Book Review: Owning Model S, 2nd Edition


The good folks over at EV Annex reached out to us with the latest version (2nd edition) of Tesla Model S expert Nick Howe’s book Owning Model S. Having recently purchased a Model S, I was eager to see what tips and tricks it contained to help me up my game.

The book itself is a very well made book with a glossy color cover and very high-quality, easy-to-read text inside, interspersed with relevant pictures and graphics. While the interior pages are top quality, I found the cover print quality not as crisp — especially when compared to the very high quality printing of the interior pages. Thankfully, that’s where all the great content is and, accordingly, where readers will spend most of their time.

Cracking open the book and the wealth of knowledge that Nick Howe has accumulated over his years of ownership of the Model S (paired with his obvious interest in knowing every little thing about the car) start to unfold. On top of this base, Nick has built himself into a foundational member of the Tesla Motors Club forum — arguably the foremost resource for Tesla owners with questions, answers, complaints, and suggestions.

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 3.26.47 PM

Take all of Nick’s personal experience with the S, hone it to a fine edge on a community full of experts, engineers, and lurking Tesla employees, and roll it up in a well written book and you have Owning Model S, 2nd Edition.

For starters, the book unpacks the history of Tesla: from the pre-Elon days, to the Roadster, then on into the Model S that took the company from a small startup into a mainstream manufacturer. This section provides great context for owners, future owners, and Tesla enthusiasts as they seek to understand the evolution of Tesla and how it became the company it is today.

After getting up to speed on all things Tesla, Nick proceeds to unpack the Model S, tackling all of the differences between electric vehicles (EVs) compared to conventional internal combustion vehicles (ICEs) — like home charging, range anxiety, and electric vehicle propulsion systems. The book takes topics that would normally be confusing to the average driver and makes them approachable and easy to digest.


After lauding readers with the multitude of reasons to go electric… and explaining why and how Tesla makes the best electric vehicles in the world, the book naturally leans into the configuration and ordering process. The process is very straightforward for the most part, but there are a few things that buyers may not be used to — like buying a really expensive car on the internet.

With the car coming in several battery/range packages and offering a number of options that buyers may not be familiar with (what’s a dual charger?!), the detailed walkthrough adds value, explaining the differences, and includes suggestions for which packages add the most value.

Speaking of value, one of the most valuable things in the book is the “Delivery Day Checklist.” Think about it — most owners are so excited by the car sitting in front of them, they barely want to spend the time to go through the intro from the Tesla consultant — mine was CJ at the Columbus (Ohio) Tesla Service and Delivery Center — let alone look over the car to confirm that it is what was ordered. The checklist acknowledges this and gives buyers a clear list to guide them through delivery day and to make the most of the time with the Tesla team.

This not only serves to call out some of the finer points and possible issues with the car ahead of time but also helps users get familiar with their cars when they see them for the first time in person. Thinking back to my delivery day, I was in the Service and Delivery Center less than an hour, as I was so excited to get out and drive the thing, and it would have been a huge help to have this list. To be honest — this list alone makes the book worth buying for anyone who is looking to take delivery of a Tesla Model S.

Finally, one of the sections that is sure to be fun and helpful for current owners, prospective owners, and enthusiasts is the tips and tricks section. Nick actually has a great video up on YouTube with many of the Tips and Tricks in the book but it was really fun as a relatively new owner to read through and explore some of the more nuanced tips in the book. Is there really a storage place in the glove box for the J1772 charging adapter? (spoiler: yup) Check out the video for a teaser… the book is packed with the full array, and they are generally helpful or at least fun. πŸ™‚

Overall, it is easy to recommend Owning Model S, 2nd Edition as a great resource for owners, prospective owners, and fans of the car looking to learn even more about Model S. Beyond the topics I covered above, the book also digs deep into Model S Maintenance, Supercharging, Troubleshooting, Customizations and Accessories, interacting with the Model S displays, and more.

To get a good feel for the style and content of the book, you can read the first chapter free over at EV Annex and check out an interview with Nick about the first version of this book:

Images by Kyle Field

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *