Tech Package - worth it?

Tech Package - worth it?

I'm just curious what the consensus is as to the value of the Tech Package option.

To me, $3750 seems a little high for what is listed. For example, navigation with map updates doesn't seem like it should be a big deal. Google makes a great free app for that in the Android Market - I mean, the "Google Play" store - already. Should be able to get that working for the Model S without too much trouble, no?

The power lift gate & xenon lamps are nice, as are the convenience lighting. Homelink? I guess, although I've never used it before.

But all that just doesn't add up to $3750 for me. I'm thinking maybe $2k would be more appropriate.

It's the one option I'm really waffling about. If I get it, it will be in anticipation of something being made available in the future to make it more in line with the current price tag. I don't want to exclude myself from any goodies down the road :)

Steve841 | October 1, 2012

I bought a GM truck.... Nav alone was $2250 and they charge $200 for each annual map update.

So is it really too expensive?

rd2 | October 1, 2012

BMW's navigation DVD is $200 every year. And it's not even that good. I would say that $3750 is steep, but over 7 years, the navigation updates and the other amenities are worth it. Also, I don't think Google Maps offers turn by turn navigation, do they?

Jhall118 | October 1, 2012

I can get excellent turn by turn navigation on my phone through Google maps. The phone that I am going to have in the car anyways to tether through so I can get verizons 4g network rather than paying for (AT&T's?) a crappy 3g connection.

I really wish the costs were broken up. Especially with the door handles still needing to be touched to open. Homelink is absolutely useless for me. It's lame that everything is bundled together.

DouglasR | October 1, 2012

The issue with the maps is not turn-by-turn navigation. It is having the maps stored locally so that no internet connection is needed. There are licensing costs associated with doing this. As others have said, most car companies charge a hefty fee to keep these maps current.

mrspaghetti | October 1, 2012

@StevenR: Yes, you're getting ripped off in my opinion.

@rd2: As Jhall118 writes, yes, google navigator does have excellent turn by turn. And BMW is ripping you off too, in my opinion.

I'm not suggesting it's out of line with what other car manufacturers are doing, just that it's not worth the money for what you get.

mrspaghetti | October 1, 2012

@DouglasR: Not disagreeing that most car companies are charging a hefty fee for this. Point is, is that service really worth it when everyone already has it on their phone for free?

Slindell | October 1, 2012

If anyone is using their phone to navigate while driving, please give me a warning first. I want to stay off the roads while you are looking at that tiny screen.

Jhall118 | October 1, 2012

Looking? I am listening. Not to mention that I can navigate with my voice while driving, rather than having to type it into a display that is below the windshield. This is astronomically safer than Tesla's option at this point in time.

jbunn | October 1, 2012

Yes, I wish the options were broken down with a bit finer granularity. Map, I'd take. Power liftgate? Nah. Would never use it. Same with Home Link.

Regarding Mr Spaghetti's origional post though, the Google Play store is a wonderous place, and i use on my phone and android tablet. Big fly in the ointment though.... The car does NOT run the android OS. Or Apple OS. Or Win mobile. Would be nice if it did, because we'd have access to their app stores. Problem with that from Tesla's perspective is when you integrate a technology you are tied to where that company wants to take it. And you are just one of many customers, and it may not allways be in the direction you want. So in building their own GUI on an open source OS they retain the ability to completly shape the user experience. Same approach Apple took making both the hardware and software, so everything was integrated end to end.

In our case, we don't have that. So kiss your favorite apps goodbye, and we'll have accesss to ones that are specificaly ported to the OS. Given the initial small installed base, our choices will be very limited at first.

Eventualy, developers will write for the platform, but the SDK release isn't scheduled for quite a while. So pretty much what you see is what you get (for a while).

rd2 | October 1, 2012

Sorry I am an iPhone user so I have never experienced google navigation. I hear it is great.

Steve841 | October 1, 2012


It's all a matter of perception of cost vs value...

Simple answer. Don't spend the money. None of us will lose any sleep worrying how much you saved on your purchase.

DouglasR | October 1, 2012


Yes, I have it on my phone for free, but only when I am within 3G cell phone range. I was in Yellowstone Park this past summer, and I could not have relied on my phone for location or directions. Is having navigation available at all times in the car worth the money? Depends on what a dollar is worth to you.

ChasF | October 1, 2012

Wasn't worth it to me so I'm not getting the Tech Package. Can't really see $2000 more value than my $50 iPhone Tom Tom app. Once you discount the Nav, everything else seems overpriced, IMO.

Chuck Lusin | October 1, 2012


On the Android Google maps, there is an option to pre-load the map tiles in advance, if you know that there will not be an internet connection. We were in Brazil few months back, and we used a WIFI access point, and pre loaded the map tiles, that way the map and navigate apps still work without a connection. Look for the “Make available offline” option.

DouglasR | October 1, 2012

I have an iPhone, and the built-in Google app will cache maps but not save them. I do have several free or purchased apps that allow me to save maps. However, it is really not the same as having all of the maps available all of the time. At least for me, the maps were a big part of why I purchased the Tesla tech package.

Michael23 | October 1, 2012

Xenon alone is worth it and keyless entry. You'd have to unlock via remote and lock again every time vs. auto lock and unlock with no worries.

Jhall118 | October 1, 2012

Xenon lights are something I REALLY want. I should be able to pay for it alone, rather than 4k. That's some expensive headlights. Keyless entry isn't a big deal.

With tech package: Walk up to door, press handle, handle pops out and I enter.

Without tech package: Walk up to door pressing unlock on the key while I do it. Press door handle with the same hand and get in.

I know it's been said that the handles popping out is "coming soon", but I think there are valid concerns about it (what if I am just hanging out by the car? etc.) and I am not going to count on it. If you have a free hand to press the handle, you have a free hand to hit the key fob IMO.

Anyways, I think Tesla bundled everything together ultimately to make more money, not for the customer. That makes me kind of sad.

sergiyz | October 1, 2012


Realistically that's what car manufacturers do, except maybe Porsche where you can pick and choose, but every option is more expensive than whole packages on other cars.
If nothing else getting a tech package should be good for the resale value,

Brian H | October 1, 2012

Packaging options simplifies (speeds up) a production line, too.

olanmills | October 1, 2012

By comparing to these options to similar options offered by other manufacturers, the price is reasonable, and I think it's "worth it".

Now, if you consider the base price of the car, well then, the way I value a car, I would have expected many of the features of the tech package to be included with the car, and so yes, I think the $3750 is kind of a high asking price.

Now with all of that said, most of the features in the tech package are (and I'm exaggerating a little here) "must have" features. And what I mean by that is that regardless of the price, the features in the tech packages are things that I would really miss, and I feel like they really sort of "make" the car.

So yes, it's worth it to me. I do think, by pure "fuzzy" opinion, that it's overpriced, but the only way I wouldn't get it is that if it was so expensive, that I couldn't afford it. The only alternative is to consider buying another car. If you want these features (or even just a subset of those) on this car, you have to pay the $3750. I would, and I am.

Also, you've never used homelink? It's awesome and I love it. It seems like such a small simple thing, but it really just feels so much cleaner and smoother to have a button (touchscreen button or whatever) in you car to operate your garage door (and other things) without a seperate control. It will always be in the same place, you can't lose it, you can't break it (not as easily anyways), there's no seperate battery to worry about, it can't be stolen unless your whole car is stolen, etc.

If, as an excersize, I had to value Homelink, is it worth $3000? No. However, is it a "must have" feature like I mentioned above? Totally.

mrspaghetti | October 2, 2012

@olanmills: My wife's BMW can open my garage door with a built-in button on the rear-view mirror, and it doesn't use Homelink.

All things considered, I probably will get it. I'm already spending (for me) a huge amount on the car, so I might as well throw down another $3750 and get the full experience.

ddruz | October 2, 2012

The Tech Package is the option I deliberated over more than any other so I empathize with everyone going through the process. In case it might be helpful to others trying to decide whether to buy the Package or not, the itemization that follows is how I came to think about it. This is a distillation of information off the web from other manufacturers and feedback from a question about Tech Package component value I asked over on TMC.

I'm not trying to say these are the costs to Tesla, what we would definitively pay if the items were broken out or that this list is the way things are. It is simply one person's estimation of what the cost breakdown might be. Others will prefer a different breakdown. Regardless, a list like this allowed me to form the opinion that the overall package is probably priced fairly compared to what other manufacturers would charge for similar items, maybe even less. These prices total $3,750.

