Driver Exit, Leave A/C On for Passengers How?

Driver Exit, Leave A/C On for Passengers How?

Model S delivered on Saturday. These should not even be called cars, they are in a league of their own.

One question: how do I leave the vehicle "running" with A/C and radio after I (driver) exit the vehicle? I thought that by leaving the key in the vehicle it would keep running, but after a short time, everything powered off. I do have the tech package, if that makes a difference.

I would like to be able to jump out of the car to run a quick errand while leaving passengers comfortably waiting in the car. Thanks.

- Justin

ppape | July 1, 2013

The passenger just has to touch the 17" screen and the music and A/C comes back on.

I do it all the time.

Jackie :-) | July 1, 2013

You can also activate climate control via phone app.

MarkV | July 1, 2013

I have wondered the same thing. Because the screen goes black I did not try to touch it but I guess I should have. What I have done is touch the brake pedal which also turns all the systems back on again. I will try the panel next time. Thanks.

tobi_ger | July 1, 2013

What's the number of minutes before going off? 2 or 5 min or so? Curious.

Azdcmoney | July 3, 2013

Leave the key with them

Theresa | July 3, 2013

Azdc, It is not the key that keeps things working it is the weight on the seat for the sensor. When I have wanted the heat to keep working this winter I just put a weight (about 10 lbs seemed to work) in the drivers seat and then the car was happy.

AmpedRealtor | July 3, 2013

So obviously the solution is to always travel with a couple sacks of flour to replace the driver's weight on the front seat… :P

txjak | July 3, 2013

I haven't checked, but have heard that if you turn on the A/C via the app, it will turn off after 30 minutes.

KendallPB | July 3, 2013

You don't need full-time weight; I just pushed on the seat once and it was fine, the one time I let someone drive my car and I waited while they went into a service station (ugh) to get something. (I had my own key--as Theresa said, that's not helpful.)

jonesxander | July 3, 2013

@amped LOL

Although flour might not be the best thing to use as a weight. Too messy if something happens. Maybe a nice sandbag, or sack of bricks? | July 3, 2013


Try closing the door only to the first click of the latch after you exit. The radio volume decreases but the A/C stays on. I am sure Tesla is working on a software update to address this issue.

Enjoy your Model S!

shs | July 4, 2013

Put it in N and then put on the Emergency Brake. Now when the driver gets out the AC, etc., keeps running.

Brian H | July 4, 2013

shs' solution sounds superior!

Tâm | July 5, 2013

The current set up lets passengers touch the screen and do pretty much everything (HVAC, media, internet, lights, horn, locks...) without the key which means they can touch but they can't drive. Just that simple :)

ppape | July 5, 2013

+1 Tam

People are giving very unusual, complicated answers. No software update needed to address this.

Very simple! When driver leaves the car, passenger touches the screen. System comes back on. Done.


Pricee2 | July 5, 2013

Passenger or no passenger I want to be able to park and have the A/C stay on long enough, 15 min, to go in and have a cold beverage and come back to a cool coooool car without having to buy a smart ass phone. Should be able to do it from touch screen.

HenryT2 | July 6, 2013

Does this mean that the passenger must touch the screen every few minutes? Or just once?

In any case, there should be some kind of park mode that can be activated without having to play elaborate games or guess at it.

Robert22 | July 6, 2013

Does it matter which hand I touch the screen with?

froggytown | July 6, 2013

Well, if your passenger is in the front seat, that's great. If you have children in the rear facing seats, which already has no air flow and fries my kids during normal use, you'll need to use one of the more complex versions.

For me, the simplest approach is to close the driver door but only 'one click' so it's 99% closed. This doesn't require the key to stay in the car nor does it shut off after an extended period.

The Neutral and Parking Brake works as well and allows you to close the door completely.

The mobile app of course could help too but I had to figure this out when my S was in for service and I had a loaner P85 without the mobile app. In order to get out of the car to retrieve things from the frunk, without heating up the kids, I found that the simplest approach was to just park normally and then to close the door one click.

Captain_Zap | July 6, 2013


You only have to touch the touch screen once but it must be with your right hand while your left hand rubs your belly in a circular motion.

Brian H | July 6, 2013

$20 battery fans and a decent tint/IR block coating of the rear window solve the fried kids problem.

LEvans | July 6, 2013

If you do this, please make sure all your doors are locked before you leave. Last thing you want is for someone to even try and get in the driver's seat and attempt to drive away with the car with your passengers!

This is especially a concern if you leave the key in the ignition and even if you don't, why create what looks like an opportunity to drive away in a car that "seems to be on" for someone with bad intentions? When I leave passengers in the car with the HVAC on, I always make sure they lock the doors before I leave.

markapeterman | July 6, 2013

"key in the ignition"...huh?

portia | July 6, 2013

what's ignition?

Brian H | July 7, 2013

What's a key?

justineet | July 8, 2013

very strange, u sit on the seat and the car starts.....indeed very this still planet earth??

caledon1a | August 6, 2013

Similar problem, would be curious for solutions on this one. I took the Tesla to the drive-in. Used the hatch to lie back in and enjoy the movie. Problem was the small light in the hatch stayed on and we kept having to touch the screen every 20 minutes or so. I like the idea of closing the door one latch, will try that one.

thranx | August 6, 2013

Instead of flour, get a ten-pound chocolate cake from Costco and put it on the front seat. When you come back, the cake will be gone and your passengers won't care whether the ac is working or not.