Instrument cluster

Instrument cluster

I have been reading all the great comments on the test drives. I almost don't need one now :)

Has anyone checked into switching the speedometer and odometer between imperial and metric? Does it have a mode for both? I drive in both the US and Canada. I like having both displayed so that I don't have to do conversions in my head for American passengers. If I can't have both I am hoping that switching between them will be easy. It is a screen, so I assume this is fairly straightforward for Tesla to code - they just have to make sure the option to switch is there...

dborn | 3 juli 2012

they are going to need metric for the rest of the world outside of the USA, so i would imagine this will be a priority if not already there as it is part and parcel of homologation for those markets, without which they will not be able to sell the vehicles. So, if not already coded it certainly will be within 9 months and i assume will be available for download and upgrade.

haansberger | 4 juli 2012

You can select metric or imperial on the screen with the Tesla icon. You can also finetune other options on that page - almost like a settings page on the iPad :-)

Brian H | 4 juli 2012

I'm in Canada, so have had to adjust to metric. But my childhood brain is still Imperial-wired.

Temperatures in °C only vaguely resonate; I need to convert to °F to have the right "feel". And a km is forever ~.6 miles. Etc.

A foot is also the length of a forearm. An inch is the width of a thumb (the word for both is the same in French, "pouce"). An ounce of water weighs an ounce. A gallon (Imperial, 160 oz.) of water weighs 10 lbs. 2 cups (16 oz) weighs one pound. And so on. SI units relate only to each other, not humans.

jerry3 | 4 juli 2012

And here I thought that 2.2 pounds related to a kilogram. Lived in Canada for many years--it was so weird having to get used to non-SI measurements again. The best thing that I can say about non-SI measurements is that they don't all sound similar so it's harder to hear the wrong thing.

I do wish the number system was base 12 rather than base 10.

Timo | 4 juli 2012

For most non-SI units there are multiple definitions, a feet for example has at least four different "official" definitions, so when someone says "this and that feet" you can't be sure how much that actually was. Same goes with gallon, inch, mile etc.

Fahrenheit scale is not nature-oriented, more like arbitrary "lets put a scale in this" -thing. I'm not actually sure what it is based on, but celcius has two very simple figures: 0C is where water freezes, 100C is where it boils (roughly speaking, depends of pressure and other minor things when that really happens). That's far more natural than Fahrenheit scale.

I think base 8 system would be better than base 10 or 12. 8 happens to be 2^4 which makes quite a big difference, also counting would not differ that much from base 10 system.

Theresa | 4 juli 2012

Timo, Did you mean 2 times 4 or 2 raised to 3? Quite a difference indeed!

jerry3 | 4 juli 2012

With base 12, you can express larger numbers with fewer digits. More importantly, math becomes easier to do because you run into repeating decimals far less often. 2,3,4,6 all divide evenly into 12 compared to only 2 and 5 dividing evenly into ten. Only 7 and 11 are the odd men out.

I'll grant that base eight is better than base 10, but not as convenient as base 12.

Timo | 4 juli 2012

Base 8 makes numbers easier to understand. Kind of more "obvious" numbers. Also human are not capable of really understand bigger than 7 amounts, so 8 is already stretching that (really understand, not just count. We are not much better at understanding amounts than common crow, we just compensate by using symbolic counting and remembering.)

@Theresa 2^3, yes. Need that coffee....

EdG | 4 juli 2012

IIRC, Fahrenheit used the full range of temperatures expected during the whole year - where he lived - as the 0 and 100 degree points.

I used to have an outdoor thermometer with minimum and maximum recording needles. Over one or several years of not resetting them, it almost perfectly recorded 0 as the minimum and 100 as the maximum each time.

David70 | 4 juli 2012

The story I've heard is that 0F is the lowest temperature he could get with an alcohol-ice mixture and 100F was the body temperature of a cow. IIRC the length of the forearm is the cubit (~18 inches). Of course, all body part measurements were quite arbitrary until standards (national and international) were agreed upon. The U.S. population is quite stubborn (IMHO stupidly so). We were trying as a nation to institute metric here (within the last couple decades I believe). For awhile, roadsigns had both British and metric distance and speeds posted, but that eventually failed. Ignorance usually prevails. In spite of the fact that metric is easier, people wouldn't accept it.

mikeadams | 4 juli 2012

Here is a conversion I would love to see on the instrument panel... The energy usage meter shows watt hours per mile. But wouldn't a lot of people be more interested in converting this into a graph of your electirc cost per mile? It That way you can see directly what the cost impact is of using a lead foot on the accelerator is. All you would need to do the conversion is have the car prompt you how much you are currently spending on electric for a kilowatt hour of electric. Then you take the watt hours per mile that they are displaying now and divide it by 1000 and multiply by the cost of electricity for a kilowatt hour that you just put in. This would make a lot more sence to your passengers as well then to try to explain what a watt hour per mile is.

Timo | 4 juli 2012

Passengers maybe, but I would prefer Wh/mile as default display. I think Model S collects and stores quite a lot all kinds of telemetry data, so getting all kinds of custom displays would be matter of building an app to show them.

cablechewer | 4 juli 2012

We could just go with a prime number like 13 for a numeric base. That would give everyone fits :)

I never thought they wouldn't have this implemented - they need it for most of the world. I should have been more specific in my initial question. How easy is it to switch between the different units on the go?

