All cars delivered in 2012 are required to have Active Air Suspension

All cars delivered in 2012 are required to have Active Air Suspension


ckessel | 1 giugno 2012

*shrug*, given P deliveries (the ones that could pick standard suspension) won't likely start until September, it's only P folks in the first ~3k or so that would be affected. And of those, only the first 1/2 would have any significant delay.

Volker.Berlin | 2 giugno 2012

This was discussed here as well:

Similarly, gray leather interior has an annotation saying it will only become available in November this year.

Mike_ModelS_P457 | 2 giugno 2012

As a P reservation holder not wanting the air suspension, and being under 500, and having waited over three years for this car, I'm pretty unhappy that a $1500 option, that I see no use in, will delay my delivery by three plus months.

Sudre_ | 2 giugno 2012

And I see no reason a 60 additional mile option for $10k that I see no use in should delay my delivery.
I am getting the air suspension with the 240 mile battery.

Guess we're even LOL.

stevenmaifert | 2 giugno 2012

Another one of TM's little "surprises", huh George? First it was the Sigs, then the 85kWh battery. Now it's the air suspension. What will be the next option to get head-of-the-line privileges? I'm betting on the Performance. Maybe there's a good reason (beyond revenue maximization), but it appears that for all the cutting edge technology that TM touts, their production line is only capable of producing a single variant of the Model S at a time.

Decisions, decisions. I wasn't going to get the air suspension, but will now because of the uncertainty of the funding for the federal $7500 tax credit and $2500 CA CVRP rebate beyond 2012.

Volker.Berlin | 2 giugno 2012

stevenmaifert, that have to start with something. We all expect compromised build quality, and that's Tesla's primary promise next to selling approx. 5000 cars this year. If they tried to do everything at once, quality would almost necessarily suffer.

Volker.Berlin | 2 giugno 2012

that -> they
compromised -> uncompromised
Dammit. I think you get the idea... ;-)

Volker.Berlin | 2 giugno 2012

Edit feature, anyone??

stevenmaifert | 2 giugno 2012

Volker.Berlin - You may be right, but that's little comfort for those with low P numbers who have been waiting patiently for years now only to see their delivery slip to 2013 because the production line can't walk and chew gum at the same time without risking a compromise in quality. BTW, hopefully you meant uncompromised build quality :) The order of production could have been published a long time ago, and was to a certain extent, but to see these little surprises slip into the fine print as we go along is very disappointing. The production line will be tooled up to produce the first 1000 Sigs. There are standard features on the Sigs that are optional on the Ps. If they are going to deliver the first Ps to those who want to option up to a Sig (less the cosmetics) before they retool, they need to get that out now so the rest of us can resign ourselves to waiting or take our business elsewhere.

stevenmaifert | 2 giugno 2012

Volker.Berlin - You beat me to it with the edit :)

wbrown01 | 4 giugno 2012

What I don't get is, if TM only have a few officially placed orders how can they say all these models made before Jan first will be made with active air. The 230 mile batteries go to production in Nov 2012. If none of the 230 mile customers wanted active air, what would they do? What crytal ball did they use I am a 230 mile customer but TM does not know this, because they have not asked anyone except the Signature folks. What survey did they use to say they will be putting in active air because so many have already asked for it. Not me, have anyone been asked if they want active air, I don't think so. This is a marketing trick to force of to buy this option and really burns me up. I can't wait till January and TM is betting on that. This is not good.

DanD | 4 giugno 2012

All of this could have been more transparent.

We find out about tech package sticker shock after 2 years on the reservation list. Then we get a performance class that moves ahead of "P"s. We still don't know anything about superchargers for 60kWh or even if there is a real plan to have a supercharger network.

Now we've got a brand new defacto class of cars to push us out.

I just don't get it. Why not just work out a production schedule months ago and give reservation holders an approximate date.

It's like Tesla is sitting around waiting to think up new ways to trick us into upgrades we don't want.

I think I've got to draw a line.

Either I get the car I knew I wanted last month for $65K or less in November or I walk. I can't go on waiting for an uncertain "deal" forever.

