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.

jerry3 | 3 novembre 2012

Just bear in mind that the Nav system that comes with the Tech package is not just Google Maps. It's also includes the car Nav system that shows up by the speedometer so you don't have to keep looking at the centre display while driving. Important safety feature in my book.

As far as the other features go: If you've never had them you don't understand what you're missing.

Getting Amped Again | 3 novembre 2012

I was told by a Tesla store manager that the maps in the Tech Package NAV are stored in ROM, not downloaded on the fly via the internet. Downloading high-resolution maps using 3G might be very slow, but loading maps from local ROM is fast and fluid.

Finally, if you're out of cell data coverage you're SOL, whereas GPS-based NAV just needs a view of the sky. Also, the data plan is free for now, but it's eventually going to be about $20/month (don't think we know for sure).

Can any current Model S owners shed some light on using Google Maps for navigation? How well does it work? Thanks.

jerry3 | 3 novembre 2012
DouglasR | 3 novembre 2012

Also, isn't it true that without the tech package, the car has no GPS receiver? So Google Maps may give you turn-by-turn directions, but it won't tell you where you are.

Alex K | 3 novembre 2012

@Getting Amped Soon | NOVEMBER 3, 2012: I was told by a Tesla store manager that the maps in the Tech Package NAV are stored in ROM, not downloaded on the fly via the internet.

I doubt the NAV data is stored in ROM. ROM is Read Only Memory and not re-writable. The Tech package comes with 7 years of NAV updates. I would guess they are stored in Flash and either updated remotely or when brought in for service.

Michael23 | 3 novembre 2012

You can't do turn by turn google maps. This is confirmed from reps unless it changes.

stevenmaifert | 3 novembre 2012

Even if the non-tech package S doesn't have a GPS chip, chances are your cellphone/smartphone does. Someone smarter than me will figure out how to link it. In the meantime, this is pretty slick: and I understand there have been some enhancements since this video was produced.

Tiebreaker | 3 novembre 2012

Or you can just get a stand-alone windshield mounted GPS.

Volker.Berlin | 3 novembre 2012

Can any current Model S owners shed some light on using Google Maps for navigation? How well does it work? Thanks. (Getting Amped Soon)

No, because all Signature cars come standard with the Tech Pkg. We don't even know for sure yet what a car w/o Tech Pkg looks like, see GPS antenna question above. If you ask now, any Sig owners trying to give an honest answer will either be confused, or add to the confusion on these forums, or both (been there done that).

Getting Amped Again | 3 novembre 2012

@Volker.Berlin - I was really talking about downloading high-resolution maps with 3G. I really didn't think about the GPS receiver issue (which is unknown at this point), until it was posted. You're making me responsible for subsequent posts - I need time travel for that! :)

Here's my point: even with a decent home internet connection (say 5-10 Mbit/sec), smoothly updating a full-screen graphic on a 17" screen in real time is difficult. Unless I'm missing something, I think it's going to be impossible at 3G speeds (and not that great at 4G).

Someone with a Sig can do this test right now, correct? Then it can be "ins bett" (not a good translation of Put to Bed). That might aid a lot of reservation holders out there that are thinking internet-based NAV will work for them.

My high school German teacher had a saying, "I might be wrong but I never am."

jerry3 | 3 novembre 2012

Getting Amped Soon

You can see how the current one works from the videos here:

Even satellite view isn't actually useable (note that the one video is in a garage with very poor reception, but the the one where the car is being driven show that it's just barely adequate in regular map view. Note: for this video be sure to use full screen. on a 30" monitor you get a real "I'm in the car" sensation.

jinglehyme | 3 novembre 2012

When I test drove the Sig Performance in Freemont at the factory, Google maps was on the touch screen. I found it to be difficult to follow because the orientation of the map did not change with the direction of the vehicle. I want the latest technology in my S.
Tech Pack is Mandatory

I have owned VW/Audi and Lexus products with all the other goodies - they are not optional in my mind.

