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.

Christopher DeMorro

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.