I don't drive in snow and don't climb mountains into my driveway. With the heck am I being pushed into this option?

stephen.kamichik | 4 giugno 2012

I think TM wants to please the shareholders.

Teoatawki | 4 giugno 2012

DanD & Stephan

I agree this could and should have been more transparent. But I don't think their motivation is to "trick us into upgrades we don't want" or "wanting to please the shareholders". I think this more about designing a new car and its assembly line from scratch in a nearly impossibly short time. There wasn't enough time to get all the options production ready before they had to flip the switch on the assembly line to meet their production commitments.

foto | 4 giugno 2012

What if they threw in the Active Air Suspension for free for everyone? That way nobody has to be forced back to the end of the line.

petit | 4 giugno 2012

I'd like to see a more complete list of the standard features to compare with what's in these packages. The tech package lists high-D rear view camera. Does that mean a lower res. camera is standard? It lists turn by turn nav. Does that mean a simpler map Nav is standard? I could put the iPhone in a docking port in a pinch, but the ambiguity is frustrating.

But I am determined to have the 85kw-h battery. My driveway bottom, on a hill, has a steep approach angle on one side that already scrapes chin spoilers on a Volvo and an SVT Ford Contour. So, air suspension looks wise (maybe I'll get a test drive to try it out - we live not far from Fremont). Most impressive is that Tesla has hit or exceeded just about all its milestone goals so far. As others on this list say, reducing production permutations for this year's run could be very sensible business - as does going first for high-end customers to amp cash flow.

I still don't know if the res. number we have is for total production, or starts after the first 1000 Signatures. The wait is killing us.

bsimoes | 4 giugno 2012

It sounds like it's government regulations which are forcing the move about "active air". It doesn't sound like it's optional for this year. If that's the case, I would think that Tesla would be forced to give it to customers even if they didn't want or need it; it would be like a recall in reverse! I had the same questions about the camera and navigation. I watched some video that had a close up of the 17' screen, and it did look like camera and navigation were there.

wbrown01 | 4 giugno 2012

So no one wants to try and answer how can TM assume that all the production time until Jan will have orders for active air. Where did they get that info from without a sigle order. Can anyone answer that?

Crow | 4 giugno 2012

I would guess that it is more about the availability of certain parts for the standard suspension.

ckessel | 4 giugno 2012

@DanD, you already said you dropped your reservation and even said you were off looking into a lawsuit against Tesla.

Why are you here?

Sudre_ | 4 giugno 2012

I think it's a part availability thing. I don't see how it's a government regulation. Do all cars have to have air suspension this year or just the Tesla Model S?

When you call a supplier and order 20,000 shocks and struts they don't just keep those hanging around on a shelf. Could also be the shocks failed a quality control test and had to be remade.... maybe you'd rather have the defective part put in then you could get a car with Karma issues.

It's about as transparent as it gets. When they make a decision they tell us. What makes you think two years ago they were sitting around going, "Hey lets make the air suspension required for the first 5000 cars. OH! Lets not tell them until a few months before delivery."
No matter what the reason is there are a few that will think it a conspiracy.

Volker.Berlin | 5 giugno 2012

DanD, I don't understand why you're still here complaining anyway. You have a history of saying "if Tesla does or doesn't so or so, I'll walk away". I actually thought you left long time ago...

It's your choice. You know it, we know it, Tesla knows it. If you don't like the deal, you can and should walk away. Remarkably, up to now, you still seem to think that the deal Tesla offers is fair, otherwise you wouldn't hold onto your reservation.

Volker.Berlin | 5 giugno 2012

ckessel, sorry for repeating your post. I should read all posts first, before saying what must be said... ;-)

Volker.Berlin | 5 giugno 2012

I'd like to see a more complete list of the standard features to compare with what's in these packages. The tech package lists high-D rear view camera. Does that mean a lower res. camera is standard? It lists turn by turn nav. Does that mean a simpler map Nav is standard? (petit)

Much of what you're asking for is detailed on the "Specs" page. These are the features that come standard with the base Model S for $57,400 before tax credit:

There is an entire thread dedicated to these kinds of uncertainties, but most of them have been resolved in the mean time:

Volker.Berlin | 5 giugno 2012

So no one wants to try and answer how can TM assume that all the production time until Jan will have orders for active air. Where did they get that info from without a single order. Can anyone answer that? (wbrown01)

No, of course nobody on this forum can answer it, because we all have the same sources and the info is not there. We're left to common sense and guesswork.

