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Hill Assist

I really find it strange that in a 2012/2013 car there is no hill-hold feature standart. Does anybody know how the braking system of the Model S works? Is the braking pedal mechanical connected to device (magnetic or hydraulic) that activates and releases the brakes or is the pedal just connected to a sensor that sends an electrical signal to the braking device? In the latter case it should not be difficult to program a delay of 2-3 seconds between the release of the brake pedal and the release of the brake and should not take long to develop and implement.

My wife's Toyota Highlander has this feature, and while not always needed it is very intuitive and useful when it is needed. When stopped waiting for a light, your right foot is on the brake where it should be. Just as your light turns green you increase pressure on the brake till you hear a beep. The car automatically holds the brake for just a second, just enough time for you to get to the gas. It's probably needed much more in the hybrids because of the time delay of the engine starting up and developing torque. At first you might think why push on the brake as the light turns green? But the whole thing happens so fast no one honking at you to move. This should a simple implementation.

Personally I wouldn't need it as I drove a standard for years.

I find many of the comments here to be more derogatory than I expected. To state that hill assist us only needed for owners that don't know how to drive is not helpful to the dialog. I've driven manual autos most of my life. As with others, my "promotion" of hill assist is based on my positive experience with it. Hill assist is a safety feature that will undoubtably reduce stress and anxiety when parked in inclines. It will reduce or eliminate a certain number of accidents. It is very helpful when parallel parking on an incline. As with creep, heated seats, Xenon lights, air bags, power steering, GPS and other such "extravagances", there will be many drivers that will want it and some that don't.

I agree with djm12. Just because you've never needed hill-hold doesn't mean those that are used to it are bad drivers. It's a very nice feature and would be useful, especially for the occasional driver of your S that had that feature in their daily driver.

Can't we just wrap this thread up agreeing that it is not a "deficiency" but would be a "very useful feature" if it could be added via a software update, and like creep, could be enabled selectively by the driver?

Uh, Brian: The wire is one hundred and one feet long.

markapeterman wins

+1 for hill hold/hill assist.

If Tesla modified creep torque based on the angle of the vehicle, it would be appreciated.

Mark & tork;
You cheated! You made the expression plural. >;p :D

I think teddyg's idea is elegent: if you are in drive, apply torque so the car does not roll backward, and if in reverse, apply torque so that the car does not roll forward. There is a down-side: if a Tesla driver borrows their friend's automatic ICE car, they may get a surprise when it rolls back! They may just roll two feet, long enough to scare them. Oops! Brian, I did it again!

Two is fine. Rolling one feet is forbidden. So is one feet on the goose pedal.

If my foot is not on the go pedal, or the brake, then I want the car to freewheel in whatever direction gravity is pulling. If I want the car to stop, I will press the brake, if I want the drive motor to move me in one direction or the other, I will push the go pedal.

To my way of thinking, hill hold is unneeded, and unwelcome, as it involves the car doing something that I am not in control of.

@ Vawlkus

Agree 100% Bravo !!!

Brian - that was a typo - the qualifier was intended to be "when you aren't in reverse".

That way, hill assist doesn't interfere with intended reverse maneuvers.

RE Creep on hills, does anyone know if it applies throttle or brakes while on a hill? Throttle is what's used on level ground, and I'd guess that's what you are feeling on a hill with it. If so, that's not as good as brakes since it consumes a lot more power.

I have lots of personal experience with manual transmissions in places like San Francisco. I know quite well how to perform the transitions smoothly, but I don't think it's any less manly to appreciate convenience. I delegate a lot of stuff I can do myself for the liberty to focus on other things.

In any case, it's easy enough to reconcile different preferences with config options, and make everyone happy.

TM and the EV will drive fundamental innovations in the user interface for piloting a vehicle. As long as a new paradigm actually works better, (like regen), change is a good thing.

Mark K | January 29, 2013 new
Throttle is what's used on level ground, and I'd guess that's what you are feeling on a hill with it. If so, that's not as good as brakes since it consumes a lot more power.

If by "a lot" you mean barely enough to possibly measure after a few hours, ya.

Here is the answer from Tesla:
Hi Peter,

Douglas forwarded your question to me, I’d be happy to assist. I went ahead and contacted our development team, but they unfortunately do not have an update with a ETA on when that feature will be implemented. It is a request we have heard from many customers and one that we are pursuing, but for right now we don’t have a set time frame for its release. I apologize for the inconvenience.


