Parking difficulty due to Model S long length

Parking difficulty due to Model S long length

The Model S is 196 inches long, that's 16 feet 4 inches. By comparison, a prius is a good 20 inches short, almost 2 feet. For the most part it seems that parking spots may be tight in places but should be quite possible. For San Francisco where I live, the challenge is most likely to be street parking. Naturally it will be parked in a garage at home but on occasion I may be driving it to a place in the city without a nearby garage where I need to try street parking... which is likely to be a hassle. I'm interested in people's thoughts on the subject.

Lengths in inches:

Model S: 196
Prius: 175

It compares much better to other luxury vehicles:

Mercedes W212: 192
Mercedes W221: 200 to 205
Lexus LS 460: 198 to 199
Lexus LS 600h: 203 to 204

It's difficult to get information on what constitutes a typical car parking spot. Here are some examples from local counties in California. In general it seems like the popularly of SUVs has driven up parking space sizes:

Del Norte - CA - 9 x 16

Fresno - CA - 15.5 to 19 feet
See page 16 onwards:

Davis - CA - 9 x 16 (old article from 2002 saying how SUVs were driving up sizes)

Steve841 | 10. oktober 2012

I don't see this at all ... but then again, I've been driving full sized trucks and SUV's all my life.

The Model S will be a breeze compared.

Just like anything else in life ... you get used to it.

Cattledog | 10. oktober 2012

The most typical parking space in the US is 9'x18'. There then are dozens of variations, all basically incrementally smaller in both width and length, usually in 6" increments. It's rare for a space to be less than 16' long, but possible.

bfranks273 | 10. oktober 2012

Totally with you. I am used to my Infiniti M. I can just barely get the S into my garage. Since the S has all that space I could have wished for 10 inches shorter. We'll see about parking spaces. But its a short list of annoyances to a long list of likes.

Teoatawki | 10. oktober 2012

It's not a battleship. I really wish it was about 4-6" narrower and about 6-8" shorter. It would still be a big car with a boatload of storage.

TheAustin | 10. oktober 2012

I think I'll be OK...I'm in a Range Rover now, and I just compared the specs: They are practically identical in length and width (The Range Rover is 195.7" long and 87.2" wide, and the Model S is 196" long and 86.2" wide).

olanmills | 10. oktober 2012

I was just about to make different, but related topic:
"Prius looks wierd because it's so short and squat"

So it's just a matter of perspective.

The Model S is only 4" longer than my current car, and about 7" wider.

I think I'll survive.

When I drove the Model S, or even when I just look at it, I don't notice that it's bigger than my current car, it feels about the same. It's definitely a good size car, but it's not like you look at it and go, "Whoa! That's a BIG car!"

Comparing it to a Prius doesn't make sense. The Model S is a mid-to-large sedan. The Prius is supposed to be a compact-ish enviro car.

jackhub | 10. oktober 2012

I just looked at the owners manual for my Buick. The external dimensions are identical to the Tesla Model S, except the Model S sits lower. I have not heard too many people complain about the Buick's size, except those who prefer to have a smaller car.

Captain_Zap | 10. oktober 2012

I had to learn to drive and take my driver's test in my mom's Vista Cruiser. It was nicknamed Namu.

Schlermie | 10. oktober 2012

For those of you mounting the front license plate to your car, make that 197".

walla2 | 10. oktober 2012

Has nearly the same footprint as my gas-hog Chevy Tahoe. I think most going from a truck/full size SUV will do fine. Going from a Smart may be an issue.

Michael23 | 10. oktober 2012

It's a lot wider and longer than my Infiniti fx so that's saying a lot!

Robert22 | 10. oktober 2012

Namu? Mine was a '78 Pontiac wagon affectionately known by the neighborhood kids as the Land Ark.
My parents never feared for my safety since it had more steel than an M-1 Abrams.

jbunn | 10. oktober 2012

Pity if you have to street park in san francisco. Eventualy, bad damage will accumulate. Seen it over the last 12 years on family cars...

vouteb | 11. oktober 2012

It WILL be a problem in Europe(UK in particular) where average parking spaces are way smaller.

MandL | 11. oktober 2012

It is not only very long and wide, the front of the nose cone is pretty far out in front of the headlights and is quite soft plastic. I misjudged the distance on the first day and squeezed it against the annoyingly "popcorned" wall in my garage, leaving some gouges on the nose cone. Luckily, the license plate holder should cover them. On the bright side, now I don't have to obsess about the first ding. C'est la vie.

eelton | 11. oktober 2012

It's disappointing that a car in this class doesn't have parking sensors. Not a deal breaker, but frustrating nonetheless.

Timo | 11. oktober 2012

I find that actually quite surprising. I thought it had parking sensors, but maybe it has that only on back? Or is that only camera?

Volker.Berlin | 11. oktober 2012

There is only the backup camera, which comes standard (high-definition with tech pkg). No one has ever mentioned distance sensors on the Model S, except as wishlist items.

Vawlkus | 11. oktober 2012

It never had them Timo, just a camera in the back. Parking sensors were on the wish list, but didn't make it in........ yet (according to some techs in another thread).

kublai | 11. oktober 2012

There was a post some time ago that the wiring for parking sensors were in place but no mention if and when sensors will make it. Not sure how true this is.

CarlE_P439 | 11. oktober 2012

I would think that with practice the backup camera will be an asset in parallel parking!

dborn | 11. oktober 2012

Aftermarket parking sensors are available, especially if the wiring is in place. BUT for a car in this price range, and technology, that is a really stupid omission. It should be rectified immediately. It was offered as an option on my kids Daihatsu which is more than 8 years old and is a really low budget car.
I find both front and rear sensors essential.

Brian H | 11. oktober 2012

Ya, you'd better all wait for the GenIII to make it to Urp. I figger about 2017 or 2018.
Or bring all your parking spaces etc. up to spec!


nickjhowe | 11. oktober 2012

@Kublai - I posted a comment about the wiring harness bring pre-wired for PDC - based on a conversation with a senior service rep.

Timo | 12. oktober 2012

@dborn, that might be "future upgrade" that this $600 annual cost covers. If they add things like that then $600 starts to sound low.

Volker.Berlin | 12. oktober 2012

Timo, with your comment you may be seeding misguided expectations that will, again, lead to disappointment. IMO, parking sensors will very likely become a paid option for new cars at some point, and if (which is already questionable) they become available to be retrofitted to cars that are already on the road, in the best case, the cost will be comparable to the price of the option for new cars. This would mean that Tesla absorbs the retrofitting work in the $600 maintenance fee, which would be nice but I do not even necessarily expect it. The cost for the option -- there is no way you will not have to pay that out of your own pocket.

MandL | 12. oktober 2012

BTW - It looks like the damage I thought I did to the front of my car is actually just in the paint protection film.

Timo | 12. oktober 2012

Being optimist has one bad side-effect: you get disappointed a lot.

Quoting webcomic:
Nemi: Unusually bad weather.
Pessimist friend: as usual.

Volker.Berlin | 12. oktober 2012

MandL, good news! :-) One more reason to get the paint armor option, at least as long as distance sensors are not available... :-P

mw | 12. oktober 2012

S is shorter than my old Bonneville by 6 inches! My learner was a 72 Olds Royal 88 talk about a boat... . Just think of it as a challenge. The back up camera and tilting side mirrors come in handy... I have parked mine in tight spots already. The driving experience will more than make up for the parking experience!

Captain_Zap | 12. oktober 2012

Robert22 said, "Namu? Mine was a '78 Pontiac wagon affectionately known by the neighborhood kids as the Land Ark.
My parents never feared for my safety since it had more steel than an M-1 Abrams."

I totaled the Vista Cruiser named Namu. I did a double rollover at 50 mph over an old tree stump in a deep ditch. I was lucky and only received a broken nose when some cargo hit me in the face.

That experience resulted in my not ordering a panoramic roof.

Namu was the name of a killer whale that was in captivity at a marine park.

Getting Amped Again | 12. oktober 2012

Do the side mirrors have powered folding or are they manual?

jerry3 | 12. oktober 2012

They are manual. There is power tilting when in reverse though.

MandL | 14. oktober 2012

I drove my mom's behemoth 1972 Plymouth Satellite wagon (and no, she's not from Planet Claire) for about a year before I ruined it driving through a flood. Everyone else's cars died halfway through. The Satellite made it but the brake calipers froze up a couple of days later and it just wasn't worth fixing. The car was special ordered from the factory with three-on-the-tree and manual steering for some reason. Took two people hauling on the wheel to parallel park. Ah, good times!

aaronw2 | 16. oktober 2012

I am really surprised that parking sensors are not included. Even the new higher-end Prius models have it (I currently drive a Prius). With such a big car they are a big help.

One other thing I would like to see (if it isn't already implemented) is lines superimposed on the backup camera image showing the car's path based on the position of the steering wheel. It's always tricky for me to back my car into my garage which I do when loading a bunch of stuff into it in the house. A friend of mine's Audi has this feature.

Teoatawki | 17. oktober 2012

The superimposed lines are expected in a software upgrade, eventually. But since it is just software, a third party app could also do it as well.

nickjhowe | 17. oktober 2012

@Teoatawki - expected? I know they are a wish-list item, but have you seen anything from TM that suggests they'll add lines?

dcpalmer | 17. oktober 2012

Parking sensors front and rear are a must-have for this size of car in Europe. I have them on my Jaguar XJ and find them absolutely invaluable when negotiating our small parking spaces.

bfudge | 17. oktober 2012

I have the lines on my Nissan Leaf and they are great. I don't have them on my Prius and the difference it makes when parallel parking is significant. Come on TESLA - step up.

BYT | 17. oktober 2012

My brother also has it on his Toyota Sienna

bfudge | 17. oktober 2012

PS. The S may be a bigger car, but not any bigger than my previous 350 sdl. It takes a little time to get use to the size but it is worth the comfort.

sagebrushnw | 17. oktober 2012

Superimposed lines are on the backup camera on the Ford Fusion Hybrid. It is much appreciated. Hope they will be available on the Model S soon.