October 1 - New Feature Information

October 1 - New Feature Information

Reading through the new site content released today, it looks like Tesla has provided us with some details on features that either provide more clarity or are complete new (at least to me):

  • Panoramic roof details: "An extra large sunroof made of a front and rear glass panel. The front panel can tilt up for ventilation or slide open over the rear panel." Sounds like we'll have touchscreen controls to swipe to the position we want for the roof.
  • The Key: Interesting design. Car turns on when you buckle up if you have the key.
  • Air suspension option
  • Addition of traction & stability control
  • Charge port in the driver's side tail light
  • Standard, thinner universal connector for charging via 240 volt, 120 volt and public stations
  • Interior: At least three levels (Standard, Select, Signature)
  • Dashboard design: Much more refined than the Alphas.
  • Two upholders in front console
  • More details on the touchscreen layout and features. Looks like important information is replicated in the instrument cluster
  • Four USB Ports, WiFi & mobile connectivity (with hotspot capability)
Volker.Berlin | October 1, 2011

Must read before posting (or reading) here: The new Model S Features page!

Brian H | October 1, 2011

Hm. The interior shot shows second seat (bench) with headrests for 2, not 3. So seating for 5 seems awkward.

Volker.Berlin | October 1, 2011

Brian H, look again. Only two head rests are visible on the back seat, but there are three seats. The third head rest just "did not fit into the image". It's off to the left. I don't think it's an actual photograph. I think it's a rendering that has been slightly distorted to fit more info into it.

Brian H | October 1, 2011

Right you are. I guess the bench seat is so large my imagination couldn't take it all in! ;)

VolkerP | October 1, 2011

same happened to me. "Can't be, only two seats? No, wait..."

michiganmodels | October 1, 2011

320 Mile Range and Sport option (0-60 in 4.5 Seconds) available in 2012:

michiganmodels | October 1, 2011

Even thought I'm not there, I'll forward others tweets:

tnawara | October 1, 2011

@Michiganmodels Interesting news. If I'm not getting my car until mid to late 2012 anyway, why wouldn't I wait for the Sport option (unless it's ridiculously priced)?

tnawara | October 1, 2011

@Michiganmodels Thanks for posting the pics/vids. Although I'm still jealous of those that were there today, I feel better that I didn't spend the money to travel from Chicago to have a sub-two minute ride. I have a feeling the betas will be here soon too.

michiganmodels | October 1, 2011

You won't have to wait for the sport version. They're available starting with the first Model S.

The sport version is only available for 300 packs. It may be ridiculously price. I speculate that the Signature Series will be sport versions. We'll see....

tnawara | October 1, 2011

@Michiganmodels Figured that out after I posted. Went over to Tesla Motors Club and read some of the details. Trying to figure out how to put away a little more cash...

michiganmodels | October 1, 2011

@tnawara - That makes two of us. I have a Signature reserved, but I have no idea how much the final price point will be. It makes sense if it's sub $100K (I'm guessing $90K). It's speculation (and wishful thinking).

Bgu | October 2, 2011

Hi guys,
Did my ride from the back seat in the middle, lots of space and nice headrest ;-)
Talked to engineer who designed the touchpanel, they will definitely install LTE for the release and will also keep om monitoring the market and possibly upgrade the grafix card as well. The handling of the features as opening roof and lights on etc is done via a image of the models s on the touch panel with a slider for the sunroof, superb!
Signature will not be sports, it will hold all options 21inc, leather, ... except for rear facing seats and panoramic roof. Addition options are also battery and sports package, they told me it would be 10k.
Also they told the option package would be finalized and communicated by end of this month for US version.
Tesla is also testing rear view cameras to replace the mirror but that could not make it.
A adaptive cruise control will most probably make it as it is off the shelf from manufacturers.
Rear view camera is standard.
Navigation via google maps is in the base package with some sort of buffeting near the current location, the extended touch panel has additional build in memory with a own navigation locally available. This is an option on GP, standard on S.
The handling with the pneumatic suspention is superb! It feels like a panamera! Not moving an inch. Combined with the open differential it's a real sports machine, they showed footage of a drift and burn out.

Bgu | October 2, 2011

Oh, forgot, current panel has abillity to accept 4 finger, final production will work with 10 fingers touches at the same time. So full gesture movement for both driver and passenger are possible.

Volker.Berlin | October 2, 2011

Bgu, thank you for sharing! There's really a lot of new information in your post. Great outlook. :-)

Soflauthor | October 2, 2011

Thx, @Bgu, excellent review.

Questions: Did the test drive cars have the sunroof? If so, does light coming in via the sunroof create visibility problems for the dashboard display? How much light attenuation is achieved by the sunroof (I live on SoFla and I'm wondering if it might be a bit much)?

michiganmodels | October 2, 2011

@Bgu - Great feedback. Thank you!

More Questions: What was your impressions of the touchscreen display and interior?

Specifically, the touchscreen and interior images on the website under features looks looks CGI. It is also a departure from the prototype (the center console is divided from the touch screen display and the cup holders). Did it have the "wow" factor when you got in the car? Any details and impressions from what we saw initially and what you experienced would be greatly appreciated.

Also, could you clarify your initial post. Is the Additional package for Signatures: Sports (aerodynamic wheels, 0-60 in 4.5), AND panoramic roof for $10,000?

GJamrok | October 2, 2011

The touchscreen and dashboard 'Wow!' factor were about a 9.5 out of 10 for me! When Elon swiped the Sunroof closed during his talk it drew quite an applause. I thought the graphics on the actual touchscreen matched the website rendering quite well. The interior was very nice, I got up close and personal during the slalom demo ;) The sunroof on the beta test ride vehicle did not produce a bad glare. It was a beautiful sunny No Cal day and I could see quite well while sitting in the back seat. What an experience! This is going to be quite a car.

A couple things I learned:

-They are planning on mostly selling the 300 mile battery packs (I guess now 320 mile packs) and they expect maybe as low as 5% of the Model-S's will have the 160 mile packs.
I heard that the car tends to perform better with that battery size for various reasons.

-The Model-S can technically fit 8 people if you stuff a teenager under the hood ;) (This was a stunt where Elon Musk drove on stage and proceeded to unload 7 people with bags from the car and then the hood popped open and someone else jumped out - Made a good point re:storage space)

-The touchscreen and dashboard software are linked quite well and are designed to take over each other's functions if one stops working or the software crashes on one of them. The software that runs them is also designed to reboot automatically in case of lockup and is designed to be back up and running in a matter of seconds. A software crash on the touchscreen and/or the dashboard will never affect and driving functions as those are run by a separate computer & software.

- The charge port will feature an interesting lighting design that my wife would refer to as 'sexy lights'

- My impression of the delivery order for the production models was that they will take orders in order of your reservation number but then deliver in order of battery pack size. The example given to me was that if I order a 320 mile pack I would hope to expect it q3 of 2012 and if I chose a 160 mile pack it would be more like late late 2012 or early 2013.

- Every single Tesla employee was really interesting to talk to, super friendly, amazingly informed, very passionate and excited about the company, the factory and the cars. And everyone from the top down was available and willing to talk openly about the Model-S. I was so impressed by the fact that the designer, the engineers, the software designers, the supply chain guy, everyone was available to talk and answer questions.

michiganmodels | October 2, 2011

@GJamrok - Great insight. Thank you!!!

Bgu | October 2, 2011

Agree with Gjamrok, touch panel has the wow effect, we played with the zoom of the google maps during the drive, it worked instantly. I had no bad glare.
Also the designer told me you can dim the lights on the touch separately for 3 areas, bottom buttons, map an audio part and top buttons to make sure it doesn't enoy you at night.
We would also get all features tha tesla has through the panel, like deciding how fast you want to go to 60
The 10k is for sports package only, sunroof is additional option :-(
In addition to the really nice engineers, a lot of them are coming from other manufacturers and some are German native, I mean they bought a lot of experience from all over. ( touchpanel engineer came from Siemens)
Cool feature, the car will also try to keep temperature comfortable when it's in your garage.
Sorry for the formatting, I'm typing of an iPhone.

cytek | October 2, 2011

When I saw the interior, I was really disappointed with the design. The LCD screen looks extremely awkward and don't flow with the overall dashboard design. There should be some creativity with the design to make it less obvious by blending in. The boxy shaped screen clashes with the smooth curvy lines of the dashboard and don't flow with the shape of the car.

Also the missing center console makes it look more like a cheap minivan or a truck interior. What's the point of removing the center console, so someone can sneak into the driver's seat from the passenger side? The cup holder near the armrest looks cheap and hideous. I prefer to have the cupholders hidden inside the center console hatch door, like how Mercedes, BMW and Audi have done. I thought Model S was supposed to be a luxury car, but it looks more like how GM would design and build a cheap looking interior. If this is now the interior looks like in a final production model, I may consider cancelling my order. Having come from high end European luxury cars, Model-S has lot of potential, but I am not impressed with the cheap looking interior design.

michiganmodels | October 2, 2011

@cytek - Thanks. Disappointing to hear. You had my undivided attention when you compared it to GM. That is unfortunate.

Did anyone else have the same impression as @cytek?

wtrask4 | October 2, 2011


I was a huge fan of the interior and didn't think it looked cheap! Nor would I come pare it to second class auto manufactures.

The screen is huge! It is substantial and I think it is more a perception of who it is and how much they will rely on it.

ThorensP | October 2, 2011

@cytek. I disagree. I loved the interior. The screen has huge Wow! factor. The dashboard is similarly jaw-dropping in the sense that it is a digital screen as well. I sat in the front and had no problem resting my arms on the console. I spoke with the guy who designed the interior and he said the idea was to keep it simple an uncluttered. I currently own a BMW and I can't wait to trade it in for the Tesla S.

In addition to what's been mentioned above, a couple of other features:

1. Automatic temperature control. The car will learn your habitual departure times and cool/heat the car to be perfect when you leave. It will also maintain the heat for up to 3 hours after you park it.

2. There is an iPhone App that will let you control just about every aspect of the car. The current owners of the App were asked not to play with it while the test cars were being driven because it can operate virtually every part of the car from sliding the roof back to opening doors, turning on the screen, starting, stopping the car, etc. You will also be able to track exactly where the car is and where it has been using the App and the on board GPS.

3. The onboard monitor has a browser built in as well as messaging, iPhone and Droid connection, and many many more features. It is incredibly impressive. And the crystal clarity of the screen is impressive.

4. Tesla is installing a series of rapid charging stations all over the country over the next 12-18 months. They will start in CA, especially along the SF/LA corridor, but then extend to key states across the country. I forget which states, but I recall Texas was one of them.

5. The factory looked more like a high-tech FAB or a laboratory than a traditional car factory. The floors were white tile, the lighting was enhanced, the equipment was all mostly brand new and painted Tesla Red, the workers were extremely motivated and excited about what they are creating.

Elon emphasized that his goal with the S was not just to create the best electric car but the best car overall. My impression of the Tesla S is that he may well have achieved that. Every detail is superbly thought out, designed, built and tested. Anyone who is finding fault with the design and comparing it to GM is simply wrong.

There are so many cool features and visual jaw droppers that it can't help but get incredible press. My prediction is that when the first S classes are delivered, they will rapidly become the hottest car to hit the market and the Silicon Valley millionaires who didn't get on the early delivery list will start a bidding war for fully optioned early deliveries. I would not be surprised if early deliveries will sell for double their sales price in the first 6 months. Mark my words.

HP | October 3, 2011

Hi lucky guys that ' tripped' to Fremont! Very nice to read all the comments and informations. When i saw the interior picture, i was disapointed too, but am glad to hear the WOH factor from the guys who drove the car itself. Looks are stil very good, details i read makes me more curious. Heared there will be a european model S event and a launch at geneva auto show in march.

