Model S: Insanely Sexy or Ridiculously Utilitarian? Yes. Yes it is.

Model S: Insanely Sexy or Ridiculously Utilitarian? Yes. Yes it is.

Apologies for the clickbait-esque subject title. The working title was Teslas and tandems, but that lacked a certain something. Not to mention that the intersection of Tesla owners and tandem riders is likely a minuscule subset of the Model S community, possibly including only myself and my wife. In any event, I wanted to celebrate the amazing utility of the Model S. Those of us whose sports require transportation of large toys (bicycles,kayaks, surfboards, etc) have pretty much been stuck with the unappealing choice of roof racks or big boxy cars/vans. But no longer. We do them in style now. And so a 3 day mini-vacation in the Paso Robles/central coast region was inspired by the pairing of the Tesla and the tandem. That and the wine. Turned out fabulously, though as we discovered, afternoon wine tastings get severely curtailed when you arrive dehydrated and a couple thousand calories in the hole after riding the tandem up and down canyons in 90 degree heat all morning. It's all good. :-)

Somewhere in the long process of accumulating enough pro arguments to tip the balance in favour of buying the Tesla, it occurred to me that our tandem could possibly fit in the back. What this meant was we would be freed of having to ride the damn thing back up our vicious hill - which we have done, but not without struggle and marital strife. So I was much relieved to find that our long and large tandem did, in fact, actually fit. Doesn't look like it from this picture, but it does, pretty easily. Even goes in with the rear wheel on, but in that case you have to push the passenger seat all the way forward. And it was my wife who then figured out that the whole world was now our oyster and we weren't limited to just driving to the bottom of the hill as a starting point. As the Supercharger network expands, so will our riding possibilities. Can't wait!

Our 15 year old Comotion Double Espresso is 7 feet 8 inches long. With both wheels off it's 6 feet 2 long and 33 inches from bottom of the chainrings to the top of the saddle.

Rear seats down, wheels off the tandem, ancillary bike stuff like the pump, tools and shoes go in the well. Of course luggage went in the frunk.

There is this ginormous parking area at the base of the Morro Bay rock and I thought it might be cool to get a shot of the car in the middle of it with the rock behind. Don't know why I thought that, but I did. So wait for all the other cars to flock off, park the car smack in the middle, run off into the distance to get the shot, feeling like a conspicuous noob idiot. Get it all framed up as quick as I can and then Prius dude rolls up into the background and WON'T MOVE! Bastard! Being impatient and all, I ended up taking the shot. Which, all things considered, turned out pretty good. It was a great trip. Thanks, Tesla!

Brian H | 11. september 2013

A PhotoShopper will fix that for ya.

Brian H | 11. september 2013

Instead of stashing the bike for the home hill, a 15' rope hanging out the passenger side rear window, or tied to the trunk latch, would be more fun!

bryceha | 11. september 2013


Add at least one to the overlap of Tesla and tandem :) Yes, and yes.

brandtlings | 11. september 2013

We have transported a full size harp (Lyon & Healy 85CG) and 2 people. Amazing amount of room!

Jesse K | 11. september 2013

+1 dgwilkinson

Carefree | 11. september 2013

That's exactly what sold me on the Model S. It is both - incredibly good looking and extremely practical. What other sedan has the storage capability of the Model S? None!

EESROCK | 11. september 2013

Lovely photo. We have the blue Tesla as well. I can just imagine doing a trip like that one of these days.

hfcolvin | 11. september 2013

Great post! I regularly carry my single seat bike in mine and have loaded it with several bags of topsoil /mulch and gallons of paint at the local Lowe's. I can't think of any other EV that you can put to work like that!

Bighorn | 12. september 2013

I want to see the pic of the bike in the car with the wheels on. While I believe you, it blows my mind!

dtesla | 12. september 2013

My wife and I also own both a MS and tandem. One of the reasons we purchased the MS is the tandem fits in the back.

AnitaToronto | 15. september 2013

We hauled home 1000 sq ft of porcelain tile from Home Depot the other day. I was amazed how much weight it could tolerate. Ski season is coming up so no concerns about gear at all!

jbunn | 15. september 2013

I've hauled a stack of 8 fool long 2x12's and a 10 foot 4x4 post. The 10 footer only sticks out the back about 2 feet.

Also hauled 200 square feet of artificial turf, 200 pounds of sand and a bbq grill. Could have gotten twice as much turf, sand and several more grills.

Also a 50 inch LCD TV, and have hauled a mountain bike on several occasions without disassembly.

My last vehicle was a Ford Explorer, and I used it for hauling frequently. I don't want to treat my new Tesla like a truck, but with 7 foot interior clearance and air suspension, it does many of the things that my truck used to do.

inverts | 15. september 2013

I'll have to do the wine barrel test. It did not fit into my old prius by an inch. Not sure it will fit in the MS due to the relatively low roof.

I am surprised that a 10' pole has to stick out the rear. Should fit between the seats onto the dashboard and then you can close the trunk. That's what I did in the old Prius.

The trunk well is also great for securing 5 gal plant pots, and give the greenery a bit more room.

jbunn | 15. september 2013


Because I had 8 foot lumber, I was not able to close the rear anyway. I have done that in my ford explorer, but scuffed the center arm rest, and did not want to take the chance. The explorer had a simple rear hinge, and I've put hundreds of pounds of lumber on it. I think the Tesla sliders might be more sensitive to the weight.

I used one floormat on the back of the flat rear seats, another on the chrome strip at the back of the car, slid the passenger front seat all the way forward, and tipped the seat forward, then put padding between the seat back and the lumber. That gives you about 2 or three inches short of 8 feet.

Like you, I've used the basement to keep potted plants upright.

Now that I think about it, I almost have a truck! This is a great car! Sleek, graceful, and versatile.

bogartsdad | 15. september 2013

inverts, jbunn - how are you holding the rear down when boards stick out the back? I'm use to hauling an occasional 8' or 10' in my old Accord, used a bungee to keep the trunk down on the short ride home. I didn't see anyplace to tie Tessie's rear door down.

jbunn | 16. september 2013

It's kind of funny. The trunk seems to stay in whatever position you put it in (I have the Tech), so I thought, OK... This could work.

It stays down, but unfortunately, the bumps in the road make the trunk go up and bang back down. Since it was only wood, and a few miles, I was not worried. A wad of cloth tied to the load would have solved the banging problem. But I won't do it again without some way to cushion it better. But I would recommend you get some string, and pass it over the top of the trunk, through the gap at the hinge, down the inside of the trunk, under the load, then tie it together. That will snug the trunk tight to the load. The weight of the load means it's not going anywhere unless you engage warp drive. And put a cushion between the pressure points between where the load touches the car parts.

jbunn | 16. september 2013

...on a side note. I had a van that was 9 feet 11 inches from the inside of the rear doors to the windshield if you gained that extra bit by putting the load on the dashboard. Difficult to forget the exact length even after all these years.

My assistant was making a parts run. They put a section of pipe in the van, set one end on the dash, propped the other end up, then slammed the back door.

The pipe as you've already guessed was 10 feet.

pebell | 16. september 2013


Thomas N. | 16. september 2013

Wow, pretty easy to figure out what happened next.

How badly was the rear door damaged?


dborn | 16. september 2013

I regularly carry long lengths of timber by opening the roof and feeding the timber through there. You can close the hatch. Just pad where appropriate and hang on to the timber.Drive slowly. Helps to have an assistant in the passengers seat!!

Brian H | 16. september 2013

Pipe-size windshield hole?

EdA | 16. september 2013

So awesome. I have a tandem - somewhat bulkier than yours but it may be worth trying!

Moving my daughter into college later this week, one supercharger and almost 300 miles away...

cvalhalla | 16. september 2013

Anyone use their Model S for surfing? If so how well did the boards fit and what did you do with the key when you paddled out? Great pics.