2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Tesla Model S: It Does Have Homelink, But...

February 27, 2014

2013 Tesla Model S

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.

2013 Tesla Model S

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

Comments

  • dunning15 dunning15 Posts:

    Complicated? Seriously? The day I brought my car home I programmed our two security gates and our garage door opener. I never stood outside the car and I don't recall it taking more than 10 seconds to sync up and learn them. They have worked flawlessly since then. Maybe haters just want to hate. ;)

  • juddholl10 juddholl10 Posts:

    Yeah I agree with dunning. This doesn't seem to be that big of a deal. I get that you're a "journalist" and have to strike an opinion on some polarized ground, but come on. This is a really juvenile gripe.

  • rock2155 rock2155 Posts:

    Seriously ? On my delivery day I configured, alone, my two garage doors in maybe 1 minute...

  • jaguar36 jaguar36 Posts:

    +1 This is something you only ever do once, who cares if you look silly for a minute. Not it would be really slick if it opened the garage door whenever you got in range without you having to push a button!

  • rock2155 rock2155 Posts:

    ... But the first image of the article is awesome ! :) Full size: http://media.ed.edmunds-media.com/tesla/model-s/2013/lt/2013_tesla_model-s_r34_lt_21114_1600.jpg

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Yeah, this is kind of carping - justification for a RTFM moment. I think they should be addressing substantive issues with their posts on this car. And there is no lack of them.

  • handbrake handbrake Posts:

    I guess the homelink button can be confusing to someone who has blown up two motors in under 20,000 miles.

  • I'm not a Tesla owner, but Homelink setup is really bad if you have an older garage door opener like me (or rather, my landlord). First you have to find a hidden switch on the opener hardware itself (which may require a ladder), then you have to follow 4-5 annoying steps to sync it with Homelink. And after all that, it still probably won't work...as in my case. :(

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    @handbrake...I think you kinda lost us there...or is this tongue-in-cheek?

  • Where are all these negative ratings coming from for these posts? I have noticed over the last few weeks that if someone dares to criticize a post they get -ve This post does smack of "I'm wrong but..." and because of that I'm sure I'll garner a few myself.

  • gslippy gslippy Posts:

    Well, glad the Homelink thing is cleared up. Now maybe we can get some answers on what's up with this Tesla's drivetrain problems?! Or the Dart for that matter?

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Every time I read a comment about the thumbs up and thumbs down thingies, I remind myself that I should start looking at those - that there's some data there somehow...but next time I read comments I'm ignoring them again. I never do anything with them and I never notice what anybody else does with them, either.

  • hybris hybris Posts:

    Enough with garage doors I want to know what is going on with the motor.

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    @fordson1: You don't care about the thumbs up or down?! Strange... I, on the other hand, am a social media addicted pre-teen who anchors self-worth and emotional health to popularity. When I get more than five thumbs up, I feel a warm rush of blood, and i

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    gslippy, hybris...the drivetrain was replaced on 2/13 - even with the delay in posting, I think if there were any answers, they would have posted by now. Tesla has politely but firmly raised the middle finger again on any further disclosure. This time, Edmunds staffers are starting to push back, though...look at some of their tweets...

  • gslippy, we do not speak of the Dart. The Dart is happily living out its days on a farm where it as plenty of room to run and play.

  • mikial_ mikial_ Posts:

    Whether you own a Tesla or not, the Homelink programming procedures are the same and vary depending upon the type of opener you have. The only difference is that with the Tesla, the vehicle steps you through the process and avoids you from having to dig through a manual. As for any one who would be embarrassed with the programming process, it is very difficult for me to take that seriously as the set-up is a one time process. If someone really was, however, they could just program the vehicle in their driveway and forgo the GPS functionality of the system (and manually hit the button like on every other vehicle). What a weird article...

  • bghiggins bghiggins Posts:

    "Alternatively, you can bypass the GPS portion and press "Controls," then Settings, then the Homelink tab, then the programmed button." ... or you could just press the home icon at the top of the screen. It really is that simple.

  • I took delivery this Saturday. The last time I had to program a new car (BMW M3), I had to call a garage door repairman to come to my home and do it for me. This Saturday, I clicked the manual opener, clicked two screen prompts, and it was finished. Repeated for a second door. Total elapsed time was 45 seconds. If someone saw me outside the car, they weren't looking at me - they were looking at the new beauty in my driveway! Now, when I arrive home, the Homelink dropdown opens on the screen since it knows my location, and I click on one of the two entries (which I was able to name) that have been programmed. Honestly, this couldn't be easier.

  • I took delivery this Saturday. The last time I had to program a new car (BMW M3), I had to call a garage door repairman to come to my home and do it for me. This Saturday, I clicked the manual opener, clicked two screen prompts, and it was finished. Repeated for a second door. Total elapsed time was 45 seconds. If someone saw me outside the car, they weren't looking at me - they were looking at the new beauty in my driveway! Now, when I arrive home, the Homelink dropdown opens on the screen since it knows my location, and I click on one of the two entries (which I was able to name) that have been programmed. Honestly, this couldn't be easier.

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