One more question; how was the heavy (2400kg?) car in its handling?

michiganmodels | October 3, 2011 and - Thank you for your feedback. Those that were not able to attend (like myself) greatly appreciate the feedback. Anyone else who had a positive or negative experience, please post.

Nicu | October 3, 2011

@ Han-Paul

4000lb = 1814kg

Timo | October 3, 2011

That 4000lb is still just a guess. There isn't any official info about that anywhere.

David M. | October 3, 2011

The car didn't ride like a heavy car. Very nimble. When I saw a photo of the new dashboard, I was a little disappointed. Not much attempt to integrate the big rectangle into a classy dashboard. I felt a little better seeing it in person. However, the software interface is a slam dunk. WOW! Maybe it would have helped to frame the screen out a little better

Brad Holt | October 3, 2011

I was very impressed with the interior and the software interface. The thing handled like a dream, and even with 5 fully-grown adults inside, the acceleration was like magic!

I took around 800 pics at the event. Once I've weeded through them I'll post a link somewhere around here... :)

andrewmfallon | October 3, 2011

Elon described the Model S as weighing 4,000 lbs during his short talk. With the battery pack underneath the car so to speak it has a very low center of gravity.

The car is very handsome and will certainly turn heads.

Soflauthor | October 3, 2011

First, thx to all who have contributed to Oct1Event threads so far. Excellent info and insight.

I tend to agree with those who are expressing some concern about the dashboard, display, and front seating design. I readily admit that my comments are based on photos and commentary (I wasn't there), but I do thinkI integration of the display is problematic, not because of its fit into the dashboard, but because the center console does not continue to the display. I think that's a design mistake, and I would strongly urge Tesla to reconsider, if they have time to do so.

Most high-end cars have a full center console. It gives the driver a cockpit feel and allows things like cup-holders to be hidden under a pop-up panel, provides a place to temporarily put miscellaneous items (e.g., change or sunglasses), and better frames the front seating sections. Without it, the beautifully designed and implemented graphics display hangs in space and looks slightly forced.

I don't think that in-car seat switching or "roominess" justifies the current design, and I do think it cheapens the interior just a bit.

I'd be curious to learn why Tesla went with the truncated center console, given that it adds little and detracts somewhat.

Might it be possible to make a full center console an option, so that everyone can be happy. I'd pay an extra $xxx for a full console and I'd bet most other buyers would as well.

Volker.Berlin | October 3, 2011

One possible argument comes to mind, that might have driven the Tesla engineers to leave out part of the classic center console. It is not a very good argument, imo, but it goes like this: High-end ICE cars have a massive tunnel in the center of the car for the cardan shaft that drives the rear wheels. One could argue, that in the beginning, the full-blown center console as we have become used to was a design compromise to hide/cover the cardan tunnel. The Tesla interior designers might have removed the center console to demonstrate that the Model S does not need a cardan tunnel, and to emphasize that it's all new, and that an electric sedan allows for more degrees of freedom in design than an ICE car.

stevenmaifert | October 3, 2011

After attending the Oct. 1 factory open house it was obvious that nearly every feature of the Model S is unique to TESLA's styling and engineering, right down to the proprietary charge port connector that is NOT compatible with the SAE J1772 standard found in most Level II public access charging stations in the United States. TESLA, what were you thinking? Yes, most charging will happen at home with the provided cord, but a 300 mile capable battery begs to be taken cross country necessitating public access charging. I'm hoping that because the Model S will be sold worldwide, and because charge port connector standards vary by market, TESLA engineered a universal connector capable of both Level II & III charging and will provide the customer with the appropriate market adaptor(s) at no additional charge. Is that too much to ask? If I'm misinformed, someone please comment. The TESLA rep I spoke with at the open house worked in sales and marketing and didn't have an answer.

Soflauthor | October 3, 2011

@Volker.Berlin, re: the center console

Good point. It occurred to me as well, but for Tesla to make a statement about no-need-for-an ICE-center-tunnel and at the same time diminish the look, the design, and (indirectly) the function of the interior seems to be a bit much.

