Beta visits

Beta visits

The beta is going to be in dc thanksgiving weekend. Anyone been to a beta visit yet? What kind of access to the car is allowed? Did it look better or worse in person? Anyone else going to be there?

Mycroft | 15. November 2011

You should have full access to the car, depending on the crowd of course.

Some things on the car don't work and other features are definitely not what the production model will look like, but the externals are well over 95% of production and it will give you a good feel for the car.

Schlermie | 15. November 2011

During the Beta visit in San Jose, the car was surrounded by velvet ropes, and only a few reservation holders were given access at a time.

Seeing the car in person far exceeded my expectations.

mwu | 16. November 2011

I really want to be there, but that's Thanksgiving weekend which makes it difficult.

b826166 | 16. November 2011

Hello cybercop;

My wife and I are going to go on 11/25/2011. We are P# 3764 and live just north of Baltimore. We will take as many photos allowed and as close as possible and will post them for everyone to review.

Robert.Boston | 16. November 2011

@mwu: Ditto; I'm down in DC often for business, but I can't concoct a good enough reason to break up Thanksgiving weekend. :(

BYT | 16. November 2011

Is there a schedule somewhere for when the Beta's are and where?

longhorn | 16. November 2011

At the Oakbrook store grand opening last weekend, there were ropes around the car (signature red beta), so you didn't have full access, but they did allow for 2-4 people at a time to get into the car (one in driver's seat, the others in back). There was a Tesla representative in the passenger's seat to walk you through the 17" touchscreen functions.

To be clear, the ropes were only a foot or two away from the car, so we did get close-up views.

The car looked very good in person (probably better than most pictures), plus you get a much better sense of size. Here are my quick take aways:
1. The car seems pretty low to the ground, and some of the older folks struggled a bit to get into and out of the car. Also, I am slightly worried about getting into my driveway without scraping, but I think it will probably be okay.
2. The Tesla folks couldn't stop saying "well, this is the beta..." whenever you would look at something quizzically. For example, there were four small (maybe 3" x 0.5"), black metal rectangles on the roof (one above each window). They looked like possible attachment points for a roof rack or something, and they had spring loaded doors. When I pointed to them, one of the representatives just said... "well, this is a beta." Still don't know what they were. Also, I saw someone reach for the trunk lid, and I don't think he was going to close it (he had it well supported); I think he just wanted to see the top side of the lid. Three representatives rushed over and threw their hands under the lid like they were making sure it didn't slam down. They again said something about it being a beta.
3. Back seat head room and leg room seemed pretty good. I didn't sit in the back, but I adjusted the driver seat to where I would want it (I am 6'0"), then my buddy (5'10") sat directly behind me. I had him sit back in a normal seated position, and he had a good 3-4" of head room (car did have the panoramic roof which helps, but there is still a cross beam above, albeit slightly behind, the back seat passengers). He had a good amount of leg room as well. I know that some have guessed that different betas might be configured differently on the interior, so take this comment with a grain of salt until we see the final production models.
4. Tesla representatives were not real knowledgeable on the specific state rebates (and a few other things). I thought the IL stores might know if the Model S would qualify for the $4,000 IL rebate, but the three representatives I asked just said "we're not sure, we think so." In IL, the only catch is that you have to buy from an IL dealer. I assume that, since Tesla now has a "sales" store and a service center, it would qualify as an IL dealership, but I was hoping that they could confirm. It won't change my reservation status, but it will be nice if it does qualify in the end. They also didn't know how to open the charging port door after someone closed it. I'm assuming they eventually figured it out.
5. It's definitely a real car, and I'm glad I have a reservation number. I can't wait to drive it!

David M. | 16. November 2011

It will be worth your trip to see the Model S Beta. I flew out to Fremont CA for the Oct. 1 event and rode in the car. It's definitely a beautiful car, inside and out. I was a little shocked by how the infotainment screen looked on the dash. That was the only negative. It looked like it just wasn't properly integrated into the dash/console. I think Tesla needs to frame it up better. The whole car has these sexy curvy lines, and then there is this 17 inch LCD just hanging off the dash. Hopefully, when Tesla is done with the interior, the screen will look better integrated into the dash.

