What time is it? NAIAS TIME!

What time is it? NAIAS TIME!

Good morning,

Christmas is over and New Years has passed. That means, here in the great state of MI, our SECOND Christmas is about to start. That’s right on January 14th the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) opens to the public. I looked at the 2012 list of exhibitors and according to the site Tesla will be in the building. Logic dictates they’ll be showing off the Model S to the masses (long way to go to NOT have it here). Three things –

1.) Anyone from MI that plans on attending, or any other state for that matter, let me know. My wife and I are going Tuesday the 17th at 9 am. It would be great to say high to some fellow visionaries.

2.) I plan on bringing my DSLR to the show for some high-res pics of all the booths. Are there any particular shots that individuals would like me to get? I have an incredible zoom so even if they aren’t necessarily letting us go hands on I should still be able to get some pretty good shots. (Although I truly hope we’ll be able to sit in one at this event)

3.) Any questions we want asked? Make a list and I’ll be sure and bother, I mean… inquire with someone. I can’t guarantee I’ll get an answer, but I promise I’ll ask the question.

Mycroft | 6 januari 2012

Hopefully it will be a car with the new interior. If so, then the more pics of the insides, the better! Also, the front of the car to see if they've modified the nose or the hood at all.

stephen.kamichik | 6 januari 2012

Some questions for TM:
1. Range of height adjustment of active air suspension.
2. Seat adjustments in 8-way and 12-way power seats.
3. If TM will sell upgrade battery packs to model S owners.
4. If ranger travel fee waived during warranty period.
5. Warranty coverage and length of warranty.

haansberger | 6 januari 2012


Nice that you offer to pass our questions along. My little list :

- what kind of data package is needed to let the iPhone app show you the car's condition? Or can it be done by having the car hook into your WiFi network at home ?
- will the car be able to store maps you download at home for later use ?

Sure hope you'll be able to get pictures from the (new) interior ;-)

breading | 6 januari 2012


Thank you for the offer. I'm looking forward to the photos.

The question I would love to ask is:

Other than increasing capacity in the batteries, what hardware differences are there between the base models of the 40, 60, and 85 kWh vehicles? (i.e. could a vehicle purchased with a 40 kWh battery be upgraded to an 85 kWh battery in a few years and would the performance improve commensurately as a result?)

Soflauthor | 6 januari 2012

@Alan: Yes, please, the more pics of the interior (assuming it's final) the better. Thx.

Actually, I'm hopeful that TM will upgrade design studio to include the interior sometime during the NAIAS dates. The vast majority of us on the reservation list won't be able to go to the show and official representations of the interior would be much appreciated.

Robert.Boston | 6 januari 2012

Alan, please confirm the overall width of the production Model S. We've seen widely varying answers to this, and the current Options & Pricing page gives a much smaller dimension than we had heard earlier.

phb | 6 januari 2012

I can't think of any questions to add to what others have already posted, I would simply like to reiterate my thanks that you're going to do this! Please take lots of pictures and put them up in high-res!

gagliardilou | 6 januari 2012

Alan, I may go to the show. My question: is the life of the battery pack pretty much the same for all versions - approximately 10 years or will the 300 pack last 15 years compared to say 10 years for the 40 pack?

Brian H | 6 januari 2012

Will you be "high" during the show? Will it be a contact or a chemical high? ;)

Ask about provision for front license plates. Half the world, at least, wants to (must) know!

brianman | 6 januari 2012

Yes, blog post about front license plate and aerodynamics would be appreciated.

stephen.kamichik | 6 januari 2012

1. The active air suspension will have manual adjustments. High1 setting at 6.9" ground clearance and high2 setting at 7.3" ground clearance. Standard ground clearance is 6". At 10 mph High2 goes to High1. At 19 mph suspension goes to standard 6" ground clearance.

2.The 8-way seats have standard movements, including forward/back, up/down and recline. The 12-way seats also include lumbar support and heated seats.