Derek Shu | Ownership Experience Advocate
3500 Deer Creek Road | Palo Alto, CA 94304 | (877)79-TESLA

I'm a-ok with Tesla's response. If we design a car by committee, we get one really terrible car. Our feedback on what we like/dislike is valuable and I have 100% confidence that Tesla can sort it out.

Left foot brake, right foot accelerator. Hill assist is a handicap of a convenience. Be more self aware of your driving habits...

@LK - Left foot brake, right foot accelerator: Model S complains and threatens to shut down if you don't stop doing it...

@pahlemann@seque... - Thanks for posing your response from Tesla. It is excellent news to hear they are pursuing hill hold functionality. We were told this several months ago which is why it's a Punch List item. The response you received confirms they will eventually get it done. We just need to be patient.

Peter - Thanks for the post from TM - sounds good. A validation that they too recognize its value.

Brian - the power needed to hold with motor torque is nontrivial.

If you're on a 15% grade and calculate the steady state force needed to resist the hill-aligned-vector portion of the total 4600 lbs gravity force, it's significant.

Roughly equivalent to the force needed to sustain several miles per hour on level ground. Braking to hold the hill is far more efficient.

That is why TM will do it.

Sounds like hill assist will be a future feature. Disable it if you don't WANT to use it.

Freedom of choice; it's a beautiful thing!

@nickjhowe. I read that as we'll. But, your options are limited. As long as your not mashing the gas, you don't have to worry about the firing off of a light and your car turning off...

You have hill hold. It's called the accelerator. Works fine in Colorado mountains. Should work in SF, too.

+1 JaneW

I see two problems here, many new owners come from green cars like Prius and Volt, other buyers like me are changing similar value cars like Mercedes, BMW, Jags, Audi and so on. This simple features like hill assistant are standard from years and asking for this technological awesome car to have it is not big deal. Is software that is it. That is the difference between a luxury car and standard automobile.Whit the same argument I can say Why internet access I have my Ipad!! why parking sensors I have mirrors!! Why electronic seats I have hands!! why electronic trunk I have hands too!! Today luxury car means way higher safety than a regular automobiles.
Saying that this is the reply I got from Tesla.


Thank you for reaching out to us at Tesla Motors, my name is Peter, I work on the Ownership Experience team, and I am happy to answer your question. At this time Model S does not have a "hill hold assist" feature. However, this is a much requested enhancement of our vehicle and I have added your expressed interest to our feedback database for our software management team.

Please feel free to reach out to us again if there is anything else we can answer or assist with.

Kind Regards,


Some really dumb comments on here about creep fixing hill assist, it's okay if you roll back a little bit, don't know how to drive if you roll back. No, no, no.

We need hill start. Creep assist doesn't fix it. It's dangerous and the driver shouldn't be doing clever stuff to compensate.

Creep assist it does not compensate for steep hill or steep parking exits as far as I know. I still waiting for my MS, perhaps some owners can clarify.

Reading this and other threads it seems that gentle pressure on the go pedal works just fine. My question is: isn't that hard on the motor? I think of an electric motor, say a fan, being held and humming and getting hot because it's not turning. What's different here?

(LMB spouse)

@SeattleSid - It's a different kind of motor. The fan motor is designed to run at speed and uses its torque at 0 RPM just to accelerate to its operating speed. The induction motor in the Tesla uses a variable frequency input to generate more or less torque as required.

This issue was discussed before and you will find a lot professional drivers here that think that the use of hill assistant is not needed if you know how to drive.....really....let's go to apply the same rational for all the new car advance technologies.

1-Why blind spot sensor "You don't know how to set the rear mirrors and look around" scary people doesn't know hot to drive

2- ABS Wow I can't believe people doesn't know how to pumping the brakes before stops.

3- Folding mirrors...Ridiculous we have hands.

4- Bluetooth. What a waste of money here you can connect A wire headset.

5- Parking sensors...Well if you know how to drive you don't need it

6- rain sensor.... WHAT you can't figure out how to turn on your wiper blades??

YES HILL ASSISTANT should be an standard, is just software and Tesla should update the cars with this future, jaguar make it easy, put the electronic break and as soon you hit the accelerator the brakes release it, Tesla can add a button call hill assist to do the same.

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