Something new?

Something new?

When is something new regarding the Model S coming out from Tesla? If launch is due a year from now, should the Beta not now be released? Options? Interiors? Final body shapes? Colours? In fact, at this stage they must surely KNOW where they heading, unless there is some glitch in the production/product development sequence. It is going to take quite some time for tooling etc.
At the very least, Franz needs to answer the questions posed on a previous blog, as promised. We are halfway through the month AFTER he was supposed to reply!!!
Is this a cause for concern for those of us who have put down cold hard cash to reserve? "S"#9 holder, Australia

Trnsl8r | July 16, 2011

Personally, I think we all need to stock up on patience and relax. Launch time is still more than a year away, we will all go nuts if we expect weekly updates.

I'd prefer to have Tesla focus on developing cars than run the web site. Granted, it feels like they are handling this site with their left hand every few months or so and I don't appreciate a blog that goes for months without an entry, but you have to admit that the insight we get in the model S development (when we get it) is miles away from what we see from the major manufacturers, who usually don't say peep about a model until it's done.

FWIW, I found this article online that should put some of our minds a bit at ease:

Thumper | July 16, 2011

Best not to criticize someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes. Then you'll have their shoes and be a mile away!

Le'Quen | July 19, 2011

This car has a great look ,and since it's on the high tech it should have it all around .
1,Those door handles should light up by it self during the night .
2,The center of all 4 rims should have the sign of TESLA light up as well.
3,If there is not an option already ,all of that glass should be able to dim in direct sun light , or on command .
4,Since this car seats 5+2=7 it should have a entertainment system that is wireless for use with kids, also what are the safty spec ?
How many air bags ?
5,I would really like to see a crash stop system , with locking doors and closing windows .
6,Last what about the self parking that lexus and ford are doing, it would be a good .

CraigL | July 19, 2011

All cars come with a wireless entertainment system for kids, it is called Books and Talking, you should try it.

stAtrill | July 19, 2011

I second the auto-dimming windshield, although I'd prefer an auto-fogging windshield whenever I turn the car off. Helps keep the interior cool :)


The technology is very close to what's in a LCD panel (which have become dirt cheap lately), and it's manufacturing doesn't require anywhere near the same precision the LCD panel does. I can't figure out why all cars don't do this, it seems an almost basic method to keep heat out. And better than a tint, which merely absorbs heat into the glass.

Not to mention the style points.

EdG | July 20, 2011

I doubt any car manufacturer wants to be the first to put electro-dimming glass in the windshield. The possibility of an electrical failure which blocks the driver's view (even partial blockage at night could be disastrous) is enough to scare everyone away. It might be do-able with some triple-safe manual switch. Also,I'd like to be sure there is absolutely no visual distortion associated with it if I'm to look through it all the time.

But maybe it can be put on the roof or sides or rear, to start?

Great for driving to lover's lane, too. I won't bother cross-posting to the 18 year old's thread.

MTriantafelow | July 20, 2011

I spoke with a Tesla representative last night at the Plug-in 2011 event here in Raleigh, NC. I don't know if this will satisfy your craving for more news, but he said the Beta would be out in either the 3rd or 4th quarter. It will probably be available for journalists to drive and maybe even some reservation we should start reading a lot more about it at that point.

Also, he basically said (with much dancing around the question) that the styling of the production version will probably be closer to the Alpha than the Prototype, and that they hadn't made a final decision yet, but its likely that the charging port will be on the rear of the vehicle. He said they are trying to balance the practical problem of having charging stations at the head of a parking spot with the reality that putting the plug on the front of the car could really interfere with the styling.

Volker.Berlin | July 20, 2011

@MTriantafelow, thank you very much for sharing! It's good to know that Tesla is carefully considering the same questions that bother a majority of the posters here.

