Want the Tech Package just for Navigation, don't get it.

Want the Tech Package just for Navigation, don't get it.

Many people want the Technology Package on the base model Model S, but if you don't want/need the Xenon headlamps, Electrochromatic side mirrors, LED foglights, Convenience lighting, Power rear liftgate, High definition back-up camera, Homelink, and Automatic keyless entry, you can save $3,750 on your Model S. Why? Because you can always go on the internet, go on Google Maps, and get Turn-by-Turn driving directions. Keep in mind that the internet system is STANDARD. But if you REALLY want those extra features, then suit yourself.

Teoatawki | 7 novembre 2012

North is always up on the big screen. The map in the dash screen turns with the car.

conrad_damon | 7 novembre 2012

@Getting Amped Soon nailed it. If this is your first "luxury" car (and I put luxury in quotes since my goal was not to buy a luxury car, it was to buy a kick-ass electric car), you've likely not even heard of many of the Tech Package features. I had to get a friend to explain them to me. My current car is a bare-bones '95 Integra, so the S will be quite an upgrade regardless of options.

My reasoning on each part of the Tech Package:

Xenon: My wife and I call them *&^$# headlights, since they tend to blind oncoming drivers. No thanks.
Mirrors/Foglights/Convenience lights: No need
Power liftgate: I'm not dead yet
Keyless entry, Homelink: Would be kind of cool
Hi-def backup: Unlikely to depend on backup camera that heavily
Enhanced nav: Will be a commute car, little need for fancy nav

I've ordered a green/tan 40kwh with the panoramic roof.

prash.saka | 7 novembre 2012

@conrad_damon, I agree with your take on the xenon headlights. It is blinding to not only the oncoming drivers but also those who are in front of you when their sideview mirrors reflect this light directly into their eyes.

~ Prash.

Timo | 7 novembre 2012

Usually that blinding is caused by poorly aligned lights (low beams point too high). Xenon lights can be good while not blinding to everyone else if they are done properly. Unfortunately there are way too many cars out there with low beams pointing way too high.

Michael23 | 8 novembre 2012

That's an alignment issue. Think twice before saying no thanks to safer vision at night. Google image search the difference and it is HUGE!

Hd backup cam is pretty useful for driving and reversing. No one has seen the sd one yet so who knows how it is.

jat | 8 novembre 2012

@michael23 - do you get a backup camera at all without the tech package? I interpreted the wording to mean that you got a backup camera which happened to be HD, not that it upgraded an existing backup camera to HD.

@conrad_demon - I found the rear visibility to be poor when test driving, so I expect to use the rear camera often.

mrspaghetti | 8 novembre 2012


From the specs/standard features page:

"Standard definition backup camera"

blurry_eyed | 8 novembre 2012

We drove our Model S around this past weekend and I used the Nav system quite a bit to test it out. Visually it's a thing of beauty and how Tesla has implemented it into the instrument display is great. There are improvements to be had in it for sure, but for a version 1.0 product, it is pretty amazing. I won't get into the cost debate, but I do think if you have the financial ability to get it, I would recommend getting it, because it is so well integrated with the car.

But if you do want to hack together a solution, the iPhone 5 in the vertical position fits almost perfectly in the space where the instrument display is. I tested it out and it does make a good navigation substitute if you don't have the tech package. The iPhone display is very readable from the drivers position when placed in that position on the instrument screen. You do lose the ability to toggle through the different display options on the left side of the instrument screen and see the information displayed there, but if you want to save money, I think it would be a good workaround. Positioning it in the instrument display area gets around needing a car mount on the dash, air vent or windshield and keeps the lines of the interior of the car clean.

You would probably need to hack together a system of sticky tape or some kind of securing system so the phone doesn't slide around if you take a corner hard or accelerate quickly.

Also when you have your iPhone paired with the car through bluetooth, the iPhone nav directions come out of the car audio system, just like the built in nav.

I don't have an Android phone to test out in the space, so I don't know how the fit would be for the various flavors of Android phones out there.

jkirkebo | 10 novembre 2012

Aren't xenon lights mandated to have auto leveling in the US ? I am more blinded by halogen lights here in Norway, since they are frequently pointed too high. This does not happen with xenons as they are always correctly leveled even if you put 10 bags of cement in the trunk.

conrad_damon | 10 novembre 2012

The good news about being relatively far down the list (#6491, ordered 10/30) is that I'll have at least several months to mull over options. Part of that will be getting whatever demos I can at my local store.

jerry3 | 10 novembre 2012


I've had Fords. Trust me, quality ain't job 1. I doubt it's even in the top 50.