Plop down the extra dough. This is not a econo-box silly!

mrspaghetti | 3 novembre 2012


Would be a little ridiculous IMO to have that ginormous touch screen and then mount a Tom Tom on your windshield.

ChasF | 3 novembre 2012

$3,750 worth of ridiculous?

mrspaghetti | 3 novembre 2012


IMO yes.

ChasF | 3 novembre 2012

@ tesla.mrspaghetti

Fair enough.

Rod and Barbara | 3 novembre 2012

Just to be clear, in the Signature Model S you cannot get active turn-by-turn navigation on Google Maps accessed from the Web app on the touch screen. Accessing Google Maps via the Web app gives the same Google Maps you get on your home computer. You can enter a starting point and destination and get turn-by-turn directions, but the map does not show your location and the directions do not update as you travel along the route. Whether this integration will change on Production cars without the Tech Package is an open question. So the supposition at the beginning of this thread is questionable at best, and possibly completely wrong.

Also in the vein of clarification, the map shown on the touch screen through the Nav app (part of the Tech Package) is a Google Map. So when referring to Google Maps in the Model S, it is important to specify whether you are referring to the Nav app or the Web app as they behave very differently.

sergiyz | 4 novembre 2012

the coverage is also different between the two.
Large goog map depends on 3G being active, otherwise the map is blank.
I've experienced this many times driving in areas with poor cell reception.
Nav app has offline maps and follows the car direction (vs North always up).
I'm not yet sure if there's any interaction between the two, e.g. if goog maps show bad traffic conditions, would the nav app re-route.

jerry3 | 4 novembre 2012


Yes, the tech package is pretty much mandatory, and even with the lowest cost Model S it's ~7% of the price (3750/57000) so basically about the sales tax level. Realistically, the tech package was just a way for Tesla to increase the price of the car without raising the base price. Given that they are starting from zero on this car, they came pretty close to the original engineering cost estimates.

Michael23 | 4 novembre 2012

I feel really bad for the non tech people. No xenon in a luxury car? No nav with a huge touchscreen and another screen behind the steering wheel. A garmin on top? Wooooow!

The min you are paying is like 60k already don't regret this later.

DouglasR | 4 novembre 2012


Does the nav app show traffic?

ChasF | 4 novembre 2012

I'm really surprised by the very strong feelings that are pro-tech package. I agonized about it for a long time and finally decided to get it anyway, the Xeon lights being the deciding factor by a small margin. I still feel that the package is way overpriced considering the other available options for Internet connectivity and GPS. I completely get anyone questioning whether to add it or not. If the cost is a days salary, sure, go for it. If it represents a months blood and sweat, I would think it has to give one pause, especially if they don't have those features now and would not really miss them.

My take is that the primary enjoyment of this car comes from its beauty and drivability. The extra conveniences would not impact that much based on my experiences to-date, not to mention the other advantages of EV. The only other must haves for me are the Pano and air suspension. Tech Package - not so much.

Sure, it may seem hypocritical that I'm getting it anyway but this is a big purchase for me and I consider it insurance against regret only. Obviously, I dont take the wisdom of those on this forum lightly. However, if the Tech Package was taken away from me as an option I don't think I would shed one tear.

Getting Amped Again | 4 novembre 2012

Like many forum topics that deal with "features", opinions are often split between:

1) Those who are used to having these features in previous cars and like them, and
2) Those who have never had them in a car and don't see the value.

What's really interesting to me is the huge spectrum of Model S purchasers (see the And Your Model S Will Be Replacing A....topic). Model S buyers run the gamut from those who are used to driving late-model premium brands (and expect the features that their A6 or 5-series has), to those who are buying a $70-$80K Model S when they previously drove a 2000 Whatever they paid $10K for.