Le'Quen | July 20, 2011

Lol, We all know books and talking go a long way, but if you are driving from NEW YORK to FLORIDA with kids ,you need another thing for them .
Can u access a kindle over the 3g through the wireless entertainment ?
The Q? What are the safty spec ? at the end means what type of nosie reduction to the inner ear for pro longed use , and how would this wireless system fair with travel cross country and Europe.
This is the Q?

stAtrill | July 20, 2011

That's the best part, electric potential is only necessary to cause a change in states. The scenario you described cannot happen, should the panel suffer an electrical failure, the worst that would happen is it 1) fail to fog after turning the car off, or 2) fail to clear after turning it back on. Both of which could only occur when the car isn't moving.

I would consider that news, not sure if I think it's good news. And to think I was all of 15 miles from Raleigh last night too.

EdG | July 20, 2011

@stAtrill: I guess you've never encountered an electrical short or computer bug. If you were in charge of design for this, would you risk the company's reputation on your faith in this never happening?

All I'm saying is: I would not, not without extensive backup systems to make me 99.99999% sure no driver would ever encounter a problem of "fogging" the window when not desired. And if Tesla put it in, I'd have to be sure the error would never occur before I'd ever turn it on in my car.

Timo | July 20, 2011

@stAtrill, to confirm EdG:s comment, my computer at home blew up an capacitor at night (BOOM! I woke up) and that caused my computer to start up, not to die. Needless to say I was in hurry to rip to cord off the wall because who knows which kind of voltages it was pushing to the motherboard at that time. Luckily nothing else broke down (that I have noticed).

To make sure that fogging doesn't happen there would have to be some sort of real switch that removes the connection completely from power source during driving. Then there are static discharges. I don't know what static charges do to that system. I pretty regularly get zapped by static discharge when I get out of the car when I'm wearing one of my favorite jackets (something to do with the inner lining of that jacket).

EdG | July 20, 2011

And, for what it's worth, about 30 years ago New York State passed a law banning window tinting that stopped police officers from being able to see into a car (pulled over for traffic violation). It allows them to see when an occupant is pulling out a gun.

I'd guess the ability to turn your windows into mirrors or otherwise opaque would be illegal here.

Designtime | July 20, 2011

Predictable answer about the styling, but I am still very disappointed to hear it.

stAtrill | July 20, 2011

@EdG,Timo: Not that I've never heard of a failure or short, but wouldn't the possible failure rate for that scenario be similar to failure rates of the other computer controlled but essential modules? I would expect an electrical short could also knock out my power steering, or anything else critical on a primarily electrical vehicle. Although it can happen, it rarely ever does - as my last check of accident statistics reported the overwhelming majority of causes as "user error" ;)

Its basically a game of risks; I would find the risks of failure about the same as any other critical component failure, and with that basis would still build it into the vehicle.

As to the legality, that is a good point (maybe offer as option?). I simply think this could be a huge help in line with the other efficiency-related improvements. I could see this potentially allowing me to not use the cooling system at all on those summer days where I cant just 'precool' because I'm not at my house. (To clarify: North Carolina summer, not Florida summer)

Timo | July 21, 2011

Power steering is not critical, if it fails you can still control your car, just turning the wheel would be a bit harder. There are not much safety "essentials" in cars that are controlled purely by computer (can't think any just now).

EdG | July 21, 2011

When designing a car, you have to minimize the number of things that can go very badly wrong. That's probably why Timo couldn't easily think of any.

While power assisted steering and brakes have been a feature of most cars over many years, you don't see cars that are pure electrical steering or brakes. At least not yet.

When the engineers of any critical system can find a more reliable way, they will change. But brand new risks will not be put in lightly. So, because steering and braking are necessary, if an electrical system is shown to be more reliable than the mechanical ones in use, even in failure modes, they will be used, and not until. Note that there are two reasons Roadsters have disk brakes: because regenerative braking doesn't work well at very low speeds (you do need to actually stop after slowing down) and the disk brakes are mechanically (should I say fluidly?) connected to the pedal, satisfying those who worry about electrical failures and emergency braking.

You'll have to satisfy yourself with the reflective corrugated paper you unfold - manually - to reflect unwanted infrared. Maybe someday someone will invent a glass coating that will reflect all the infrared without affecting the visible red. It would make it a bit weird to see the hot sun, but not feel it at all through the glass. I guess we could get used to that.

