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BIG DESIGNPROBLEM ON MODEL S

BIG DESIGNPROBLEM ON MODEL S

The door handle on Model S arent going to work in winter time. You have to push it in. What are Tesla going to do? Make a own Tessla for people living noth of the 50. latitude? xD

EdG | October 24, 2011

AFAIK, the handles are heated. I guess there's some lower limit on the temperature it can handle (water hits handle, then the outside temp goes down to -40 so it can't be melted?). In that situation, hopefully on of the passenger door handles or the trunk can be opened.
[ Maybe this is the reason there's nothing on the floor between driver and passenger? :) ]

If you anticipate this happening (if you ever find out the lower temperature limit) you might want to put something over the handle to keep it dry?

Volker.Berlin | October 24, 2011

@Unversell, you are not the first to raise this concern. You may want to read this thread:
http://www.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/those-door-handles

sarge7359 | October 24, 2011

I recall the mobile app they demo'd was able to single the car the car to warm up before you enter it... would that provide enough heat to keep the handles from sticking?

Mycroft | October 24, 2011

Even normal door locks freeze up and can't be opened.

Geesh, people freak out about the weirdest things.

Zelaza | October 24, 2011

I just don't understand the need for retractable door handles. The claim is made that this is done to smooth the car profile and reduce aerodynamic drag. Really? Have you noticed the scoop in the side panels, the wheel well openings, the grill?
If the Model S were an airplane flying at 250+ mph I could understand that (the door handles.) But at typical car speeds? How much energy is saved by retracting four small handles at the side? I would think that driving with one or two side windows open for a few miles or minutes would waste far more energy than the door handles during a years use of the car (I admit, I can't do this calculation nor know how.)
Then, of course, the electrical energy required to operate the handles and keep those circuits alive. Might not that exceed the drag energy wasted? And, of course, the cost and complexity of the (electrified) door handle design. Those handles are subjected to a lot of abuse and people unthinkingly just love to yank those things (why do some people slam cars doors when they can close them with a modest push?) I'd definitely hate to have to replace those handles both in time and cost.

Mycroft | October 24, 2011

Yes, flush handles make a difference. No, they don't have to be retractable; other cars have flush handles that aren't electric.

Elon thinks retractable handles are cool and he's in the driver's seat, (so to speak), so we get retractable handles.

You don't have to buy it.

brianman | October 24, 2011

"My v-v-voice is m-my pass-s-s-port, v-v-verify m-m-m-e. T-t-tesla heat handles p-p-please."

<>

brianman | October 24, 2011

Tags ate the respond. Retrying...

"I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that."

Unversell | October 24, 2011

I live on sealevel 400 km south of Trondheim in Norway, in wintertime it is -20 degrees celsius. Normaly we use oil on the door handle, but on Model S it is impossible. What kind of a designer idiot has designed this car?

It is very nice, and I like the design. But it isnt functional!

I think Tesla should make an full electric rough SUV for people which live in a contry whith very bad roads and changing weather.

Denis Vincent | October 24, 2011

Zelaza It's obvious by your "contributions??" to these forums that you are a "Special Needs" individual. Your participation here is not going to help you in making a decision to get a vehicle (or "get a life" for that matter) that you so desperately need. Your confrontational, unreasonable and negative attitude does not belong in these forums...you need help, go find it in somewhere else.

Gunleik | October 24, 2011

@Universell: I live in Norway too, but I don't share your fear of frozen handles. What makes you so sure they won't work? Do you already have one? Do you have the construction & assembly drawings?

Unversell | October 24, 2011

@Denis Vincent

I think Zelaza has very good technical skills, and see how things really works. He could do it very good as an engineer. But as an designer....

Unversell | October 24, 2011

@Gunleik

I often has a prblem with my normal door handle, and i think this type maybe can double this problem. I have never tested a door handle like this, so I dont know how it would do through the Norwegian winter ;)
But it isnt funny with a doorhandle full of silicon :)

Mycroft | October 24, 2011

Unversell, they've stated somewhere that the plan is for the handles to be pre-heated. So it's quite likely that "silicon" enhanced door handles will be superior to "normal" handles.

However, Tesla has never mentioned developing a "rough" SUV type vehicle. So you're going to have to look elsewhere for that. At least for the next 4+ years.

Unversell | October 24, 2011

Great! Im going to buy one of those :D

Robert.Boston | October 24, 2011

A scatter-shot of responses:

Heated handles
Preheated cabins on command will clear ice from windows, so that the window can lower and allow the door to open (these are frameless windows, remember)
Wide blue masking tape over the handles?
Custom car cover, with a little flap where the charger plugs in. I really hope Tesla will offer this as an accessory (really!)

Timo | October 24, 2011

@brianman, nice combination of Sneakers and 2001. Great movies too.

As multiple people have mentioned those door handles will be heated. Probably better than ordinary handles then with frozen locks and stuff like that. Cool and functional.

For drag, electricity usage is tiny for popping them out. People don't seem to understand how huge amount of energy is required to move a car, if you change Cd even 0.004 with those door handles (there are four of those), it is worth it.

David70 | October 24, 2011

On the door handles freezing, this has happened for me only with rain/freezing rain/wet snow followed by a drop in temperature. The solution was to use a de-icer spray, or hair dryer, or wait until it either warms up enough and dries out enough to get the doors open. And in such cases, the handles aren't the only problem. The doors themselves can be frozen shut.

Robert.Boston | October 24, 2011

@David70: "The doors themselves can be frozen shut."

Yep, yep -- freezing rain, snow falling on warm cars that cool down, etc. There are a lot of situations where I find one side of my Audi completely frozen under and I crawl in the other side.

I've since bought a cover for my car, which is a huge help. Hopefully Tesla will have someone custom-make a cover for the Model S that allows recharging while covered (with appropriate ventilation).

BYT | October 24, 2011

I'm in California, no issues with the door handles what-so-ever here! :) I think they are super cool and wouldn't change a thing about them! Heck, I know people who payed extra to customize their cars like that!

petero | October 24, 2011

Over night, most of us will be parking and charging our "S" in heated garages. No worries.
During the day it could be challenging.

I live in Los Angeles, not a snowflake in sight -ever.

Discoducky | October 24, 2011

When parked and the temp drops below freezing, the car automatically pushes out the handles.

Can we talk about something else please? ;)

David70 | October 24, 2011

But Discoducky, this IS the frozen handles thread.

But anyway, I'm going to be wintering in California, so hopefully won't have too many days with freezing rain while in Washington. OTOH, I hope to get a good car cover for the Model S for when I am still up here.

Robert.Boston | October 25, 2011

Even if you have a garage (heated or otherwise), does your ski resort? Your movie theater? Your office park? A cover will come in handy.

Brian H | October 25, 2011

Your key fob should have a built-in laser to direct at the offending ice on handles and around the door frame.
Simples!

;p

dborn @nsw.au | October 29, 2011

Simple, people. Humans were never meant to be polar bears. Move somewhere with normal human temperatures, like here in Sydney Australia. A really horribly cold and miserable winters day - raining and the outside temp at 7 degrees Celsius!! Awful hey? Move over here!
I really like the tech on this car, handles included. Lets move on. One feature I consider essential but not mentioned anywhere is the provision of a foot support for the left foot. Most uncomfortable to drive without one, and so basic - not an electron in sight to offer this.

Mycroft | October 29, 2011

There's a left foot rest/brace in the beta, so it's quite likely to be there in the production car.

Mark K | October 30, 2011

Anyone who engineers real products will readily concede that every machine has possible failure modes.

If you care about the quality of what you build, you think about these possibilities and provide some practical level of safety factor and recovery options.

By integrating heaters into the handles, it seems to me that Tesla engineers have been more conscientious than traditional car designers.

Getting enough liquid water on all the right spots for the 5 handles, followed by an abruptly freezing atmosphere ... this can certainly happen, but it is not routine.

If you are faced with these specific conditions often, you'd generally take steps to avoid trouble - like putting on a cover or activating the built-in heaters.