Personally, I think it's a mixture of everything that was mentioned: The Sigs have air suspension, thus the production line is kept simpler and quality control is easier if they continue with that configuration for a while after the Sigs. Of course, higher optioned cars are also good for the cash flow, and investors like that, nothing wrong with it. Logistics are easier to ramp up if new parts are incrementally added to the supply chain. As far as I'm concerned, until only a few months ago, I didn't even know that air suspension would be available! Tesla is moving fast and is communicating about as openly as possible under the circumstances.

What's the alternative? Take a Leaf, a Prius, a Volt or any conventional ICE car. It's available today. If you can drive a BEV like the Model S in 2013, it's a great achievement! In 2009, when the Model S was announced, a lot of people (actually, the vast majority) wouldn't have expected a car like that even for 2015!

Why would Tesla assume that almost half of their reservation holders so far will decide for air suspension? They can't assume it, but they can hope for it. I am sure they will find a way to avoid a stop in production if they cannot find enough reservation holders willing to take the air suspension option. And they will call reservation holders early enough to find out when they need to know. Given that it all went extremely smooth up to now, I trust they'll manage.

Brian H | 5 giugno 2012

To keep the timelines in perspective, remember that 2 (two!) years ago TM was in the process of acquiring the NUMMI/Fremont factory. They hadn't even swept the floors, much less begun installing robots!

I doubt there's a start-up story in the world to match it.

steven.maes | 5 giugno 2012

Volker, Brian, I agree with you.

stevenmaifert | 5 giugno 2012

What's wrong with this is that when we placed our reservation, we were assigned a number. For years we have assumed that number represented our place in line. Now, just days before the start of production, we are finding that number is meaningless for reasons that have not been well explained by TM. If we're lucky, GB will address the issue in today's blog post and end the speculation, but don't hold your breath.

VolkerP | 5 giugno 2012

Your number is the place in line when you get contacted to configure your car. If you have P-451, you will be called before P-452.

If your configuration contains an item not available by the estimated production date, you have the right of a one-time deferral.

It's in the license agreement. So nothing wrong here except people not reading paperwork that they filed $5k for.

Besides of that I can understand frustration if order of delivery will deviate grossly from registration number. But it is Tesla's game that we have to play here.

Volker.Berlin | 5 giugno 2012
ViewAskew | 5 giugno 2012

Good morning,
Just some background before I make my comments on the matter. I work for one of the BIG3 as a plant layout designer. Basically I design and place everything required to build a car. Doesn’t make me an expert by any means, just slightly informed.
The fact that I’m purchasing a Tesla is a big deal in the office. We constantly discuss the ever developing story that is the Model S. We actually got into a discussion yesterday about the active air being a required option.

The popular belief, which includes me, is that active air was always in the “original” plan. More than likely it was in the original design and NEVER an option. At some point during the process of deep dives and planning tooling became an issue. Believe it or not, deciding to change something isn’t black and white. You can’t just wake up and say, “We’re going to make active air an optional design” and it just works. Multiple jobs along the line get affected, stock gets adjusted, jph (jobs per hour) change. (The list goes on and on) My belief is that Tesla decided it would make more sense to re-work the line later in the year as appose to doing it early on. You already have a plan that works, change can equate to delays.

If you’re on the fence about the need for it, or you have heartburn then this is easy… CANCEL THE ORDER. I can you now there is NOTHING to file in regards to a class action suit. We change things ALL THE TIME in auto industry. If we go sued for every adjustment made to car, be it forced or unforced, bankruptcy would’ve came a LONG time ago.