I'd wager that no other vehicle on the planet has that spread of potential buyers, and I think that's why you see such diverse opinions on "features" topics. The fact that there's a large group of buyers that never owned anything close to a "premium" or "luxury" car before, IMHO is a testament to how revolutionary the Model S is. It's a game-changer with or without the bells and whistles - it's win-win!

jerry3 | 4 novembre 2012

Getting Amped Soon,

Those of us coming from a Prius (which also has a very diverse buyer base) are actually used to the options that the tech package provides--and those that have a newer Prius 2010+, are used to more if they purchased the tech package.

Getting Amped Again | 4 novembre 2012

jerry3 - I agree that the Model S is lacking in some areas, and is missing some features that I really like and am used to, and early in my "forum life" I would have been more critical about their non-existence. But as I've waited for my car I've grown more forgiving with time. I just accepted the premise that its revolutionary drive train and earth-friendly function overshadowed it's shortcomings. Or I just drank the Kool-Aid like everybody else.

I can understand your frustration (concern?) paying $60-$80K for a car that has fewer features than your (admittedly great) $30K car. Maybe you will forget about those missing features on your Model S when you push your right foot down?

jerry3 | 4 novembre 2012

Getting Amped Soon,

I'm pretty well reconciled to the lack of features. Actually, because my Prius is a 2004, it has just about the same features that the tech package has, so I'm not really losing anything--and some of the features appear to be implemented better than in the Prius so I expect to be pretty happy with them. The point I was making was that it isn't only luxury car buyers that are used to those features.

The performance doesn't really do a lot for me. I was probably the slowest driver in the Get Amped tours. I'm getting the Model S because:

1. I'd like to get out of the ICE business (and all that it stands for).

2. The engineering. The Model S is the only modern car, other than the Prius, to use some actual innovative engineering and not just put a new skin over the same old junk that's been around for 100 years, throw a bunch of advertising dollars at it, and call it new. (This is my big problem with cars like Audi, MB, BMW, they are just rehashing the same old tired engineering with zero innovation--100% boring. Even the Prius really hasn't changed in 16 years it's been around.) The last car before the Prius to use innovative engineering was the ID/DS models--and that was in 1955. There are still a number of ways that cars today haven't caught up with those great cars.

3. Support Elon's stated goals.

4. Have a mechanically simpler vehicle.

I'd happily trade half the power for two or three times the range. I'd wait for GenIII but a) I'm not getting any younger, and b) If the Model S doesn't sell enough there won't be any GenIII.

Michael23 | 4 novembre 2012

I second that point in the diverse crowd buying a tesla. I love that it satisfies performance junkies like me and those who care about other benefits of the car. No matter what car you are coming from though it seems strange to me to get a screen this big and not have any desire to use google maps on it, it reminds me of those Infiniti loaner cars with the screens, but all you can do is look at the radio stations in black and white, why have the screen then just for music? Albeit the music browser is pretty lick on the s.

jinglehyme | 4 novembre 2012

Jerry 3

Go test drive a 2013 Ford Fusion Hybird and C-max Energi. The Prius platform (also in my Lexus CT200h) has some real competition. Ford interiors use materials that are challenging entry level Lexus products and eclipse all things branded Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Kia and even Hydundai who passed Toyota a couple of years ago. Even the lowly Focus simply out performs a Prius in nearly every way.

The Prius is an appliance. Ford is making real cars that get equal or better gas mileage and are fun to drive on the open highway. Time to pass the baton to two great American car companies.
Ford and Tesla are positioned to change the landscape of American highways.

Tiebreaker | 5 novembre 2012

@tesla.mrspaghet...: Yeah, agreed. Just stated the obvious (duh!) solution, available now, somewhere between a paper map and the tech package.

