Here are some of the mostly undocumented technical aspects to the Model S and X that may appeal to the engineer in us! Since little of this is from Tesla Motors, assume some data may be inaccurate. If you know more, we’d love to add to this list – just comment below and if possible, add a source. Tesla also makes ongoing improvements that may change vendors or specifications between older and newer cars.
Acronyms – Use our Acronyms and Abbreviations to help in decoding terminology !
Active Aerodynamics – Left and right front flaps boost aerodynamic efficiency and range by only providing additional airflow when needed through the radiators. Parts are made by Rochling. These flaps are only open about 10% of the driving time according to Rochling. (from article in Auto Industries magazine Q1-2014, page 82)
Aluminum – The Model S skin and structure is 98% aluminum. The aluminum body only weighs 410 lbs (Dream Cars video Dec-2014)
- AM Radio – Rear hatch glass
- Bluetooth – Near top of 17″ display (based on our signal strength measurements)
- Cellular – 800 MHz GSM (USA) antenna resides in both side mirrors (Nearfield Systems)
- Charge port release – Uses FOB antennas (see below at Key Fob)
- FM Radio – Rear hatch glass
- FOB – See below at Key Fob (at least 5 antennas)
- GPS – Under top of back hatch glass
- Homelink – Front of car, 3-5″ from the frunk latch, passenger side
- TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitor Service) – near bottom front of AC propulsion motor in 2012-2014 cars. May have changed for cars with displayable tire pressures.
- WiFi -Passenger side mirror (Nearfield Systems)
- XM Satellite – Under top of back hatch glass in early cars, under the pano roof in later editions
Auto Pilot – The system is based in part with the Mobileye EyeQ3 hardware/software, a front facing camera, radar and 12 long-range ultrasonic sensors. (Computer Vision Video by Mobileye). Auto-pilot hardware was made available in all Tesla cars produced in September 2014 and later.
Batteries – Primary
- 85/90 kWh – 400V, 7104 total cells in 16 modules, each with 6 groups of 74 cells = 444 cells, producing 25 volts (our analysis from battery photos); nominal voltage 346 VDC. 90 kW uses higher-capacity cells.
- 70/75 kWh – 350V 5880 total cells in 14 modules, each with 70 cells = 420 cells, producing 25 volts (our analysis and conjecture); nominal voltage 302 VDC. 75 kW version uses higher-capacity cells. 70 kW cars starting around May-2016 are using the 75 kW pack, but are software limited to 70 kW. These packs can be upgraded over-the-air to 75 kW for a fee.
- 60 kWh – 350V, 5040 cells in 14 modules, each with 6 groups of 60 cells = 360 cells, producing 25 volts (our conjecture); nominal voltage 302 VDC
- 40 kWh – 350V, is a 60 kWh pack software limited to 40 kWh
- Each cell has about 12Wh of energy
- Individual cells are 4.167 volts at 100% SOC or nominal 3.6 V (based on our reverse calculations of pack cells and capacity)* The classic cell current is 3100 mA, and newer cells used in the 90/75 pack current are about 3280 mA.
- Cells are in a 18650 form-factor casing sourced primarily from Panasonic (the exact battery is only sold to Tesla and is not otherwise available) .
Batteries – Other
- 12 V, 33 Ah absorbed glass mat deep cycle lead-acid (sealed gel cell) for most everything other than propulsion and HVAC. One vendor Tesla uses is C&D Technologies DCS-33IT battery. The battery condition is monitored with a Hella Intelligent Battery Sensor.
- 3V coin cell for FOB – CR2032
Bluetooth – 3.0 + HS; Audio streaming with A2DP sink, A2DP source, AVRCP 1.4; Audio Profile A2DP includes support for standard SBC codec (highly compressed low-bit rate audio); Uses the Parrot FC6050 W chip.
Browser User Agent String – Mozilla/5.0 (X11; u; Linux; C) AppleWebKit /534.34 (Khtml, like Gheko) QtCarBrowser Safari /534.34 (verified/unchanged in v5.0 through v7.1)
Bus Systems – CAN (Controller Area Network), LIN (Local Interconnect Network) and 100 Mbps Ethernet via a 6 port switch.
CAN2-6 are accessible from the diagnostics connector. The OBD2 port has access to one CAN bus . Ethernet is accessible from the ethernet diagnostics port, but only by service. With current software it is normally disabled.