( Repeating myself :) Note that making the sunroof out of electrically controlled safety glass wouldn't add any hazard.

Douglas3 | July 21, 2011

Timo - "There are not much safety "essentials" in cars that are controlled purely by computer (can't think any just now)."


Timo | July 21, 2011

That's correct. Throttle in EV (and regen braking) is controlled by computer, though not like any home computer.

I never thought of this, but what does the acclerator feel like in Roadster? The pedal, not the acceleration. Is it easy to keep same speed? Does it resist fast movements?

stAtrill | July 21, 2011

On a second thought, most assisted systems in vehicles do have a mechanical backup. On the other hand, the way vehicles are heading, more and more of the driving experience will be computer assisted. For example, there is no mechanical link between the accelerator pedal and the throttle. And because the throttle is electronic, this has allowed cruise control. In older cars, there is a twistable metal bar (whose name I forget) that governs the purely mechanical power assisted steering. However, newer cars can either have electric AS, or a hydraulic system governed electrically. This is what enables park assists. Call it a personal opinion, but I feel that the fear of loss of safety retards the otherwise phenomenal progress cars could be making. I haven't ever heard of the throttle malfunctioning on the electronic side (Toyota's big scare was a hardware issue), nor have I heard of AS or even the electronic braking assist systems malfunctioning while driving - they seem more reliable than even the engine itself.

However, I do see where you're coming from. The risk would be higher than usual, but considering vehicles' electronics use multiple redundancy anyway (3 in just the ECM alone), I think this move we're seeing now towards a system with no mechanical overrides is inevitable.

As an aside, to illustrate risks already built into cars: for those with park assists, electrical failure of such a system could turn your wheel to lock, which at highway speeds would cause immediate loss of control. And the worst part is, is that no normal human could muster the power to resist it. It's never happened before, and we have electrical reliability to thank for that.

stAtrill | July 21, 2011

Whoops, didn't see Douglas3's post there.

Volker.Berlin | July 21, 2011

I never thought of this, but what does the acclerator feel like in Roadster? The pedal, not the acceleration. Is it easy to keep same speed? Does it resist fast movements? (Timo)

I only know the Roadster from a 20-minute test drive, but the major impression from that was: Yes, it drives like a Go Kart as expected, but only in positive ways. And yes, it unexpectedly drives just like a normal car, but only in positive ways... ;-) It is hard to describe in detail, suffice to say that at least for me, the feeling of the accelerator pedal (including regen) was just right. The only surprise was (and that was a big one) that there wasn't any.

EdG | July 21, 2011

I second Volker's opinion. I can't really describe the difference I felt when I tested the Roadster (this past Saturday in Greenwich, CT). If I say the accelerator handles feels like an electric golf cart, but at road/highway speeds, it doesn't sound like a positive thing.

The best I can tell you is the difference in feeling is positive: if that difference were the only thing different between two cars, everyone would opt for the electric vehicle's feeling. Smooth, quite, precise, quick. Is that boring, or just what you'd want?

Some people like to drive old double clutch vehicles. That kind of nostalgia is about the only feeling that would bring you back to wanting the feeling of driving an ICE if you're allowed the alternative. Noise, reaction delays, etc. We who remember the ICE being driven by everyone may want to drive one now and again to hear the noise and feel the delay.

MTriantafelow | July 21, 2011

Too bad you missed it. If you are going to be around Raleigh next Tues. or Wed. Tesla is going to be here with the Model S prototype.

Douglas3 | July 21, 2011

Many cars, not just Tesla, have digital throttles. Toyota famously took a lot of heat about theirs, when it was suspected that they caused unintended acceleration. (The consensus seems to be floor mats and user error.)

As for the Roadster's throttle, I'd have to say they really nailed it. It is smooth yet incredibly responsive. The regen is seamless. It took me less than a minute to get used to it on my test drive, and just a couple minutes more to really start enjoying it.

In comparison I've come to really dislike the throttle in my G37. I don't think it's particularly bad or anything; it just has all the usual limitations of an internal combustion engine. When you stomp on the pedal there's a huge lag before anything happens (it's probably under half a second but it sure feels a lot longer). You get also inconsistent results when you press it moderately; it depends on whether you hit the trigger point for downshifting or not. Better just to hit the paddle shifter first... but that's slow too!

mnx | July 21, 2011

I agree wholeheartedly with everything Douglas3 said. Except in my case replace g37 with bmw 335d... I was doing some spirited driving this week and the lag from a complete stop to begin accelerating is unbearable.. They can't build the Model S soon enough!

stAtrill | July 21, 2011

I will most definitely be able to attend this go 'round. I already have the days off too? I am beyond ecstatic, like I've pretty much been following this project since it was mere rumor!

It's one thing to see pics and a vid, but to see something actually functioning in front of you?
...Can you ride in the prototype?

Regarding the throttle, I've noticed the lag in my car too (VW Passat GLS v6). I always assumed it was simply a poor quality computer or something, I have tuner friends that are always suggesting a new chip would fix that.

EdG | July 21, 2011

You can't drive it, you can't even touch it. And it's not the real thing, either, because it's built on a different frame, etc. than the alpha or beta or final versions.

Even the door handles are probably not the finished type. (The salesman there said they may be going with a handle that rotates out on a front hinge, as opposed to the handle that has been seen in the video.)

The battery compartment is different than the final configuration, too.

The touch display looked nice through the open door...

Maybe you can ride in a Roadster. That's what I did.

Timo | July 21, 2011

So (accelerator) doesn't get fits when you move your feet to more comfortable position. Single feet driving has one drawback: you need to drive all of time, no rest or even relaxing exercise moments when you change gears. I tend to have cramps in my feet sometimes if I don't get to move them, I would hate to have those in Roadster-like street rocket.

EdG | July 21, 2011

[sarcasm alert!] Yeah, I hope they have the technology for cruise control ready so you can move your feet around. And an exercise gym so my behind doesn't stay in one place for the whole ride. What else??? [¡end alert]

Since I'm already wasting everyone's time with reading another post, I'll add to the previous discussion here with one more thought: given that ICE cars used to stall out a lot - back in the day - people somehow did not crash without a working throttle. We still needed steering and brakes, so I think of those as more important to keep working when all else fails. Maybe it's just my age showing. But, weather permitting, I'd also like to be able to see out the window till I get to a stop.

Timo | July 21, 2011

You seem to have a bad mood. I didn't mean anything provoking with my comment, just to figure out how it feels, how sensitive it is and how it reacts to tiny movements. With that much power to control you don't want to get it all with tiny movements. I'm sure they have made it feel "like a ICE car", but what kind of ICE car? That's all.

Take a cookie, that works for Adam Savage (according to Jamie Hyneman) for bad moods. Watch Amélie (movie), that always brings smile in my face.

EdG | July 21, 2011

Silly me. Why would I think the reason for my sarcasm obvious? Your complaint was about having to keep your foot in one place because you won't have to use a clutch. I don't think they'll put a clutch in for you. But all you have to do is put the car's cruise control on while you stretch your feet. And, no, I'm not upset, just wondering what you were expecting the Tesla engineers to do for you.

Timo | July 21, 2011

You are still reading something in my message that I didn't say. I never complained about anything or said that I want a clutch. I just said that keeping my foot in driving position all of time would be bad and I wanted to know if moving my feet a bit does cause car to go nuts. Using cruise control in town would be bad idea.

Go eat that cookie or watch the Amélie before replying. Try to be less negative.

Volker.Berlin | July 22, 2011

Timo, the simply answer to your question is: No worries. I don't know how they did it, because you'd expect that without gears every movement of the accelerator pedal should have so much more effect, but -- just moving your foot a little to the left or to the right to change position, with some inevitable small impact on pressing the accelerator pedal a little more or less won't cause the car go nuts. You may feel some immediate acceleration or deceleration though, but it's not fierce or uncontrollable. The car's reaction to pedal movements is very smooth and feels perfectly linear (although I am sure it isn't). I hope they get it tweaked the same way for the Model S, then I don't need no user options for different response lines or regen settings or anything.