This raises another question of configurability. Could I display watt hours/km and the speed in mph if I am in the US? I wonder if they will ever allow apps to change anything on the instrument screen... I assume they have to be very cautious about that or outright prevent it - it an app crashes the speedometer screen I doubt the police will accept that as a speeding excuse :).

jerry3 | 4 juli 2012


The big problem with "conversion to metric by decree" is the cost. It cost Canada billions to convert. Examples: every gas station needed new pumps, every product label had to be redone, every scale had to be replaced, and every road sign. Even things you wouldn't thing about. For example, highway engineers had a set of templates for the various curves used in roads. A set of these cost $20 or so. When Canada went metric they had to buy a set of metric curves, at $180.

Going metric by decree is a sure-fire way to put a big dent in the economy and raise prices on everything. Going about it slowly without a decree is really the best way.

Mark E | 4 juli 2012

jerry3: We converted to metric in Australia in the '70s. I remember being taught pounds and ounces and then kilograms. I'm now quite comfortable with talking in feet, inches and miles etc - however for me to get a concept of weight I have to convert pounds to kg.

If I'm calculating anything I do it in metric as it is dramatically simpler.

We, and our economy, survived just fine and I'm glad that it was done.

stephen.kamichik | 4 juli 2012

Canada went metric in 1977. My 1976 Datsun 280Z has a mph speedometer. All 1977 and later model cars had metric instrumentation.

Thumper | 4 juli 2012

We chickened out of converting to metric in the early 70s. We have been "slowly" converting ever since. Many manufactured products are simply metric so they can be better sold world wide. Most "American" cars are part metric and part SAE nuts and bolts. It is time to finish the last of the "slow" conversion and go metric like the rest of the world. We will need a decree though to set it in motion. Unlikely to happen with our highly functional congress.

jbunn | 4 juli 2012

As a craftsman hobbyist, life would be much easier. I hate the inches to feet calculations, and the fractional sizes for things like drill bits, nuts, and the like. Metric is so much easier...

On the other hand, building materials are so centered on the imperial system. Framing is set to repeat at 4 foot intervals, precut studs to reach 8 feet with top and bottom plates, plywood sheets fit perfectly, drywall in 2 ft increments to match, ect, ect, ect. The construction industry would have massive conversion issues... : (

pilotSteve | 4 juli 2012

Will the hardware on Model S be metric or SAE?

Teoatawki | 4 juli 2012

At least some metric, since some of the parts are from MB's parts bin. Totally metric? Dunno.

dborn | 4 juli 2012

South Africa went metric by decree back in the 70's. We all learned and it was no problem. i can think in both systems but much prefer metric. In Australia where i have lived for 32 years, it is a metric society now, except where it isn't and this can be a real nuisance. For example, we can buy both metric and Imperial nuts and bolts. From the same manufacturer no less!! some ranges will be in one or the other but not both. extraordinarily irritating!! it would be a lot easier if the USA went fully metric and SAE was completely eliminated.

Brian H | 5 juli 2012

Your statement about framing just reminded me of a discovery a while ago, about why footsteps on a floor above are hard to muffle. It's the regular spacing of the floor/ceiling frame members; they resonate! If the spacing is staggered, the sound is easy to block.

DallasTxModelS | 5 juli 2012


but uneven spacing is hard to hammer through the floor and know you will hitt the frame, unless you have x-ray vision.

DallasTxModelS | 5 juli 2012

Celsius or Centigrade doesn't have enough difference to make the temperature make sense. Freezing is 0 and a really hot day is 38. I degree Celsius covers a whole lot of temperature difference.

We learned Metric system in the 70s because US was going to change. Florida was the only state to do it. All of the highway speed limits were changed to metric signs. When the rest of the states held out Florida had to pay to change them all back mph.

The only thing in the US that is mandated to be metric is public land being surveyed.

Slindell | 5 juli 2012

dborn: I lived in England for four years, and they are metric except for "miles" (distance) and "stones" (weight).

EdG | 5 juli 2012

And pints. At the pub. Don't forget that.

BYT | 5 juli 2012

"stones(weight)"... around here if you said to a guy "you have some stones", it wouldn't be with the intention of calling them fat!

Brian H | 5 juli 2012

Fahrenheit considered a large number of factors in his choice, eventually deciding that the difference between freezing and boiling would best be divided into 180 divisions. Initially, 0 was the coldest slurry of water, ice, and alcohol he could make, 32 was the point at which crystalization began in pure water, 96 (3 x 32) was (he thought) body temperature. Small adjustments occurred after that, but he finalized his scale in 1714. Celsius developed his scale in 1740. The battle was on!

Celsius degrees, being large and fuzzy, are of course less scientific, and only relied on by the woolly-minded. >:-P

pilotSteve | 5 juli 2012

Celsius degrees, being large and fuzzy, are of course less scientific, and only relied on by the woolly-minded. >:-P

OK, but when was the decimal point invented Brian H? :)

Brian H | 5 juli 2012

I dunno, but Europeans still haven't figgered out what it is, and use a comma instead of a point. Just one of many bad habits they have.