I'm a week and a half late starting this post, but I've been taking care of a few things. My P85+ turned two years old last week. You can see it above and compare it to the photo I took two years ago. Lighting conditions and the weather are about the same in both photos. The only difference, really, is that I recently put winter tires on the car. More about those coming up. The car has 43,500 km. on it, has been to Kansai (Kobe/Osaka) four times, Kanto (Tokyo/Yokohama) four times, and Hamamatsu once. Look at the car below, minutes after the car came off the truck.
The color now is a bit darker. That must be the Ceramic Pro coating. It got ten coats in the beginning and has been back for detailing three times. I think it's worth the time and money to keep the paint looking good.
On to the review. I have had no major trouble with the car with the exception of the drive unit (DU) earlier this year. The car runs great and is quiet but powerful. It has turned out to be the best purchase I have ever made.
I live about 1,200 km. from the closest (and only) service center in Totsuka, Yokohama. I was told from the start that that distance would not be a problem. During these two years, I have needed service three times away from the service center. The first time was right after I got my car. The proximity sensors would beep at random times while I was stopped at a traffic light behind another car. A reset of the dash and the center panel and an over-the-air firmware update did not fix the sensor issue. One other thing at the time was the front passenger-side handle did not present itself when it should have. A ranger (Mr. Shimizu) was sent down to my house from Yokohama to take care of the issues. A detailed account of that service visit can be read here. Suffice it to say, I was blown away by the excellent service.
The second time I needed service was entirely my fault. I did not have a system set up to handle a key ring and a car fob. I kept the Tesla's fob in a separate pocket in order to keep the fob scratch-free. Needless to say, the fob was forgotten once and went through the wash. Despite the rice trick, I was not able to bring the fob back to life. Mr. Shimizu, our ranger, did not make a special call to come out to get me a new fob. Rather he stopped by after he had finished another ranger call in the area. Great timing!
As a side note, Mr. Shimizu has stopped by my house a couple of times after these two service visits. The first was when he and another Tesla worker were touring Japan checking out the charging situation. They stopped by, and I fired up the coffee pot and plugged them into my HPWC (high powered wall connector).
The fourth visit was after Mr. Shimizu finished another ranger visit in the area. He stopped by, and we had some coffee. I drove him to the train station; he was off to another nearby city for another ranger visit. He's a great guy if you ever get a chance to meet him. Note that although we talked a lot about Teslas, I did not need service either of these last two times.
The third time I needed service, I didn't really need service; it was time for the first annual check. Tesla has contracted with another car company to use one of their service facilities to do maintenance. The one designated for the Kyushu area is near the airport in Fukuoka. The wife and I drove to the shop and spent the day in Fukuoka doing things that we like to do there anyway, namely eating and shopping. I got my car back in the late afternoon, and it was running better than ever.
If you've been reading this blog, you know my car has been to the Yokohama service center when I take road trips to Tokyo. There's a Supercharger there and a restroom during business hours. Well, once I asked about a rattle in my car. Mr. Shimizu and I took it on the road to figure out where it was. He ended up taking off a door panel and replacing a broken clip--rattle gone.
I made a second visit to the service center to replace my 21" tires and have a wheel repaired that I damaged (I haven't written about that trip yet; it's coming up). Before I arrived at the service center, my wife noticed a different sound upon slow acceleration with the windows open. It turned out to be the milling sound that signals the bearings in the motor need replacing. For the most part, Tesla replaces the entire DU when this occurs, and my situation was no different. During this second visit I was given a loaner, and what a loaner it was! I had a 90D with few kilometers on it. It had a panoramic roof, so I got to try it out. The car was quieter and tighter than mine. I'm sorry to say, though, that I missed my car the entire time. ;-)
I have nothing but great things to say about Tesla Japan's service. To begin with, the car is virtually trouble-free. When there is something that needs to be taken care of, Tesla goes out of its way to make it right. Thumbs up!
Besides service, charging the car is perhaps the most asked-about topic for me. People who don't own or know much about EVs may not notice that there are chargers just about everywhere. There are slow chargers we can use that require a Tesla-J1772 adaptor. This adaptor comes with the car in Japan. If you're staying at a hotel, this may be the way to go. You plug in, check in to your hotel, spend the night and wake up with a mostly full battery. Next, is CHAdeMO, the system developed in Japan for fast charging. It works well, but when you have a battery the size of a Tesla, it will take time. You need to be prepared to find something to so while you get a charge on a road trip. In Japan, you should have a charging card to make things quick and easy when you hook up to a J1772 or a CHAdeMO. I have several post on these topics below (although I do need to update the situation for Tesla charging cards).
