Edmunds: Tesla Model S Is “Hard To Recommend”



The scuttlebutt around the automotive blogosphere has been Edmunds recent 17-month review of the Tesla Model S. After more than 30,000 miles, Edmunds had a lot to say about their time with the Tesla Model S, but ultimately the conclusion they came to was that the electric sedan was “hard to recommend.” Ouch.

The writers and editors of Edmunds found that the Tesla Model S was as powerful and attractive as everybody continues to report, but over time they came to feel that it lacked some features found on competitor’s luxury sedans. More damning was a long list of repairs required of Edmund’s admittedly early-production Model S. The worst of it included three instances where the car died along the road, with the drive unit requiring replacement three times, along with the main battery and center console touchscreen.

However, none of these issues came at any cost to Edmunds it’s important to note, and only two of the visits even required an overnight stay. That’s impressive, considering the entire drivetrain was basically swapped three times, along with that massive battery pack. If nothing else, this shows just how much simpler electric cars are to work with and on. That said, it’s hardly the first report of Tesla drive units failing either.

Another important metric Edmunds measured was resale value, and the Model S shined in this area in particular. After laying out about $105,000 to buy their Model S, Edmunds was able to sell it for $83,000, marking about 20% depreciation. That’s better than many luxury cars, which lose about 25% of their value after the same period of time.

Despite that though, Edmunds comes to the conclusion that;

The Model S is a fast, comfortable and technologically brilliant luxury sedan, but numerous problems with its touchscreen, tires and drivetrain make it hard to recommend.

Are these just the issues to be expected from a car bought so early on in the production cycle? Or is it indicative of bigger issues? To its credit, Tesla claims to have resolved many of these issues in later vehicles, but as the company gets ready to ramp up production, it’s important to have all of these problems ironed out.
Nobody ever said building an electric car company would be easy, after all.

About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.
  • Steve Hanley

    Hard to say. Part of me wants to make allowances for the fact that they had a very early production model of a ground breaking new vehicle unlike anything the world has ever seen before. But part of me says that while the car was not kept overnight at the dealer more than a few times, still, being stranded out on the road is something i associate with cars from the 50’s and 60’s, not 2012. I’m pretty sure I would not like it if it happened to me. Reminds me too much of the bad old days when if you saw a motorcycle stranded on the side of the road it was ALWAYS a Harley.

    Being an early adopter always has its drawbacks, I suppose. On balance, the Edmunds review was not all that bad, considering the issues they had with the car.

    • Wayne Williamson

      I see cars on the side of the road on a daily basis. I don’t think that “stranding” has ever gone away.

  • BlackTalon53 .

    The Edmunds guys seem to have had exceptionally bad luck – I suspect only one in a few thousand cars has had so many and so severe issues.

  • Aldo Garbellini

    A date attached to the article is very useful, not just when it was originally posted. My ’88 Alfa Romeo left me on the side of the road once. Drivers in lesser cars were very amused.

  • Offgridman

    Why has it not come into the discussion either in the article or comments who sponsors and pays for the Edmonds site.
    The ICE selling car dealerships if you don’t want to take the time to find out.
    So in who’s favor do you think any review of theirs of an electric vehicle is going to go?
    Edmonds is far from a neutral observer or commentor and anyone that tries to say so is seriously delusional.

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