Is it possible to connect subwoofers?

Is it possible to connect subwoofers?

i was just wondering, is it possible to hook up sub-woofers and an amp to the model s? the reason i ask is that im inclined to think there are no + - post in the car to connect the power source to, but if it is possible how much faster will it drain the battery

Brian H | May 9, 2011

The best place for those is directly on the skull.

Timo | May 9, 2011

Drain is microscopic, unless you want to have your hearing impaired.

Brian H | May 9, 2011

Sub-woofer-lovers want to impair everyone's hearing.

gtabmx | May 9, 2011

I too am wondering if and how the Tesla Model S can accommodate a subwoofer and an amplifier. Given that my current system pulls about 60A to 70A rms @ 14V, I am concerned on its impact on entire cars electronics and powertrain/motor. I am sure that the battery can deliver this current, but it would be nice to have some solid details about this. Has anyone with a roadster tried hooking up an amp and a 10", or maybe an 8" sub?

For those who hate "sub-woofer-lovers", keep in mind that for many of us, we can't go back to no deep bass in music anymore.... :( Once you've heard music with a subwoofer and learned to appreciate the lows and smooth baseline that would otherwise go literally unnoticed, there is no turning back.


Tom A | May 9, 2011

That is a good question. Maybe an audio upgrade will include one (though usually OEM sub upgrades aren't worth the markup).

There are two general schools of thought/preference on the issue:

1) decibels - relatively cheap, annoys everyone at least within a three block radius; and

2) quality - as I've done in both of my previous vehicles, adding a well-designed 8" or 10" sub with respectable amplification (max 150W RMS @ 4ohm) is a dream come true.

You don't even hear the sub outside the car, but inside, the base lines, kick drum and whatever else you listen to comes alive. It's remarkable and I highly recommend it.

If you have enough money, you can achieve both quality and high volume. But, it's hard on the ears and the vehicle - rattling panels loose, etc.

As far as power draw goes, the new switching amplifiers are improving in sound quality to the point that the difference will not be noticed over a little road noise. These full-range Class D amps report up to 80%+ efficiency, and generate much less heat as well. Most of the major car audio brands sold in the US are moving to full-range switching amplification (JL Audio, Alpine, etc.).

msiano17 | May 9, 2011

I would not doubt, though this is just speculation, that the S will have a premium sound system. If it wants to compete with the Germans it has to. Audi has B&O, BMW has Karmon, Aston also B&O. SO seems like a must to me. I could see them going with Alpine, I thought I saw the Roadsters with Alpine systems.

Supergreekster | May 12, 2011

I think the key is efficiency, as with all other aspects of the car...

There is something called sensitivity for speakers, the higher quality one have higher numbers, in units of:

Sensitivity = decibels (loudness) / watt (power)

So higher sensitivity speakers would be a good choice.

So wi only 200W stereo power, you may get the quality and volume u need, but lower sensitivity speakers you may need all 800W!!

msiano17 | May 15, 2011

@ Supergreekster

I am with you on the sensitivity. I rather have great pure sound with low wattage as you described than having to throw in a sub and IMO taking away some of the luxury of the Model S

M Groesbeck | May 19, 2011

The battery capacity for a Model S looks like it will be enormous compared to the power draw for a whole audio system, let alone just the subwoofer -- especially for those of us who are more interested in clarity and fidelity than excessive volume. (I listen to a lot of jazz; it just doesn't sound right if you either can't hear the walking bass line at all or are listening to it through a cheap subwoofer system that turns all the notes into indistinct thuds.)

So, breaking this down to the simple level for people who don't fool around with simple electronics in their spare time (for the sake of convenience, I'll use gtabmx's numbers):

Power = current * voltage (well, not always, but close enough for here), so a system drawing 70A at 14V is drawing 980W -- just under 1 kW.

The Model S FAQ page under the "Charging" section says that Roadsters tend on average to use 300Wh/mile (watt-hours per mile). In other words, the energy consumed in driving one mile is the same as would be used by a 300-watt system in an hour of constant use.

If we look at the smallest, 160-mile Model S battery pack (and assume, as Tesla suggests, that power draw will be about the same as for a Roadster -- also ignoring for now that the mile-estimate really doesn't say much about battery capacity), the battery provides somewhere in the ballpark of 300Wh/mile * 160 miles = 48000Wh (or 48 kWh). This means that, running gtabmx's just-under-a-kilowatt system at full power, it would take over two full days to drain the battery completely. Or, to look at it another way: listening for an hour would reduce the range by a little over three miles. If you're driving 60mph on the freeway, the motor is consuming 300Wh per minute (a mile a minute), which translates to 18kW; so the stereo system is only drawing a bit under an eighteenth what the motor is.

Brian H | May 19, 2011

Audio physics fact: if even 1W of that was actually delivered to the air's vibrational energies, you could clear an auditorium with it. What it would do to you inside a car doesn't bear thinking about.

M Groesbeck | May 21, 2011

@ Brian H --

A jackhammer delivers about a watt's worth of power in terms of sound power. A loudspeaker at a concert can deliver 100W or more, meaning an experience of a sound several times as loud. In both cases, this is different from the amount of energy thermodynamically necessary to produce sound of a given intensity. Since much of sound (especially at lower frequencies, with subwoofers -- the point of this thread -- being near or even below the limit of human hearing) is expressed as mechanical motion rather than sound power, it's almost entirely pointless to bring up sound power. If/when we find a way around the bounds suggested by thermodynamics, then we'll talk about 1W filling a concert hall at rock-concert levels.

Either way, the amount of power drawn (vs. sound power produced) by a high-volume high-fidelity car audio system is small compared to what the motor in an electric car will be burning.

Supergreekster | May 23, 2011

Interesting, using your numbers,

having the 300 mi battery pack, you could drive 5 hrs at 60mph.

But, if the 1000W stereo is being used, you would lose 15 mi range!!

Now you only have 285 mi range, or 5% (!)

Doesn't seem like much, but may be important if your trip is 287 mi...

Or... You could have a more efficient stereo, maybe using 300 watts, then only uses 4 mi range over the 5 hrs...

All I am saying is that efficiency is the key for ALL technologies in the car...

Timo | May 23, 2011

If you blast 1000W stereo at full power in a car you are deaf by the time you reach your destination. Probably gained brain damage as well.

David70 | May 24, 2011

Not to mention scaring adjacent drivers off the road.

strider | May 27, 2011

I think the root of the question is whether the transformer can handle the conversion from the 480V (or whatever the pack voltage is) down to 12V to drive the accessories. The Roadster does have a small 12V battery to drive the car's subsystems which is then presumably charged from the drive pack. Perhaps that could take up the slack if the transformer can't keep up.

I have a Roadster v2.5 with the Alpine unit and it has a subwoofer (of unknown size or power draw). I don't know of anyone who has tried to add any additional audio power in a Roadster as they would have to sacrifice extremely precious cargo space.

Kallisman | May 29, 2011

A 1000W sound system won't continously draw 1000W, that's the peak performance of what it can deliver to the speakers, but typically it will be less since music is not a continous tone at same amplitude all the time. On the other hand the amplifier will draw more from the power source than it delivers to the speakers, since there is some loss to heat. Most amplifiers are not able to deliver the peak performance over a long time, only for short bursts like the thump of a bass drum.

DTL | September 20, 2014

I would highly recommend getting the NVX Tesla Subwoofer installed (That's what I call it). I have no financial ties. The link is below. I bought the whole system (although you can just buy the speaker and any amp) and was lucky enough to have the guys who actually developed the speaker install it for me for a small fee! They're located just outside LA and the bass not just hits hard but clean! No shaking of the car and no loss of quality in the sound. It's a very clean set-up... see the pics. Its built just for the Tesla and fits in the cubby hole so you don't lose any valuable trunk space.