If you have a home or apartment that will accommodate it, you should have a HPWC set up. Each Tesla sold in Japan includes a HPWC; it is your responsibility to set one up. You plug in at night and wake up with a car battery ready to each day. It couldn't be more convenient. However, in the case of those who cannot, Tesla has Superchargers, the ultimate charging system so far developed. In Japan, Superchargers are marketed by word of mouth as a perk of ownership and can be used by any Tesla owner, anytime. Some, like me, use them only for road trips. Others, who cannot install a home charger system, use them for their only charger. Still others use them for both.
I have to drive 500+ km. to reach the Japanese Supercharger network starting for me in Kurashiki, Okayama. I have to have a charging card in order to use one or more CHAdeMO to get into the network. Things are improving; I just hope continued installation of Superchargers expands at a faster pace. Here is a map of the Asian Supercharger network 27 months ago.
And here we are this month in Japan.
Things have improved, certainly, but the pace of installation is too slow. A Supercharger has been announced for Kyushu, but it has not opened yet. Even after that one opens, there will still be a gap in the Hiroshima area. We will still need a CHAdeMO charge somewhere in that area. The area north of Tokyo needs one to get to Sendai, and there is nothing yet north of Morioka. EV drivers of any car should note that there are no CHAdeMO chargers on the highways from Aomori to Sapporo.
While I have your charging eyes, I would also like to point out that there are zero Superchargers on the Sea of Japan side; from my own experience (coming in a future post), the CHAdeMO network is weak as well. So while I'm happy that Tesla is working to build out the Supercharger network, I'm also very disappointed that it is taking so long.
The car runs great, and I still get a thrill every time I get in it, even two years later. It drives as fast or as slowly as I ask it to. The response is instant. If I need to pass someone, the only question is how quickly. Parking my car is a breeze, even with its relatively large footprint. I can just touch the accelerator and the car will slowly move. For a car weighing 2 metric tons, it is very maneuverable and quick. I liken it to a cheetah--my favorite land animal.
In many ways I get a new car every two months or so. That is about the length of time between firmware updates. There have been many changes and improvements over the past two years. I started out with no turn-by-turn navigation; now I can input addresses and get not only directions, but a guess on how much energy I will have left when I reach my destination. I started out with basic cruise control; now I have traffic assisted cruise control and Autopilot that help me arrive more relaxed than I could ever imagine.
I ordered the basic seats with textile covering. They are very comfortable in the front. My wife and I slept in the car in the driveway for four nights after our earthquakes. We had air suspension to keep us from freaking out too much and climate control to keep us comfortable. The back seats seem to be another story. None of my family members like sitting in the back on a long trip; it seems the headrests impede a comfortable position for a good snooze. I hope that issue can be remedied in future iterations of the car.
Not having to pump gas is great; in fact, I've put gas in a car exactly twice in the past two years--both times on Oahu in October in a rental. Owning, maintaining and driving an EV is a real pleasure.
I ordered the P85+ two months before the announcements for the dual motor versions. I came close to cancelling my original order, but was talked out of it by my sales guy. I am happy to say that I am very happy with the car I got. The rear wheel version is a joy to drive. Despite all the FUD put out on Tesla's forums by owners, the 21" wheels and tires are an absolute pleasure to drive on. I got 35k km. on the first set and could have gotten a few more. Timing determined getting a new set. The Michelin Pilot Super Sports that I was running on until last week (when I changed to winter tires) are fantastic!
I have an app to control some aspects of the car. Checking on, stopping and starting a charge; turning on climate control 10-15 minutes before getting back in the car; and finding the car in an unknown parking lot are the main features I use. There are more I wish they would add to the app. I would like to be able to start a firmware installation from the app. There are many times when I want to adjust the amperage of the charge from the app, so the battery is warmed up before I leave on a trip in the winter.
There is more I suppose I could write after two years (and I might edit this if I think of something important I missed. ;-) ), but this seems like a good place to stop. I absolutely love my car; I love how Tesla takes care of my car; but I WANT MORE SUPERCHARGERS in Japan.
Here is a picture of my car taken two days ago in the sun. It was just detailed last week on Friday. The car has been coated with Ceramic Pro since the day after I got the car. The 19" wheels are new from T Sportline; they had a few tiny dings on the inside that you cannot see from the outside. They were delivered like that; I recommend you inspect anything from T Sportline carefully. The tires are new. I ordered Michelin X-ICE 3s from Costco. They were put on Saturday, the day after detailing. They run smooth and quiet, and have good handling (although I haven't taken them to the mountains yet. I'll just finish with: Thanks Tesla. You do good work!