Volker.Berlin | 5 giugno 2012

ViewAskew, thank you for offering a different perspective! Very interesting indeed. What precisely made you and your colleagues think that the traditional struts suspension is actually the option, and the air suspension was originally intended to be standard? Is it merely the delay of the struts suspension, or are there other factors?

I'm also interested in your and your colleague's opinion on Tesla's air suspension, particularly your expectations wrt to reliability when compared to traditional spring suspension. Are you going to check the air suspension when Tesla calls you up to complete your order?

DanD | 5 giugno 2012

Volker you're just the #1 apologist for Tesla. Do they pay you?

I'm still a reservation holder. Tesla's had my money for almost 2 years AND I'm a stockholder.

I have had one friend drop Tesla because of the SuperCharger uncertainty. I'm just looking for honest answers. Not your apologist drivel.

steven.maes | 5 giugno 2012

Mhhh, I don't agree DanD. I believe Volker lets logical reason come before emotions. I completely follow his arguments. I can understand that to some of you it seems to be apologist drive. You payed Tesla the reservation fee, you bought stock. Tesla did a greath job in following their strategy ! It is still a company, and they write the rules. This forum is there to let them see what "the people" think. They can do with it what they want. They can use it, like in some cases they did. But thay can't help everybody.
For the rest there is a lot of speculation in this forum. Very logical since we all have the same sources. But together we know more than on our own.
Perhaps it's a cultural thing. We are all alike, but we might think differently.

Volker.Berlin | 5 giugno 2012

Volker you're just the #1 apologist for Tesla.

May be true.

Or maybe I simply accept the rules of a free market economy. There are upsides and downsides. A downside is that Tesla makes the rules for how they want to sell their product. An upside is that a company like Tesla exists at all. Another upside is that if we don't like their rules we don't have to buy their product.

Do they pay you?

I wish they would. But no, I'm all on my own.

I'm just looking for honest answers. Not your apologist drivel.

Sorry I could not help. Can't say I wasn't honest, though.

Volker.Berlin | 5 giugno 2012

Full disclosure: Tesla's had my money for more than 3 years AND I'm a stockholder.

Mark2131@CA-US | 5 giugno 2012


You're beginning to sound like the person who spilled hot coffee on themselves and then sued the company for the coffee being too hot!

Puhleeze! Take your whining somewhere else.


ddruz | 5 giugno 2012

Getting back on topic, can some of the folks knowledgeable about the subject please give a primer on the benefits of the air suspension system for those of us who do not live in snowy climates or do not have steep angled drives to traverse? I understand the car lowers at highway speeds to improve aerodynamics. Does the suspension feel that much different than a normal suspension? Will the car handle better overall or will the ride be noticeably different? What are the risks of the suspension malfunctioning or breaking compared to a normal suspension? For someone for whom money is a consideration is there excellent value at $1500 for this feature or is it essentially a luxury item? Thanks.

steven.maes | 5 giugno 2012

I have heared from a mercedes dealership that the air suspension system in their cars makes the ride more smooth when using bigger wheels. That is why I think the air suspension will compensate the "harder" ride of the 21" wheels.

Norbert.Vienna | 5 giugno 2012

i drive a car with an air suspension system and it makes the ride very comfrotable since all the small bumps from streets are fully neutrlized you dont fell them at all

steven.maes | 5 giugno 2012

Thx for the confirmation Norbert. I was thinking of getting the 21" but only if the air suspension system would compensate enough for the harder feeling. Test drive it will be !

Crow | 5 giugno 2012

I distinctly remember you saying that you dropped your reservation months ago. You said you were going to sue back then too. Now you say you have a reservation and you're a stockholder. Make up your mind.

jbherman | 5 giugno 2012

@Kroneal et al:
No need to engage DanD. He is who he is. Let's not let his unhappiness (or perhaps trolling) rain on our wonderful June! Model S #1 comin' off the line in 17 days!

Volker.Berlin | 5 giugno 2012

ddruz, you surely noticed these threads? Maybe there's some information for you in there:

ddruz | 5 giugno 2012

Volker.Berlin, thank you kindly. Both threads were prior to my following the forums very closely. I appreciate you bringing them to my attention.

