2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Tesla Model S: It Even Has Unique Seatbelts

March 26, 2013

2013 Tesla Model S

As you can see, the seat belt buckle in our Tesla Model S is a little bit different. Having a black release button might not seem like much, but it's a small sign that Tesla went the extra mile to make the Model S unique.

I've noticed over the years that no matter how expensive the car is, the seatbelts are always the same. Whether it's a $15K Kia or a $150K Mercedes, they always have black nylon seatbelts with an ugly, plastic connector at the end.

Now, much of this is dictated by safety regulations, so there's probably not much you can do about the seatbelt materials itself, but surely some smart engineers and designers can come up with a more aesthetically pleasing latch design. In Tesla's case, the designers didn't go quite that far, but at least they finally got rid of the big ugly red release button. Not even Bentley does that.

Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor @ 1,167 miles


  • g_t g_t Posts:

    Well, as much as I love the Tesla S, this really seems a security flaw. I bet fire extinguishers are red also in buildings on Infinite Loop - and not white or black (unfortunately I haven't had the pleasure to see it myself). Think about the unlikely-but-not-impossible situation where a Tesla S is sinking fast in water and someone won't be able to free the unconscious driver because the beautifully - dark - colored button doesn't really stand out in the dark...

  • outtatime outtatime Posts:

    Wow, relax there bud. No reason to go name calling. However, it is a safety issue and I wonder if now that there is attention called to this that Tesla will have to make changes. I certainly wouldn't want an EMS to have to go groping for the release when the car is engulfed in flames and smoke in order to figure out how to get my unconscious body out of a flaming car.

  • prndlol prndlol Posts:

    I'm focusing less on the colour of the release button and more on the ill-fitting trim in the background.

  • If it is dark and the car is sinking in water I'm thinking even a red button isn't going to 'stand out' or even be seen. Maybe they should make them glow. Or maybe after 55 years people actually realize that the seat belt release is going to be at the end of the seat belt itself. That is what I would guess any EMS person is going to do rather than pause and try to shove you out of the way so they can see the belt release, they know where they are and how they work. And anyone that didn't consume too many lead paint chips as a child would know the same thing.

  • zhangrenhou zhangrenhou Posts:

    It does look great! Maybe it does something unique in an emergency situation. Who knows?

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    I'm thinking that this is zero reason for creating a post.

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    There is no security issue. As was said, follow the seat belt and find the latch. The belt can also be easily cut. I'm not sure this can be classified as going the extra mile either, since its just a piece of plastic in a different color. Anyway, not something I would notice, or probably have any preference over.

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    I have never once in my life looked at a red seatbelt button and thought "wow, that would look so much better if it was black." And after reading this, I still haven't.

  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    EMT's carry knives to cut seat belts in emergency situations.

  • markwj markwj Posts:

    Someone at Tesla, reading this, is shouting 'Yes! See! I told you it would matter. I told you they would notice.". It is the little things that sometimes make a big difference.

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