Xenon Headlights--$800
LED Fog Lights--$300
Convenience Lights--$125

Navigation System plus 7 years map updates--$1300

Keyless Entry (keyless unlock at this point)--$150
Power Lift Rear Gate--$375

Electrochromatic Side Mirrors--$400
HD Backup Camera (difference from standard camera)--$100

Swap a few dollars between various items that seem over or under. Still the total price probably comes out rather fair by industry standards. If the price is actually rather fair the question of buying the Tech Package shifts entirely away from is it a fair price to is the price worth it to me? Simplifying the decision to that question was very helpful to me, maybe to others as well.

Michael23 | October 2, 2012

Exactly. You might not need or want the other options, but they are not free for tesla to add. Seems like a fair price to me as mentioned above. Plus, those fog lights look so nice!

sagebrushnw | October 2, 2012

@ tesla.mrspaghet

Are you sure that your wife's BMW doesn't have Homelink? Many of the Homelink setups are on the mirror...usually three buttons located there, in the driver's sunvisor, or overhead console.

Below are all of the BMW vehicles that are equipped with HomeLink.


mrspaghetti | October 2, 2012

@sagebrushnw: I stand corrected - her car is an X3 and there are 3 buttons on the mirror.

So that's one on the + side for me for getting the tech package.

Jhall118 | October 2, 2012

I don't see how bundling something like Maps and Homelink with lights speeds up a production line. I can't think of a reason why the tech package couldn't be broken up into something like:

Light Package- $1650
Navigation package-$1750
Entry package-$650
Rear View Package-$650

OR add them all for $3750. Is it a deal breaker for me? Obviously not or I wouldn't be here. But I think the above would be a superior way to do it.

My 2 cents err $3750 :)

stevenmaifert | October 2, 2012

Tech Package - worth it? Short answer... No. Long answer... No, no, no.

Teoatawki | October 2, 2012

Breaking up the packages increases the complexity of the assembly and testing processes. Every option doubles the possible configurations. So, instead of 2 possibilities, breaking the package up creates 16 possibilities, multiplied by the possibilities created by all the other options.

That said, the highly automated TM assembly line would seem to be the ideal design to manage the added complexity. Rather, I should say a more mature and seasoned line.

bsimoes | October 2, 2012

This is the option that I've been around and around about. After reading about how much more superior the headlights are, I decided in favor of getting the package. Night driving is difficult for me, and if the headlights will make that easier, it is no longer a question of dollars but of convenience and ease every single day (or should I say night?) for as long as I own the car. If having these headlights will help me spot a deer or other wildlife, for example, it is more than worth it to me. All of the other features will be nice to have--more "wants" than "needs" but for the headlights (and foglights) alone, it is worth it for peace of mind.

Theresa | October 2, 2012

I will say that I had them installed on my Roadster this summer as an upgrade and that they are definitely worth the money. I had been thinking that is way too expensive for lights but I am now a believer. If you are having trouble seeing at night (as I was) they really help.

Getting Amped Again | October 2, 2012

This is from the 2013 BMW 535i pricing, just FYI. I'm on the fence also as there's not really anything I couldn't live without, but I think it's fairly priced. My wished-for item would be audible Park Distance Control. Once you have this you really appreciate it, and coupled with a rear camera you don't have to crank your neck ever again (getting old I guess).

Premium Package $1,500
• Power tailgate
• Comfort Access keyless entry
• Satellite radio with 1 year subscription

Technology Package $2,800
• Real Time Traffic Information
• Head-up Display
• Instrument cluster with extended contents
• Navigation system
• Smartphone Integration
• Online Information Services
• BMW Apps

Driver Assistance Package $1,900
• Rear-view camera
• Active Blind Spot Detection
• Side and Top View Cameras
• Park Distance Control

pilotSteve | October 2, 2012

Got the Tech package (bundled with Sig, but I would order it anyhow) specifically for the keyless entry, headlights and home link [features I use every day].

Currently have a BMW 5-series with the Premium and Technology package (was about the same price) but the head-up Display was the 'killer app' for me. My favorite tech accessory, wish the Model-S had HUD too! Tesla package is a bit short on features (no adaptive cruise, blind-spot warning, park distance control) and frugally bundled (no included satellite radio subscription or probably data) but otherwise competitive.