The beauty of Tesla's glass cockpit architecture is that those heaters can be activated by an upgradeable app on your smartphone. At every level, this outperforms traditional approaches to the problem of frozen door handles.

To focus on a rare circumstance and frontline it as a serious design deficiency seems to me to be a disingenuous attempt to discredit Tesla.

These obviously motivated and spirited Engineers instead deserve our encouragement.

Volker.Berlin | October 30, 2011

Thank you, Mark K, you nailed it IMO.

ncn | October 30, 2011

A decade ago in Minnesota, we had a day with alternating cycles of rain and snow. My car ended up covered in a single sheet of ice shaped like a car.

We first used a hair dryer to melt lines around the edges of the doors, which we then cracked with a scraper, and then melted again. Repeated around the door handles. Repeated around the locks. Injected antifreeze into the locks. Unlocked and opened the car... and of course it wouldn't start.

Repeated the entire procedure with the hood. Opened that up and heated the block. Still wouldn't start.

Called the mechanic, who disconnected a number of hoses, injected antifreeze into them, and reconnected them. (It wasn't the fuel line, as that already had antifreeze in it, since it *was* a Minnesota winter.) *Finally* it started.

I daresay my Model S will be easier to deal with in those conditions than the gasoline car. Melt the doorhandles and door frames out, open the handles manually. There should be far fewer hoses full of liquid subject to freezing.

I do see one potential serious problem, though. If the car is left *not plugged in* under these conditions, *how do we get the charge port open*? Does it have a manual opening method, the way the door handles do? Because the car will likely have to be plugged in in order for the temperature management system to recover from the icy conditions...

gjunky | October 30, 2011

@ncn: I know you must be dealing with winters like this often but I just wonder, if you have to go through so much trouble to open your car, does it still make sense to drive in those conditions?

I might have the opposite problem here in Phoenix. Anything that is clear metal and sits out in the sun get VERY hot and will be almost impossible to touch without some protection. There are restaurants that have towels wrapped around their door handles to make sure guests don't burn their hands. I guess my same question should be true for here. If you have to take measures like that, is it still worth going out? :)

Anyway, I will be a big fan of painted door handles as they will be much easier to touch in the summer. And no, it doesn't help that the inside of the handles were out of the sun when they were retracted. It will be near impossible to open the doors without accidentally touching the bare metal on the outside. Not a deal breaker for sure but something to think about. The painted door handles will probably not freeze as easily either I am guessing.

David M. | October 30, 2011

@ncn,
" If the car is left *not plugged in* under these conditions, *how do we get the charge port open*?"

Finally, a great question - that doesn't have anything to do with the door handles!
Hopefully, the car will not allow itself to completely discharge the battery, without a (manual) way to open the charge port.

Is that right Tesla Motors??

Mark K | October 30, 2011

The extremes of hot and cold are a reality for all cars.

All conventional door handles can fail when frozen or be hot to the touch in Summer.

Tesla's door handles shade themselves until needed in Summer, and warm themselves in Winter.

In my view, this exceeds anything Mercedes, BMW, or even Bentley has ever done with their high-end vehicles to address those situations.

This car costs less than those others, and yet in even in this detail, it does more. Should we complain, or thank them?

Think through the possibilities. Telsa, unlike any competitor, can wirelessly deliver a smartphone app to preemptively deploy the handles if the temperature begins dropping. That can give you more purchase to break the ice than any competitor. If you like, they can let you just leave the door handles popped-out when parked if the weather is cold enough. That's the power of field-upgradeable firmware and servo handles.

Their architecture provides recourse that no one else can match. Is this bad?

In my view, this thread is about picking a nit to provoke anxiety. In the clear light of day, any honest review of what Tesla is doing here ends up increasing our confidence.

These folks are working harder, and building it smarter than anything else you can buy.

I gave them my money only when I was convinced of that.

Mark K | October 30, 2011

The extremes of hot and cold are a reality for all cars.

All conventional door handles can fail when frozen or be hot to the touch in Summer.

Tesla's door handles shade themselves until needed in Summer, and warm themselves in Winter.

