Here are some of the mostly undocumented technical aspects to the Model S/X/3/Y that may appeal to the engineer in us! Since little of this is from Tesla, 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 makes many ongoing improvements that can change vendors or specifications between older and newer cars, but we’ll try and keep this accurate. (Jun-2022 update)
Active Aerodynamics – Left and right front flaps boost aerodynamic efficiency and range by only providing additional airflow when needed through the radiators. Original parts for the first Model S and X were made by Rochling. These flaps are only open about 10% of the driving time according to Rochling. (from the article in Auto Industries magazine Q1-2014, page 82). The Model 3/Y also includes its own shutter system as does the 2021+ Model S/X LR and Plaid, different from the original S/X.
Aluminum – The Model S skin and structure is 98% aluminum. The aluminum body only weighs 410 lbs (Dream Cars video Dec-2014). The Model X is similar. The Model 3/Y uses aluminum in the doors, hood, and trunk. The Model 3/Y fenders are steel, as is much of the structure.
Antennas (14 + 7 fob) S/X
- AM Radio – Rear hatch glass (discontinued around 2017)
- Bluetooth – Near the top of the 17″ display (based on our signal strength measurements) in MCU1; With MCU2 (March 2018 and later cars), antennas in each side mirror housing.
- 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/DAB Radio – Rear hatch glass
- FOB – See below at Key Fob (7 antennas)
- GPS – Under the top of back hatch glass, left-side
- Homelink – Front of car, 3-5″ from the frunk latch, passenger side
- TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitor Service) – near the bottom front of AC propulsion motor in 2012-2014 cars using 355 MHz. Late 2014 cars switched to 433 MHz and have displayable tire pressures.
- WiFi -Passenger side mirror (Nearfield Systems)
- XM Satellite – Under back hatch glass, top right-side in cars built before December 23, 2014, under the pano roof center-rear in later editions
AutoPilot HW1.0 – The system is based in part on the Mobileye EyeQ3 hardware/software, a front-facing camera, radar, and 12 ultrasonic sensors. (Computer Vision Video by Mobileye). Auto-pilot hardware was made available in all Tesla cars produced from September 2014 to mid-October 2016.
AutoPilot HW2.x – The hardware includes Nvidia’s DRIVE PX 2 AI computing platform, estimated to be 40 times more powerful than AP1. In addition, the system includes 8 cameras, 12 longer range ultrasonic sensors (about 30 feet range), and front radar. The hardware is included in all Tesla vehicles produced after October 19, 2016 until 2019 or so. Two levels of optional software are offered – Enhanced AutoPilot, as a set of features that includes AP1 and more. A second Full Self-Driving (FSD) option is expected to provide Level 4 or 5 autonomous driving, once it completed and is approved by regulators (perhaps in 2022). FSD requires a new processor called HW3.0.
The Tesla AP2 processor board includes an Nvidia PG418 MXM module. This board contains a GP106 GPU and 4 GB of GDDR5 memory. The GPU has 1280 CUDA cores and in this configuration uses 128-bit wide memory. Interestingly, the PG418 board has pads for an additional 4 GB of memory for use with a 256-bit wide version of the GPU.
The mainboard includes many additional parts, including an Infineon TriCore 32-bit microprocessor; a Blox NEO-M8L GPS/GLONASS/Galileo/Beidou module with sensors, and dead-reckoning abilities; and an Nvidia TA795 Tegra SoC with Dual-Core CPU, Quad-Core Arm Cortex-A57, and integrated Pascal architecture.
On the Model S and X, the unit is air-cooled with fans. In the Model 3, it is liquid-cooled using the car’s cooling system.
AutoPilot HW3.x – Tesla announced in late 2018 that the HW3 AP processor module is required for FSD. This module includes a Tesla-created processor that offers far greater performance than the HW2 platform. Most S/X/3/Y vehicles made after March-2019 include the new processor. Those owners that have HW2 and paid for FSD are being upgraded for free.
HW3.x uses two Tesla-designed processors, which improves the performance over HW2 by about 2.5 times. The new processors each have twelve ARM Cortex-A72 64-bit cores, running at 2.2 GHz. Each chip also contains 2 Neural Network Accelerators with 32 MB SRAM for each accelerator and an ARM Mali GPU.