Timo | July 22, 2011

Thanks, that sounds great. Pretty much just like I would want it to be.

EdG | July 22, 2011

Sorry, Timo, I didn't understand your question. It sounded like you wanted to take your foot off the pedal now and then, but felt you couldn't. If you meant that you were worried that that car's sensitivity to exact foot pressure might be far too high, I misunderstood. If the S is like the Roadster, it doesn't seem to be any more a problem than in any other car. Perhaps it will be even less so, given the difference between EV and ICE and typical ICE transmission changes.

Thanks, but I'm not interested in watching Amélie again, nor having a cookie right now. If it's good for you, take your own advice, though: "Try to be less negative." You often post negatively, whether you know it or not.

Timo | July 22, 2011

Consider me as your neighborhood Borg. Male version of Seven of Nine. When I see something I think could be done better I have irresistible urge to say so, even if it means that I sound negative. I usually don't mean my words as complaints, just observations (though I sometimes post deliberately provocative posts to raise questions, and maybe alarm Tesla to do something, as futile it might be). I skip the positive, because in most cases I find them obvious (and as such anybody should see them).

I think some of my posts sound more harsh than I mean them to be because of cultural thing: my sister once was sending a letter to someone because their payment was late, and his husband that has lived in Canada and was more "native" English speaker said that if you send this like it is it is interpreted as "if you don't pay right now next thing you see to the other side of your door is couple of big guys with shotguns". In many cases I'm surprised that my observations (or as in this case questions) are interpreted as complaints.

Most of my posts are just opinions and observations, sometimes questions, answers, advices and suggestions.

Brian H | July 22, 2011

So, your excuse is that you're just another innately belligerent European? Nice!


Timo | July 22, 2011

No, that would make me like you US people :-). Blunt maybe, but not belligerent.

Brian H | July 22, 2011

Heh. No, I think bellicosity is European. Europeans historically start wars, and then ask the US to help finish or stop them. Then blame it for being a bully.


Timo | July 22, 2011

Well, in last half century it has been US that has been starting wars and then asking other NATO countries to join them, not the other way around. So bellicosity goes both ways, and currently it is US that is doing it. I can't think any major war after WW2 that was started by Europeans.

Maybe entire humanity is innately belligerent. Depressing thought, but it might be true.

MTriantafelow | July 23, 2011

Can't drive the prototype, though I know they have given rides in it before. I don't think the insurance company allows them to let anyone else behind the wheel.

That being said, I read that there will be Roadsters there for us to drive.

Douglas3 | July 23, 2011


Yes there's a lot of power in that pedal, but it's not on a hair trigger or anything. You have to physically move it some distance to cause acceleration/deceleration. I'm as twitchy as anyone in the driver's seat, and I've yet to have my Roadster rocket off on me.

stAtrill | July 25, 2011

I am beside myself right now - I thought this was going to be like a press lecture session or something. That being said, I will be there tomorrow at 10 o clock sharp! I can't believe this!

And I will do my utmost to remain composed throughout the demo. *completely psyched*

t7n7 | July 26, 2011

1,Those door handles should light up by it self during the night .
: I have this on my acura... only lights up when I approach the car, unlock etc. (same as my BMW but better illumination)

2,The center of all 4 rims should have the sign of TESLA light up as well.
: I have this as well... though it's off.. i only turn it on when i'm having a party or at a car meet. you can buy these, they recharge with motion... not a big deal... lightcaps

3,If there is not an option already ,all of that glass should be able to dim in direct sun light , or on command .
: I have this on my Infinity. It's awesome, right now it's averaging 35degrees celsius here.. and my car's interior is much cooler! I've had it for over 3 years.. never had a problem whatsoever. Water/Winter tested. (uploaded the videos late on youtube after some legal stuff)
I have a fail safe on this, the chances the windows will fail are the same chances the car's ecu will fail... which is going to be almost never... i've spent more time perfecting it then actually getting it to work.. so believe me... this is amazing to have. plus I can project info onto the windows, i can change colors, etc.

