What's Missing? - 2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Tesla Model S: What's Missing?

May 3, 2013

2013 Tesla Model S

The 2013 Tesla Model S has so much going for it that it seems nitpicky to talk about what it doesn't have in the way of small amenities. But when you, or Edmunds.com, have paid more than $100,000 for a car, shouldn't it have what many luxury cars have?

The car would be more convenient if it had:

  • Parking guides in the rearview camera: This is parking aid that the very, very wide Model S lacks.

  • Lighted vanity mirrors: Serious, Tesla? You can't expect women to put on lipstick without better lighting. The little LED map lights do not do the job.

  • Blind-spot monitoring system: If you can get this in a Mazda 3, why not a Model S?

  • Less vulnerable wheels: The wheels on the Model S protrude beyond the sidewall of the tire and are extremely susceptible to curbing. Telsa would do owners a favor by rethinking this design.

I also was going to note that the outside passenger-side mirror doesn't tilt, but by reading through the Model S forum, it seems that the car does indeed have this feature. You just have to program it into your personal driver profile.

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @ 3,359 miles


  • mermar1 mermar1 Posts:

    I am very interested in purchasing a model S - but your concerns about content, mirror my concerns - though I think your list barely scratches the surface. Heads up Display (maybe not necessary given the nice display in the cluster), rear seat heaters, side and top view cameras, nigh vision, better seats, not sure if the headlights are dynamic, rear seat climateetc... Basically, Elon should benchmark agains a current M5 or Audi S8. I think the gap analysis would be notable. But Elon is incredible and he will close the gap - just not sure how long it will be.

  • baggs32 baggs32 Posts:

    Uh guys, almost all of the missing features you both mention require electricity to operate. This car runs purely on batteries and all of those little extras you think are missing would reduce the distance you could travel on a charge significantly. If you want all those little extras buy a hybrid.

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    Lights on the vanity mirrors and blind spot monitoring draw electricity, something you want to save to maximize range.

  • throwback throwback Posts:

    I have read interior storage is also lacking compared to other cars in the class.

  • throwback throwback Posts:

    To the posters who claim this items require electricty, so that's why they are not there, allow them to be turned off. If you have a 265 mile range car, but drive less than 100 miles a day, the range drop off is not a big deal.

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    People, it doesn't mater how the car is propelled, anything that operates on an electrical charge will lower range and fuel economy. Lights, touchscreens/MMIs, AC/CC, vanity lights (to a small extent), ECU, and a multitude of other things fall into this category. In the Tesla, the draw will be directly taken from the batteries. In an ICE car, there will be an increase draw on the (You guessed it!) battery, which needs help from the alternator if it is not run directly off originally, which takes power from the engine, which now runs less efficiently, which lowers fuel economy and therefore range.

  • Nonsense. A LED vanity light drawing maybe a whole watt infrequently will not measurably affect range. Or blind sport monitoring for that matter. These features are not there because they had to streamline the design to get it out the door. Unfortunate, but understandable.

  • bc1960 bc1960 Posts:

    But, does it have a cargo net? The vulnerable wheels are unrelated to the vehicle cost and are probably somewhat more likely to be found on expensive cars.

  • empowah empowah Posts:

    The lighted vanity mirrors are coming. Tesla has stated that you'll be able to upgrade to them at no cost. As for the parking guides, I can imagine that arriving with a new firmware update. The standard 19" wheels are less susceptible to curbing, while you'll have to go aftermarket for blind spot monitoring. Goshers sells a kit for $250; professional installation will probably run $750. Honestly, none of the gadgets on fancy ICE cars are proprietary. They all come from the same suppliers, and it's only a matter of time before Tesla starts offering them. On Tesla forums, some people already have lane departure warning, collision alert, blind spot monitoring, parking sensors, and rear seat entertainment on their cars.

  • zhangrenhou zhangrenhou Posts:

    Carroll, I am guessing that when you buy this type of car, you are paying for the technology, not all of the fancy accessories.

  • shepski shepski Posts:

    As for the curbing, the car looks way better with the 19" wheels anyway (yeah, just my - and probably the minority - opinion, I know).

  • onesixeight onesixeight Posts:

    I agree...two things I wish the Model S had on its options list is 1) blind spot monitoring and 2)active cruise control

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    @zhangrenhou: When you're paying $100K for a sedan, you would typically expect function along with the experience, ala S-class (or even Porsche Panamera). Otherwise you're just buying a toy?

  • zhangrenhou zhangrenhou Posts:

    duck87, one could view it that way. A person like myself, though, would not miss any of those fancy accessories. When I bought brand new luxury cars in the past, I was completely happy with leather, real wood, a moonroof, a memory system, an upgraded stereo, and upgraded wheels. I would buy a Model S, even if it is lacking in a few areas.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    @zhangrenhou: I'm pretty curious. If the Model S is lacking in a few areas, why would you buy it over competitors that offer convenience, better build quality and features? You don't seem to be very picky with your luxury cars.

  • zhangrenhou zhangrenhou Posts:

    duck87, it does have some cool features that its competitors lack, electricity is cheaper than gas, not having to ever visit a gas station, and helping to save the Earth. At the same time, it's a beautiful vehicle that will coddle me in a very similar manner to others in its class.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    Again, if you're buying a $100K car I don't really see the relevance of fueling costs, and any time you buy a new car, no matter what/where, you're not really helping the Earth in any way (and... it doesn't really need your help, since it'll still be around when you're long gone). For sure if you want to reduce dependence on oil, that's understandable.

  • zhangrenhou zhangrenhou Posts:

    There are some very wealthy people (I wish I was one of them) who do find lower costs of any kind relevant, and if I'm buying a new car, anyway, I can choose one that might have a longer life because of its fewer moving parts. If I can use photovoltaic energy to charge my car, then I am at least doing my share to leave the oil in the ground, even if others aren't. Again, this is just how I feel. If you and others feel differently, that's perfectly fine!

  • It's also missing cup holders in the back.

  • drcomputer drcomputer Posts:

    I guess people don't understand that integrating all of these features takes time and adds to the cost of the car. Tesla was trying to get the car to market as quickly and as cost effectively as possible. All of these features will be added to subsequent model years and Tesla will offer retrofits at a cost to current owners (something no other manufacturer does). One can also go aftermarket now and add Lane Departure, Pre-collision, Parking sensors and blind spot monitoring systems like I have on my Model S (thanks to Al & Ed's in West Hollywood).

  • mayhemm mayhemm Posts:

    When's the last time a totally new model of car (from a new company too) was released with every feature available from the onset? Usually it takes until at least the mid-cycle refresh get to that point. Priority 1: get a vehicle out the door that doesn't break down every second day (something even veteran auto companies occasionally have trouble with), add convenience features later. BTW, what is the deal with blind-spot monitors and automatic cruise control? These have been available forever, but all of a sudden they're MUST HAVE features....

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