DTsea | 10 novembre 2012

The basic car has a backup camera; with tech package it is a 720p backup camera. It is pretty sweet- it's really a rearview camera, not just a backup camera, because (unlike my wife's volvo) you can leave it on (occupying half the screen) WHILE DRIVING so it is sort of an auxiliary rear view- view is reversed like a mirror, but has a fair view angle out into the blind spots. Pretty much makes up for the slot-like visibility out the rear window with the actual mirror.

Volker.Berlin | 12 novembre 2012

Leveling the lights (regardless of the technology used to emit it) is a non-issue for cars with air suspension, b/c the entire car is automatically leveled regardless of load (within the legal limits). Thus, if you intend to get the air suspension anyway, you don't have to worry about blinding anyone with your low-beams.

Timo | 12 novembre 2012

Also auto-leveling lights have been around for decades now. Should not be difficult task to include those in Model S (if not yet, then 2.0).

jinglehyme | 12 novembre 2012


Time to take a look at consumer reports. Ford has been acting like a real automaker for the last three years or so. Several models have better repair records, better driving dynamics, fuel economy, and far better interior finishes than their Asian counterparts.

Sounds to me that you know as much about current offerings as Romney knows about Tesla. Things change. And sometimes perception stays the same. Get out of your private bubbles people.

stevenmaifert | 13 novembre 2012

If you configured without the Tech package and are having second thoughts, better check with TM now. I'm P2860, inquired yesterday, and received an email today saying it was too late. My order had gone to the factory.

ddruz | 14 décembre 2012

There has been at least one recent report of a Telsa rep saying that cars without the Tech Package will have a GPS and navigation though will not have turn by turn navigation.

This is in opposition to previous, consistent comments by Tesla reps saying that cars without Tech will not even have a GPS installed and that no navigation, only route guidance via web-based Google maps, will be available.

Can anyone corroborate this recent report? A few 85kWh cars with Air but without Tech will soon be entering production. I'm wondering if Tesla's policy regarding non-Tech cars has solidified in a changed format or if this report was misinterpreted or miscommunicated. Thanks.

jat | 14 décembre 2012

@ddruz - I haven't been in a car without the tech package, but my understanding is that if you don't have it, what you have is Google Maps running in a browser. In that, you get the list of turns and it draws your route on the map and can follow where you are (if the browser supplies location information to the web app), but it doesn't tell you "in a half mile, turn right onto Foo Bar Rd".

dstiavnicky | 14 décembre 2012

Tech package should be standard as over 90% are going to order it and if that was 100% we would all save a few bucks eliminating the option. Same goes for performance, pano roof and stereo upgrade. Leave the stripped down car buyers to get a Volt or Leaf.

Volker.Berlin | 14 décembre 2012

dstiavnicky, I disagree.

stevenmaifert | 14 décembre 2012

@dstiavnicky - Besides having a non-Tech package Model S that may be delivered before the end of the year, I also own one of those "stripped down" Leafs. Did you know that TBT Nav and XM/Sirius radio is standard equipment if both models of the Leaf? That will cost you an extra $4700 to get in Model S. We will soon be an all electric vehicle family, but if I want compartmented console storage, door panel storage, heated back seats, steering wheel and side mirrors, a CD player, aux input jack for my mp3 player or carpeted front and rear floor mats, I'll have to take the Leaf. If my wife wants a lighted sun visor vanity mirror, she'll take our Camry. I can also set two separate charge timers in the Leaf. Can you do that in Model S? They are two very different cars for two very different markets. They just both happen to be EVs. Yea!

jat | 14 décembre 2012

@dstlavnicky - I don't want the pano roof, and I would be very unhappy if you made me get one. I also wouldn't pay $15k for the performance option, as 0-60 in 5.5s in plenty for me.

BYT | 14 décembre 2012, I guess I'm spoiled, I want my Model S to exceed the 0-60 in more like 3.5 seconds, sorry to take it off topic, I love the reaction people give me when I "punch it" and like a typical adrenaline junky, I want MORE... :D

Brian H | 14 décembre 2012

Yes, TM focussed on "the dimensions that count", and Leaf so far has better bells and whistles. The difference is that every MS will continually upgrade, whereas the Leafs will only wear out, and can never offer anything more in "the dimensions that count". ;)

ddruz | 14 décembre 2012

@stevenmaifert - You may be one of the first to get a car without the Tech package. When it arrives please post whether there is any GPS or stripped down navigation. At this point I am assuming without Tech you get web-based Google maps route guidance like on a PC but no GPS indication of car location on the map. It would also be great to know what you think of the standard definition back up camera, FOB operated door handles and manual lift rear gate.

