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Want the Tech Package just for Navigation, don't get it.

Many people want the Technology Package on the base model Model S, but if you don't want/need the Xenon headlamps, Electrochromatic side mirrors, LED foglights, Convenience lighting, Power rear liftgate, High definition back-up camera, Homelink, and Automatic keyless entry, you can save $3,750 on your Model S. Why? Because you can always go on the internet, go on Google Maps, and get Turn-by-Turn driving directions. Keep in mind that the internet system is STANDARD. But if you REALLY want those extra features, then suit yourself.

Drove on the 152 from Watsonville to Gilroy yesterday, using the nav system to go to the supercharger, in the mountains, lost 3g signal and the map turned blank. however the turn-by-turn was still usable, probably. I was on a stretch which required no turns at the time. The turn-by-turn display was pretty and fun to look at, and in 3D. Personally I would never get a car without nav, after 11 years of using it in my ex-Lexus, it was one of the best features of the car. @chaseF I think the nav system on the S is part of the beauty and drivablity of the car. Btw try the 152 if you live in the bay area, the turns on this road really make you appreciate how great and fun the Model S is.

Back in 2006 I got the tech package for my Prius and am glad I did. Just the HID headlights alone are worth it IMO for the added visibility. I have also found the integrated GPS in the car to be far preferable to the GPS on my phone, despite being strictly 2-D since it is better optimized for driving and integrated into the car. The fact that it can be displayed right next to the speedometer is a big plus IMO.

Now there are a few things I really wish Tesla offered such as parking assist, especially with the propensity to scrape against the curb (something I am frequently guilty of).

Here's the thing. About 3 years ago I put my Tom Tom on my closet shelf (never to be used again) because I use Google Maps with Navigation on my Android phone. It's better, and Google keeps updating the app and maps for free. The phone cost me $200. The awesome windshield mount cost $40.

So now we've got the $3,750 Tech package with Navigon. Yes, it has turn by turn directions with 3G (not 4G like my phone). And the maps won't orient up for the direction of travel (like Google Maps w/ Navigation is able to do). I don't know what map updates will cost me over time, but my Lexus still has 2009 maps because I refuse to pay $150 every year to purchase map updates.

If Tesla can ever get Google Maps with Navigation, taking advantage of the GPS, and working properly on the touchscreen, then that will be awesome. Until then, when I need to navigate, all of my passengers will see my cell phone in the cradle, stuck to the windshield above the 17 inch infotainment screen. If anybody asks why, I'll tell them it's because it's a better navigation system. It just is. iPhone users wouldn't know any different, but Android users will.

@David M

Consider that without the tech package you won't have gps hardware in the car, so the tesla app won't be able to take advantage of that functionality.

On a positive note, the 17 inch monitor gives you a nice flat surface to stick a suction cup phone mount to.

Hey, I'm already committed to the tech package for all the other stuff. Would be nice if the Maps with Nav pointed in the direction of travel, like all good nav systems do.

Jbunn - You cracked me up! I nearly dropped my tablet. Great idea, hmmm :-)

@David M., it does point in the direction your Model S is pointed in on the Dash LCD, still points North on the 17" screen. I like the option myself as you get two different views while driving, the 17" can be for your Navigator to look at and yell at you when you miss your turn.

I agree with BYT. Some of us older fellows who used to use paper maps in the Dark Ages like having North up for navigation. I think the combination of driving direction on the dash display and North up on the LCD is perfect. Just my opinion.

Tesla gives you 7 years of free nav map updates in the Tech package.
I updated my Lexus map only once in the 11 years I owned it!

I've had my Garmin for a bit over 3 years and paid $200 in map updates ($99 each update). The reason, the economy has been hard on businesses and since the property bubble burst, POI's have changed 3 or 4 times in that amount of time. I go to lookup a place to eat and it's a place of worship, or type in an old favorite Japanese restaurant and it's now an Indian Buffet. It drove me nuts not being able to depend on it and I definitely can't depend on my flawed map on my iOS 6 based device. Tom Tom on it isn't bad however on the iOS. I will most certainly take advantage of the 7 years of updates on my Model S.

For fun, I'll get an iPhone 5 mount or plaster my current Garmin GPS to the 17" screen for laughs. Will end up with a "FAIL" flag caption under it over time I am sure.

BYT - Thanks for the info. Not as bad as I feared afterall. Although I'm not sure I will ever get used to looking at the big map and seeing my car traveling down, or left, or whatever. If someone just wants to navigate with instructions from point A to B, does the compass heading (north) really matter? Years ago, I remember seeing folks who would stick a compass to their windshield. I don't get it. Seems like that's something you would do before GPS was invented.

From those who use maps for living (pilots), we always hold the paper maps in the direction we are traveling. Nowadays, with the GPS, the same principles apply. So for Tesla to have a fixed North is very counter-intuitive for us. The display top should really points towards way of travel.

My 2 cents...

@DavidM - I agree completely - I get better navigation in my phone, and with Google Now and my calendar/etc, it is much more convenient than any car-based system and is always up to date. I will probably use the in-car navigation just because it is there, but I really wish Tesla had made a deal with Google to run their native maps app (either port it to Tesla's Linux implementation in the console, or run it in an Android emulator like you do for desktop development).

Just like why Apple's maps suck compared to Google -- companies that start with TIGER/DEM data and clean it up are never going to have good navigation compared to Google sending StreetView cars driving millions of miles to get the actual path/connectivity of roads - they even pick up street signs. See http://m.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/09/how-google-builds-it... for details of how they do it.