For some folks getting a $50,000 car is a stretch already (heard it here, on the forum), and $3,500 may be harder to swallow than the ridiculousness. At least until a better solution becomes available, i.e. a smart phone/Model S app (as stevenmaifert said) that uses the phone's GPS. I'd really like to see the Waze app for the Model S.

portia | 5 novembre 2012

Drove on the 152 from Watsonville to Gilroy yesterday, using the nav system to go to the supercharger, in the mountains, lost 3g signal and the map turned blank. however the turn-by-turn was still usable, probably. I was on a stretch which required no turns at the time. The turn-by-turn display was pretty and fun to look at, and in 3D. Personally I would never get a car without nav, after 11 years of using it in my ex-Lexus, it was one of the best features of the car. @chaseF I think the nav system on the S is part of the beauty and drivablity of the car. Btw try the 152 if you live in the bay area, the turns on this road really make you appreciate how great and fun the Model S is.

aaronw2 | 5 novembre 2012

Back in 2006 I got the tech package for my Prius and am glad I did. Just the HID headlights alone are worth it IMO for the added visibility. I have also found the integrated GPS in the car to be far preferable to the GPS on my phone, despite being strictly 2-D since it is better optimized for driving and integrated into the car. The fact that it can be displayed right next to the speedometer is a big plus IMO.

Now there are a few things I really wish Tesla offered such as parking assist, especially with the propensity to scrape against the curb (something I am frequently guilty of).

David M. | 5 novembre 2012

Here's the thing. About 3 years ago I put my Tom Tom on my closet shelf (never to be used again) because I use Google Maps with Navigation on my Android phone. It's better, and Google keeps updating the app and maps for free. The phone cost me $200. The awesome windshield mount cost $40.

So now we've got the $3,750 Tech package with Navigon. Yes, it has turn by turn directions with 3G (not 4G like my phone). And the maps won't orient up for the direction of travel (like Google Maps w/ Navigation is able to do). I don't know what map updates will cost me over time, but my Lexus still has 2009 maps because I refuse to pay $150 every year to purchase map updates.

If Tesla can ever get Google Maps with Navigation, taking advantage of the GPS, and working properly on the touchscreen, then that will be awesome. Until then, when I need to navigate, all of my passengers will see my cell phone in the cradle, stuck to the windshield above the 17 inch infotainment screen. If anybody asks why, I'll tell them it's because it's a better navigation system. It just is. iPhone users wouldn't know any different, but Android users will.

mrspaghetti | 5 novembre 2012

@David M

Consider that without the tech package you won't have gps hardware in the car, so the tesla app won't be able to take advantage of that functionality.

jbunn | 5 novembre 2012

On a positive note, the 17 inch monitor gives you a nice flat surface to stick a suction cup phone mount to.

David M. | 5 novembre 2012

Hey, I'm already committed to the tech package for all the other stuff. Would be nice if the Maps with Nav pointed in the direction of travel, like all good nav systems do.

Jbunn - You cracked me up! I nearly dropped my tablet. Great idea, hmmm :-)

BYT | 5 novembre 2012

@David M., it does point in the direction your Model S is pointed in on the Dash LCD, still points North on the 17" screen. I like the option myself as you get two different views while driving, the 17" can be for your Navigator to look at and yell at you when you miss your turn.

Getting Amped Again | 5 novembre 2012

I agree with BYT. Some of us older fellows who used to use paper maps in the Dark Ages like having North up for navigation. I think the combination of driving direction on the dash display and North up on the LCD is perfect. Just my opinion.

portia | 5 novembre 2012

Tesla gives you 7 years of free nav map updates in the Tech package.
I updated my Lexus map only once in the 11 years I owned it!

BYT | 5 novembre 2012

I've had my Garmin for a bit over 3 years and paid $200 in map updates ($99 each update). The reason, the economy has been hard on businesses and since the property bubble burst, POI's have changed 3 or 4 times in that amount of time. I go to lookup a place to eat and it's a place of worship, or type in an old favorite Japanese restaurant and it's now an Indian Buffet. It drove me nuts not being able to depend on it and I definitely can't depend on my flawed map on my iOS 6 based device. Tom Tom on it isn't bad however on the iOS. I will most certainly take advantage of the 7 years of updates on my Model S.

