Six months with a Tesla Model S: the good, bad and glitchy
When California investor Franklin Parlamis decided to plunk down a $40,000 deposit last year for one of Tesla’s first $100,000 Model S Signature Series sedans, he had every intention of driving the thing. Hard. One look at his red four-door six months after the car arrived on a flatbed truck and you can tell this is no electric-car show pony. The exterior is covered in a layer of dirt, while the interior shares its high-tech space with discarded Gatorade bottles, energy bar wrappers and countless pens.
“I use my cars,” says Parlamis with a shrug and a smile.
So who better to check in with to gauge how well Tesla’s revolutionary and controversial entry is holding up after half a year of daily use. On a recent sunny day near his Marin County home, Parlamis laid out the pros and cons of his Model S, just before attending to a massive crack in his windshield. Overall: he’s encountered glitches, praises Tesla customer service, likes the car’s high-tech nature, and feels maybe some of the Model S’s automotive experiences should be evolutionary and not revolutionary.
As for its range? Not bad — but not what he expected.
When the Model S arrived, Parlamis was concerned his new ride would be too flashy. “My cars have been things like Subarus and Jeeps, because I generally don’t like drawing attention to myself,” he says.
That proved impossible. Between the car’s unique status on the road and its blistering acceleration of 4.2 seconds to 60 mph in the Performance model with the uprated 416 hp motors (“I’ve never driven a Ferrari or a Lamborghini, but if they’re faster than this they must be amazing”), he was constantly engaged in conversations at the curb and stoplights.
“My wife liked it, but has been restrained, while my (three) kids love it,” he says, noting that he opted for the seven-passenger variant of the Model S for carpool duty. “As for me, it’s been what I hoped. I didn’t want a midlife crisis car, but rather something forward-thinking and fast that didn’t force you to abandon the idea that you’re a family guy. For electric cars to really succeed they have to be more than dorky and boxy and efficient, and this is that.”
Life with Model S