It was just a blast to ride in the car - even if it was only for 3 minutes.

jbunn | 16. November 2011

I have to agree with David M. At first I liked the idea of no center console just to prove it's a different technology, when I looked at the dash a few times over a few weeks, I've come to the realization that it looks.... Well. Aftermarket. I hate to say it. Looks like someone bolted a big monitor to a car. No flow, no movement. Doesn't even look anchored in space, just kind of like it's hanging on a bracket, and crooked at that.

I really hope they change it before production.

Volker.Berlin | 17. November 2011

longhorn, thanks for sharing! Those are some interesting first-hand observations, with a lot of anecdotal value, to say the least. Staff rushing to prevent the lid from slamming, not being able to open the charge port once it was closed... I am glad to learn that Tesla is a normal company after all, and there are some things they just did not get ready in time for the Beta. On the other hand, maybe it would add a nice (exclusive, luxury) touch even to the production version, having Tesla reps rushing over from out of nowhere whenever I want to close the trunk lid... ;-)

The car seems pretty low to the ground, and some of the older folks struggled a bit to get into and out of the car. Also, I am slightly worried about getting into my driveway without scraping, but I think it will probably be okay.

This was noted before somewhere, and it was answered that the Betas seem to have the optional air suspension installed which retracts to its lowest setting when parked. This implies that you won't have problems getting into your driveway, b/c while driving slowly the air suspension increases the ride height, and the standard suspension will not sit so low to begin with. Also it does not seem out of bounds to have the air suspension raise the car when you get close (same trigger that pushes out the retractable door handles, e.g., RFID key) for a more convenient entry.

Brian H | 17. November 2011

I can just imagine a software glitch with all that raising and lowering, resulting in the S "hopping" down the freeway. (I think I'm having a flashback to some cartoons I saw almost 60 years ago ...)

jackhub | 19. November 2011

Apparently not all of the Betas are moving around. The one we saw installed at the Sandana Row store is still there. There do not seem to be any plans to move it.

Peak Oil bruin | 20. November 2011

Tesla masterplan insures enough beta builds (orig. utilised at the factory tour) so there is at least 1 for each store. The Oak Brook, IL store also had a separate chassis with battery pack and very few other moving parts! The car is definitely a wi-i-i-de body, no elbows running over the center console, caution: those with width-challenged garage doors should not play it by ear.

Volker- thanks for reiterating what I heard about the beta air suspension. Being 6'4" I was having trouble crawling out of the car. Tesla rep explained the air susp. and that they wanted the display to be "slammed" down on the 21" wheels, which of course are not advisable for chicagoland street conditions..but i digress.

Mycroft | 20. November 2011

"caution: those with width-challenged garage doors should not play it by ear."

Yeah, I'm kinda hoping the mirrors can be folded in while backing out of the garage.

Soflauthor | 20. November 2011

I know this has been discussed elsewhere, but without a search, I'm struggling to find it. Is there a definitive measure of full wide, including the extended mirrors? i.e., mirror tip left to mirror tip right?

jackhub | 20. November 2011

I was told the same thing about the beta on display.

jackhub | 20. November 2011

See Model S, facts, 7' 2" wide with mirrors extended.

Volker.Berlin | 21. November 2011

Exactly, here is the direct link:

And here is another thread discussing the extraordinary width of the Model S:

BYT | 21. November 2011

@jackhub I called to the Santa Row store and they do not have it during the week but the rep. told me they will have it again there this weekend. I'll be going by to check it out and thanks for that update!

jackhub | 21. November 2011

@BYT, hmmm. I WAS there on a Saturday. Let us know if it is white.