The chip input can process up to 2.5 billion pixels per second, or the equivalent of 750 720p images at 36 frames per second. The image processor can handle 1 billion pixels per second.
AutoPilot Software (in 2020)
AP – This is a new variant introduced 28-Feb-19 that includes Traffic-Aware Cruise Control (TACC), Autosteer, and Auto lane change with a confirmation.
EAP – Now, discontinued, it offered on HW2.x vehicles, AP features above, Navigate on Autopilot on the highway, Autopark, and Summon. It also includes Smart Summon.
FSD (Full Self Driving) – For HW3.x vehicles, it adds to AP and EAP features: Navigate on Autopilot in the city, traffic light and stop sign detection, auto-lane change without confirmation. Additional features are not released yet. Customers with a prior FSD purchase will get the HW3.x upgrade for no cost. Customers who ordered EAP prior to 28-Feb-19, but where the vehicle had not been delivered at that date, will get FSD instead of EAP at no additional cost. Prior EAP owners can purchase FSD at a discount, which includes the HW3.0 upgrade.
AutoPilot 2.0 Cameras
Common color cameras use four filters – RGGB (red, green, green, blue) over cells to create a single color pixel (two green are used to increase the resolution/luminance. Most Tesla cameras use clear on 3 cells for monochrome and a red filter on the fourth cell (RCCC). This increases the monochrome light sensitivity, as color is not important, except for the ability to detect red traffic lights and taillights.
All but the rear camera is the same Aptina AR0132 camera (Aptina is now On Semiconductor). It is a 1/3 inch CMOS 1.2M device, capable of 720p at 60 fps. Tesla appears to be using a visual field of 1280 x 960 at 36 fps. An additional 4 vertical rows of camera (not visual) data make each frame 1280 x 964.
The rear camera uses the OmniVision OV10635 720p CMOS sensor Tesla is using 1160 x 720 at 30 fps. SMK from Japan appears to be the company assembling the module. With the introduction of AP2, the rear camera module changed and has a built-in heating element. The module is connected via four wires – power and LVDS data lines.
For those owners that purchased FSD, Tesla is providing a free upgrade to newer cameras for cars manufactured from 1-Oct-2016 through 1-Aug-2017. Upgrades started to occur in late 2021 and are ordered by VIN number.
AutoPilot 2.5+ Cameras
The cameras used by the DashCam feature and Sentry mode are in full color. This includes the narrow front camera and the left and right side pilar cameras.
Camera Locations (2.0 and later)
- Front narrow (1.5″ from center); max distance 820 ft., 35-degree field of view
- Front main (1.5″ from center); max distance 260 ft, 50-degree field of view
- Front fisheye (center); max distance 195 ft., 150-degree field of view
- Left Pilar, 195 ft., 80-degree field of view
- Right Pilar, 195 ft., 80-degree field of view
- Left Repeater, 325 ft., 60-degree field of view
- Right Repeater, 325 ft., 60-degree field of view
- Rear max distance 160 ft., 140-degree field of view
- Cabin (model 3 only) wide angle
Left and right repeaters are the rearward-facing cameras in the side “T” markers
Thanks go to verygreen, lunitks and others for some of this information.
Batteries – High voltage pack, for Cybertruck, Semi, Roadster 2, etc. (for 2023) and select Model Y in mid-2022
- Tesla has created a new larger 4680 form factor cell
- Tesla will do the cell and pack manufacturing
- The new cell offers six times the power of Tesla’s previous cells and five times the energy capacity
- The design should allow for faster charging and discharging, and lower internal heat
- New methods require significantly less manufacturing space
- Pack becomes a stressed member in some vehicles for improved rigidity
Batteries – High voltage pack, for Model S and Model X
- LR/Plaid (mid-2021+) uses a 100 kWh 450 V pack, with 7920 total cells in 5 modules (from Munro associates teardown).
- Long Range/100 – uses a 103 kWh 400V pack, with 8256 total cells in 16 modules, each with 6 groups of 86 cells = 516 total cells in each of 16 modules, producing 25v per module (from wk056’s rip down)
- 90 – 85.8 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. The 90 uses higher-capacity cells than the 85. The 90 pack weighs about 1330 lbs.
- 85 – 81.5 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. The 85 pack weighs about 1330 lbs.
