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Taking Requests for Random Measurements and Photos

I'm planning to stop by the Tesla store on Santana Row this weekend to take some photos and measurements on the Beta there if they'll let me get that intimate with it. If you have any requests, post them here, and I'll try to accomodate them.

Schlermie, thanks for the offer! Assuming that the technical drawing that was on display during the Beta event is up-to-date and reflects the actual data, most questions for measurements can be answered by it. Here is a shot of the entire thing with (mostly) readable numbers (taken by gjunky):
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/6637949/Pano_export.jpg

Also, the Beta event provided so much opportunity to shoot photos, and so many great members of this forum posted their's online, that I really cannot think about any angle of the Beta vehicles that I have not yet seen... Maybe a full shot of the front row (with no passengers in the seats), showing the relation between the screen, the center console, and the awkwardly empty space between them, that has been criticized by those who had the opportunity to take a test ride. If you manage to achieve that, you probably need a pretty wide angle lens.

Actually, I would love to know the width of the car without counting the side-view mirrors. I'd also like to know the width of the trunk space opening. The technical drawing is from a side view and as far as I can tell doesn't provide those numbers.

@Schlermie: Thx for the generous offer. One shot I haven't seen is from just outside the passenger front door into the front seats looking across the dash/display toward the driver's side door. That would give us a feel for the no-center-console look from that angle and also allow us to compare existing photos of the pre-beta with console. Thx in advance.

BTW, wish there was a beta demo on display where I am -- South Florida. Maybe sometime in the next few months.

Please, if it's not too late, and you get a chance, please measure the length in diagonal, i.e. from right side front bumper to left side back bumper, maybe 6 inch inside. I know total length at center is around 196 inches, and I am hopeful that parking at a slight angle will make it fit in my garage, saving a few inches, because of the bumper curvatures.

@Volker, @Soflauthor,
I asked one of the reps if there are any meaningful changes planned between Beta and Production. He gave a very confident response that the shell and cargo areas won't be changing, but it sounds like the interior is still a bit iffy. In fact, whenever I took any detailed interior photos or showed any interest in a particular aspect of the interior, one of the reps was quick to point out that there's still a possibility that the interior may encounter some modifications by production time. Having said that, here are some photos of the void between the 17" display and the front center armrest.

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@mwu,
The Tesla store was a complete zoo while I was there over the weekend, and the Model S was enclosed by velvet ropes. The staff there were allowing a couple reservation holders to sit in the car for limited periods of time, but it was pretty difficult to make any large-scale measurements. The Tesla staff was pretty skittish (and rightfully so) about people fingering or causing any potential damage to the vehicle. One of the reps measured the extension of the side mirrors beyond the widest part of the body. That measurement was 6" for a single mirror. However, I noticed the rear wheel wells extend another 1.5" to 2" beyond the point where the guy measured the body. (By this point, I had made a lot of measurements on the car, and they politely asked me to cease making any further measurements, so the 1.5" to 2" extension of the wheel well is just my eyeball speculation of the measurement.) Anyway, after I do that math, I would estimate the width of the car without mirrors to be (86" - 2(6" - 2")) = 78" (plus or minus 0.5")

@mwu,
The width of the rear cargo opening is ~43" measuring from the inner edges of the car's frame. However, there are some plastic runners (for supporting a security blind over the cargo area maybe?) near the middle region of the opening which constrain the width of the openining to ~40" in that region. The height (along a diagonal) of the opening is ~41" from the top to bottom edge of the frame. There's an additional well at the bottom of the cargo area, which is 36" wide X 17" long (front-to-back) X 14" deep.

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@mwu,
The width of the front cargo opening (measured from frame edge to frame edge) is ~39" at it's widest point near the middle. The width of the floor is ~28". The height from floor to the top of the cargo area is ~15" at the back but 10" high at the front of the cargo area. There's an additional recess at the back of the cargo area. The dimensions of that recess are 19" wide X 12" high X 18" deep.

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@agileone,
I'm afraid I failed you. I knew I'd never be able to get a full diagonal measurement of the car, so instead, I decided to measure the vector offsets from the longest centerpoints (used in the official length measurement) to the 6"-from-the-corner points which you requested for your diagonal measurement. Then with some trigonometric math, I could calculate the diagonal for you. Unfortunately, during my drive home, I realized I botched the measurements for the vector offsets, so the measurements I made don't yield any meaningful information for your purposes. However, I did note that the back bumper and especially the front bumper are very curvy, which means your crazy idea about parking on a diagonal just might work if you only need to shave off an inch or two (and if you can manage to get your car in and out of your garage at a diagonal).

This photo which I doctored below isn't ideal because it's not taken precisely from dead center above the car, and you can't really see the rear bumper, but you can sort of make out how the corner-to-corner length measurement will be shorter than the end-to-end length measurement. Sorry I screwed up the actual measurement.

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Schlermie, thanks a lot! I am very impressed by how serious you took your "mission" and how precise and useful the results are. That's much more than I had expected. What a great contribution, thank you!

"Having said that, here are some photos of the void between the 17" display and the front center armrest.

That sure doesn't look like final "void". What was that red button there? Some sort of emergency "Stop it all" -button?

Waiting for more final interior...

That picture taken from above tells a lot about aerodynamics of the car. I'm surprised if that doesn't have any better Cd than wikipedia claims (0.27 when Prius has 0.26). CdA will be worse just because this is so much bigger car, but absolutely flat bottom, teardrop -like shrinking toward rear and those round "corners" make a big effect in Cd.

