Secret Tesla screen hack: are more safety features embedded in your Model S?

Tesla Model S hidden menu

Blind Spot Detection, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Lane Departure Warning Systems are not currently offered on the Tesla Model S. Or are they? Well, no, not yet at least.

The cars seem to have been built with those additional safety tech features in mind, however, as a secret Model S data screen reveals.

If you want to find this secret screen, simply press your finger on the Tesla logo on the middle top of the onboard 17-inch infotainment screen for five seconds. When you release, a prompt for a password appears. We don’t have a password for you, nor would we want to provide you with one, as messing with the options within could damage your vehicle. Proceed with caution, if you choose to proceed at all.

The folks at Drag Times did have a password and the video embedded on their page shows some interesting features, as seen in the picture above.

Looks like some other settings can be changed from this screen, too. We wonder if where it says “Performance: Sport,” we could upgrade performance levels even further, unlocking some torque and increasing acceleration. We’re also interested to know what’s telling the vehicle it’s set up for left- or right-hand drive would change.

If you’re wondering if you can simply turn on adaptive cruise or lane departure warning, should you find your way into this locked screen, we doubt it. As far as we know, the Model S hasn’t yet been fitted with the appropriate sensors to work such systems.

Could a future Model S include these important safety systems? We’ll say, “yes.”

By Nick Jaynes

Judge throws out Tesla's 'Top Gear' lawsuit


Tesla Motors’ libel suit against the British television show “Top Gear” was thrown out for the second time yesterday. Tesla was suing ”Top Gear” over a December 2008 review of the company’s Roadster, which depicted a car with a dead battery being pushed into a hangar.

British Justice Tugendhat said that, “rectification of inaccuracies is not a function of the courts unless that can be achieved in the course of proceedings properly brought to enforce a recognized course of action.” He also said that Tesla seemed determined to get a ruling declaring that ”Top Gear” had lied.

Tesla’s original suit claimed that ”Top Gear” misrepresented the car’s range. The episode shows a Roadster being pushed, but Tesla claims its batteries were not depleted. Host Jeremy Clarkson said that “on our track, it will run out after just 55 miles.” The Roadster’s listed range is 200 miles.

“Top Gear” also said that one of their two test car’s brakes had failed partway through shooting. The problem turned out to be a blown fuse that effected the brake’s power assist.

“Top Gear” admitted that the car still had some charge; producer Andy Wilman said the crew was filming a segment on what would happen if the Tesla ran out of charge. Indeed, about half of the Tesla video talks about the difficulty of charging an electric car, and includes a scene where the Roadster is plugged into a wind turbine on a windless day.

Wilman also stood by the 55 mile range, saying that driving a car on a track is different than driving it on a road. It is true that ”Top Gear” has made similar claims of diminished economy in the past: in another episode, Clarkson said a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII only got four mpg when driven hard. Wilman claimed that brakes with no power assist still qualify as “broken.”

In October 2011, Tugendhat threw out the suit, and told Tesla that they would have to amend their claim. Tesla responded by saying that, “there were reasonable grounds to suspect that each of the Claimants ["Top Gear"] had intentionally and significantly misrepresented the range of the Roadster by claiming that it had a range of about 200 miles in that its true range on the “Top Gear” track was only 55 miles.”

Yesterday, the judge dismissed that claim as well, saying that drivers understand that cars perform differently in different conditions, such as driving on a track instead of a normal road. Since that was the main point of Tesla’s suit, the electric carmaker had nothing else to argue.

By Stephen Edelstein

New York Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Tesla Factory-Direct Stores – Rumor Central

New York Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Tesla Factory-Direct Stores

Lately, it seems Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been on tour around the country speaking in favor of his factory-direct sales model, against influential state dealer associations that see factory-direct car sales as a threat to the traditional dealership business model. Musk was most recently in Texas at a legislative hearing defending the factory-direct model. A New York Supreme Court justice ruled on Thursday that franchised dealers could not prove sufficient injury to prevent Tesla from operating factory-owned stores, Automotive News reports.

Naturally, the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association voiced its displeasure at the ruling, claiming Tesla’s factory-owned model is “clearly prohibited” by state franchise dealer law. The dealer association has not yet said whether it will appeal the case, or seek recourse by other means. Tesla currently operates three stores and two service centers in the state.

The fear of state dealership associations across the country is that an exemption granted to Tesla would open the door to existing automakers to circumvent the independent franchise model and start opening factory-owned stores in competition with independently-owned dealerships. Franchise laws vary from state-to-state, from outright prohibition, to non-compete language preventing factory-owned stores from opening within a specified distance from an independent franchise.