- 75/70/60 – 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 uses higher-capacity cells and has 75 kWh capacity. 70 kW cars starting around May-2016 are using the 75 kWh pack, but are software limited to 70 kWh. These packs can be upgraded over-the-air to 75 kWh for a fee. Similarly, the 60 version 2 (June 2016 and after) use a 75 kWh pack and is software limited to 60 kWh and can be upgraded to 75 kWh for a fee.
- Classic 60 – 61 kWh (2015 and older) – 350V, 5040 cells in 14 modules, each with 6 groups of 60 cells = 360 cells, producing 25 volts; nominal voltage 302 VDC. The 60 pack weighs 1150 lbs.
- 40 – 61kWh – 350V, is a 61 kWh pack software limited to 40 kWh
- Each 16850 cell has about 12Wh of energy in earlier cars and has increased over the years
- Individual 16850 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 are used in the 90/75 pack current are about 3280 mA.
- Cells for the S/X 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 – High voltage pack, for Model 3 and Model Y
- LR – 74 kWh – 4416 total 2170 type cells in 4 modules; 2 modules with 23 groups of 46 cells each, and 2 modules with 25 groups of 46 cells each (from electreck). Based on the Tesla EPA report, the long-range battery pack is a nominal 350 volts. The max is 400 volts, and a minimum of about 242 volts with a peak discharge rate of up to 1200 amps. The pack weight is 1054 lbs.
- MR – 62 kWh (discontinued)
- SR+ – 50 kWh – 2976 total 2170 type cells in 4 modules; 2 modules with 23 groups of 31 cells each, and 2 modules with 25 groups of 31 cells each (from electreck). In 2020 China manufactured SR+ changed to use a Lithium-Iron battery. It offers slightly reduced cost, and is not as energy-dense, but also allows for regular 100% SOC charging, which should be avoided with Lithium-Ion batteries.
- SR – Same 50 kWh battery as the SR+, but software limited to have 220 miles of range.
- Battery active conditioning – Cooling when at 48°C or above, and heating when -7.5°C or below (from Ingineerix).
Batteries – Other, Model S and X
- Mid-2021 and later – 15.5 V, 6.9 Ah Tesla designed battery. This replaces the 12v AGM battery used on earlier cars.
- Prior to mid-2021 – 12 V, 33 Ah sealed absorbed glass mat deep cycle lead-acid. It is used for almost everything other than propulsion and HVAC. Tesla used the C&D Technologies DCS-33IT battery for years. Currently, the DCS33-UNCR battery is specified for pre refresh in models. The refresh S now uses the Hankook 30 Ah AtlasBX U1LS battery. The 12v battery condition is monitored with a Hella Intelligent Battery Sensor. See more at our 12 Volt Battery Compendium.
- Model S – 3V coin cell for FOB – CR2032 up to 2018, then changed to CR2330
- Model X – 3V coin cell for FOB – CR2354
Batteries – Other, Model 3/Y
- A 16v Lithium-Ion module for vehicles that started manufacturing in Spring 2022. Prior vehicles used a 12 V, 45 Ah, Atlasbx, 85B24LS – An advanced lead-acid battery. See more at our 12 Volt Battery Compendium.
- 3V coin cell for optional FOB – CR2032
Bluetooth – MCU1 – 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. We believe MCU2 uses Bluetooth 4.0, but have not yet been able to confirm it. MCU3 (S/X) is likely using Bluetooth 4.2 or 5.0.
Browser User Agent Strings
Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; x86_64 GNU/Linux) AppleWebKit/601.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Tesla QtCarBrowser Safari/601.1 [MCU2]
Mozilla/5.0 (X11; GNU/Linux) AppleWebKit/601.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Tesla QtCarBrowser Safari/601.1 [MCU1, New browser around May-2018]
Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux) AppleWebKit /534.34 (KHTML, like Gheko) QtCarBrowser Safari /534.34 [MCU1, negligible changes from v5.0 through v8.1 until around Apr-2018]
Bus Systems – CAN (Controller Area Network), LIN (Local Interconnect Network), and 100 Mbps Ethernet via a 6 port switch (Model S/X manufactured prior to 2021)
CAN 2, 3, 4, and 6 are accessible from the diagnostics connector. The OBD2 port has access to CAN 1 and 6. Ethernet is accessible from the ethernet diagnostics port, but only by service. With current software, it is normally disabled.