I too have a Leaf and have been astonished that the standard amenities on Model S don't compare. The rest of Model S of course blows the Leaf totally and completely out of the water.

stevenmaifert | 14 décembre 2012 - Got the call today. Delivery is December 23. Will be happy to check out all you asked about and post my thoughts/opinion.

jat | 14 décembre 2012

@ddruz - Google Maps in the browser can show you where you are via GPS if your browser makes it available (such as on a tablet).

Brian H | 14 décembre 2012

'Twas the day before the night before Christmas,

Brian H | 14 décembre 2012

'Twas the day before the day before the night before Christmas,


ddruz | 15 décembre 2012 - Yes, well aware of this. Tesla has previously consistently stated that cars without Tech will not even have a GPS installed therefore would be unable to pinpoint car on Google maps. The question is whether they have changed their mind about this. We should know in just a couple weeks when stevenmaifert gets his car.

frisbin | 15 décembre 2012

My experiences driving a 2011 Roadster Sport with the Alpine tech package in that car, resulted in me owning and using a recent model iPad with 3G and the GPS built in.

I find an app from MotionX called "GPS Drive HD" works great on the iPad. It is quick to update the map as you drive, you can preload map data, the nav and search features work well, you can customize the voices to taste, choose from 3D or 4 other map views, including traffic overlay on the map. It is a simple button tap to orient the map for always north at top, or forward direction toward the top of map, change map type, the display updates instantly. This app uses bing maps, so there is no issue with Apple failed map update.

So, having solved the nav problem myself, I opted out of the tech package on my Model S. Will the standard headlights on the Model S be so bad that I want to upgrade them? Time will tell. I expect to love the car. Currently it is sitting lonely at the factory, having waited all week so far, to be loaded on a truck. I keep asking, but there seems to be no information as to the reason for the delay in putting the car on a truck, -presumably the easiest part of building cars and selling them to customers.

peterdobias | 4 janvier 2013

I have finally got the answer about the tech package and what it would take to get a xenon light set after purchasing the car without the tech package. I have talked to a parts department at Tesla and they said that the roadster has a package for $600 and it is very likely that Model S will have the same option. The voltage and wiring is the same so if you can't afford $4000 tech package, it is likely that you will be able to get Xenon's afterwards. My reason to go without the tech package is simple. The Canadian duty and taxes come up to hefty $17 000 and I have to do my best to keep the price down.
Suddenly the 60 kW option with sunroof and suspension came to over 90000. I love what Tesla is doing, I am really unhappy the duty that Canada imposed on it.

edavis008 | 6 janvier 2013

The Google maps app for the iPhone provides turn by turn voice navigation. Will the sound for this app come through on the standard sound system?

DouglasR | 6 janvier 2013


Yes, the audio plays fine through my sound system. I have the upgraded sound system, but I doubt that it matters.

Brian H | 6 janvier 2013

Depends how sexy the voice is ...

edavis008 | 7 janvier 2013

Cool!! Thanks DR.

DouglasR | 7 janvier 2013

A question was asked a while back (I can't find the thread) about whether other smartphone audio plays via Bluetooth over the car's speakers. It does. I have the Rhapsody music service, and not only does the audio play, but I get skip and pause controls as well as album art on the touch screen. I haven't checked everything, but when my iPhone is selected as the audio device in the car's Media Player App, everything that would normally produce audio on the phone's speakers seems to play through the car's speakers. Sounds pretty good, too!

HawaiiBee | 21 janvier 2013

Without the tech package how does the keyless entry work? Is there a key hole?

I just want key less entry and maybe homelink (and even then I park outside)..

so for $3,700, I'm not sold on Xeon and other features.

*I drive a 2009 Range rover sport now, so yes, I know how bright the lights are. And the range has active head lights , something that's more important then the bulb type.

Do you know if you can add a after market alarm?

Also without the tech package, no back up camera... I can live without it, don't have it now.

- Home link ~ $300
- Keyless entry ~ $300
- Backup camera ~ $900

so i'm still $1,600 off what I think its worth.

djp | 21 janvier 2013

You still get a back up camera - just not HD

gregv64 | 21 janvier 2013

"Without the tech package how does the keyless entry work? Is there a key hole?"

The tech package gives you "Automatic Keyless Entry", which means that you don't need to touch the key fob. As you approach the car it detects the fob and unlocks and extends the handles without you doing anything. Without the tech package you have normal keyless entry and and press the top of the key fob to unlock the car.

stevenmaifert | 21 janvier 2013

Checking the specs page, all MS have keyless entry. That simply means you unlock the doors with the wireless remote. No physical key is required. The door handles popping out as you approach the car with the remote (FOB) on your person is a feature of the Tech package.

