Published on June 6th, 2014 | by James Ayre


Tesla Model S Owner’s Guide: New Book Provides The Information That Owners REALLY Want

June 6th, 2014 by  

Ever want a car manual that tells you what you REALLY want to know about your vehicle? All of the tips, tricks, and hacks, as well as the common difficulties, malfunctions, and true limitations?

Well, if you own a Tesla Model S, then you’re now in luck, because just such a “manual” was recently released — and it’s been dubbed Owning Model S: The Definitive Guide to Buying and Owning the Tesla Model S.

Image Credit: Tesla Motors

Written by a chemical engineer from Florida who should already be well known to those in Model S admirer or owner clubs, thanks to his extensive posting history on the Tesla web forums — Nick J Howe.

Something worth noting (I think) is that Howe was actually voted to have the “best forum postings over time” according to a reader poll on the forums. Certainly a good sign being able to satisfy a crowd like that, and one that certainly appears to have been lived up to, after having taken a look at the book.

Green Car Reports provides a good summary:

Think of it as an encyclopedic owner’s manual written by an expert friend, rather than by a lawyered-up corporation driven by marketing.

The book is also an antidote to the Tesla factory’s maddening reluctance to give out technical information about the Model S to the info-starved owners who’ve paid them large sums of money for the car.

Howe’s book (provides) chapters on range and performance, configuring and ordering, charging infrastructure, maintenance, and virtually every other aspect of Model S ownership. And it’s all written in a frank, tell-it-like-it-is style.

As an example, the book states flat-out that the actual real-world range of the 85-kWh Model S is 200 to 220 miles — considerably below the stated range of 300 miles, or, for that matter, the EPA’s official number of 265 miles. And, the book notes, that’s still dependent upon good conditions — with very cold weather that number can drop lower (but not low enough to be an issue, as this extremely happy owner of seven Teslas, living in the Arctic, can testify).

Other interesting and candid observations include: the excessive tire wear that’s common; the panoramic roofs that creak; and the cracked windshields.

The book also provides a lot of other useful information, including: a detailed delivery checklist to ensure that owners get cars that are as close to perfect as possible; detailed performance graphs; and exhaustive analyses of a number of different subjects. As well as tons of other information. 🙂

The book is currently available exclusively through for $24.95.

In related news — the aerodynamics of the Model S were recently analyzed in great detail by Car & Driver. Very interestingly, Tesla’s highly lauded EV was actually able to beat out four other highly aerodynamic vehicles — apparently possessing the lowest drag-coefficient of the lot.

To be exact — the Model S proved to have better aerodynamics than the Toyota Prius, the Nissan Leaf, the Chevy Volt, and the brand new Mercedes CLA “Baby Benz.”

This is something well worth noting, especially when considering the fact that Tesla’s offering is far-and-away the biggest, heaviest of the lot. If you’re wondering how the biggest and heaviest could end up with lowest front drag area of the whole group, it’s all down to the fact that the EVs can be designed in ways that greatly reduce drag — as they don’t have the same needs for engine airflow that combustion engines do.

“The egg-shaped Toyota Prius sets the bar for production cars with a 0.26 drag coefficient, but the Model S edged it out with a 0.24 rating. The Tesla matched the Toyota with 6.2 feet of drag area as well, a remarkable feat for such a large car. The next closest contender was the Chevy Volt, with 6.7 feet of drag area and a drag coefficient of 0.28.”

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

  • Fred Samuels
  • ILoveTesla

    Hey how do you guys at CleanTechnica feel about Tesla? It’s hard for me to tell from the 5 articles per day on the Model S

    • Bob_Wallace

      We’re pretty much in love with the S.

      I guess we aren’t that across too well. We might need to up it to 10 a day….

      • nakedChimp

        For the love of deity_xy, just no..


        PS: I’d love to read something about home energy storage systems (HESS) and hybrid inverters..

    • Jouni Valkonen

      Following Tesla is following a revolution in action. Therefore it is just too addictive!

  • JamesWimberley

    A surprising amount of car drag is now due to the wing mirrors, imposed by regulation on all cars. Tesla and other carmakers are lobbying for flexibility to replace them with cams and displays with no blind spots. It would make sense to try these out first in racing cars.

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