- CAN1 – MCU/ODB-II
- A single connection between ODB-II and MCU.
- Presumed not implemented in software
- In our tests, we were unable to see any data at 250 and 500 kbps, similar to other owner reports
- 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
- Drive Inverter -Rear
- Drive Inverter – Front (AWD only)
- 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)
- Camera, forward (AP1, if equipped)
- Electronic Parking Brake Controller
- Instrument Cluster
- LIN bus
- Power Steering Controller
- Radar (if equipped)
- Stability Control and Braking Controller
- Tire Pressure Monitoring System
- CAN Stability Control
- CAN FastCharge – Supercharger/CHAdeMo to Internal Charger, 33.3 kbps
- LIN – For simple low-speed devices, 20 kbps
- LIN1 – Steering wheel controls
- LIN2 – Homelink, 12v Batter, and monitor
- LIN3 – Seat Heaters and Rearview Mirror
- LIN4 – Future
- LIN5 – Body Control Module – Rain/ light sensor
- 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 AT&T’s cellular network.
- Every Model S supports 3G. The hardware does not support LTE prior to May 2015, but Tesla offers a low cost upgrade.
- The cellular hardware used in the Model S/X is the Sierra Wireless AR8550 (3G), until May 2015; then switched to the Cinterion ALS-5 US (LTE) until MCU2 in March 2018, where it switched to the Telit LE940B6-NA (LTE); and in mid-2021 with MCU-Z switched to the Quectel AG525R-GL.
- The cellular hardware for the 3/Y uses the Telit LE940B6-NA (LTE) and in some areas in late 2021, the 3/Y gets the MCU-Z which includes the Quectel AG525R-GL.
Display – Instrument Cluster (IC) S/X
- 12.3″ LCD, Current: 1920 x 720; Earlier vehicles: 1280 x 480 resolution
- Before 1-March-2018: Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core CPU (Mercury News, 15-May-2013′ MCU1), Reset by pressing top left and top right buttons at the same time on the steering wheel (safe to do anytime)
- After 1-March-2018: display is run from MCU2/MCU3 (no unique reset)
- Software – Linux, QT and custom Tesla code (PC Word interview)
Display – Main Computer Unit (MCU1) S/X
- 17″ LCD, 1200 x 1920 resolution, portriat orientation
- Nvidia’s Visual Computing Module VCM
- Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core +1 power-saving core
- 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
- Run our MCU1/MCU2 Tester – Run within your Tesla browser by typing: teslatap.com/mcu
Display – Main Computer Unit (MCU3) S/X, Cars made 2021+ and Model 3/Y Spring-2022+.
- Display and the MCU are now separate modules
- 17″ LCD, 2200×1300 resolution, landscape orientation
- GPU – AMD’s Navi 23, runs all three displays
Display – Main Computer Unit (MCU) Model 3/Y made prior to Spring 2022
Key FOB – Model S
- 1 ring antenna behind the back bumper, bottom-center (visible with the bumper removed)
- 1 ring antenna behind the front bumper, bottom-center, slightly to driver’s side
- 1 ring antenna near the top center of the rear seat
- 2 bar antennas inside at dash, at the left and right side panels
- 1 dead-fob ring antenna below right side parking light (early production cars) or below the dash near the bottom of the windshield centered on the passenger seat (new cars)
- 1 bar antenna inside the center pedestal
- Fob antennas each have a range of about 3 feet.
- 315 MHz for North America, 433.93 MHz for Europe and Asia (industry FOB standards)
- FOB uses TI TMS37F128 Controller
- If the battery is dead, it can be powered via RF energy from antennas – best placement is in the cup holders, or on the center windshield if outside).
- New FOB design with improved cryptography with new cars starting in June 2018.