Timo: I've seen enough movies to know that the big red button is the self-destruct.

Great photos of the storage compartments. That well at the rear, good for the "kids'" feet, will be great for putting shopping bags - anything that rolls out will stay there instead of rolling around the car.

Anyone know where windshield wiper fluid goes? I haven't seen any tank caps in photos - maybe I just missed it. Or maybe there's a little flap that's part of the front lights that pops open when the car sees a gallon of fluid approaching?

"Or maybe there's a little flap that's part of the front lights that pops open when the car sees a gallon of fluid approaching?"

Very funny. I barely managed to refrain from laughing loudly in my office.

@Schlermie

Thanks, for taking the time to get all of those measurements. I wasn't sure you would be able to get the width of the car in the store, but you got what I needed. Excellent information there. I didn't even think about measuring the front cargo area considering I was more interested in larger luggage I would be transporting. Although it is good to know the size of that area. I may use that area to keep a full sized spare. My Jetta came with one, and I've used it only once in the almost 9 years I've had the car, but it was totally worth it to have when I needed it.

My brother has one of those patch kits instead of even a donut which doesn't cover all circumstances (VW R32 -- factory tuned GTI with AWD... the AWD system takes up room in the rear where the spare would have been). Any larger tearing or sidewall damage, and you've gotta call a tow truck. In fact, the one time I did use my full sized spare it was in a circumstance I never would have been able to patch. I ran over a big bolt. The head of it was about half an inch wide and tore its way through the tire leaving a huge hole. I heard the sound of it deflating from inside the car over the engine and knew the tire was deflating. However, I was lucky that despite the size of the opening, the bolt got stuck in it and reduced the airflow out. I was able to make it the couple of blocks I needed to pull over. I also keep a full sized floor jack and an air pump in my car which helped out immensely. I was back on the road in 10 minutes (had to ensure proper pressure of the spare) and even got to work close enough to on time. Even if you have a donut spare, they aren't rated for highway speeds (they can blow). A full sized spare is the only way to go in my opinion and it's good to know I'd have the space for one without compromising the larger rear cargo area.

@Schlermie: Thx very much for the excellent photos. Your time and effort are much appreciated.

Based on what you and others have written, it does seem that Tesla is going to be making some interior modifications.That's a very good thing.

I've made my arguments for the reinstatement of a center console elsewhere, and I hope that it will be part of any interior modifications.

I'm developing a fall-back strategy if Tesla insists on selling the Model S without a center console (a very bad idea, IMO) and your pics will help immeasurably in preliminary planning. For now, though, it's wait and see.

Thanks again.

@Schlermie: Thanks for the info.

I did about the same eyeballing with the same picture about 6 months ago when I started considering the garage space...

We already park at a small angle because of the need to put 2 cars in the garage and some storage space. It works ok.

Thanks again!

@Timo,

"What was that red button there? Some sort of emergency "Stop it all" -button?"

That was my impression. You can't see the writing in the image I posted, but on the yellow box, it says "Emergency Stop", which I assumed was a full system shutdown in case one of the reservation holders starts getting fried in the electric chair, or the drive motor suddenly becomes unwillfully engaged. Without any prompting from me, the gentleman administering the demo assured me on multiple occasions that it would not be a feature of the production vehicle. Judging from the aesthetics, it seems to be a last minute artifact, jury-rigged together for the demo.

@EdG,

"That well at the rear, good for the "kids'" feet, will be great for putting shopping bags - anything that rolls out will stay there instead of rolling around the car."

Further to that, if you order the jumpseat option, those seats will supposedly fold down into that well, making a flat cargo area in the back when the seats aren't in use.

I think Tesla needs to take a page outta the VW bug's book, and put a spare tire + the jack and whatnot under the front hood. You'd still have some cargo room there, just not as much, and your customers would get a real sense of security from being better prepared for any problems that might arise on the road.

My $0.02 anyway.

It's not just space. It's also weight. I don't know how much that affects range after all, but given that Tesla has made every effort to squeeze the Model S' weight as low as they possibly can (even leaving out a center console cover to gain some grams :-P ) they will probably not make a spare tire + jack the default.

I can see why they aren't (or don't seem to be) offering that. Perhaps it's something they could add as an option. If they don't I will. Simple enough.

Besides, I like my nice safe floor jack. Those small crank jacks that come with cars a called widow-makers for a reason. I've used them, but I don't trust them.

Thanks for the nice article. It is very useful.

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chensi has penetrated Reply function. Ban him quick!

Oops! Gone already. Good!

@mwu,
I noticed when they were rolling the S into the store on Santana Row, they folded in the mirrors to get it through the doorway. They manually folded the mirrors though. They weren't motorized.

I noticed that too. That should help with garage space for sure. Thanks!

Dammit! Now you have me wondering where the washer fluid goes! :-)

There's a black plastic panel visible on the left of the photo of the front trunk (passenger side) near the windshield. A possibility? Nooo, on second thought that looks like a grille.

Probably both. You'd want the mirror to give way if it bumped into something going forward, after all!

I'd be very interested in an interior dimension or two. But I need to explain why because it may not be obvious what to measure.

I can't see out of many cars because I sit so high in the seat (I'm tall with lots of height in my torso). So I want to know, from some reference point, the height of the roof line where it meets the windshield. But I'm not sure what the right reference point would be to determine whether the roof line cuts off most of my field of vision like it does in many cars.

I guess I just have to sit one.


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