- CAN1 – MCU – Only via the ODB2 port, limited data
- CAN2 – Body, 125 kbps
- AM/FM Radio Unit (with optional XM radio)
- Door controllers
- Lights (signals, dome, etc.)
- Mirror controllers
- Sunroof controller
- CAN3 – Powertrain, 500 kbps
- Charger 1 and 2 (if equipped)
- Charge port
- DC-DC converter for 12V charging
- HV Battery Management System
- Thermal controller
- CAN4 – Body Fault Tolerant, 125 kbps
- Climate Control Cabin Air Heater
- Climate Control module
- Memory Seat Controller
- CAN6 – Chassis, 500 kbps
- Air Suspension (if equipped)
- Blind Spot and Parking System (if equipped)
- Electronic Parking Brake Controller
- Instrument Cluster
- LIN bus
- Power Steering Controller
- Stability Control and Braking Controller
- Tire Pressure Monitoring System
- CAN/Pilot – Supercharger/CHAdeMo to Internal Charger, 33.3 kbps
- LIN – For simple low speed devices, 20 kbps
- Front cooling flap actuators
- Ethernet A – Instrument Cluster
- Ethernet B – Main Display/MCU
- Ethernet C – Diagnostic port
- Ethernet D – Gateway
Connectivity – GSM 3G/4G LTE with HSPA+ depending on vehicle production date.
In the USA, Tesla uses the AT&T’s cellular network.
Every Model S supports 3G and HSPA+, which AT&T considers 4G. A software update may be available in the future to add HSPA+ 4G support. The hardware does not support LTE in early cars. New LTE capable hardware/software has been included in all cars manufactured in late May 2015 and is now live in the USA.
Contactors – These connect the high voltage battery pack to the car. See our detailed contactors explanation and analysis.
Display – Instrument Cluster (IC)
- 12.3″ LCD, Current: 1920 x 720; Earlier vehicles: 1280 x 480 resolution
- Nvidia Tegra 2 dual core CPU (Mercury News, 15-May-2013)
- Reset by pressing top left and top right buttons at the same time on the steering wheel (safe to do anytime)
- Software – Linux, QT and custom Tesla code (PC Word interview)
Display – Main Computer Unit (MCU)
- 17″ LCD, 1080 x 1920 resolution
- Nvidia’s Visual Computing Module VCM (Nvidia)
- Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core +1 power-saving core (Nvidia blog)
- Cypress MultiTouch controller (press release)
- Reset by pressing center left and center right scroll buttons at the same time on the steering wheel (safe to do anytime)
- Software – Linux, QT and custom Tesla code (PC Word interview)
- Our analysis of 7.0 UI
GPS – U-Blox (from a Model S diagnostic screen, installed equipment)
- 1 exterior antenna behind back bumper, bottom-center (visible with bumper removed)
- 1 exterior antenna behind front bumper, bottom-center, slightly to driver’s side
- 2 antennas inside at dash, at the left and right side panels
- 1 antenna under dash very close to windshield slightly to the passenger side
- 1 antenna inside within the center pedestal, about 1″ below the USB ports
- 315 MHz for North America, 433.93 MHz for Europe and Asia (industry FOB standards) in the Model S; and 2.4 GHz.
- FOB uses TI TMS37F128 Controller
- If battery is dead, it may be powered via RF energy from antennas – best placement is in the cup holders, or on the center windshield if outside). We’ve been unable to confirm this works with a totally dead battery, and may be limited to working with a weak battery.
Lights – Our lighting count has 432 lights with 426 being LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes).
Memory – Vehicles have various types of memory in different modules. The MCU (17″ Media Control Unit) has the most memory devices and includes:
- 2 GB DDR3 SDRAM (on the Nvidia VCM board)
- 8 GB eMMC NAND Flash (on the Nvidia VCM board)
- 16 GB SD flash memory card, primarily for Garmin mapping data storage
- 4 GB SD flash memory card, for firmware, keys, etc. (unconfirmed)
- 2 MB flash memory (for 32-bit 116 MHz CPU, firmware)
Motors – Our motor and solenoid count comes up with over 60 when all options are included.