Chrysler was forced to sell its Motor Village concept store in Los Angeles, after area dealers petitioned the DMV, alleging violations of state franchise law. Tesla’s case is unique in that it is creating a network of new stores for an all-new brand, not opening new outlets for an existing brand.

Source: Automotive News (subscription required)

By Edward A. Sanchez

Tesla Model S Wagon Rendered

Hello, and welcome to the best liked EV of the moment, the Tesla Model S. At a recent press conference to announce the company’s third quarter financial results (which were bad), Tesla CEO and founder of the company Elon Musk said there would be “few other variants of the Model S that we'll come out with next year.”

At the time, we speculated that one possible version would be a back-to-basics model without the leather or the trick 17-inch infotainment system, while the other would be a wagon or shooting brake, like Fisker is planning to make.

We found a rendering which could shed light on what the possible Tesla Model S would look like as a wagon. Even though these models are not that popular in the US, you can’t ignore the added practicality that comes with a big boot. Tesla buyers must be some of the most educated out there, and they really might appreciate a good wagon version.

Renderings by Theophilus Chin

Check out the Tesla Model S Wagon photo gallery

By Mihnea Radu

Tesla Adds $2,500 to Model S Price Tag

Tesla Motors has announced that it will be bumping up the base price for the Model S sedan by $2,500. This means that the all-electric luxury sedan now starts off at $59,990, or $52,400 with the federal tax credit factored in. The price remained the same, for some three and a half years, yet now, as they increase the output, at the Freemont, California factory, they need more money in order to build 1,600 units per month, by the end of the year.

The expected output forecast for 2013 is around 20,000 units, if everything goes according to plan. If you want to purchase a Tesla Model S, a $5,000 deposit is required, and you will be placed on a waiting list. The automaker has made it clear that everybody who gets on the list by December 31 will not be affected by the price hike.

Also, considering the price of the car, and the 13,200 people which had put their name down for a Model S by the end of the third quarter, this price hike will not matter that much – Elon Musk did the same thing just before the Roadster was launched, so it seems that it is a Tesla ‘tradition’.

Story via

By Andrei Nedelea

Tesla to Build and Sell Europe-Bound Vehicles in the Netherlands

We did not think that Tesla had the necessary financial backing to push forth and establish a foothold in Europe so soon, but it is now official – they will begin selling and manufacturing the Model S for the European market, in the Netherlands, from their European Distribution Center, in Tilburg.

Production is set to begin in March of next year, at their new facility, which will have a total staff of 50. Tesla have not specified whether or not the Euro version will get any changes, either mechanical or otherwise, as it may have to comply with different rules and regulations, and some of its US-spec parts may not be legal on The Old Continent.

Pricing is another mystery, as it has not been revealed yet. Prospective buyers don`t even know whether or not the $2,500 price increase the car is getting from 2013 will apply to the Euro models, or not. If the car were to cost exactly the same as it does in the US, it would start at around €46,000, and would climb to around €72,200 for a top spec model.

By Andrei Nedelea

Alyson Hannigan Sticks a Charger in Her Tesla Model S

Protecting the environment is as cool as drinking Starbucks coffee and buying organic food for every Hollywood celeb. And since driving a Prius and getting 50 mpg isn't good enough any more, they're jumping into Teslas.

Actress Alyson Hannigan is best known for her "one time, at band camp" role in American Pie, as well as the 2005 comedy How I Met Your Mother. But she's also doing her part for the environment.

A recent Daily Mail article shows her charging a black Tesla Model S sedan, the EV that's changed the way we look at American luxury automobiles. While miss Hannigan is looking a little bit under, the black electric sedan is actually quite attractive.

Source: Daily Mail via Celebrity Cars Blog

By Mihnea Radu

More Updates For 2012 Tesla Model S: Voice Commands, Faster Acceleration

2012 Tesla Model S Signature

2012 Tesla Model S Signature

Enlarge Photo

Tesla has released details of an impending software update, for the 2012 Tesla Model S electric sedan.

Among the changes, owners will now be able to use new features like an app launcher and voice commands, while seeing improvements to some of the controls, and even acceleration response.

New features

First of the new features introduced in the update is a “vehicle sleep” mode.

This is aimed at reducing energy use while the vehicle is off, powering down the vehicle display and electronics to a “sleep” state when the car is turned off.

Tesla notes that this does mean the displays will take a little longer to boot up, but drivers can choose whether to turn this feature on or off. Turning it on is beneficial to those who may not recharge every time they’re parked up–the company says that leaving the displays on uses the equivalent of 8 miles of energy per day when the car is not plugged in.