3. The battery packs are swappable, however upgrading is not an option at this time. TM advises that we select the pack that will meet our current and future needs.

Thanks to Stephen Smith of TM for this information.

Mycroft | 6 januari 2012

Mmmm, looking forward to lumbar support! Even my '06 Mercedes SLK doesn't have that.

brianman | 6 januari 2012

Nice work, Stephens.

Robert.Boston | 6 januari 2012

1. The active air suspension will have manual adjustments. High1 setting at 6.9" ground clearance and high2 setting at 7.3" ground clearance. Standard ground clearance is 6". At 10 mph High2 goes to High1. At 19 mph suspension goes to standard 6" ground clearance. -Stephen.K

Interesting -- given that the original Model S specs had the groundclearance at 4.5" (iirc), increased to 6.1" (possibly in response to much wailing and gnashing of teeth on these boards), I would have thought that the air suspension would tucked the car down <5" at highway speeds.

Still, I appreciate the extra 1.2" of clearance. It's unwise to travel gravel roads in a low-slung vehicle.

discoducky | 6 januari 2012

Ask what the second calipers are for on the rear brakes. Pretty sure they are the parking brake, but it would be good to know for sure as I don't want to be replacing two sets of shoes for the rear disc's.

Would like to know if there is any protection from power spikes or lightning ss the Leaf does: Check out this video here

What will the all season 19" tire manufacturer and model number be for production?

Does the air suspension keep the car level with hard cornering?

Will Jeremy Clarkson like the car? JK'ing...

Douglas3 | 6 januari 2012


I asked a Tesla engineer about that at the factory tour. The second caliper is indeed for the parking brake. It's electrically actuated and automatically engages when you put the car in Park.

Volker.Berlin | 6 januari 2012

The active air suspension will have manual adjustments. High1 setting at 6.9" ground clearance and high2 setting at 7.3" ground clearance. Standard ground clearance is 6". At 10 mph High2 goes to High1. At 19 mph suspension goes to standard 6" ground clearance. (stephen.kamichi)

Thank you very much, Stephen! That is a level of detail that we are not yet used to... Very interesting. I'm still wondering, like Robert...

Alan, could you confirm this information? And could you specifically clarify whether or not the air suspension will further lower the car at higher speeds, and to which extent? If the air suspension does not put the car lower than regular suspension, that it will not affect aerodynamics and there is no point for me in getting that option (6" is plenty, I don't need any more ground clearance, but I consider getting the air suspension for improved aerodynamics at higher speeds).

Robert.Boston | 6 januari 2012

Yep, I'm wondering if there's Low1 and Low2 settings. I'd kick Low1 in automatically at some speed (e.g. 50mph), with Low2 on driver command.

Teoatawki | 6 januari 2012

Please confirm that there are front tow hook point(s) we could use to attach a license plate holder if we don't what the front bumper drilled. Or a better solution for front license plates.

Teslamodels4me | 6 januari 2012

@Alan, If I have standard option of performance tires & wheels on signature model and I opt for no cost option 19" wheels with all season tires can I use the difference $3500 for other options like panoramic roof and wall charger etc...?

phb | 6 januari 2012

Oh, and not only does logic dictate that they will be showing off Model S at the show, Tesla's twitter feed explicitly says just that!

discoducky | 6 januari 2012

@Teslamodels4me...if that turns out to be true I'd be much more inclined to go for the Performance Model S, but opt for standard wheels and tires. And I don't mind being forced to spend that money on other options that I actually want.

TikiMan | 6 januari 2012

I would love to hear the reactions of the general public, and know what the line looks like to see it, verses say a new BMW, etc.

Even here in So Cal with a showroom close by, most people's reaction when I tell them I am getting a Tesla, is... "you mean that electric roadster car?". By the time I explain the Model S to them, they can't believe what I am telling them about it.

It's going to be very interesting over the next few months, as the Model S starts getting more prime-time publicity.