Motor – Propulsion (non-AWD)
- Three phase, four pole, AC Induction, 320 Volts
- 18,700 RPM at 155 MPH
- S60 – 302 hp (In Oct-2014 website changed to 380 hp, but we believe it may be a website error; now discontinued)
- S70 – 315 hp
- S85 – 373 hp (before April-2015, listed as 380 hp, then 362 hp to July-2015, now discontinued)
- P85/P85+ – Originally 416 hp, upgraded in 2015 via software to 470 hp (now discontinued)
- Reduction gear ratio 9.73 to 1
- Liquid cooled, with temperature monitored stator
- Motor weight about 150 lbs.
- Motor assembly (with reduction gear and inverter) weight 300+ lbs.
Motors – Propulsion (AWD)
- Three phase, four pole, AC Induction, 320 Volts
- Small motor 18,200 RPM
- Larger motor 18,700 RPM (available on rear of Performance versions only)
- S70D – 328 hp
- S85D/S90D – 417 hp (S85D discontinued)
- P85D/P90D/XP90D – 259 hp front, 503 hp rear motor power (until July-2015 – 221 hp front, 470 hp rear motor power and originally 691 hp total, but now total unstated, P85D discontinued)
- Reduction gear ratio- Large motor 9.73 to 1, Small motor 9.34:1
- Liquid cooled, with temperature monitored stator
Motor Inverter – This converts the DC battery voltage to AC, powering the motor. It delivers up to 1000 amps (from Tesla 2010 10K annual report). On the P85D/P90D it delivers 1300 amps. With the Ludicrous option, it is boosted to 1500 amps (from Tesla blog).
Music Formats – While only MP3, MP4 and AAC (without DRM) are documented, it also supports AIFF, OGG, WAV and FLAC (16 and 24 bits up to 176 kHz or more) files. It also supports WMA and lossless WMA via USB, but a bug causes dropouts in WMA files and is not recommended. AIFF format supports 16-bit, but not the less common 24-bit format. See ‘USB’ below for flash drive formats.
The best audio quality occurs when using a lossless format such as AIFF and FLAC via the USB connection. See more at USB Flash Drives for Music.
Navigation System – A Tesla combination of Google on the main display and Navigon (a Garmin company) for the Instrument display and guidance.
OEM Suppliers – There are over 300 OEM suppliers providing over 2,000 parts for the Model S (from 2013 Annual report). This Model S Suppliers Business Chart shows many of the major OEM parts supplied to Tesla in 2012.
While many of the suppliers are the same as the Model S, this 2016 Suppliers for the Model X chart shows the latest OEMs (although the image is the prototype X).
Operating System – Tesla created code running on Linux, written in C (PC World interview); Modified Ubuntu using the ext3 file system (dragtimes). Early in the development Tesla considered both Android and iOS, but the key people at Android recommended against it, and Apple was unwilling to even talk to Tesla (Elon, video @36:10).
Paint Color Codes – Tesla uses standard paint color codes. Some colors have multiple names or have changed names. You can also confirm the color on label when you open the driver door. Look for the white label is near the bottom door jam. The paint code appears on the bottom line of the label after PNT.
|Pearl White Metallic||PPSW|
|Obsidian Black Metallic||PMBL|
|Red Multi-coat Metallic||PMMR|
|Midnight Silver Metallic, previously called New Grey||PMNG|
|Silver Titanium Metallic, previously called Warm Silver||PPTI|
|Deep Blue Metallic, previously called Ocean Blue||PPSB|
|Brown Metallic (discontinued)||PMAB|
|Blue Metallic (discontinued)||PMMB|
|Green Metallic (discontinued)||PMSG|
|Silver Metallic (discontinued, then reinstated)||PMSS|
|Grey Metallic (discontinued), also called Dolphin Grey||PMTG|
|Red Signature (limited availability)||PPSR|
Patents – Tesla Motors has over 200 patents issued and more than 280 pending (from 2013 Annual report). Lots of interesting reading!
Power Connector – Below the center arm-rests, the 12 v “cigarette lighter” power connector is fused for 15 amps. It is a switched circuit and power is removed when the car turns off. When the car is on, and the car is charging the 12v battery from the main battery, this connector’s voltage measures at 14.4 volts (from our measurements and analysis).
