What's YOUR reason for getting/not getting the tech package?

What's YOUR reason for getting/not getting the tech package?

Here is the feature list for the tech package:

Xenon headlamps
Electrochromatic side mirrors
LED foglights
Convenience lighting
Power rear liftgate
High definition back-up camera
Turn-by-turn navigation with seven years of free map updates
Automatic keyless entry

Xenon headlamps and Homelink are must-haves for me, the rest is just gravy adding to the "wow" factor.

What's driving your decision to include/exclude this package?

Whity Whiteman | 10. juni 2012

My question for the HD Cam is: Do You just use it for savety while parking or for longer times- on the highway, in the City?
I've never seen a car, where You have HD-Backviewmonitoring as Mirrorsuport.
In addition- I'm a videoguy and I can say: "SD is dead!"... the 17'' Display has approx. 1200-1400 px horizontal, You'll need minimum small HD (1280x720) if you watch fullscreen!

Whity Whiteman | 10. juni 2012

I want every feature, they offer..the tech the sound pack, the performance edition, sunroof...everything-
because I know: they make it cool!
I don't know exactly, if I can bring cash for the top of the pop S, but I'll try.

LED headlights are "state of the art" on the one hand, but on the other one it's a bit shitty for other road users, which get flashed.. it's a question of taste!

BYT | 10. juni 2012

Does anyone know it the Navigation in the Tech package also offer Traffic information to calculate the quickest routes based on, traffic and would it also be covered for 7 years like the maps?

Brian H | 10. juni 2012

See my note elsewhere about A couple of Roadster owners are renting out their cars at $50/hr, at times of their choosing (both seem to be doing it as a business, though). Could make a big dent in the cost calcs. Here's one link:

peterdobias | 02. januar 2013

I am really disappointed that Tesla has not put Xenon lights as a part of the standard equipment. My 11 year old BMW was in the 30 000 dollar range then and came with Xenon's. As much as I love Tesla as a company, this option should be at least sold separately. Now when the Canadian government slapped 7000 dollar duty on the car and sales tax is 12 %, my 60 000 dollar model has turned into 90 000 with sunroof, suspension and tech package. I may not be able to afford the car that I have waited for 3 years since I paid my deposit.

stevenmaifert | 03. januar 2013 - I do not have the tech package. Drove the car after dark for the first time last evening. I've never driven Xenon's, but can say the illumination provided by the Hologen headlights was excellent.

dashrb | 03. januar 2013

Are there any side-by-side pictures of the halogen vs. xenon headlights? I'm interested in seeing the difference of the housing itself (in the daytime), as well as the difference in illumination (at night).

ChasF | 03. januar 2013

Good to hear @stevenmaifert.

The excellent staff over at Tesla allowed me to reopen my MVPA and remove the tech package (even though they did not have to as I finalized in November). Your posts give me more peace of mind that I will be more than happy with my decision.

stevenmaifert | 03. januar 2013

@ChasF - Okay on all. I've tried to be as descriptive and informative as possible on the other thread, without being judgmental. I'm not trying to discourage or dissuade anyone from getting the Tech package. If it's right for you, and not a budget buster, then go for it. I will say though that Model S without the Tech package is still pretty darn awesome, and after two weeks with the car, I have no regrets.

Chuck Lusin | 03. januar 2013

HID conversion kits sell on Ebay for $32 - $60. I have one in my old Kia Optima, I did have to make a hole for the self tapping screw to hold the ballist. Our C320 required a second box to trick the cars computer to think the lights were fine.

HawaiiBee | 21. januar 2013

Can someone confirm, keyless entry just means the door handles pop out without touching the key. But without tech package, I just have to click the remote (which I do now) to pop the handles out and open the door?

less and less am I liking the tech package.

jchangyy | 21. januar 2013

I'm getting the tech package and most of the options because my wife says this will be my only "dream car" I can purchase in my life time--well maybe another one when I retire. So, I'm just getting it, just because.

stevenmaifert | 21. januar 2013

Checking the specs page, all MS have keyless entry. That simply means you unlock the doors with the wireless remote. No physical key is required. The door handles popping out as you approach the car with the remote (FOB) on your person is a feature of the Tech package.

Neech | 21. januar 2013

Are the cute little lights on the door handles standard or only included with the tech package?

Robert22 | 21. januar 2013

That is convenience lighting, tech package only per Tesla. Steven can you confirm?

stevenmaifert | 21. januar 2013

@Neech - I have a non-Tech package MS. Those door handle lights are just as cute on mine :) - In the non-Tech package, the door handles pop out when you double click the button on the top of the FOB or touch the handle with the FOB on your person. I have the sleep mode enabled and my personal experience has been that the handles don't always pop out right away when touched if the car has sat overnight, but a double click of the button on the top of the FOB opens them every time.

Neech | 21. januar 2013

@stevenmaifert - Thanks for sharing :) I was hoping the handle lights were included. The person I talked to at my local Tesla store was not very clear about exactly what was included in the tech package besides navigation. She was more concerned about what color I wanted.

Brian H | 21. januar 2013

The proximity feature.

stevenmaifert | 21. januar 2013

@Robert22 - After a month with the car, I still have no idea what the convenience lighting might be that comes with the Tech package. The door handle lights come on when they extend, and when you open the door, the front map lights, and rear reading lights (which by the way are the same recessed LED lights) come on as well as the ambient lights under the arm rests. Courtesy lights come on when you open the front trunk and rear liftgate. Maybe someone with a Tech package MS could let us know what additional lighting they have.

Robert22 | 21. januar 2013

If that's the case, then what constitutes "convenience lighting" in the tech package? Ownership experience says it's the "puddle lights" on the handles (cute little LED's). It's not the ambients or dome lighting and all other exterior lights are standard.

Robert22 | 21. januar 2013


Sorry, simultaneous post.

tork | 21. januar 2013

Not sure about this but I think the tech package has side lights that come on when you turn the wheel to help you see where you are turning into. At least that's what I heard. I don't know. I don't have a car =(

Robert22 | 21. januar 2013


That's correct. Steven, you got?

hfcolvin | 21. januar 2013

I was not into the tech package until not too long before finalizing. The auto extend door handles are the big reason although the lights sealed the deal. I own 2 Priuses (Prii?) and have become quite used to never taking the fob out of my pocket. Locking the door is done with a touch of the handle. The non-tech MS would have been a downgrade from this standpoint. Maybe kind of silly to spend that much money on something like that , but I thought the Model S ( and I) deserved it. Plus I get to feel so cool when people say "Wow" when the door handles pop out for me.

As far as cost, I don't think $3750 is completely unreasonable. My last purchase, the Prius Plug-in is the Advanced option, which is the only upgrade available from the base model. I paid 7K for that to include navigation, leather-like interior, xenon lights and fog lights, seat heaters, dynamic cruise control ( a big minus for the MS as that is a nice gadget) , minor sound upgrades and sat radio functionality.

FLsportscarenth... | 21. januar 2013

Xenon headlamps

> Hmmm never cared for the warrior princess, does it summon her like the Batman spotlight?

Electrochromatic side mirrors

> The mirrors are electrified? Do you get a shock when you reach out and adjust them?

LED foglights

> Led Zeppelins new album?

Convenience lighting

> Shouldn't lighting always be convenient? Just switch it on...

Power rear liftgate

> Is it really heavy and you have to be powerful to lift it up or something?

High definition back-up camera

> When you break your camcorder? Does it take VHS or Beta?


> Chainlink fence? Already have one at home.

Turn-by-turn navigation with seven years of free map updates

> I get all the free maps I want at AAA...

Automatic keyless entry

> Just say 'open Sesame' and it opens up for you... Nah I can operate the handles...

Brian H | 22. januar 2013

'Grats! All dumb answers.

DouglasR | 22. januar 2013


Can the non-tech car display any maps at all on the instrument panel (as distinct from the touch screen)? If so, are they 3D like the Navigon maps that come with the tech package or "flat" like the maps on the touch screen? Thanks.

stevenmaifert | 22. januar 2013

@Robert22 - I think what tork is referring to is what I call cornering lights... Solid white front side lights that come on with the activation of the turn signal to illuminate your path of travel as you make a turn. I do not have that.

@DouglasR - The non-tech car does not display any map information on the instrument panel, only the touch screen. The map app will display a destination. If you can find your way to the general area of your destination, the Google map can be enlarged and is sufficiently detailed that you could self navigate to the destination once the red location pointer appears on the screen. It can be a little tricky because of the always north orientation of the map, but it's doable.

markapeterman | 22. januar 2013


Do you have little lights under the interior armrests on the doors and in the footwells below the dash?

That's what I think constitues "convenience lighting" on my S with tech.

BTW - these are cute but not terribly useful (I guess if you dropped something small at night...)

The cornering lights are very cool though.

Power liftgate, turn by turn on dash, and homelink were the features I wanted (agree they are pricey).

stevenmaifert | 22. januar 2013

@markapeterman - Yes, I do have the footwell lights and the lights below the armrests.

My test for the cornering lights was done in a darkened garage this morning. I put my foot on the brake and the car in drive. The headlights came on and the dash and touchscreen lighting switched to night mode. I then turned on the turn signal. No corning light came on. If I have them, maybe the car actually has to be in motion before they activate. I will take a spin around the block this evening after dark and see what happens.

Alex K | 22. januar 2013

stevenmaifert@a... | JANUARY 22, 2013: No corning light came on. If I have them, maybe the car actually has to be in motion before they activate. I will take a spin around the block this evening after dark and see what happens.

Yes, you have to be in motion for the cornering lights to come on.

DouglasR | 22. januar 2013

Also, are you sure it's triggered by the turn signal? I thought others had said it is triggered by turning the steering wheel.

Nova315 | 22. januar 2013

@stevenmaifert - at night, does the camera have a infrared or night-mode feature? I just rented a Nissan Pathfinder that has an excellent camera that looks great at night, and I've also seen a similar camera on the Acura TL. It would be a shame if TESLA didn't have something more superior than what the market is offering currently. Thanks.

markapeterman | 22. januar 2013

The steering wheel triggers the cornering lights - it's pretty obvious when driving at night.

