New specs available for the Model S

New specs available for the Model S

See the website....Model S

Volker.Berlin | 27. Februar 2012

Schlermie, stephen.pace,

I've read comments from Tesla that the apps will support both iOS and Android platforms (at least). Both Tegra and the Apple mobile platforms are based on ARM processor architectures. (Schlermie)

You need to specify if you are talking about an app for your smartphone, or an app for the Model S' center dash. There is no doubt that Tesla will provide an app along with the car for iOS, Android and also Windows Phone. And it is conceivable that there will be an API that allows developers to write their own apps that interact with the car, but run on the smart phone.

Which platform the Model S' center dash is based on, is an entirely different question. We can safely assume that it is based on an NVIDIA Tegra series chip (and as far as I can tell there is no official information which exact chip will be used). There has been some mentioning that it's a custom platform developed by Tesla. That would only make sense to me if Tesla aims at licensing the platform and making it the de-facto standard for all kinds of next-generation automobiles. Only in that case, it would make economic sense for developers to write apps for that specific platform. We'll see.

Volker.Berlin | 27. Februar 2012

For comparison I looked up BMW 5-series specs. (Jason S)

Very interesting comparison, thanks for sharing! I was actually assuming that the Model S would provide more room than the 5-series, more like a 7-series... But that was just guessing from outside dimensions multiplied by Elon's bold statements.

Volker.Berlin | 27. Februar 2012

I'd be willing to bet money that the Google maps implementation will just be the normal Internet maps with a gps indication of where the car is. I really doubt it will include a turn-by-turn application. (Mycroft)

I'll take that bet! :-) It is just guesswork on my part as well as on yours, but I am strongly convinced that Google Maps will come with turn-by-turn (arrows on display as well as voice), standard without the Tech Package.

Google Maps will be offboard (requiring an online connection for preparation of the route, may not need to be online while driving) and it may be available exclusively on the center dash, without displaying in the instrument cluster. Thus there would still be some advantage to the onboard satnav that comes with the Tech Package.

Furthermore I'd be very interested which onboard satnav they will use. I've been very happy with the Navigon app for Android, which I think still has an edge over the Google Maps Navigation app (mostly b/c it's offline/onboard, but there are also some nice features that Google is lacking).

Robert.Boston | 27. Februar 2012

The rear headroom in the Santana Row beta was limited by a bulge in the headliner, running along the inner edge of the liftgate. I couldn't tell, and the rep wasn't sure, whether this bulge is related to the liftgate or the pano roof. The pano roof doesn't go back far enough to open up the rear headroom for some sitting with his head against the headrest.

The pano roof definitely increases front headroom, but at the expense of creating two bulges that run laterally along the outer edges of the headliner. These bulges are irrelevant expect on entry and exit.

ddruz | 27. Februar 2012

@Jason S and Robert.Boston: Thank you for your replies. They motivated me to do some checking on rear headroom specs for 2012 model cars with respect to our 36.6" Model S (source Edmunds).

Audi A8 = 38.1"
BMW 5 Series = 38.3"
Porsche Panamera = 38.2"
(Nissan Leaf = 37.3")
(Toyota Prius = 37.6")

I was surprised that the Model S rear headroom is comparatively low. Of consolation is that Model S front headroom is relatively high. But it's too bad they elected not to ace the competition for rear headroom also with all the space in that car.

Thumper | 27. Februar 2012

I am guessing to get the drag coefficient optimized, that the roof HAD to slope in such a way that a smidge of rear headroom was lost.

Mycroft | 27. Februar 2012

The Audi A7 is a more accurate comparison and it has identical rear headroom to the S. It's the sloping of the back for the "coupe" design that reduces the rear headroom.

If rear headroom is critical, i.e. you're frequently going to be making long trips with tall people in the back seats, then a 4-door coupe is not the car for you.

Crow | 27. Februar 2012

I sat in the back of 2 betas and was fine with the head and leg room. I'm 6'4".

David70 | 27. Februar 2012

Much if this depends on how much is leg length and torso length.

I'm only 5'11", but have 6" space above my head in my little 2004 Chevy Classic. I also have a friend that about 6'6" that had enough head room in my Prius. However, I'm not at all pleased with the leg room in the Chevy, and only somewhat happy with the legroom in the Prius.

BYT | 27. Februar 2012

@David70, I guess this would be the one and only time that I'm happy with being 5'7" :D

I keep going over the options for my Model S and the bottom line is, without test driving and seeing the options and talking with a rep. over all the possibilities, I can't say for certain what I would want and not want just yet!

David70 | 27. Februar 2012

I'm with you BYT, except I'm pretty sure I want the TECH package and adjustable air suspension.

ddruz | 27. Februar 2012

In their review of the Audi A7, which has the same rear headroom spec as the Model S, Edmunds lists "Tight rear headroom" as a con. I'm sure none of us want any reviewer, potential customer or ourselves to feel that way about the Model S. Hopefully that spec is just an artifact of the way measurements are done and the experience of sitting in the rear seat of the actual production car will feel as ample as indicated in the comments above by folks who sat in the betas. What really counts is sitting in the actual production car anyway, not a spec sheet number. Thank you to everyone who responded to my query about it.

Volker.Berlin | 28. Februar 2012, very true. I found it remarkable at the time that Tesla did not hesitate to routinely place three full-size adults on the rear bench for their test rides at the Oct 1 event in Fremont. Long lines for the test rides notwithstanding, they could easily have chosen to place only two people on the rear seats for each ride. I wasn't there but from the reports I got the impression they wanted to show off how much room there is and that the Model S is a serious five-seater. I hope it is.

prash.saka | 01. März 2012

@Stephen, I wanted to ask if the console runs on iOS as almost every article I read called it "a 17 inch ipad for all practical purposes". I think I took it literally, even though I was unsure how Apple was kind enough to make a 17 inch ipad for just Tesla. Glad to know that this is not another Apple product (I am not very fond of Apple). Linux would be great. Being a software developer (and currently creating my own iOS/Android app), I am very excited about creating one for a Linux(-ish) based mobile platform. Can't wait!

@Volker, you are absolutely right. The model I saw is the Beta model and one, by the looks of it, had been displayed quite a few places. During our drive back home from the museum, my wife asked me what my take on the visit was. And honestly, I felt quite underwhelmed. I think I was expecting quite a bit (and rightly so) from a $100K+ plus car. The plastics, especially the loose-fitting parts, just dampened everything. But, after reading your post, I am very happy to know that this is just a display hand-built model and that the actual product will have a much better quality.

The steering, in my opinion, felt very nice. I was able to grip it quite comfortably as there wasn't any smooth leather over it. It was just a bit hard, but I am glad it did. I hope the actual steering wheel would be as good as this one, if not better.

@Tom, I didn't realize that Google Maps GPS doesn't imply turn-by-turn navigation. So, I didn't ask that question. Perhaps, you can get that clarified when you get to see the model in DC.

@Mvbf, I did feel cramped in the driver's seat. And that too, in the 2 minutes I was in the seat. So, I am concerned about longer drives. I currently drive (my parents-in-law's) '94 Lincoln Towncar with Cartier leather interior. And it has a bench-style front seats. It gives me some room to wiggle a bit and to turn or twist my torso every so often. Tesla's, however, didn't offer that flexibility. I felt as if I was being squeezed into the the seat's shape. I am not a big guy, by any means; I am just under 160lbs and 5'8". Also, the seat feel like that of a sportcar, a bit on the low side. Or may be, according to my wife, I was spoilt by the Lincoln.

These things aside, everything else about the car is just "phenomenal". I am just amazed by the amount of external storage space it has. The little bookshelf-esque space in the frunk was such a good find. I am not sure if we will ever fill in all the storage space. The rear child seats, when that option is added, can be folded down. And so can the rear seats (60/40 split). A little girl (about 5 years old) volunteered to sit in the child seats. She could fit in very comfortably in there, with room to spare. The seat's buckle, however, was pressing into her thighs.

I wish it had more storage areas inside. There is no place to put almost anything - sunglasses, parking change, toll tickets, ipods, etc. I would really love to have some interior compartments for storage.

Someone in these forums was saying that the tail lights were plastic looking. It is true that they as if they are made of plastic. But that is only when they aren't on. When they are turned on, they light up very well, equally distributing the light throughout. I wish the blinkers were orange colored and not red. The LED headlights are pretty bright and could light up the room (literally) even on a bright sunny day.

The best part, so far, is the music system. The music system, the upgrade, is just breathtaking. I just can't think of any other music system that overwhelmed me so much. And I know for sure that I am getting that upgrade.

~ Prash.

Robert.Boston | 01. März 2012

I asked at the Boston beta event, and to get turn-by-turn nav, you need the Tech Package. Without it (but with cellular service) you get maps showing your location only.

(btw, I checked out the "map" mode rather than the "satellite" mode, and they've done a great job having dark-colored tiles when the system is in night mode, and the familiar light-colored tiles in day mode.)