All MS come with a security system (alarm) that you can choose to enable or not. It blows the horn.

David10 | 23 janvier 2013

My 60 Kwh Tesla was delivered on Sunday. It was delivered with the 3G connection on and I discovered that there are really two versions of navigation system. When you set a destination - you get two navigation displays - one overhead view on the 17 inch display with the Google map that looks gorgeous at half or full screen. A second Garmin like tilted perspective navigation screen appears on the instrument cluster display behind the steering wheel occupying about a third of that display on the left or right (it is switchable with media and energy graph displays via steering the steering wheel controls). The speedometer remains in the middle.
I haven't signed up for any data plans so I wasn't to surprised when my 3G connection went away today. I didn't notice anything with navigation right away because the maps on my route to work remain cached. When I drove over to a friends to show off the car I noticed I essentially drove off the google map except for the blue line of my route, but the instrument cluster display still showed roads and voice directions continued. FYI there is a nice effect where the media audio fades to the passenger side and voice directions are pumped to the drivers side speakers. I believe this is where tech package navigation differs from straight up Google Navigation. The tech package navigation system is internet independent and tightly integrated with other car systems.
I originally got on the forums to see about peoples experience with data plans, but I hope this information is useful for folks on the fence about the Tech package. It's a pricey option, but some of the more subtle Wow factor of the car is hidden in it.

Alex K | 23 janvier 2013

@David10 | JANUARY 23, 2013: I haven't signed up for any data plans so I wasn't to surprised when my 3G connection went away today.

My data connection has not gone away and I don't have a data plan yet. I think there will be an announcement from Tesla regarding data plans and a window before the data connection goes away. You may need to reboot your main 17" screen (hold both scroll wheels on the steering wheel down, until the screen reboots).

Chuck Lusin | 23 janvier 2013

The navigation android app works great. Maybe you can hear the directions via the car audio? Anyone try that?

stevenmaifert | 24 janvier 2013

Chuck - It's been reported in other threads that the directions from a smartphone can be played through the car audio.

DouglasR | 24 janvier 2013

@David10 - you shouldn't have lost your internet connection. Try rebooting your display (press and hold scroll wheels on steering wheel for 10-15 seconds) and you will probably get it back.

There is lots of discussion in these threads about navigating with the tech package and what you can do without the tech package. Your description is not quite correct.

David10 | 24 janvier 2013

You guys are right 3G was back when I got in the car this morning. Though I did try the reboot last night. Also looks like I'm getting a software update pushed to me in early morning.

Brian H | 24 janvier 2013

You will always get software updates. They're universally free for all MS owners.

bp | 25 janvier 2013

Getting back to the navigation issue...

Got my car two days ago - replacing a 2007 LS 460.

The navigation system is underwhelming - much more limited than my LS 460's 6 year old system.

Advantages of the Model S: Garmin display on dashboard, voice command entering of destinations, using phone contacts for destinations, entering destinations while the car is moving, satellite imaging for map, full screen map display.

Disadvantages of the Model S: Real-time traffic data not used for navigation, while navigation is running, the route line overwrites the traffic data so you can't see what is ahead, no waypoints, no way to use the map to adjust your destination (by dragging the destination like in Google maps), poor routing instructions (Lexus provided 3 route choices, plus you could add waypoints to force a specific route), map is always north at the top, no "split screen" to show both zoomed out and zoomed in displays simultaneously, ...

This really feels like a "version 0.1" product.

HOWEVER, all of these problems can be addressed by software updates. The capabilities of the Model S are considerably greater than my old LS - and likely any other car on the market. Getting a full feature set of the Nav software is not as important as getting other functionality working well and getting the software stable. But I do hope Tesla has plans to upgrade the Nav software to fully leverage the capabilities of the car and be competitive with what's out on the market (and has been for many years).

Benz | 25 janvier 2013

Here in The Netherlands we have Tom Tom Navigation Systems, which are very good actually. And they do not cost very much any more (but they used to be expensive). So, that would be a possible solution. Like any other Navigation System (Garmin etc.).

Like Topic Starter has mentioned already that going on Internet and using Google Maps, is a solution. Every person should make his/her choise.

Anyway, The Model S was chosen as Car of the Year. This car should have the best possible Navigation on board. This is something that Tesla Motors should have thought about when they were designing the Model S. Still it is not too late to do something about it. Tesla Motors should come up with an update that would give the car the best possible Navigation System.