Ron5 | 25. November 2011

Why is the Beta not visiting Miami??? It seems like it's going to most other stores.

tshock | 26. November 2011

I attended the beta visit at the Washington DC store yesterday and came away with some information that will definitely affect my decisions going forward. I have a production reservation in the low 600s and I think the 160 mile battery would meet my needs. However, at the beta visit, the sales team estimated that delivery of a 160 mile battery vehicle would not happen until the first few months of 2013 - even with my relatively low reservation number. And, because of the need for slightly different component capabilities (they mentioned the inverter specifically) I could NOT get the 160 mile battery at delivery and simply upgrade to a battery with more range in the future without addressing those separate but integral components capabilities.

In summery, I arrived at the event thinking I would opt for the 160 mile battery and hope for a late 2012 delivery; but I left with the distinct feeling that I would need to select the 300 mile. On a positive note, two separate sales people explained that the 300 mile range is achieved through battery chemistry alone, not by adding more batteries and consuming interior space as has been conjectured in the forum in a number of different threads. Apparently, the 300 mile version is faster off the line than the 160 mile version because there is a negligible weight difference between the two vehicles and the 300 mile version has significanly more power available; hence the need for the more capable inverter.

I will spend some time thinking about the implications, financial and otherwise, of this information; but, I wanted to share it with other forum readers who do not live near a beta visit location.

Brian H | 26. November 2011

No consideration to the (upgradeable?) 230-mile option?

jscottsanders | 26. November 2011

Visited the Beta in DC this weekend and left echoing some of the major concerns I've read in this forum. Here is a summary:

1. The exterior of the car is as good as it gets. Even the changes they made to the nose/front that I didn't love in pictures really looks good live.

2. The cranberry color (which I would have likely never chosen) is really sharp...major head-turner.

3. The interior of the car has issues:

3a. Namely - the seats do not conform to the body. It is not like a "bench" per se, but it does not wrap around you like it would in a high-end BMW or Mercedes. The lack of a headrest is noticeable and in general the driver's seat was not comfortable.

3b. The 17 inch display, while awesome, looks like it is hanging awkwardly in space and does not look integrated into the dash. Almost like I had an aftermarket iPad dropped in there. The functionality of the display is great, but the aesthetics of the design is not there.

3c. Lots of pretty ugly, cheap looking wood touches throughout, the armrest / storage was really odd. The empty space where the drivetrain should be was weird too, although I could probably get used to that.

All in all: I have a reservation but would say I am definitively on the fence on completing it if the finished product were to be exactly the same as the beta version I just saw. Hope Tesla hears the feedback and can adjust.

Robert.Boston | 26. November 2011

@jscott: There's been extensive discussion about the interior; the consensus seems to be that the interior was a quick throw-together for the Fremont event. You aren't alone in hoping so! Here are some previous threads on this:

jackhub | 26. November 2011

In an interview, Elon Musk said he expected most of the reservations to be 230 mile versions with the 300 and 160 versions splitting the balance about equally. I don't recall that he mentioned the Signuature version- they would all be 300 versions. The rep at the Santana Row store told me I would likely get a 230 version in October, but I'm still expecting November. I'm P2884.

My5bAby | 26. November 2011

Dear Tesla

I also attended the DC event yesterday !

Exterior fantastic !

Center Armrest: I thought it was innovative !

Regarding the touchscreen I'd like to make 3 suggestions
1. Less is more Example the iPad: no USB, no card slot etc, etc, Hello, No competition !
2. Get rid of every physical button possible in the car, short of turn signal/high beams, wipers,
cruise & volume control on the steering wheel. Let us control everything possible from the screen
3. The entire Model S is organic and has no straight lines or 90 degree angles except for the silver
border of the touch screen, This is why it is disruptive to the eye.
a. Get rid of the silver border (left, right and lower)
b Allow the cream leather part of the dash that borders the lower sides of the touch screen to
continue and wrap gracefully around the bottom border of the screen in a very gentle arc.

Just a few suggestions,

Signature 482

adlink | 27. November 2011

Here are my observations from the DC beta event:

What I liked:
- The exterior is even more beautiful in person.
- I liked the intimate feel of the interior. I did not feel like I was in a large car.
- The event was well organized and well staffed with knowledgable Tesla reps.

