the wrong speed to when the road is clearly posted but the car can’t determine the posted speed.
4) Auto steer ding - the most annoying, pointless and useless sound this Tesla makes. Why is it necessary? Why does it need to also mute the sound of the music or book I’m listening to? It makes more sense to gently ding when the driver needs to shake the steering wheel rather than flash a dash light. Please add the options to silent the ding and add it to the wheel wiggle warning. Please.
5) Music speaker equalizer - This needs an overhaul in 2 ways. First the adjustments need to become friendlier to move. Adjusting them to a specific number or adjusting the speaker position using fine movements is impossible. Second, we need presets and the ability to save a custom setting. This is important because the music on my iPhone has already been equalized and therefore the Tesla sound needs to be neutral. Then when I TuneIn I want to quickly adjust the sound for the music or the football commentary or podcast.
That’s my list to Tesla. As you can see, few of these are deal breakers. But as a business driver, sometimes all it takes is an incessant ding or an inability to save or adjust a setting. But as my wife says to me, “Honey, I love you just the way you are. But if you could only do this one thing….”