Based on photos, it seems that a design mod could be made pre-production, or as I mentioned, an optional add-on could be provided (as long as its well integrated). I really do think it would enhance the interior design significantly.

Brian H | October 3, 2011

Center console: the lack of the drive shaft hump is something that no one is used to. In a few years, it will look awkward and intrusive, and the console compromise will be regarded as quaint.

Brian H | October 3, 2011

What's this "weeding" stuff? Do you feel the need for busywork? If you must, put your selection up -- with a link to ALL of the pix! Do not attempt to guess and decide what the "boredom threshold" is for the obsessed.


cytek | October 3, 2011

The large LCD screen looks out of place like an eye sore on the dashboard, as if someone just slapped a PC monitor and glued it on the dashboard. It looks like a computer monitor installed ready for use in a police car, or in a commercial vehicle, hence not a luxurious appeal. They could have used some design creativity with a layer of anti-reflective tinted glass cover over the monitor without affecting the touch screen to conceal the boxy frame appearance that clashes with the smooth curves of the dashboard. With tinted glass cut in any shape, it will make the monitor's boxy shape less noticeable by blending in with the shape of the dashboard contour lines. When the LCD screen is off, you won't see, nor notice the boxy monitor is there, just a black glass surface. I am sure this will appeal more stylishly than just a boxy framed screen slapped on the dash that looks cheap.

What bothers me is why did they remove the center console from the original alpha prototype? Without the center console with organized multiple storage compartments, it looks more like a minivan interior to me. Dumping stuff on the floor makes the car look messy and disorganized. The ergonomics for the cupholder shown in the pictures is poorly placed near the armrest because the drinks are too close to your arms to rest on and can easily get knocked off with spillage. The cupholders should be further down below inside one of a center console concealed compartment to avoid interfering with our arm for a comfortable arm resting position.

This is just my opinion on why I think the interior is a disaster, which does not appeal to me at all, as cheap looking GM quality build. The only exception from GM is 2012 Buick's Lacrosse streamlined interior with LED lighting accent that looks really stylish and modern. I know everyone have their own tastes and opinions, which I can fully respect them. If you guys like the interior styling of Model-S as is, that's great for you, but it's not my cup of tea to my taste. Sorry, if I am bashing about Model-S interior, but I am just greatly disappointed that Tesla didn't meet my expectations on designing an elegantly modern luxurious interior styling. It just looks like any cheap GM or Chrysler interior.

Model-S exterior looks nice, has impressive technology, has great performance potential, but the interior styling is a major failure for me. I guess my Model-S order maybe on the chopping block.

Brad Holt | October 3, 2011

I tend to shoot LOTS of frames. I'm a photographer, so once I get the shot composed I'll snap a few to make sure faces are good.

Plus I've developed a habit of narrowing shots down and editing them before posting. I should be able to get them up tonight with a link. No worries!

dcpalmer | October 3, 2011


I agree with your sentiments: the original interior design, with its sweeping curves and centre console, looked so much more stylish than the hard-edged design now shown.

I've heard that car designers tend to work on the interior last - and this tends to suffer if budgets are squeezed. I just wonder if this is the problem here: they're rushing to get a cheaper design into production?

jbunn | October 3, 2011

We very much enjoyed the tour. You will probably never get a factory tour like that one. At each station were the people responsible for the engineering and opearation of their department. We met and talked to the IT guys, the interior designer, the plastics plant manager, metal press operators, the CNC milling engineer, recruiting, and the body design team.

NUMMI is huge, and Tesla only uses a small part of it. We did not get to see the body paint shop for example, as it would have been a 1/2 hour walk from the buildings we did tour. We did get to walk through the plastics paint line, an area that would be off limits to humans while under use. We marveled at some of the largest hydraulic presses in the world - over 4 stories high and 20 feet below the floor level.

The assembly floor is unique in it's near lack of conveyor systems. The bodies are carried on autonomous robots that move from assembly station to assembly station by following a magnetic tape on the floor. Changing the assembly line is nearly as easy as moving the tape. Many of these machines were in motion and we were free to walk around in and among them. That's confidence in your equipiment when you're mixing an open bar, gawking nerds, and autonomous robotic vehicles in a factory setting...