Charged_Up | 6 januari 2012

Add whether or not the two main driving screens can be easily seen with polarized glasses- oakleys are what I had in mind - for those of us that are visually challenged and spend lots on designer sport prescription sunglasses....

john.m.hennessey | 6 januari 2012

Alan, thanks for the opportunity for additional insights.

I'm interested to know whether there will be an Android app in addition to the iPhone app.

I'm also interest to know if factory tours are possible while the Model S is in production, or more ideally when our specific car is expected to be in production.

Thanks again!

Schlermie | 6 januari 2012

The Silicon Valley auto show is this weekend. It looks like just about every auto manufacturer will be there, EXCEPT Tesla.

cybercop | 7 januari 2012

Tesla is not listed for the DC auto show in several weeks either. Maybe they ARE like Apple and CES, so important they get a line when the Beta shows up in the store, so why pay to go show it somewhere with all the other products. If you had sold out every car you could make a year out already, would you be spending money on auto shows that do not command a lot of press attention?

stephen.kamichik | 7 januari 2012

They are exhibiting at the Detroit Auto Show and the CES show in Las Vegas, according to Stephen Smith of TM.

Brian H | 7 januari 2012

About the sunglasses: Leo suggested modern screens are polarized diagonally (45°) to leave about 50% brightness when viewed straight on. Could test it by tilting your head!

Klaus | 7 januari 2012

I found a set of wheels identical to the 21" turbine style wheels on the Sig but at 19" will accept all season tires. They are made specifically for Mercedes vehicles. What I need to know is the bolt pattern and offset dimensions of the Model S.

mklcolvin | 7 januari 2012


LOL!!! It's good to see another fan of "Adventure Time with Finn & Jake" here... Could you have TM confirm that some navigation is on the base car - even if you do not order the tech package? Google Maps would be good enough if there is turn-by-turn as on their Android app.

Schlermie | 7 januari 2012

If you subscribe your car to a data plan, then you'll be able to access Google Maps from the web browser built into the 17" display.

Schlermie | 7 januari 2012

I'm fairly certain it won't have turn by turn navigation though unless you pay for it. The way this 17" display is implemented is already outdated. It really should've been designed to act as an extension to your smartphone, so you don't need to purchase an additional data plan, and you can continually upgrade you smartphone as technology advances.

Mycroft | 7 januari 2012

Schlermie, you will be able to tether it to your smartphone if you want to. That way you can have a single data plan.

If you mean something else, I think it would be impossible unless they got Google to integrate the car's computer with the Android ecosystem. Apple certainly wouldn't go along.

Peak Oil bruin | 7 januari 2012

Klaus, thanks for the link, yes- those wheels do indeed look like the original turbine wheels on the alpha - i'm a big fan and look forward to offset info, too.

Schlermie | 7 januari 2012

@Mycroft, that's not exactly what I was thinking, but tethering does solve half the problem. Not only does it allow you to share the data plan on your smartphone, but it also allows you to advance the radio technology as time goes on by buying a new smartphone every few years. For example, the Model S radio will most likely be a 3G receiver, but by the time we actually start driving it, many of us will have 4G phones. A few years later, we'll have 5G phones, so tethering will allow us to advance the radio over time.

I was thinking something more along the lines of integration with Android, where the brains and the OS reside in your smartphone, and the 17" display is just a touchscreen interface to the smartphone. I'm sure Tesla will have some periodic firmware updates to the touchscreen, but they won't be updating the processor, which means it will eventually lose pace with advancements in web OSs.

Mycroft | 7 januari 2012

Yes, but it will still be a damned fine car!

Brian H | 8 januari 2012

I wonder if the hardware is modular enough to permit future "snap in" upgrades. If I were designing it, I'd try for that. Moore's Law is very unforgiving of old processors running fat, lazy, new progs and OSes etc.

