Door handle and other behavior on non-Tech 40 different from non-Tech 60 and 85???

Door handle and other behavior on non-Tech 40 different from non-Tech 60 and 85???

I think I've discovered that the non-tech S40 behaves differently than the other standard non-tech models. It seems that when they got rid of the standard/max charge option, they dumped most other options on that settings page and thereby took away a bunch of features.

According to MS owner's manual page 2:
Without this option [tech package],
unlock Model S with the key, then
press the handle to extend it.

According to website, features include:
As you approach, the Tesla key commands the door handle to unlock, waiting for a simple tap to present itself.

My car behaves as the manual states. And yet others have SWORN up and down that their door handle presents even when the car is locked when they touch the handle as long as they have their key fob as the website states.

To be clear: First, I lock my doors using the fob (the handles will retract without using the fob too, but then the car is NOT locked and anyone, even without the fob can open the car). Then I touch the handles and nothing happens. I am forced to unlock the car first, at which point the handles present and I can open the car.

Looks like the 40s, like I have, has disabled the entire screen that has this behavior control (along with mirror auto-tilt and standard/max range control). Can someone with a non-Tech car verify for me that their car behaves differently? Be sure to lock the car with the fob first. And, does your mirror auto-tilt and did it ever, because my car doesn't have that either? Please mention model and vin or date of delivery.

Firmware 4.5 1.33.54
S60(40) with pano-roof, leather, non-Tech, Vin 10xxx

tobi_ger | July 19, 2013

Specifying firmware version may also be relevant for comparison?

HenryT2 | July 19, 2013

Thanks. I updated that.

Xerogas | July 19, 2013

I have the exact same configuration as you, even the same firmware and battery.

When car is locked, my handles don't present until I double-click the fob

NICE | July 19, 2013

I have the non-tech version.

The only difference between a tech and non-tech door locking is this;

The tech option has a proximity sensor. The car unlocks and door handles extend when the fob is nearby. The car locks and the door handles retract when the fob is away.

The non-tech does not have a proximity sensor: To lock the car press on the fob roof once. To unlock the car press the fob roof button twice. If left unlocked, the door handles retract after awhile. Press the door handle in to have the door handles extend.

The confusion may be due to no visual cue as to whether the car is locked or unlocked.
The door handles retracting does not mean they are locked.

There are a few ways to know whether or not the car is locked or unlocked;
1. Press in the door handle. If it extends the car is unlocked. If it doesn't the car is locked.
2. The control panel under "DOORS & LOCKS" shows a lock or unlock icon.
3. Your Tesla smartphone app under "Controls" shows a lock or unlock icon.

Nonetheless you will never be able to drive away without a fob inside the car.

Do not leave your spare key inside your car!

I hope this helped and sorry for stating the obvious, but apparently it's needed because there continues to be confusion.

Mireille '&... | July 19, 2013

Not sure what's going on here, but we also have a non-tech version S and she unlocks automatically when we approach; however, the handles do not present until we touch/lightly press them. I know this is the expected behavior because it is exactly what our DS described and demonstrated at delivery.

And yes, the car is definitely locked - verified via app and also visual when clicking fob to lock.

We've had our S over 6 months and this behavior has been consistent except for one software update where it was briefly lost, probably due to some glitch in download. Maybe it's just a software glitch in your case too? I'd see if TM can send (or re-send) the latest update before taking your car in for service.

Mireille '&... | July 19, 2013

Forgot to mention that our car also has mirror tilt. It's a 2012, so I don't know if they had slightly different options.

HenryT2 | July 19, 2013

Thanks for checking that. I've already edited my post to reflect my suspicion that the non-tech S40 behaves differently from the non-tech S60 and S85. Seems that when they excluded the standard/max option on the S40, they left off a bunch of other options that were on the same screen including auto-tilt and key behavior. My first clue was that my option screen looked nothing like the one in the manual.

skulleyb | July 19, 2013

I have a S60 and when locked with the key in my pocket if i touch the handles they present.
Also i have tilt mirrors when i first got the car but with a later version of firmware the option went away. Been arguing with Tesla about that one for a while.

