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  • Scott

13 - Deets on My Tesla

Updated: Feb 14, 2022

2022 Tesla Model S Plaid Image

Now that we’ve commiserated over the trials and tribulations of my Tesla journey, I thought I’d share some more details and thoughts about my car. Here is a list of some key stats/info:

2016 Tesla Model S P90DL+ Details and Specifications.

Hyper Car Speed at Camry Prices

That gives you a brief rundown of my car. I remembered being astonished at the all-in price with every option back in 2016. What’s crazy is, at $147k, it was (and still is) an insane bargain in the hypercar/supercar world. It has lifetime free charging, a great perk for $147k. Back in 2016, Tesla charged for many options that are standard features now, so the costs added up quickly. I just priced a Plaid right now, and all-in, the total was $148,990. Which is nuts for a 1,020 hp / 1,050 lb-ft, 1.99 second car. By comparison, a Bugatti Veyron hustles to 60 in 2.4 seconds and starts at $2 million.

2022 Tesla Model S Plaid with all options.

2008 Bugatti Veyron - Courtesy of Dupont Registry

Ready to Pounce

As you can expect, it’s exceptionally powerful. But, what’s impressive about the power is it’s just perfectly applied to the pavement. You mash on the pedal, and it just launches out of the hole. There’s no wheel spin. It doesn’t fishtail or pull. It just hooks up and goes. I’ve driven numerous powerful cars, no hypercars or supercars, but some very powerful cars, so I’ve got a decent basis for comparison (Z06, Bentley, Jaguar, muscle cars, etc.). One of my favorites was a Mercedes SL65 AMG twin-turbo V12 with 604 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque. I thought that was an exceptionally well-engineered car. When launched, it hunkered down like a cat ready to pounce then, roared, squealed the rear tires a bit, wiggled a tad, and burst forward with eye-watering speed. I included a picture below of an SL65 similar to what I drove. I did not drive the car in the subsequent picture, I just included it because it's awesome. It is the almighty SL65 AMG Black Series. The SL65 I drove haunted my dreams for years, but it couldn’t compare to the paradoxical brute force and elegance of the P90DL.

2005 Mercedes SL65 AMG Red V12

Mercedes SL65 AMG Black Series - Courtesy of Brian Zuk

To Warranty or Not to Warranty

My car is still covered by the 8 yr/125,000 mi powertrain/battery warranty. But, it was almost out of the 4 yr/50,000 mi bumper to bumper warranty when I bought it. So, I called a buddy who worked for Tesla for years and asked him it was worth $4,500 to buy the extended warranty from Tesla, and he said run, don’t walk to the dealer to get it. He rattled off a dozen issues common to the Model S and said if you’ve got the cash, it’s worth it.

So, immediately after getting the car, I drove over to a local service center to pick up a warranty. I parked the car and walked about 15 feet over to a little kiosk with an umbrella where some Tesla folk were ushering Tesla owners to various parts of the service center. A young woman in her early 20’s greeted me and asked how she could help. I told her I wanted to pick up an extended warranty for my Model S. She said I’m sorry, but we can’t process that right now. Our computers are down. She glanced over at my car, turned to me, and said, I’m sorry, sir, but they may not issue a warranty for your car anyway. I turned and looked back at my car as she had, expecting some catastrophic damage or some glaring problem that had gone unnoticed. Instead, the car looked fine, so I turned back and said, why wouldn’t they sell me a warranty? She said, oh, your vehicle is customized, so that might be an issue.

Now, I managed to keep a straight face, but I was dying laughing inside. I just replied and told her I’d come back in a couple days to buy the warranty, and then I left. I got back to the car, told my wife what had just happened, and she started cracking up. As you can tell from the earlier pictures, “customized” was technically accurate but a bit of a stretch. When I bought the car, it had two little winglets at the rear diffuser, a stock style spoiler, and carbon fiber appliques on the door handles, turn signal covers & side mirrors. Although I’m a realist, let’s be honest, it had some plastic parts screwed on near the wheel wells, and some stickers on the door handles. In the tuner world, it would hardly qualify as a ”customized” car, especially such that it wouldn’t be worthy of a dealer warranty.

I drove over to the service center the next day to buy the warranty. I told the person behind the counter that I wanted to buy a warranty, gave him all the info, and asked how I’d like to pay a minute later. I paused for a second and asked if he needed to inspect the car for the warranty. He chuckled and said no, we don’t do inspections for warranties. I laughed, recalling my “customized” conversation with the other lady, handed him my credit card, and I was out of there 3 minutes later. I just hope the blackout kit I added later doesn’t void my warranty.

Carbon Fiber Everywhere and Not a Drop to Drink

The previous owner took some decent steps towards customizing the car, and it already started to stand out a bit when I bought it.

Here’s what they did:

  1. Carbon fiber appliques on:

    1. The steering wheel center spoke

    2. Door Sills

    3. Turn signals

    4. Door handles

  2. Carbon fiber patterned winglets/canards near the rear diffuser

  3. Gotham style carbon fiber rear spoiler

  4. Carbon fiber caps on side mirrors

  5. Blacked out rear emblems and tailgate chrome

  6. Center console cubby with carbon fiber pattern

Customized Red 2016 Tesla Model S Ludicrous Mode. Rear three-quarter shot with customizations highlighted.

The car has come a long way since then. I’m not a big fan of the stickers on the door handles, mirror caps, and turn signals, but I didn’t want to go through all the effort of removing them. I like how they look, but I wish they were better quality. They make legit carbon fiber handles, but they are $700. The winglets are unique, and the spoiler is really aggressive, so all things considered, it was an excellent foundation to build from. I’ve got some how-to’s I’ll share later regarding the front splitter, side skirts, and blackout kit.

Parts List

Notes on Parts

I'm not sure what brands are actually on my car. The list above represents my best guess. I can tell you, it's been really hard to find quality parts that look good for any Model S, but especially a pre-facelift Model S. It's either gamble with Chinese parts or buy something crazy expensive that doesn't look much better. RevoZport, Evannex, Tsportline, and Unplugged Performance (UP) seem to have some pretty good parts, especially UP. There are so few quality parts out there. You just have to make do with what you find. There are hundreds of white label companies out there selling the exact same product. So, don't spend too much time comparison shopping. If the two parts look the same, they probably are. They probably came from the same manufacturer on Alibaba. Hopefully, some of the stuff I link to helps you and saves you some time.

My spoiler appears to be pretty high quality, so it may be RevoZport or another higher-end brand. Mine fits almost perfectly and has held up very well. My mirror caps also fit very well, so they could be a higher-end brand also. The winglets/canards are anyone's guess. Mine is ABS, and I'd recommend getting ABS instead of polypropylene (PPP) because the PPP will warp and wave over time. The door sill, handle, and steering wheel appliques above look spot on. Mine is heavy, thick, and very glossy. The emblems and tailgate trim were originally Plasti Dipped. They turned out alright for the most part, but the tailgate trim had a lot of drip marks on it. They all looked great from about 5 feet away, but you could see the drip marks if you got up close. I covered all my chrome in vinyl later, and I think it looks much better. I'll talk about the blackout project in later posts.

More Fun Stuff

Here are some fun articles that dig into more details on the first Ludicrous mode Tesla:


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