Volker.Berlin | 02. März 2012

I asked at the Boston beta event, and to get turn-by-turn nav, you need the Tech Package. Without it (but with cellular service) you get maps showing your location only. (Robert.Boston)

That's the first time I hear it explicitly, that Google maps for Tesla will not come with turn-by-turn (in contrast to, e.g., the Android application that amounts to pretty much a normal PNA). This will be a letdown for many... And many angry forum posts will ensue. :-/

Volker.Berlin | 02. März 2012

I wish the blinkers were orange colored and not red. (prash.saka)

That's an entire debate in its own right... e.g.,

olanmills | 02. März 2012


I seem to remember hearing that the software was Linux based, but I don't know for sure.

I'm with you on the storage spaces. I hope the final interior has severaly little compartments around the driver and passenger to store junk, because that's what I like to do!

I don't understand the comment about plastic taillights. Taillights are plastic in all contemporary cars. I actually like the fact that the rear blinkers are red and not orange. Yes, I know functionally speaking, distinct blinkers make it obvious to other drivers when the blinker is flashing versus the brake light lighting, but I just think it looks better this way.

Also, the headlights are not LEDs. In the standard model, they are halogen lamps, with the Tech Package, they are xenon. I'm assuming the xenon lamps are projector lamps as well. I don't know about the halogen lamps. It's the daytime running lights which are LEDs (the taillights are LEDs too).

EdG | 02. März 2012

Without it (but with cellular service) you get maps showing your location only.

What sense does that make? My Android phone does better, and it's 2 years old. All they need do is emulate the "car mode" on my phone. I'm wondering if the person quoted really knows the difference between standalone Nav versus internet Nav.

Mycroft | 02. März 2012

My Android phone does better

But the car doesn't run on Android.

prash.saka | 03. März 2012


It will be great if the OS is Linux-based. I guess we will have to wait till we hear an official note from Tesla about it.

About plastic-looking taillights, I meant to say that the model S has just one illuminated section rather than how they are on Audi or Mercedes Benz (where there are about 20 tiny individual bulbs inside) like this one:

I find the ones on Audi or MB so annoying. And worse, in bright daylight and when in the next lane, I can barely see them blinking unless I pay very close attention to them.

About the headlights, I misspoke (or miswrote). I meant Xenon and not LED.

@Volker, I can imagine there is a whole other discussion on the rear blinker color. But, I will not go there. And, instead, let things be. :)

Talking about turn-by-turn, do you guys think this could be added at a later stage, by a software upgrade? Or would it require a hardware component as well (as the GPS part would not be in place if the car doesn't have the Tech package)?

~ Prash.

prash.saka | 03. März 2012

Trying to insert the image link (again).

Volker.Berlin | 04. März 2012

Talking about turn-by-turn, do you guys think this could be added at a later stage (prash.saka)

Easy: Buy a suction cup for your smart phone and you're set (while charging via USB). No, I'm serious. That's very good value for very little money, and you can always get software or hardware updates to that "navigation system" as you feel convenient. Quite a few people I know have switched from built-in satnav to portable satnav (smart phone or TomTom-style), because the former is already outdated when you get it and the latter is an order of magnitude cheaper (and possibly even more useful).

BYT | 04. März 2012

Speaking of outdated, since it's using Google Maps, does that mean all future map updates are built in and free? To update my Garmin I have to shell out $100 every year.

Liz G | 04. März 2012

@BYT - I asked my rep about this as we currently have to pay for a new disc if we want to update the nav on my husband's Civic. I was told we would get 7 upgrades free for the map. It still seemed a bit up in the air as to whether or not we would have to bring it in for the upgrades or if they could be done remotely.

stevenmaifert | 04. März 2012

I'm still trying to find $3750 worth of value in the Tech package as listed, and I just don't see it. As for the turn-by-turn nav, if an app can be written for the Android using Google Maps, I'm sure it won't be long before someone will figure out how to write one for the Model S infotainment system. The real question is ... will TM allow it to be installed?

olanmills | 04. März 2012

Yeah, about the taillights, I don't like those taillaights with an array of LED's. I like the brightness, but not thearrangement. My current car has one large red LED in each taillight which illuminates the whole thing (you don't see the bulb from the outside though).

I like the way it looks on the S.

BYT | 04. März 2012

Thanks Liz, I think an update every 14 months should last a while at 7 free updates!

Robert.Boston | 04. März 2012

@stevenmaifert: let's all concede that most options have a substantial margin built in. Parcel shelf, $250?!? The Tech Package is no exception; IMO, it's priced against similar option sets from premium manufacturers, particular Mercedes.