HenryT2 | July 19, 2013

Is this a common thing, the auto-tilt disappearing? I haven't been checking into that issue, but when I take the car in for servicing, I'd like to know whether I should have that feature on my car.

ChasF | July 19, 2013

I have a non-tech MS 60, VIN 9XXX. Until recently, I had firmware version 4.4 (just got 4.5 and behavior hasn't changed) and touching the handle of my locked car, with the fob in my pocket, causes the handles to present. This is true for the drivers or passengers door. I do not have mirror auto-tilt. I do have leather seats.

skulleyb | July 19, 2013


Not sure about anyone else. But when i originally ordered my car VIN 6XXX they were still not sure about the options and what went how. I have the ability to save my seats but not the mirrors or the backup tilt. But when ordered the features on the website were very very unclear and didnt state mirrors were not savable with out tech pack. So its a relatively minor thing but still the unsettled fact has me a bit upset.

HenryT2 | July 19, 2013

OK, the fact that all the non-tech 60s, so far, have the open door without unlocking behavior helps. But the facts that some have auto-tilt and some don't have thrown another complication into the issue.

HenryT2 | July 19, 2013

You didn't mention whether you had 40 or 60 or 85.

And I originally thought that the "proximity sensor" would be limited to tech package. But judging by responses, seems that others have the unlocking behavior that could be attributed to the proximity sensor. So unless they've deliberately left it out of some cars and not others, the auto-presentation is just a feature for the tech package that could have been implemented in the non-tech but left out specifically.

skulleyb | July 19, 2013

The non tech cars have the proximity sensor and will unlock and present when you touch the handle.
But the non tech version will not present the handles automatically.

eAdopter | July 19, 2013

I read the posts and had to go and check.

I have a 40, non-tech. When locked the car does not detect my approach. The doors remain locked until I press the fob twice.

I wonder if the different behaviors are related to other lock options. For example, the drive-away and walk-away lock features. HenryT2 is coming by tonight and we'll do some testing.

Others near Bellevue, WA are welcome to stop by. Send e-mail to eAdopter at for info.

ssarker | July 19, 2013

When I was finalizing my order in february or so (VIN 8945, delivered 4/2013), I was told by the "configuration specialist" that the door handles will not present without unlocking the car with the fob without the tech package. That was one of the main reasons I got the tech package. Looks like I may not have needed it after all!

NICE | July 19, 2013

I have an 85. I double checked; verified by my Tesla iPhone app, the car was locked. With fob in hand, I pushed in the door handle to see if it would automatically unlock and extend. Nothing.

From the other posts here, I guess they have proximity unlock capability. As I said earlier, there is no visual cue so I'd rather have my car stay locked anyhow.

TeslaOR | July 19, 2013

My non-tech S60 unlocks and extends the handles when I touch them. For some reason only the front handles. Still on version 4.4.

It only locks when I use the key fob or app. I like this mode better than the auto-present and sure hope it doesn't change when I get the 4.5 upgrade.

HenryT2 | July 19, 2013

There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of consistency in who has these features and who doesn't. However, it may have to do with the date of delivery. 40s are automatically May 2013 delivery or later. So perhaps only cars delivered BEFORE they released the 40s have the unlock behavior and the auto-tilt?

Could people who are posting their car's behavior also mention vin number or date of delivery.

PaceyWhitter | July 19, 2013

This has been discussed on the other site. What they concluded was that at some time Tesla removed the proximity sensor functionality from the non-tech package cars.

Those purchased before that time still have it activated (although it is probably software based not hardware)

TeslaOR | July 19, 2013

Mine was early April.

HenryT2 | July 19, 2013

Well, it's still listed as a feature on the website. Is that something we should complain about, since it's listed as a selling point? Of course, I probably finalized my car before that page was in its current format. Anyone happen to know what the website features page looked like in December or how to find out?