An App Launcher is also included in the update, letting users pick where they wish a launched app to be displayed–in the top or bottom half of the screen–by dragging and dropping the item on the touchscreen.

2012 Tesla Model S display screen [Photo: Flickr user jurvetson]

2012 Tesla Model S display screen [Photo: Flickr user jurvetson]

Enlarge Photo

Finally, voice commands are now available.

Drivers can use this to listen to music, use the navigation system, or call contacts–all using simple commands like “listen”, “drive to” and “call”, while holding down the voice command button on the steering wheel.


A series of subtle enhacements are included in the updates.

Most noteworthy are the synchronized door handles and the improved throttle response.

The former means that all doorhandles now present and retract together. All door handles will remain extended for a minute after the last door closes, before all retracting in unison.

The latter will also be welcome for Model S drivers. The car has never been short on speed, but Tesla has re-tuned the “throttle” response for what it calls a smoother, crisper feel. This should make the Model S even quicker in real-world driving.

Additionally, drivers can switch the vehicle alarm on or off, choose between metric or imperial units, choose whether the door handles auto-present when unlocking the car, and a ‘Range Driving Mode’ reduces the climate control’s effectiveness to the benefit of conserving range.

Model S owners will be presented with an update scheduling screen when the update becomes available, and the software will be updated wirelessly.

(Hat tip to Brian Henderson)


By Antony Ingram

Volkswagen Golf Named 2013 World Car of the Year

After being named the 2013 European Car of the Year earlier this year, the seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf clinched the top prize in the 2013 World Car of the Year awards as well.

At a press conference hosted by the 2013 New York International Auto Show, the all-new Volkswagen Golf was declared the 2013 World Car of the Year. The other three finalists were the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, the Porsche Boxster / Cayman and the Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ / Toyota GT 86.

"We at Volkswagen are all delighted that the Golf has been named 'World Car of the Year'. To win this award again shows that the Golf is and remains in a class of its own all around the world. This car sets new benchmarks again and again, not least in terms of efficiency and environmental credentials. Soon, for instance, the Golf will also be launched as a plug-in hybrid and as a 100% electric car."

This is the second consecutive year that the German automaker has won the award, after the Volkswagen Up! was named World Car of the Year in 2012.

The 2013 World Performance Car of the Year was also announced at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, the jury awarding the distinction to the Porsche Boxster / Cayman entry, which means that the Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ / Toyota GT 86 and the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta had to settle as runner-ups. Moving forward, the World Green Car award was given to the Tesla Model S, the US-built EV gathering more votes than the other two finalists, the Renault Zoe and the Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid.

A committee of 66 journalists from 23 countries have voted in the 2013 World Car of the Year Awards.

By Ciprian Florea

Tesla Breaks News on Roadster 2.5; Minor Changes Adopted

Tesla Breaks News on Roadster 2.5; Minor Changes Adopted

It’s been a monumental week for Tesla. After bagging $226 million through its initial public offering and watching its stock trend steadily upward since, the Silicon Valley-based electric-vehicle automaker is now spreading the word about its refreshed Roadster 2.5.


On paper, the Roadster 2.5 appears little different from its standard 2.0 counterpart. The front end adopts a new fascia with vents for a more aggressive look, and a redesigned diffuser joins a wider license plate holder on the 2.5′s rear end. The forged, seven-spoke wheels will be available in silver and a new seat design will feature increased bolstering — perfect for those who will be flogging their Roadster 2.5 at the track. A new front fender liner material will help decrease wind noise and what Tesla describes as new “power control hardware” will enable harder driving in hotter temperatures. In addition to these changes, an optional seven-inch touch-screen display with a rear-view camera can also be ordered.

“Although development of the Model S is our main focus, this shows that we still care a great deal about improving the Tesla Roadster,” said Elon Musk, Tesla CEO. “These improvements are a direct result of customer feedback and come only a year after release of Roadster 2.0, showing an exceptionally rapid pace of innovation. Where feasible, we will also offer existing customers the ability to purchase the upgrades now available in version 2.5.”

As detailed in Tesla’s IPO filing, the EV automaker’s future greatly hinges on the success of its next model, the Model S sedan. Profits have been bare, and Tesla needs a decent volume seller to continue funding operations and to help develop an even better Roadster and future battery-electric vehicles. Tesla is hoping that its highly publicized link-up with Toyota will help it to get the Model S into production by 2012.

Tesla has sold over 1200 Roadsters around the world and the Roadster 2.5 is currently available for order.

Source: Tesla

By Benson Kong