4,Since this car seats 5+2=7 it should have a entertainment system that is wireless for use with kids, also what are the safty spec ?
: Nothing wrong with asking for this... CraigL needs to wake up.. it's 2011... try going anywhere with kids in the back... an entertainment system is a must! I have this in all my cars.. it's pretty cheap and you can install it on pretty much any car.. no need to request the manufacture to do it. Mine are embedded into the seats but you can buy cheap 400$ systems that cover both sides and have dvd players... with wireless headphones. :)

How many air bags ? : The car is safety approved so atleast 4.. anything more is an extra.. careful driving saves lives, air bags are there just to assist.

5,I would really like to see a crash stop system , with locking doors and closing windows . Most new cars have something like this... except, the doors UNLOCK when the car is no longer in motion... (after coming to a complete stop) ... would be nice if Tesla adopted this... especially with the automatic door handles which may not function after a crash.. it is important that emergency crew can get inside quick if the car rolls over or is in an accident

6,Last what about the self parking that lexus and ford are doing, it would be a good .

This is "cooL" to have... but would you really rely on this? ... i mean.. have you ever seen one of these functions in action? you could probably park it and head to your destination faster...

t7n7 | July 26, 2011

arghh.. edit button.. where are you. Infiniti! :) I can't believe I got that wrong.. after correcting so many others...

Ramon123 | July 28, 2011

If anyone ever doubted my observation many months ago that EV buyers tend to be anal personality types, these forum entries should dispel any of those doubts. Here we have people who are
discombobulated because they don't know all of their options or
all of the details of a car they cannot possibly take delivery of
for at least a year or more. One wonders why these folks ever put down a deposit if they are so concerned about the exact,precise final form of the car. This kind of behavior doesn't make a whole lot of sense. So these folks actually need a year to decide on a color? Get real. Every car I've ever bought had a color I selected in the showroom the day I bought the car. Same for the interior
and all the other options that were offered. To see the differences between folks, I offer this experience : I was in a Sherwin Williams store buying some paint and there was a young couple buying a single gallon of flat latex. After they left, the
salesperson told me that this was the fifth or sixth (he'd lost count) visit by this couple - they both agreed on a color, went home and painted a wall and then decided they didn't think the
color looked "quite right," and returned to the store to try another. For all I know, they may still be searching for the perfect color. Then there's Carlos, a buddy who said he ran out of paint and went to his Mom's, found several partial gallons of latex in her attic (one light blue, one white) and mixed them
together to get enough paint to finish his condo living room
(painted white). Painted all of the last wall, away from direct light. He told me that in two years not one single visitor noticed that one of his living room walls was blue. Carlos was an electrical engineer - a very smart guy. The couple probably both worked for the Federal govt, as do most in Northern Virginia.

t7n7 | July 28, 2011


I personally know what I want, when I want it. I don't need fancy options as I will make my own options if I really need to, but don't expect everyone to be like you because every single person is different. Everyone has different expectations and have a way of dealing with things.... especially options on a car. I tend to wonder, who in the right mind would buy a BMW without navigation/iDrive ..but there are people who do... nothing wrong with that. As for the cheap friend of yours who can't seem to afford some paint to get the right color, don't compare him with others. also, not everyone is a critic.. some people just don't bother with telling your friend that the wall is blue.

Getting it right is the whole point. not going with the flow. The car is not out, but how many manufactures out there allow you to PREORDER a car with a deposit of 40,000$ with very little information?

I will be getting my Tesla regardless of how it looks or what's in it, because it's different. PERIOD.

Volker.Berlin | July 29, 2011

Ramon, I don't think it's necessarily anal personality (though I don't have the right to judge b/c I'm one of them). I think, it's just plain impatience. Very human. You say you decide the color the day you buy the car. But have you ever three years in advance decided to buy a car? The time is getting long and people want to have something to ponder and discuss until they can actually take delivery. I don't think there's anything more to it than just that. Very understandable IMO.

Volker.Berlin | July 29, 2011

Very understandable IMO. (Although not necessarily reasonable.)