We were free to and even encouraged to touch everything, equipiment, supplies, molds, bodies and parts. This was a full monty, open kimono tour. I'm really amazed at how much we got to see and how much of their staff were available to us. I shook as many hands as I could, and thanked everyone for helping make my car.

Riding in the car was short but fun. The car has no roll when cornering in the slalom and no pitch up/down on acceleration/decleration. The track was short but we hit 70 on the straightaway. Car seemed very quiet to us, but we were all screaming. It was like that guy said about the roadster "like being a rubberband shot off the finger of god".

Thanks, Tesla!

PS - I'd like a page in the back of my owners manual with all the signatures of the people that built my car. Hint hint.

Brian H | October 3, 2011

From a Youtube short ( comment:

All of that for $50 grand? That's like €37,000, that's the same as the Chevy Volt , and? this is a BMW, Audi specked car. I FUCKING WANT ONE!!!

Discoducky | October 3, 2011

I want to write a longer review when I get back from traveling, but in short there is too much to be impressed with to mention everything.

Soaking up all the great images from the factory was amazing. My 2 year old is still saying "More Robots Daddy" and loves his Model S shell they gave us when leaving.

It's shocking how little sound there is for a car going 75 MPH both inside the car on my test ride with all windows down and from the viewing stand about 40 feet away.

The headlights are beautiful and I cannot believe that Tesla has beaten Audi at the game "Whose headlights are more beautiful game". The outline halo is beautiful and very menacing when the full lights are not on.

Suspension and handling is a dream that only few cars can hope to achieve. I plan on driving a Panamera this next week.

What I wasn't terribly impressed with was the legroom in the rear. With the front seat all the way back my size 12 Nike's barely fit.

At first, I loved the center touchscreen, but now I don't think I can live without it after spending time with Windows 8. Nothing comes close to it's effectiveness overtime.

Build quality seems very good with the Beta cars as the door shut on my ride came with a very positive clunk like my 03 MINI or a 928.

The glass roof it ridiculous and will be a must have option like the blade 21" wheels.

Also, you'll see when the design studio is up and running that the green color is not offered on the Signature and both my wife and I really like how it looks so we'll stay with our Production reservation. I'm putting the rest of the money back into TSLA stock.

That's all for now, but more later...

David70 | October 3, 2011

I wish your wife could convince my wife. I'm hoping that after seeing the beta (whenever it comes out), she'll be more open to getting one. She considers it too expensive for us, and we've lost at least $50k this year on our portfolio. If the stock market doesn't recover by the time of release, I may have to yield to her judgement, or at least postpone until the economy recovers.

Robert.Boston | October 3, 2011

I'm very concerned about Tesla's rejection of standardized charging connections. This is a serious problem -- I was planning on relying on my parking garage's chargers, the chargers near by daughter's university, etc. to act as range extenders. We shouldn't be held hostage to where Telsa chooses to put chargers....

Mittar | October 3, 2011

@Robert: I'm fairly sure that you'll be able to buy a converter for the charger standard. Yes, it's annoying that it'll cost you a little extra, but it shouldn't be the roadblock that it sounds like.

Volker.Berlin | October 3, 2011

Regarding charger, I may have mixed up something, but I think Elon's promise was that you can plug in wherever you are, and all you need is the one universal cable that comes standard. Would be very interested to find some official sources on this.

Robert.Boston | October 4, 2011

@Mittar: thanks, I hope you're right. I don't greatly mind paying something extra for an adapter, so long as I can charge at public sites.

@Volker.Berlin: My read (which may well be wrong) is that the cable could plug in to any standard outlet, either the normal 120v or the standard "clothes dryer" 220v. That doesn't address how to use existing EV charging infrastructure.

Robert.Boston | October 4, 2011

I'll correct myself: the Features list does claim that "public stations" will be accessible. Hmm. I sure hope that works elegantly!

stephen.kamichik | October 4, 2011

I like the interior.