The camera works fairly well in low light, better than my suburban, but it not night vision optics.

stevenmaifert | 22. januar 2013

Just back from an after dark spin around the block. I can now confirm the non-tech package MS does not have cornering lights. Nothing when I turned the wheel or used the turn signal. I will say though that the field of illumination from the Halogen headlights is quite wide. I would not have had any trouble seeing a pedestrian in a crosswalk or an obstruction in the roadway. Just speculation, but maybe cornering lights are included in the Tech package as a safety feature because the Xenon headlamps have a narrower beam? Any thoughts or observations?

stevenmaifert | 22. januar 2013 - The SD backup camera does not have a night mode or infrared feature. AFAIK, the HD camera that comes with the Tech packages doesn't either. It does do well in low light situations, but pitch black is pitch black.

ddruz | 23. januar 2013

Can't help myself but to thank you again Steven for the detailed and well described information you have given everyone on the non-tech MS. If not for your posts and the corroboration by a few other non-tech owners we would still be guessing. IMO you have helped tremendously in reducing uncertainty about configuring with or without tech.

stevenmaifert | 23. januar 2013 - Thanks. I'm happy to do whatever I can to help folks make an informed decision.

nickjhowe | 23. januar 2013

@stevenmaifert - what say you we create a wiki over at TMC that highlights the tech vs non-tech differences? I'm happy to supply all the tech side behavior. Unfortunately I don't have the studio sound package, so someone else would need to provide that info.

FLsportscarenth... | 23. januar 2013

@Brian H... Oooo mean... Thought it would at least make a good laugh.

Well obviously the tech package is not for me, a certain percentage of people simply do not want those features. But I am glad it is there for those that like all the bells and whistles.

I like Pano roof and 60 KW with SC... though

kingkoti | 23. januar 2013

@ stevenmaifert - Could you upload a pic from front w/o xenon lamps please ! TIA

stevenmaifert | 23. januar 2013

@nickjhowe - I'm not a TMC member. It's hard enough to keep up with this forum. I don't mind if you want to start a wiki over there and quote anything I've said on this forum. Maybe it will attract some other non-tech owners. I believe everything I've said here to be accurate, but confirmation by others is always a bonus.

stevenmaifert | 23. januar 2013

@kmellachervu - Unfortunately I don't have an online picture account with anybody, but if you want to email me at, I would be happy to reply with pics.

stevenmaifert | 23. januar 2013

Just sent the pics kmellachervu asked for. While I was at it, I took a shot of the touchscreen with the non-tech package Maps app displayed. If someone would like to post it or just see it, send me an email at the above address and I will send it to you.

youlikeadajuice | 23. januar 2013

For anyone that's interested, here is a picture of the halogen headlamps from over on TMC.

Brian H | 23. januar 2013

I know; I assumed that was deliberate, so that's why you got the 'Grats!

youlikeadajuice | 23. januar 2013

I added a couple more pics of the non-tech headlights as well as a pic of the "Maps" app (photos courtesy of steven maifert) over on the TMC forums, thanks again Steve!

schoendp | 23. januar 2013

I was reading the description of the maps on the other forum. I noticed it said the arrow only follows for a brief time and then stops. Are all non-tech maps the same way? Seems odd.

stevenmaifert | 23. januar 2013

@schoendp - I read the comments on the TMC post you are referring to. Apologies in advance for the length of this post.

1) The Google maps. The Google map in the Maps app is different from the one in the browser. We knew that. AFAIK, the Google map in the non-tech Maps app is the same as the Google map in the Nav app in the tech package.

2) Display of search results. Search results are displayed by the app dropping a pin on the location as well as opening a dialog box above the pin with known info about the location contained in the Google data base. See Pg. 21 in the Owner's Guide. There is no X in the dialog box to close it out. What the poster on TMC may not have known is that tapping the screen anywhere on the map just outside of the dialog box will close it and leave the location pin in place. I suspect he was closing it by tapping the cancel search button that appears just below the search line box. That will make the pin and the box disappear.

3) Now to your question, and this is a biggie. Referring back to Pg. 21 of the Owner's Guide, there is a small circular icon at the far right of the search line. The guide narrative is "Center the map on your current location." This is a toggle on, toggle off icon. When toggled on, it appears blue. The map will center on your location, with the red location arrow in the center of the map. As you drive, the red arrow will remain stationary in the center of the map, pointing in your direction of travel and the map will move under the arrow. If you purposely or accidentally (as I did and didn't know it) toggle off, the icon will grey out. The map becomes stationary on your location (instead of the red arrow) and as you drive, the red arrow will move about the map, such that you can literally drive off the map and the red arrow disappears. After I recovered from my panic attack, I figured out what happened, toggled the icon back on and all became right with the world again. I suspect this might be what happened to the poster on TMC.

Robert22 | 23. januar 2013

Excellent observation on #3 Steven. I ddn't realize this until I watched the Tesla training video. He identifies it so quickly it's easy to miss. I explained it to my significant other this way: Either the ground is moving or you are.