Volker.Berlin | 8 januari 2012

I was thinking something more along the lines of integration with Android, where the brains and the OS reside in your smartphone, and the 17" display is just a touchscreen interface to the smartphone. (Schlermie)

I am glad that Tesla decided to go the stand-alone route. The "thin client" approach is technologically intriguing, but I think it would not hold up well in daily use. Two main reasons:

1. I don't want my car to impose any constraints on which mobile phone I choose, and if I own/use a mobile phone at all. Similarly, Tesla is wise in avoiding dependency from technology not under their control. Apps for as many phone OSes as possible are the way to go to interact between the car and the phone, but the car should also be fully functional in a stand-alone setting.

2. I hope their choice of OS and their programming is focused on the core functionalities of the screen. Third-party apps are nice and they certainly have to support them (maybe in an HTML5 fashion, like WebOS R.I.P.?) to be taken seriously in 2012. But I'd appreciate a platform that is less universal/generic and more stable when executing core functions, than iOS or Android.

Brian H | 8 januari 2012

Hear, hear! The range and potential (for mischief) of phone apps is nearing functional infinity.

EdG | 8 januari 2012

Note to those considering tethering as an alternative to paying for monthly 3G access direct to the car: when your car is in the parking lot, away from known WiFi networks, you won't be able to use your phone to remotely control the car's interior temperature, nor track where it is.

Sudre_ | 8 januari 2012

Note for those who haven't tried it.
I have found that at work parked in the garage I am close enough to connect to the Wifi. I have not parked on any business/retail street/parking lot in St Louis and not found at least 2 wifi networks if not more.... McDonalds, Starbucks, local restaurants, etc.
The real question is will the Model S have a java enabled browser so you can accept the establishments connection agreement.

EdG is right tho. There are many situations where there is no WiFi. I am considering getting a third phone on my current AT&T plan and just lock it in the glove box (tethered or setup up as a secure wifi hot spot) rather than pay a totally separate package for Tesla's 3G simply because they will lock you into a 2 or 3 year plan for outdated tech.
With the assorted phone companies family plans you can get another line for a couple bucks a month. It just all depends on which wireless companies Tesla chooses to use.
AT&T does not charge extra for tethering or making your phone a wifi hotspot. It's just the cost to purchase a phone that has those options.
Now if AT&T is a carrier Tesla will use then it's simple to just add a line to my current account for the car.

It's all going to change for each person depending on their wireless carrier.

The other question is if I make the car a secure WiFi hotspot and I don't have a 3G package can I connect to it with my WiFi enabled phone/Tablet and control the car that way.

Todd Burch | 8 januari 2012

Latest word is that the Model S will have 4G, not 3G.

David den Boer | 9 januari 2012

I heard the 4G claim last weekend too at Santana Row.

EdG | 9 januari 2012

When the world goes to 5G we can ask Tesla to upgrade the display and associated electronics.

phb | 9 januari 2012

Whatever they use, I hope that it's also backward compatible. My preference would be to have a combo 4G(LTE), 3.5G, 3G and EDGE antenna. I will probably see 3.5G AT&T in town in the near future and 4G some time after that. We have 3G now but there are MANY places in the state that have poor, or no, 3G coverage. I'd love to have the 4G for when I'm in Portland.

ViewAskew | 10 januari 2012

Sorry I haven’t been on for a while, work has been hectic. I’m in the process of sorting through the feed and making a list of questions. I’ll do my best to get any or all of them answered. Hopefully they have informed individuals working the booth and not just Abercrombie and Fitch personnel.

Jason S | 10 januari 2012

The good A&F personnel will know the person to direct the really good (outside the 1 hour briefing scope) questions. So go ahead and talk to the pretties and if they can't answer then they'll find somebody who can.

vouteb | 10 januari 2012

Total width and do the mirrors fold(electrically)?


gagliardilou | 11 januari 2012

Will they be incorporating blind spot notification? I really feel this is the most current/important option that the car should have. More so than adaptive speed control just for the fact that it is more safety oriented and that it would be used more often.