For fun, I'll get an iPhone 5 mount or plaster my current Garmin GPS to the 17" screen for laughs. Will end up with a "FAIL" flag caption under it over time I am sure.

David M. | 6 novembre 2012

BYT - Thanks for the info. Not as bad as I feared afterall. Although I'm not sure I will ever get used to looking at the big map and seeing my car traveling down, or left, or whatever. If someone just wants to navigate with instructions from point A to B, does the compass heading (north) really matter? Years ago, I remember seeing folks who would stick a compass to their windshield. I don't get it. Seems like that's something you would do before GPS was invented.

jeanyvest | 6 novembre 2012

From those who use maps for living (pilots), we always hold the paper maps in the direction we are traveling. Nowadays, with the GPS, the same principles apply. So for Tesla to have a fixed North is very counter-intuitive for us. The display top should really points towards way of travel.

My 2 cents...

jat | 6 novembre 2012

@DavidM - I agree completely - I get better navigation in my phone, and with Google Now and my calendar/etc, it is much more convenient than any car-based system and is always up to date. I will probably use the in-car navigation just because it is there, but I really wish Tesla had made a deal with Google to run their native maps app (either port it to Tesla's Linux implementation in the console, or run it in an Android emulator like you do for desktop development).

Just like why Apple's maps suck compared to Google -- companies that start with TIGER/DEM data and clean it up are never going to have good navigation compared to Google sending StreetView cars driving millions of miles to get the actual path/connectivity of roads - they even pick up street signs. See for details of how they do it.

Homelink is actually the most important thing to me from the tech package, but I also want the backup camera, keyless entry, and fog lights. I wouldn't pay extra for the rest.

Michael23 | 6 novembre 2012

The benefit of navigon is that it should work even without 3G coverage. I'm sure google maps update is coming to point the map towards the direction of the car. I too use my android maps sometimes because I'm lazy when it comes to using my infiniti car nav, but it isn't safe to keep looking at my phone.

jat | 6 novembre 2012

@Michael23 - Google Maps on the phone will cache the map tiles and the route, and can even handle re-routing with no connectivity (though it doesn't always get the optimum route in such cases, it just gets back to the pre-computed route). I have even used Google Maps on a tablet with no cellular connectivity, by telling it to download the map tiles for the route while on Wifi.

I'm not sure looking at your phone on a dash mount is any different than looking at the center console.

mrspaghetti | 6 novembre 2012


I'm not sure looking at your phone on a dash mount is any different than looking at the center console.

If you don't have the tech package nav, as I understand it the only thing you'd get on the console would be Google Maps the way you'd see it on your home PC. So no real-time updating of your position, just a static map with a blue line showing the route and a text list of turn-by-turn directions.

On the phone you get a true GPS app, complete with naggy electronic voice telling you where to turn next, rerouting in real time if you miss a turn, etc.

Michael23 | 6 novembre 2012

That's a good point. I guess I was thinking about google maps in the car without tech package wouldn't cache or have your position but your phone could, it just feels like a waste to use my phone mounted and look at this kittoe screen when I have this huge screen and also one behind the steering wheel. It's cleaner to integrate your car audio with bt and nav then to have your phone nav competing with bt and car stereo.

portia | 6 novembre 2012

in my 2001 Lexus which I no longer have, the nav map could be set to have North up or point to the direction of travel, and I always liked it to point north! So it should be an option if ever that becomes available, not to force it on people who like North up always.

Getting Amped Again | 6 novembre 2012

I think we should wrap up this thread with the conclusion:

with the Tech Package you get Navigation,

without the Tech Package you get Routing.

m67tesla and others can decide what works for them. Lots of good information was disseminated.

Mayhemm | 7 novembre 2012

I'm a bit of a late-comer to the party here. So, let me get this straight, the Tech Package Nav system ALWAYS has North at the top? There's no option to change it?