ViewAskew | 5 giugno 2012


Again… this is just our opinions, like always I use that as a disclaimer. With the idea of creating a “better vehicle” air suspension seems the most logical direction. It’s going to give you the best possible ride available. From a functionality standpoint it provides numerous things. (I hope this helps with another post I recently saw here) a.) The obvious. Having the ability to raise and lower the vehicle on demand. Getting you through those annoying points (speed bump, arching driveways etc.) b.) What most people don’t realize is the added bonus to tire longevity. The idea is that based on road conditions the suspension will “bow” (for lack of a better term right now) to continuously adjust tire position. (As it relates to the roads) This GREATLY increases the life expectancy of tires especially when it comes to high performance tires (softer) or larger tires that take a beating. Factor in what it does for handling and other little things I won’t put everyone to sleep with…. I would think they always intended to build the Model S this way. Going traditional was probably an afterthought (again… don’t take my choice of words as Tesla’s feelings) for them. When you start realizing what it will do to the cost of the vehicle, you start to think a traditional suspension would also make sense. (We honestly think $1500 is a BARGIN for what you’re getting) Timing, like I said before becomes a factor. If you want to get it out to as many people as possible you have to start making adjustments to initial plans. So they more than likely scrubbed the standard for now and will have it ready for 2013/14 model.

I wanted air suspension from the moment I knew it would be an option. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to have it under the assumption that I WASN’T getting a Sig. Now that I’m getting a Sig and I see the actual dollar amount, my co-workers say I’d be a fool not to get it. (See comment about price)

Things I’m interested in knowing about the system…

I’m big on sound. I’m tracking the progress as best I can with the sound system in the Model S. Because the vehicle is going to be so quiet it’s going to be important. Likewise, you have to be aware of the fact that the suspension SHOULD make some sort of noise. Each car will have a built in compressor which will at various points adjust and make a sound. Now what level of sound remains to be seen? I’m thinking that because it doesn’t have as many parts as say an ICE vehicle it’ll probably sound like a low level whine. (Probably not noticeable to most) That’s me being picky though.

On a side note… I apologize for ANY mistakes I make with typing. I’m working on a laptop that won’t lock out the touch pad. So my cursor gets a case of happy feet QUITE often. LOL!

Kipernicus | 5 giugno 2012

Great points, ViewAskew. I too think that $1500 for air suspension is a good value, especially when compared against $1500 for a pair of rear jump seats! (but that's for another thread)

prash.saka | 5 giugno 2012

For those who want/need the air suspension, it might be an excellent deal. Good for you guys! Then, there are those who just don't want/need the air suspensions. So, guess we have to get to the back of the line ... again.

@Mike_ModelS_P457, I hear you buddy. Just hang in there. I am hoping that this is the last such occasion that requires us to wait a little longer than expected/hoped.

On a positive note, test drives! Yippeee!

~ Prash.

Mark K | 5 giugno 2012

I've owned lots of Mercedes with air suspension. It makes a dramatic difference in ride smoothness and road handling.

$1500 is an aggressively low price for this feature.

Here's what I think what might drive TM's strategy:

The S is a pure EV that's in a class by itself with regard to handling, smoothness and quiet ride. To show this off, you want an air suspension to reduce road rumble, which could otherwise mask the achievement.

To dramatize the difference, they decided to make sure the first 5k customers will experience the full effect. Those first buyers are key to what the street says about the product.

While I certainly empathisize with those who lament that they might have to wait longer, I do think TM is managing the business of their launch very wisely.

If you just don't want to wait, I'd suggest opting for the air suspension. I think it's an outstanding value that will bring durable benefits every day you drive it.

From an engineering perspective, to get this car without it really dumbs down some of the remarkable advances in ride that you can enjoy.

It'd be a little like dressing Marilyn Monroe in burlap.

Volker.Berlin | 5 giugno 2012

ddruz, my pleasure! :-)

ViewAskew, thanks a lot, your opinion is very much appreciated. Makes a lot of sense to me.

Mark K, +1. The motor press will be all over this car in the coming months. Better make sure they have the best possible experience!