Tesla Model S P90D — two year review

A year into owning a Tesla Model S I wrote a review, and in this my previous piece I signed off saying “This car is the best thing I’ve ever bought.”

So, two years in, is this still true? How is this relatively new company’s first shot at a full car holding up? Have I had any problems? What’s the running cost?

Chateaux in the French countryside.

The stats

I’m now just under 25,000mi in and the car has been to 14 countries.

I’ve spent £243 on fuel. In my old petrol car this would have cost around £5,500 or more. Lambeth Council had the £36 administration fee apply for zero emission cars using residents parking. All the other costs are the same: no congestion charge, no road tax, no vehicle excise duty.

I improved on my record range on one charge. 345mi now, done on a stint up the A1M, which I don’t think I’ll be able to beat.

On a ferry in Holland, on a farm in Scotland
Charging with a friend on a Dutch island, Jack in the back


So, I’ve had a few problems.

The compressor for the cooling system broke completely on a family holiday in Germany. It was 34°C and I was doing over 130mph on the autobahn. This was fixed by the Hamburg service centre quickly and efficiently — although they had no loaner Teslas to give me (and seemed slightly overrun) so I ended up with another car. A little annoying. The repair was done for free under warranty.

The charger in the car was incompatible with apparently new superchargers at Fleet services in Hampshire. It was a very annoying surprise turning up at the Tesla charger with a Tesla car to have it not work.

I think my car might have been slightly unusual in that it had the second generation dual charger, an option that I believe is no longer available or is now just baked in and standard. I only ever used it’s full potential once anyway. This was fixed for free by upgrading to a v3 charger when I took the car in for it’s standard two year service.

I seem to get a lot of punctures — some my fault, some random nails & stones—and the low-profile 21" acoustic tyres are rather expensive. Because the tyres are staggered (245s on the front, 265s on the back) you don’t carry a spare, so replacing them means a trip on the back of a truck to a service centre or someone turning up with a loaner wheel. Not great.

Someone hit my car whilst it was parked on the street and charging causing ~£15,000 worth of insurance claim — and, amazingly, writing off his own car.

It doesn’t look too bad there, but the over 2 tonne car was moved more than foot down the road. My car, for fear of suspension or battery damage, had to be put on the back of a flatbed to the third-party repair place.

The body shop waited a couple of months (!) for parts from Tesla, which was only fixed when I escalated the problem and the parts were brought in from Norway. The body shop, having a car hanging around for weeks on end that they couldn’t fix, were not best pleased either.

The interior of the car, whilst still not brilliant, is holding up.


This car remains the best thing I’ve ever bought. The brutal performance. Zero emissions. Faster, cleaner and simpler v9 software landed a couple of weeks ago. The supercharger network is outstanding, and still growing.

However, I swing wildly in my opinion on Tesla’s future.

Sometimes I think they have gone in far too early and are going to be destroyed when Audi/Merc/BMW/random Chinese company I’ve never heard of… or hell, even service station hand dryer makers Dyson, enter the market. These century old car makers, extraordinarily talented consumer product companies, or unknown unknowns are all gunning for Tesla. As well they should be.

Banked circuit at Millbrook Proving Grounds

On the other hand, maybe it’s possible that the big car makers have misjudged the dramatic shift of electrification of transport that is currently and will continue to happen. The influx of new, albeit nascent, competition perhaps suggests this.

Weighed down by the existing sales of petrol cars, crazy emissions scandals, ridiculous yearly cycles… and maybe most importantly that their business hasn’t ever changed like this before, they simply can’t react fast enough. They lack the castle (cars) and the moat (charging network).

I lack the ability to decide which is true. It’s all to complex, close and early to call, with remarkable quantities of money on the line — anyone that says they know what’s going to happen is probably lying. However Tesla is the most shorted stock ever. Ever.

However what I do know is that as of now, and the foreseeable future, when Tesla bring out a car significantly better than the model of theirs I already own, then they can have this one back and I’ll hand over the money for their latest work. I don’t want to buy another petrol car and nobody else is even close to what Tesla is delivering.



I build things. Run a food bank charity. Green energy fanboy, sometime investor, sometime coder.

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Jason Cartwright

I build things. Run a food bank charity. Green energy fanboy, sometime investor, sometime coder.