What I learned:
- One of the reps mentioned that due to enhanced connectivity of the Model S, some diagnostics and maintenance may be done remotely, thereby, possibly reducing the annual $600 maintenance fee currently offered on the roadster.
- There will be more colors available beyond what is currently showing in the design studio
- They are looking to add a new showroom site in Northern VA (Tyson's) and Service Center in MD
- The sidewall height of the tire with the 21" rim could present issues if you encounter any potholes.

What I'm still hopeful of:
- Tesla will continue to work on the integration of the 17" center display - it seemed to overwhelm the dash.

Mycroft | 27. November 2011

Thanks adlink! Excellent information! Hopefully the DC event will generate some reservations and we can kick michiganmodel's list in gear.

On the last bit about the 17" screen, we can't really say much more about that until they release the final interior. Just like the location of the electrical connection, Tesla is being very tight-lipped about the interior modifications they're working on.

From what we saw at the October event, we can pretty much count on at least one more color. There's a bright red called "Muir Red" that should be available for the general production models.

Tyson's Corner would be a great place for a Tesla store! Lots of well-to-do folk around there. :)

David M. | 27. November 2011

I wonder when the Beta 2 cars will be available for show and tell? I also wonder if the Beta 2 cars will have a 3.0 dashboard (Prototype=1.0, Beta=2.0, Beta 2 = 3.0)? I don't think the dashboard changed with the Alpha cars.

Obviously, I'm making all these numbers up, but there will be a Beta 2 car, probably around the end of this year, I just don't know if the dashboard and the framing of the 17" screen will have been improved by then?? IMO any dashboard design leaning toward the prototype will be an improvement.

Mycroft | 27. November 2011

My understanding is that the Beta 2 cars are to be for crash testing and smoothing out the production lines. The "release candidates" should be the model we end up test driving at the stores.

When will we see the final interior is a question wide open to speculation.

Charged_Up | 27. November 2011

Another vote for a Miami visit!

Sig 92

kublai | 27. November 2011

A stop in Atlanta, GA along the way to Miami would be greatly appreciated too!

Soflauthor | 27. November 2011

Still another vote for Miami or the Dania Beach store.

Sig 422

xhawk1011 | 28. November 2011

Also voting for a Miami stop!!

Larry Chanin | 28. November 2011


A visit to the Miami store would be nice. For those of us on the West coast of Florida it would also be great if Will could bring it back to the Sarasota Yacht Club after the stay at the Miami store is finished.


BYT | 28. November 2011

@jackhub I haven't gone yet, after looking at the schedule I decided to wait until it's at the Palo Alto store since that is closer to me (in fact, it's on my way home). I'll let you know what color I see when I have seen it... :)

olanmills | 28. November 2011

I saw it in Bellevue, and overall, I thought it looked great in person. Now I'm very sad that it seems like I might have to wait a year or more to get mine.

I was really anxious to see the size and shape of the car up close, and it did not dissappoint from the outside.

You get to sit inside the car, with a Tesla employee in the front passenger seat. Depending on the crowd and whether people want to go in groups, etc, you may not get to choose whether you sit in front or back.

I got to sit in the driver's seat, and it was awesome. I held the wheel and stuff, but you can't use the controls. The Tesla employee demos the console. I have to say, I don't like the dials on the steering wheel. I would much rather have buttons.

I know the electronics focus has been on the center console, which is of course, awesome, but for some reason I really like the fullscreen gauges.

The idea that you might be able to change what kind of information is displayed and the way it is displayed seems really fun to me. Mind you, these are just my own hopes; they didn't confirm any specifics. But I really like the idea that one day Tesla might make a variety of skins for the gauges, or even maybe users could do it.

Brian H | 28. November 2011

I think that's already confirmed, the dial displays are highly customizable. AFAIK, the Tesla IT guys are trying to out i the Pad, if anything. Perhaps too much?

It's all that unlimited battery capacity and resolution and brightness and ...