I guess there are buyer like me that can afford toys that make owning and driving an 'uprated' car more enjoyable. Amortized over the 5-6 years I typically own a car then typically sold to an individual who looks for premium features and a very well maintained used car, the extra cost is well worth it to me.


Brian H | October 3, 2012


Volker.Berlin | October 8, 2012

tesla.mrspaghetti, maybe the discussion in this thread can help you decide:

valdezs1 | October 8, 2012

I just took my first test drive before ordering. I too am waffling on this package. The only thing that really interests me is the better nav. I was told that the "standard" nav shows up on the 17" monitor but does not include voice commands. The upgraded nav shows the turn by turn to the left of the speedo as well as giving you voice commands. Seems like a lot of money for a little software mod.

The one issue I have with both the standard and upgraded nav is that the map on the monitor is always oriented with north up, and does not orient to the direction of travel. This seems archaic and should definitely be fixed, my smart phone does better!

BYT | October 8, 2012

I heard the comment about the map always pointing North in another review as well, can't remember which. I agree that it should point/match the direction of the nose on your Model S, makes total sense and I expect TM has it on their list of fixes for an eventual update. Probably focused more on things like creep, hill hold and set charge time as well as a few other promised upgrades that haven't proven fruitful yet.

ddruz | October 8, 2012

valdezs1, Be very careful in assuming you get any kind of navigation at all on the 17" monitor as standard equipment without the Tech Package.

I have checked several times with Tesla reps by email on this point and each time the response was that there will be no GPS installed in cars without the Tech Package. This makes it impossible for your car to be pinpointed on a map on the 17" display so you could not track your route. Here is the verbatim quote from a Telsa delivery specialist by email just last week:

Without the tech package, GPS navigation is not available. A GPS pointer indicating your position, is not available without the tech package. You can still use your phone as a mobile hot spot, so that you can search for routes on Google, but it will not track your current location.

mrspaghetti | October 8, 2012


That pretty well makes the tech package a must-have then.

Decision made.

ddruz | October 8, 2012

tesla.mrspaghet and others--This is such an expensive decision that you might not want to take my rep's word for it. You can email Tesla directly for confirmation.

Personally I'd love it if some type of active navigation were standard, like comes standard on smartphones, which is why I've gone back to them several times about it. But Tesla's consistent answer has been no. Please post if you email them and get a different response.

sagebrushnw | October 8, 2012

@ valdezs1

When I did a test drive a couple of weeks ago, the map on the 17" monitor was always pointing North but the the turn by turn map to the left of the speedometer pointed/matched the direction of the nose on the Model S.
I'm use to the navigation map on my Fusion Hybrid always pointing North but noticed a few weeks ago in a friend's Prius that the map matched the direction of the car.
Think I like the combo.

BYT | October 8, 2012

@sagebrushnw, thank you for sharing that. I assumed the map / navigation on the screen behind the steering wheel would mirror the 17" screen but it's cool to hear that it at least can match the direction the nose of the car is pointed and not always north.

DouglasR | October 8, 2012

Does anyone know whether the nav system has a "3D" option?

Volker.Berlin | October 9, 2012

Does anyone know whether the nav system has a "3D" option? (DouglasR)

This blog post has a "screen shot" (quite literally) of the nav display:

There are more similar shots out on the web, if you look for them. Those shots are a strong indication that Tesla is essentially using the Navigon app, which has been explicitly confirmed somewhere (can't tell whether it was by an owner or a Tesla rep). So the answer to your question would be: Yes.

MandL | October 9, 2012

The Navigon is 90% on the dash display. There you get the heading up, 3d, lane guidance, traffic signs, etc. On the 17" display it's basically Google maps with an inset showing the list of upcoming turns. In fact, the maps aren't even the same. I was driving on a new highway which was very clearly indicated on the Google map on the 17" screen, but the navigation didn't know about the road and kept trying to re-route me every time I came near a known road.

frankviaje | June 9, 2014

I am very happy we got the Tech Pkg. The car seems even more special with it. Also, I cannot imagine trying to sell a used MS in the future without the Tech Pkg. Full Disclosure: I plan to keep this car as long as I can drive.