Power Consumption – Using the included Model-S charger, after the car is fully charged the vampire AC power load is less than 10 mA, essentially zero! ((from our measurements)
Processors – Our CPU report has over 60 processors on a fully loaded car.
Radar Transponder – Uses a 77 GHz transceiver (from article by Ron Freund in Jan-2015 Current EVents). It is likely using NXP’s MR2001 chipset and consumes a negligible 2.5W when operating. The Radar system is present in all cars built after late-September 2014.
Rear Camera – 720P HD 30 fps (OmniVision Press Release pdf)
Sounds and Noises – Our analysis of Normal and abnormal sounds from your vehicle along with solutions.
Speakers – Standard Audio – a total of 200 W (details from a sinn press release, s1nn acquired by Harmon), and TeslaTap’s rip-down). For the Model S:
- Door mid-woofers (4) – 160 mm, 40 W each, 2 ohm
- Front pillar tweeters (2) – 30 mm (passive)
- Front middle dash mid-range – 80 mm, 40 W
Speakers – Ultimate Audio – a total of 480 W; For the model S:
- Front door woofers (2) – 200 mm, 80 W each, 2 ohm
- Rear door mid-woofers (2) – 160 mm, 40 W each, 2 ohm
- Front pillar Tweeters (2) – 30 mm, 20 W
- Dash mid-range (3) – 80 mm, 40 W
- Hatch mounted mid-range (2) – 80 mm, 40 W
- Passenger side, rear sub-woofer -200 mm, 80 W, 1 ohm (in a 25-liter bass box)
Special Access – For Tesla Personnel
- Diagnostic Access – Press Tesla logo at top of the main display for 2 seconds, then requires password. The password is changed frequently (daily?) and may be specific to each car.
- Screen Snapshot – Press lower-right steering button labeled “Back” for 2 seconds. Used to save both screens to a file. Only Tesla has access to the file.
- Ethernet connector – via custom 4-pin connector behind driver side dash panel (only enabled via Tesla service through WiFi or 3G). A fleetwide software update in August 2015 added additional security to prevent non-Tesla access through this connection.
- Bug reports – If you have what appears to be a software bug, press the Voice Button and speak “Bug Report” along with a short description of the issue. Both screens will automatically be captured along with the message and will be forwarded to Tesla.
Superchargers – In North America, each pair of stations is feed from one Supercharger package that uses 3-phase 480 V at 200 amps. Within the Supercharger package are twelve 10 kW inverters for a total of 120 kW. European Superchargers have 135 kW due to the higher input power available. Each of these inverters can be directed to one of the two stations, so that the power can be split between the two stations in increments of 10 kW (11.25 kW increments in Europe). There is no power in the charging cable until the car properly handshakes with the Supercharger, so it is safe to use in the rain. The charging for 90 and 85 kW 400v models is currently set to a maximum of 120 kW. Very early 85 kW cars (2012 and early 2013) are limited to 90 kW with the A version battery. All 60 and 70 kW 350v cars are limited to 105 kW due to the lower pack voltage.
Suspension – While components such as the Bilstein monotube shocks and Brembo brakes are well known, check out this excellent analysis by Edmunds of the entire suspension system with extensive photos and explanations.
USB Connections – 2 ports on the Model S and 5 on the Model X. These are all illuminated using USB 2.0 (compatible with USB 3.0 running as 2.0). Only the front two can be used for music. On the X, the rear 3 USB ports are charge only ports. All of the ports can source up to 500 mA for charging devices. Devices that can be connected include flash drives, hard disks (with USB connection), phones, mice and USB diskette drives and some music players. USB keyboards were disabled in software version 4.5 and later.
To access music via USB, the drive must be formatted for FAT32 or the Linux Ext4 format. It does not support NTFS or exFAT. Many newer flash drives greater than 32 GB are in exFAT which will not work. See more on how to select and use an USB Flash Drive for Music.
Some USB connected Android phones and tablets may provide drive-like memory access that the vehicles can see. This seems to be a bit hit and miss depending on the device’s design. Apple’s iPhone and iPod’s proprietary data format is not seen by the vehicle.
VIN Decoding – Try out our VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) decoder, supporting all Roadsters, Model S and Model X vehicles at Vin Decoder.
WiFi – b/g/i/j/n hardware support, but we believe only b/g are currently enabled in software; Uses the Parrot FC6050 W chip.