Here are some of the mostly undocumented technical aspects to the Model S 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.
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)
- AM Radio – in passenger side mirror
- Bluetooth – Maybe base of 17″ display?
- Charge port release – Uses FOB antennas (see below for FOB)
- Data/3G – in both side mirrors or maybe hatch
- FM Radio – in both side mirrors and rear hatch glass (likely a diversity design to pick the strongest signal between the three antennas)
- GPS – 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
- WiFi – Unknown (active with 5.0+ software)
- XM Satellite – top of back hatch glass
Batteries – Primary
- 85 kWh – 400V, 7000+ cells, Panasonic (and others?) Lithium-Ion 3.1 Ah similar to NCR-18650A
- 60 kWh – 350V, 4940+ cells, Panasonic (and others?) Lithium-Ion 3.1 Ah similar to NCR-18650A
- 40 kWh – 350V, 4940+ cells, Panasonic (and others?) Lithium-Ion 3.1 Ah similar to NCR-18650A, Software limited to 40 kWh
Batteries – Other
- 12 V, 33 Ah absorbed glass mat lead-acid (sealed gel cell) for most everything other than propulsion – DCS-33RIT
- 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
Bus Systems – CAN (Controller Area Network) and LIN (Local Interconnect Network) (assumed, based on 2012 Tesla engineering openings)
Connectivity – GSM 3G with HSPA+ using the AT&T’s network (and others) and using Sierra Wireless AR8550 (TMC Forum)
The Model-S hardware supports HSPA+, which AT&T considers 4G. A software update may be available in the Q2-2014 time frame to add 4G support. The hardware does not support LTE.
Display – Instrument
- 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 – Primary
- 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)
GPS – U-Blox (from a Model S diagnostic screen, installed equipment)
- 1 exterior antenna in back bumper, bottom-center (visible with bumper removed)
- 2 antennas inside at dash, at the left and right side panels
- 315 MHz for North America, 433.93 MHz for Europe and Asia (industry FOB standards)
- FOB uses TI TMS37F128 Controller
- If battery is dead, it may be powered via RF energy from antennas – best placement is between the two inside dash antennas (such as at the cup holders, or on the center windshield). We’ve been unable to confirm this works with a totally dead battery, and may be limited to working with a weak battery.
- FCC report and internal photos
Lights – Our lighting count has 432 lights with 426 being LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes).
Memory – 16 GB SD flash memory standard, 32 GB when equipped with Sound Studio/Ultra High Fidelity Sound
Motors – Our motor and solenoid count comes up with over 50 when all options are included.
Motor – Propulsion
- Three phase, four pole, AC Induction
- 16,000 RPM at 130 MPH (unconfirmed)
- 302 to 416 hp depending on model
- Reduction gear ration 9.73 to 1
- Motor weight about 150 lbs.
- Motor assembly (with reduction gear and inverter) weight 300+ lbs.
Motor Inverter – This converts the DC battery voltage to AC, powering the motor. It delivers up to 1000 amps (from 2010 10K annual report).
Music Formats – While only MP3, MP4 and AAC (without DRM) are documented, it also supports AIFF, WAV and FLAC files. It also supports WMA and lossless WMA via USB. AIFF format supports 16-bit, but not the less common 24-bit format.
The best audio quality occurs when using a lossless format such as AIFF, FLAC, or lossless WMA.
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 Suppliers Business Chart shows many of the major OEM parts supplied to Tesla in 2012.
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).
Patents – Tesla Motors has over 200 patents issued and more than 280 pending (from 2013 Annual report). Lots of interesting reading!
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!
Processors – Our CPU report has 52 processors on a fully loaded car.
Rear Camera – 720P HD 30 fps (OmniVision Press Release pdf)
Special Access – For Tesla Personnel
- Diagnostic Access – Press Tesla logo at top of the main display for 2 seconds, then requires password. (Tesla Club forum)
- 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
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 12 Model S 10 kW inverters for a total of 120 kW, and more for the newest 135 kW Superchargers. 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. There is no power in the charging cable until the car properly handshakes with the Supercharger. The charging is currently set to a maximum of 90-120 kW due to software in the car, the battery version and battery size.
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, illuminated, version 2.0 (compatible with USB 3.0 running as 2.0)
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.