2013 Tesla Model S: It Does Have Homelink, But...
February 27, 2014
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a few missing features in the 2013 Tesla Model S. As some Model S owners pointed out in the comments, I erroneously included the Homelink universal garage door opener amongst them. I was clearly wrong: the Tesla does in fact have Homelink built into the uber touchscreen that controls everything else in the car. I should've known, despite Homelink in every other car consisting of three physical buttons on the visor, mirror or headliner near the sunroof controls.
However, as it turns out, the problem isn't that the Tesla Model S is missing Homelink, but that it's rather complicated.
As the Homelink screen instructs, you have to stand outside the car for as many as 30 seconds pointing your garage door opener at the car. Doing so will likely result in you looking insane, something akin to either training your car like a dog or threatening it with a phaser. I opted for the latter, which on the upside, made me feel a bit like Will Riker.
In most other cars, you simply press the Homelink and garage door opener buttons simultaneously for a few seconds while inside the car.
As for actually using Homelink, the Tesla features a GPS-linked system. When you approach the programmed gate or door, the Homelink menu screen automatically pops up and you must then press the button in question. Now, in order for this to work, you have to program it in the spot where you want the menu to pop up. As ridiculous as you may feel doing the "training" described above in your driveway, imagine doing it in front of your exclusive gated community's remote-activated gate.
Alternatively, you can bypass the GPS portion and press "Controls," then Settings, then the Homelink tab, then the programmed button.
If this all seems needlessly complicated, I agree. In every other car, you simply reach up and press a single button when you determine with your eyes that you're approaching your garage or gate. Judging by Tesla owners boards, it seems like this is a setup many would prefer. The Tesla's touchscreen is pretty damn impressive, but some things simply don't belong in it. Homelink is one of them...but hey, at least it has it.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor