Consumer Reports: 10 things you didn’t know about the Tesla Model P85D S – Truly Amazing!

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Our original Tesla S Sedan Value Curve (compared to the BMW 7 Series)


Here’s a reminder of the dramatic difference in value delivered to the owner by the S Sedan.

Tesla_S_Value_Curve_150131In a May 28, 2015 article in, Eric Evans shared ten areas where the S Sedan delivers even more value.

We’ve added a new Element of Performance (EoP), Attention to Detail which captures the 10 features described by Evans as a Nested Value Curve inserted as the 4th most important EoP (see below):

1. Active cruise control accelerates to pass

The S Sedan, like many luxury cars, has active cruise control that will automatically slow down when approaching a slower car ahead. These systems will keep slowing down and slowing down to allow more and more cars to cut in front. In the Model S you Just turn on the left turn signal, and the Model S accelerates back to the set speed so you can dart into an open hole in traffic in the lane to your left.

2. Full Web browser in the dashboard


Provides full Google maps with live navigation and traffic, on a 17 inch screen that can be pinched to zoom in or swiped to move in real time, just like a smartphone. You can quickly spot traffic ahead and find an alternate route The mobile Internet connection allows the driver to stream radio. There is a great temptation to browse, but think of it as a convenience for your passenger only.

3. You can open the sunroof with the steering wheel controls—sometimes by accident.


There is no conventional button to open the sunroof. You can either select “Controls,” then “Sunroof” on the center control screen—which gives you a giant image of the Tesla’s roof—and drag the sunroof open on the image (to any position you want). Or, you can press the right-hand scroll wheel on the steering wheel, dial it down to Sunroof, press it, then dial it open to your desired setting. If you leave the setting on Sunroof, it’s easy to bump it open by accident.

4. The operating manual is embedded in the controls

It’s not always obvious how to do things in the S.  For example, on my first drive, I went a dozen miles before deciding I just couldn’t find the blind-spot indicators. So it’s handy that the car’s whole owner’s manual is programmed into the center screen. I just pulled over, and I was able to look it up.

5. Parking sensor displays in inches

Increasingly popular, parking sensors that beep as you approach obstacles to indicate distance to an obstacle can be found in all vehicle classes. Many also display green, yellow, or red indicators on the rear camera screen that signal an approaching obstacle when backing up. The Model S has parking sensors that beep but it goes one step farther and displays (yes, on the 17″ display) the number of inches you have to go before you reach the obstacle.

6. No starter button (and you never have to touch the key)

Just get in, sit down, and close the door behind you, and the car turns on. (It’s indicated by the battery charge dial flipping over to show the speedometer.) Turning the car off works the same way, which is a little more disconcerting. Press the Park button on the steering column stalk, lift your weight off the seat, and the car turns off and the speedometer disappears again.

7. Blind-spot warning shows only by speedometer

Most blind-spot warning systems show a yellow light either in the outside mirror or on the windshield pillar next to it when there’s a car next to you, likely obscured from view at the rear flanks. The Tesla only shows little hash marks next to the lower corners of the speedometer when a car is there. Some of our drivers find it’s hard to notice the indicators when their head is turned looking in the mirror.

8. Slip Mode

We’ve frequently touted electronic stability control (ESC) as the most statistically effective automotive safety feature since seat belts. Yet most cars have a button on the dashboard labeled “ESC off.” Why would you want to turn off a key safety feature? Because ESC is designed to keep your wheels from slipping, and if you’re stuck in the snow, you may need to get the wheels spinning to get unstuck. ESC would prevent that. Tesla labels its onscreen ESC override button “Slip Mode”—which we think gives a much better idea of what you should use it for.

9. Self charging port door opens and closes itself

You never have to touch the car to open the charge port. When you hold a Tesla charge cable near the port and hit a button on the cable, the door opens. When the car is charged and you unplug it, after a couple of seconds the door closes itself.

10. It has Underwater Mode

For every Model S driver who buys a Tesla to save the planet, there are more who buy the car because it sits on the cutting edge of technology. They want to have the latest James Bond gadget. And the Model S doesn’t disappoint. Both the instrument cluster and the center screen have big images of the car that mirror exactly what’s going on with the car. When you open the driver’s door, the driver’s door opens on the screen. When you turn on the lights, they light up on the screen. If you hold down the big “T” Tesla logo at the top of the center screen, it gives you a box to enter in a service technician’s code. Enter Bond’s agent number, “007,” and the car on the center screen turns into Bond’s Lotus Esprit submarine. Maybe that’s not surprising, since Tesla CEO Elon Musk is reported to own the real Esprit submarine movie prop

“Attention to Detail” nested Value Curve

We took Eric Evans 10 Elements of Performance and rank ordered them.  We did not use Tesla S owners to do this, we put ourselves in the “Most Important Customers” shoes.


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