The 10 things we HATE about Tesla


Mike Askew

23.9.2022

We love Tesla. It has been at the forefront of the electric car revolution and done more than any car company to promote the advantages of going electric. But there’s a fine line between love and hate. And we need to get a few things off our chests. There are things that Tesla just needs to do better, and if you are one of the thousands of drivers who are just about to take delivery of a new Model 3 or Y, you need to be prepared.

1: Build quality

If you’ve followed Tesla over the years, you’ll know that the subject of poor build quality has never really gone away. Teething problems on new cars are, of course, not just a Tesla problem, but even now, five years after the first Model 3s were delivered to customers, we’re still hearing stories of wonky panels, patchy paintwork and dodgy welding. We’ve seen it on our own cars and the Tesla’s we’ve borrowed for reviews. And we know from chats with owners that it’s a real issue. And it’s just not good enough.

Wonky panels on Tomi's Model 3. And this is after it had been fixed.

2: Limited choice

Despite us living in a world where we can choose between four different milks for our take away coffee, Tesla only allows you to choose from five colours: white, grey, black, blue and red. Which is hardly the broadest palette in the world. 

If you do want to go for the red, Tesla will add £2,100 to the price, which is £500 more than even Porsche charges for its fancy paint shades. 

And the lack of choice doesn’t stop there. There’s only one optional alloy wheel on the Model Y and a single interior option.Now, obviously, Tesla does this because it makes it easier to build in bulk. And, judging by the number on our roads, it doesn’t put many of you off.

All white is not all right if you like choice

3: Full self driving that… isn’t


As you probably know, Tesla is OBSESSED with the idea of self-driving and is sinking billions of dollars into turning you, the driver, into a passenger. 

Current European law means that fully self-driving systems can’t be used on public roads, but you can order what Tesla calls Enhanced Autopilot or the misleadingly titled Full Self-Driving capability. Which will set you back nearly £7,000. 

Some of the systems that are legal to use are very good – especially on long motorway drives – but they certainly can’t be described as fully self-driving. And we’re quite a way of being actually able to make use of all the tech legally on our roads, so it’s incredibly cheeky to ask buyers to pay £7,000 for something which might not be useable in the time they’ll have the car.

Self driving - clever, but a bit illegal

4: Insurance

If you own a Tesla, you’ll know already that the cost of insuring it can be eye-wateringly high. The Model Y sits in Group 50 – which is the highest possible. To put that into perspective, a Porsche 911 sits in Group 46 while a Hyundai IONIQ 5 Ultimate with roughly the same performance as this Model Y sits in Group 39. 

Why is the Y so high? Well there are a number of reasons, but the main one is that Thatcham, the organisation that sets the UK’s insurance groups, doesn't rate Tesla’s security systems as very secure. But it’s also down to design features like the tailgate. It’s the bit that sticks out the furthest, rather than the bumper. Which means that even the tiniest of knocks will dent the metal rather than bendy plastic. 

As parts are in short supply it also means it will take a long time to repair. Which means you’ll expect a nice rental car while you wait. And that means the cost of the claim will be thousands and thousands. Insurance companies hate that, so make you pay more.

The 'premium' choice? Insurers hate Teslas

5: Everything on screen

If you’ve never been in a Tesla before, you’ll notice that there’s a distinct lack of buttons. Where a normal car will have switches for the heating and the aircon, Tesla does everything via a touchscreen. 

Now that’s fine for most things that you adjust once and leave - like the mirrors for example. 

But for other functions that you use regularly, it’s not so great. There’s no wiper stalk, for example. Instead of being a normal switch where you can change the speed of the wipers, it’s just a push button that basically gives you a one-off wash and wipe. If you want to adjust speed, you need to go into the touchscreen. That’s two locations just to change the wipers, which is nuts.