In my view, this exceeds anything Mercedes, BMW, or even Bentley has ever done with their high-end vehicles to address those situations.

This car costs less than those others, and yet in even in this detail, it does more. Should we complain, or thank them?

Think through the possibilities. Telsa, unlike any competitor, can wirelessly deliver a smartphone app to preemptively deploy the handles if the temperature begins dropping. That can give you more purchase to break the ice than any competitor. If you like, they can let you just leave the door handles popped-out when parked if the weather is cold enough. That's the power of field-upgradeable firmware and servo handles.

Their architecture provides recourse that no one else can match. Is this bad?

In my view, this thread is about picking a nit to provoke anxiety. In the clear light of day, any honest review of what Tesla is doing here ends up increasing our confidence.

These folks are working harder, and building it smarter than anything else you can buy.

I gave them my money only when I was convinced of that.

brianman | October 30, 2011

@Mark K

I think you're reading too much into the title of the thread. While the title sounds critical and panicky, the discussion has a reasonable and arguably positive tone.

Mark K | October 30, 2011

That could be, and maybe some good will come of this thread.

For me though, the all-caps headline proclaiming a "Big Problem" seemed to telegraph the intent.

While most comments were pretty level-headed, calling Tesla designers "idiots" did not seem particularly positive or even fair. That's what moved me to chime in.

Another fascinating phenomenon that might drive some of this -

Whenever an innovator makes a big leap, there is sometimes a perverse effect - a tendency to hold them to a higher standard on everything else. Perhaps that is part of what we see here.

The constructive role of these forums is to let the important stuff rise to the top so that it gets the attention it deserves. Exaggerating nits shouldn't distract from the truly productive exchanges.

Hopefully, encouraging folks to speak up with rational counterpoints help keep the focus on what makes a better car.

Mycroft | October 30, 2011

I'm now upset that there aren't any all-season tires for the 21" wheels. I demand that Tesla force the tire companies to produce all-season tires before the car comes out. If they don't, well I just won't buy a car. So there!

:)

Mark K | October 30, 2011

Now your talk'n!

Maybe we should also shame Tesla into coercing Uncle Sam to ban all ICE vehicles as a condition of our purchases.

After all, this would solve both gas and traffic problems all at once!

Amen.

Andrew18 | October 30, 2011

I agree about the tires- I live in Chicago and I need them

Volker.Berlin | October 31, 2011

I agree about the ICE vehicles and traffic problems. I live in Berlin and use my bike to get to the office every morning. ICE traffic sucks big time.

Oooh, we digress...

Thumper | October 31, 2011

There is a simple winter tires solution. Buy the 21" wheels with performance tires and a set of 19" aftermarket rims of your choice with full winter spec tires. Why not? You won't want to pry the tires off the rims seasonally and the 21s are ill-suited to pot holes .

Mycroft | October 31, 2011

Yeah Thumper, that's what we're going to have to do. Normally, here in the Northwet, I would just slap all-seasons on and not worry about the few days we get a freeze or snow since I know how to drive in it. But since that's not going to be an option for the 21" wheels, it'll be full rotation time.

At least it's a short season, so I'll only need to run the snow tires from the beginning of December through the end of February.

Kallisman | October 31, 2011

I'm sure a tire manufacturer will make 21" all season tires if someone are willing to pay what it would cost. Personally I think it's not a product I would want. Need more rubber and air around the rims in the winter here to protect them from potholes etc. I'll be getting a separate set of winter tires. All season tires are a compromise and are not really good at anything.

Mark Petersen | October 31, 2011

no Tesla should force manufacturer to make 21" wither tires
nothing less or I will cancel my ...
:-)

Unversell | November 7, 2011

@Mycroft

I dont see your problem.
http://www.nordendekk.no/Vinterdekk_Piggfrie_vinterdekk_Nokian/products/...

Or you can have two set of tyres. One for summer, and one for winter.

I use Nokian Hakkapeliitta, and they feel very good on the road.
http://www.beckmeister.no/shop/index.aspx?intshopcmd=&group=451801&prod=...