Homelink is actually the most important thing to me from the tech package, but I also want the backup camera, keyless entry, and fog lights. I wouldn't pay extra for the rest.

The benefit of navigon is that it should work even without 3G coverage. I'm sure google maps update is coming to point the map towards the direction of the car. I too use my android maps sometimes because I'm lazy when it comes to using my infiniti car nav, but it isn't safe to keep looking at my phone.

@Michael23 - Google Maps on the phone will cache the map tiles and the route, and can even handle re-routing with no connectivity (though it doesn't always get the optimum route in such cases, it just gets back to the pre-computed route). I have even used Google Maps on a tablet with no cellular connectivity, by telling it to download the map tiles for the route while on Wifi.

I'm not sure looking at your phone on a dash mount is any different than looking at the center console.

@jat

I'm not sure looking at your phone on a dash mount is any different than looking at the center console.

If you don't have the tech package nav, as I understand it the only thing you'd get on the console would be Google Maps the way you'd see it on your home PC. So no real-time updating of your position, just a static map with a blue line showing the route and a text list of turn-by-turn directions.

On the phone you get a true GPS app, complete with naggy electronic voice telling you where to turn next, rerouting in real time if you miss a turn, etc.

That's a good point. I guess I was thinking about google maps in the car without tech package wouldn't cache or have your position but your phone could, it just feels like a waste to use my phone mounted and look at this kittoe screen when I have this huge screen and also one behind the steering wheel. It's cleaner to integrate your car audio with bt and nav then to have your phone nav competing with bt and car stereo.

in my 2001 Lexus which I no longer have, the nav map could be set to have North up or point to the direction of travel, and I always liked it to point north! So it should be an option if ever that becomes available, not to force it on people who like North up always.

I think we should wrap up this thread with the conclusion:

with the Tech Package you get Navigation,

without the Tech Package you get Routing.

m67tesla and others can decide what works for them. Lots of good information was disseminated.

I'm a bit of a late-comer to the party here. So, let me get this straight, the Tech Package Nav system ALWAYS has North at the top? There's no option to change it?

North is always up on the big screen. The map in the dash screen turns with the car.

@Getting Amped Soon nailed it. If this is your first "luxury" car (and I put luxury in quotes since my goal was not to buy a luxury car, it was to buy a kick-ass electric car), you've likely not even heard of many of the Tech Package features. I had to get a friend to explain them to me. My current car is a bare-bones '95 Integra, so the S will be quite an upgrade regardless of options.

My reasoning on each part of the Tech Package:

  • Xenon: My wife and I call them *&^$# headlights, since they tend to blind oncoming drivers. No thanks.
  • Mirrors/Foglights/Convenience lights: No need
  • Power liftgate: I'm not dead yet
  • Keyless entry, Homelink: Would be kind of cool
  • Hi-def backup: Unlikely to depend on backup camera that heavily
  • Enhanced nav: Will be a commute car, little need for fancy nav

I've ordered a green/tan 40kwh with the panoramic roof.

@conrad_damon, I agree with your take on the xenon headlights. It is blinding to not only the oncoming drivers but also those who are in front of you when their sideview mirrors reflect this light directly into their eyes.

~ Prash.

Usually that blinding is caused by poorly aligned lights (low beams point too high). Xenon lights can be good while not blinding to everyone else if they are done properly. Unfortunately there are way too many cars out there with low beams pointing way too high.

That's an alignment issue. Think twice before saying no thanks to safer vision at night. Google image search the difference and it is HUGE!

Hd backup cam is pretty useful for driving and reversing. No one has seen the sd one yet so who knows how it is.

@michael23 - do you get a backup camera at all without the tech package? I interpreted the wording to mean that you got a backup camera which happened to be HD, not that it upgraded an existing backup camera to HD.

@conrad_demon - I found the rear visibility to be poor when test driving, so I expect to use the rear camera often.

@jat

From the specs/standard features page:

"Standard definition backup camera"

http://www.teslamotors.com/models/specs

We drove our Model S around this past weekend and I used the Nav system quite a bit to test it out. Visually it's a thing of beauty and how Tesla has implemented it into the instrument display is great. There are improvements to be had in it for sure, but for a version 1.0 product, it is pretty amazing. I won't get into the cost debate, but I do think if you have the financial ability to get it, I would recommend getting it, because it is so well integrated with the car.

But if you do want to hack together a solution, the iPhone 5 in the vertical position fits almost perfectly in the space where the instrument display is. I tested it out and it does make a good navigation substitute if you don't have the tech package. The iPhone display is very readable from the drivers position when placed in that position on the instrument screen. You do lose the ability to toggle through the different display options on the left side of the instrument screen and see the information displayed there, but if you want to save money, I think it would be a good workaround. Positioning it in the instrument display area gets around needing a car mount on the dash, air vent or windshield and keeps the lines of the interior of the car clean.

You would probably need to hack together a system of sticky tape or some kind of securing system so the phone doesn't slide around if you take a corner hard or accelerate quickly.

Also when you have your iPhone paired with the car through bluetooth, the iPhone nav directions come out of the car audio system, just like the built in nav.

I don't have an Android phone to test out in the space, so I don't know how the fit would be for the various flavors of Android phones out there.

Aren't xenon lights mandated to have auto leveling in the US ? I am more blinded by halogen lights here in Norway, since they are frequently pointed too high. This does not happen with xenons as they are always correctly leveled even if you put 10 bags of cement in the trunk.

The good news about being relatively far down the list (#6491, ordered 10/30) is that I'll have at least several months to mull over options. Part of that will be getting whatever demos I can at my local store.


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