Robert.Boston | 28. November 2011

Audi uses dials (rotating cylinders, scroll wheel) on the steering column -- trust me, they're great. Much more intuitive for functions like volume control. Just like we've seen compute mice evolve to have scroll wheels, this is a natural step.

olanmills | 28. November 2011

I disagree. I feel like I can manipulate the buttons faster then either version of the dial (either fully rotating, like a mouse scroll wheel, or like many cars, a spring limited dial where you rotate up and hold or rotate down and hold). Also, I think buttons look cleaner and leave more room for multiple buttons.

The beta model had two dials, one on each side of the steering while. I'm assuming one is for volume, and the other is for station/track.

My current has ten buttons, yet I still feel it's comfortable and intuitive:

Cruise on/off

Speed up/resume
Slow down/set

Mute/voice command

Volume up
Volume down
Track/station up
Track/station down

I couldn't imagine 3 or 4 dials plus two additional buttons to accomplish all of this looking good or feeling intuitive.

And yes, I've used dials. I have other family members where the steering wheel controls use dials. I simply don't prefer they way it looks or the way it feels.

Anyways, it's just a minor gripe for me.

olanmills | 28. November 2011


olanmills | 28. November 2011

*I have family members with other cars where...

---sorry, I'm really tired lol

Volker.Berlin | 29. November 2011

I am driving all kinds of rental cars, and I'd cast my vote for Audi-style scrollers/thumb wheels, too. One reason is that there are actually three buttons in one component, combined in a very natural way: up, down, and press. The other reason is that scrolling down a long list, or increasing/decreasing volume by a larger amount, can be achieved with a single stroke on the scroller, as opposed to multiple repeated presses on a button.

Yes, usually you can also press and hold a button, but I find it much harder to hold the button for exactly the right amount of milliseconds, than to scroll to the desired position by running the finger over the sroller. With the scroller I can continuously adjust the scrolling speed and slow down when I get closer to the desired setting, and the interaction is the same in any case, while with a button I essentially have two modes of interaction which I can use alternatively -- repeated press or hold.

olanmills, I am not trying to convince you otherwise, just trying to explain what I like about the scoller solution. Since you have used both, it is very interesting to note that you dislike the srollers.

Volker.Berlin | 29. November 2011

I couldn't imagine 3 or 4 dials plus two additional buttons to accomplish all of this looking good or feeling intuitive. (olanmills)

Neither could I. There should be no more than one scroller on each side of the steering wheel. The rest must be buttons on the steering wheel, or stalks. E.g., for cruise control, I prefer the MB way of doing it, which uses a dedicated small stalk that offers all cruise control related functions conveniently combined.

IMO it is also important to have a dedicated mute button that allows to return to the original volume setting without having to find the desired position on the scroller again.

Brian H | 30. November 2011

Obviously the buttons need to be haptic--variable pressure sensitive. More pressure=faster, etc.

Volker.Berlin | 30. November 2011

Brian H, sounds plausible in theory but I've never come across an implementation like that. I am almost sure it would also be harder to use in practice, because there is another level of indirection that requires brainwork and visual feedback to do the translation:

- With a roller, there farer you roll the farer you get, the faster you roll the faster you get there. That's a 1:1 mapping of action to effect.

- With a button like you suggested, even assuming that it does not have steps (two or three different but fixed speeds) but allows for continuous adjustment of pressure, you only control speed, not distance. It's the 1st derivative (derived?) function of what you want to control, not the function itself.

Look at it this way: With the roller, you can find the desired list entry with your eyes closed, or on the road (provided you know the number and order of list items, which can be determine with a quick glance before starting to scroll). With the button solution, this can only be achieved by consecutive single presses. In case of button hold, you absolutely need continuous visual feedback to determine whether to press harder or softer -- which is probably not ideal while driving a car.

Volker.Berlin | 30. November 2011

(It should be mentioned that the Audi scroller has a raster -- slow scroll "clack clack clack", quick scroll "brrrrt". You could, at least in theory, add haptic feedback to your button to achieve a similar effect and let you know how many list items you went without looking. But then again, why not use a roller in the first place?)

vouteb | 01. Dezember 2011

Was there ever a real answer wether the mirrors are collapsible?

Mycroft | 01. Dezember 2011

Yes, the mirrors fold in.