Tesla Model 3 The screen of terror

6: Weight Watcher

This is quite cheeky and something Tesla has got away with for years. If you look at the vehicle's info plate on the door frame, it tells you that the maximum payload of the car. In the case of the Model 3 we had recently, that means if you put any more than 433kg into the car, you’ll be exceeding its legal maximum weight. 

The average adult man in the UK is 84kg. So if you had five blokes in the car, you’d only be able to take 13 kilos of luggage, before you were breaking the law. 

When Volkswagen had the same issue with the 77kWh ID.3, it opted to take the fifth seat out to prevent owners from accidentally overloading the car. So if you want to carry four passengers or load up for a family holiday, it’s time to find some skinny friends or carry around some weighing scales.

On a plate - decipher this and it tells you not to carry porky passengers

7: Superchargers

I know what you’re thinking - how could anyone take issue with what is the slickest recharging network in the world? 

Let us explain. We, of course, welcome the opening up of the supercharger network. But if you’re going to make your chargers available to all electric car drivers, you’ve got to get the basics right. Like having cables that are long enough to reach the charging ports. Or having contactless payments instead of having to use an app. 

As it stands, some of us mere mortals with non-Teslas have to park in the next bay along to use a charger because our charging ports are on the other side of the car. This means a Tesla can’t use the next charger along because I’m using the bay. 

Come on guys, let’s get some longer cables.

It's a bit of a stretch to say the Supercharger network is perfect

8: Interior design

Like so many things on our list, the Tesla interior is a matter of taste. Some, of course, love the fact that it feels as austere as an Eastern Bloc hi-rise. And while we love the simple life at Electrifying.com, there’s something almost cruelly bleak about the way it looks. Apart from this 1970s style wood veneer strip across the front there’s really not much to make you feel as though you’re driving your dream car. 

Could we have a little more visual excitement for the next one, Elon?Oh, and if you are a denim enthusiast, forget the white interior. It stains blue and is impossible to clean.

9: They’re EVERYWHERE

As the old saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt. And this might seem a bit of an irrational thing to take issue with. But let’s be honest here - Teslas are EVERYWHERE. And most seem to be white, with the same wheels. 

It’s irrational because we all own things that millions of other people also own, like an iPhone and it doesn’t bother us that half the world’s population have exactly the same handset. 

But with cars, it’s a bit different. Yes, cars like the Model Y are probably the best money can buy. Efficiency and range – can’t be beaten. But a lot of us don’t buy cars purely on how they stack up on a spreadsheet. Just as we don’t all support the football team that tops the league every year. 

 Choosing a Tesla once marked you out from the crowd. Now, you are the crowd. And that, for some buyers, is reason enough to choose something else…

Tesla Model Y interior front Black - the choice of denim enthusiasts

10: The FANATICS

If there’s a car brand that seems to attract fanatics like a magnet, it’s Tesla. 

It doesn’t seem to matter what car we write about, from a Citroen Ami to a Pininfarina Battista, there’s always… always, someone who makes a comment about how Tesla has done it better, before or both. Or how buyers of an MG 5 are just lazy and should work harder to afford the extra £30,000 it costs to buy a Model Y. 

And don’t get us started on the owners who delight in telling us poor saps who are having charger worries that we should have bought a Tesla. 

Now, we know from our social media interactions that there are varying degrees of fanaticism among SOME Tesla owners. We’re all for people being passionate about stuff, but Tesla does seem to attract way more than its fair share of oddballs, Elon-worshippers and trolls. We are not sure that level of toxicity really does Tesla any favours.

So there you go… as in any loving relationship, there are some things that, over time, have come to annoy us. Little things that started as quirky eccentricities and loveable imperfections that now get on our nerves. Think of them as the Tesla equivalents of leaving the toilet seat up or stacking the dishwasher the wrong way. They’re not exactly reasons for divorce, but enough to make us think that perhaps we’re not quite as besotted as we once were…

Do you think this person is a god? Then please step away from the keyboard and take up knitting

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