The core price driver seems to be the navigation system. There are a few other true costs lurking in their -- e.g. the power liftgate, improved front lighting, and proximity detector -- but the nav is what prices this option up in the marketplace. I've never had built-in nav, relying instead on a Garmin Nuvi unit, which I'd want anyway to use on business travel in rental cars. The advantage of a dedicated unit (whether built in or portable) over smartphones is that smartphones require high-bandwidth cell service, which frequently seems missing in places where I am most likely to be lost.

cerjor | 04. März 2012

I use Microsoft's Streets and Trips nav program on a laptop. Works better than my Garmin. Easy to add waypoints and to zoom in or out. It also will leave a breadcrumb trail so I know where I've been. And an update is about $35 at Costco.

Volker.Berlin | 05. März 2012

Speaking of outdated, since it's using Google Maps, does that mean all future map updates are built in and free? (BYT)

I was convinced that this would be a natural and inescapable consequence of using Google Maps, and thus an advantage over a traditional built-in sat nav. Until Liz came around...

I asked my rep about this as we currently have to pay for a new disc if we want to update the nav on my husband's Civic. I was told we would get 7 upgrades free for the map. (Liz G)

I'd assume that this information was aimed at the built-in, on-board, off-line navigation system that comes with the Tech Package. Liz, can you confirm?

The on-line/off-board map that comes with Google maps inherently has no maps stored locally on your car. So there's nothing there to be updated in the first place. That's why without the Tech Package, an online data connection is required for viewing the map, at least at the beginning of your trip. Maps may be cached for a certain radius to bridge areas without network coverage, but that doesn't mean you have to "upgrade" them. If maps are not in the cache, or if the cache is outdated, they are simply downloaded, i.e., you are always viewing the latest version of Google Maps.

I've never had built-in nav, relying instead on a Garmin Nuvi unit, which I'd want anyway to use on business travel in rental cars. (Robert.Boston)

That's what I keep hearing from frequent-traveling friends, too. It's one of the advantages of the "suction cup" approach.

The advantage of a dedicated unit (whether built in or portable) over smartphones is that smartphones require high-bandwidth cell service, which frequently seems missing in places where I am most likely to be lost. (Robert.Boston)

You may be happy to hear that you don't have to have a separate device for that. I am using Navigon on my Android phone, with entire Europe being stored locally on a MicroSD card (which is de-facto built into the phone, nothing I'd take out or insert on a regular basis). Thus I don't have to pay the outrageous data roaming fees when traveling abroad, and still only need one device. I'd assume that Garmin and TomTom offer comparable solutions (but I'm very happy with my Navigon).

Disadvantage again: I have to pay for map updates. On the other hand, since it's all on the same device, I can switch from off-line Navigon to on-line (and up-to-date) Google Maps navigation in an instant.

EdG | 05. März 2012

An increase in the amount of flash data storage available would make it easy to cache lots of map data while still holding all the music we'd like. Without it, it's hard to know how much work it would take to force the cache to hold the entire trip-of-the-day/month.

Volker.Berlin | 05. März 2012

EdG, in the early days, when there was only one prototype of the Model S, Tesla made statements like they will have an optimized and sufficiently large cache in place for Google Maps. These statements seemed to suggest that the cache should be able to hold a radius of maps that corresponds to the range of the car, i.e., 300 miles. With this comparably simple add-on to Google Maps, which should just work in the background without user interaction, the resulting turn-by-turn sat nav would have been cheaper and more up-to-date, but otherwise completely on par with conventional built-in sat nav.

They were always pretty fuzzy with their statements, as you all know, but possibly they originally intended to go that route, and then found that they'd better prune down the Google Maps based solution to justify the price for a Tech Package that includes "real" navigation. Kinda sad, actually.

ManuVince | 05. März 2012

I don't think the turn-by-turn satnav represent a significant portion of the Tech Package price. As far as I understand it, it is just a software running on the touch pad of the car. TomTom on iPad/iPhone can be purchased for 50 $. So even if you want to make some margin, charging more than 100$ for that, would be ridiculous.

Must be something else...

Mycroft | 05. März 2012

The largest expense in the tech package is likely the headlight upgrade and next would probably be the automatic hatch.

MitchL | 05. März 2012

I would think that one of the reasons for the distinction is licensing. Google (or the companies that provide map data & arial imagery _to_ Google) may require a different license for use of map data beyond displaying a web map. This license probably isn't free.

'course, Tesla is happy to call this a feature and charge us even _more_ for it.... oh, well :-).