Key FOB – Model X
- 2.4 GHz Bluetooth LTE in the USA. Other countries add 315 MHz (Canada) or 433.94 MHz (Europe/Asia) to meet local transmission regulations
- Antenna placement within vehicle not yet known, but likely similar to Model S above
- FCC documents and photos
Memory – Vehicles have various types of memory in different modules. The MCU1 (17″ Media Control Unit) includes:
- 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)
- 2 GB DDR3 SDRAM (on the Nvidia VCM board)
- 8 GB eMMC NAND Flash (on the Nvidia VCM board). Replacement units after May 2020 include 64 GB of eMMC NAND
Motor – Propulsion (non-AWD) S/X
- Three-phase, four-pole, AC Induction, 320 Volts
- 18,700 RPM at 155 MPH
- Classic S60 – 302 hp (In Oct-2014 website changed to 380 hp, but we believe it may be a website error; discontinued)
- S60 version 2 – 382 motor power, 315 hp battery limited (new, June 2016; discontinued in April 2017)
- S70 – 382 motor power, 315 hp battery limited (discontinued in June 2016)
- S75 – unstated, assumed similar to S70/S60 v2 (discontinued Jan 2019)
- 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)
- A reduction gear ratio of 9.73 to 1
- Liquid-cooled, with temperature, monitored stator
- Motor weight about 150 lbs.
- The motor assembly (with reduction gear and inverter) weighs 300+ lbs.
Motors – Propulsion (AWD) S/X
- Three-phase, four-pole, AC Induction older S/X, now uses AC Permanent Magnet motors
- Small motor 18,200 RPM (pre-Raven)
- Larger motor 18,700 RPM (available on the rear of Performance versions only)
- S60D – 259 hp motor power front and rear, 328 hp total battery limited (now discontinued)
- S70D – 259 hp motor power front and rear, 328 hp total battery limited (discontinued in June 2016)
- S75D/X75D – unstated, assumed similar to S70D/S60D (discontinued Jan 2019)
- S85D – 417 hp (S85D discontinued)
- P85D – 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)
- 90D/X90D – 259 hp motor power front and rear, 417 hp total battery limited* (discontinued)
- 100D/X100D – Unknown, but more than 90D/X90D.
- P90D/PX90D – 259 hp motor power front, 503 hp motor power rear, 463 hp total battery limited* (discontinued)
- P90DL/PX90DL – 259 hp motor power front, 503 hp motor power rear, 532 hp total battery limited* (discontinued)
- P100DL/PX100DL – Unknown, but more than P90DL/PX90DL.
- Plaid – Trimotor design, with one in front and two motors in the rear, for a total of 1020 hp
- Reduction gear ratio- Large motor 9.73 to 1, Small motor 9.34:1
- Liquid-cooled, with temperature monitored stator
Battery limited values are maximum motor shaft power.
Motor – Front Propulsion (AWD) Model 3/Y and Raven S/X in 2019-2020
- Three-phase, four-pole, AC Induction
- Variable frequency drive
Motor – Rear Propulsion (AWD and RWD) Model 3/Y
- Switched-Reluctance partial permanent magnet motor
- Variable frequency drive
- 17900 RPM maximum
- Small motor 18,200 RPM
- Nominal voltage: 370 V
- Maximum current: 800 amps
- Maximum motor power: 165 kW
- Maximum wheel torque: 165 kW
- Oil filter and electric brushless hydraulic oil pump
- About 200 lbs including inverter
Motor Inverter – This converts the DC battery voltage to AC, powering the motor. It is mounted to the side of the motor.
On the S/X, 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 192 kHz) files. Version 7 and older had undocumented support for WMA and lossless WMA via USB, but a bug causes dropouts in WMA files. WMA has since been dropped in Version 8. 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 – Originally it was a Tesla designed combination of Google on the main display and Navigon (a Garmin company) for the Instrument display and guidance. In about 2018, Tesla dropped Navigon and switched to using OpenStreetMap via MapBox.
OEM Suppliers – There are hundreds of OEM suppliers providing over 2,000 parts for Tesla (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).
CSIMarket provides an up-to-date list of likely suppliers.
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).
Vehicles- before version 8.1 (17.24.30) used the Linux kernel 2.6.36 for the center display. With the Tesla version 17.24.30, the kernel was updated to Linux 4.4.35. (Electrek). Functionally, there doesn’t appear to be any difference and no new features were added related to the OS upgrade.
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 the label when you open the driver’s 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. Check our in-depth article on Paint and coatings.
Power Connector – Below the center arm-rest, 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 for cars with AGM battery and about 16 volts for the S/X with the Lithium-Ion “12v” battery (from our measurements and analysis). The Model X and Model Y includes a second 12v power connector in the trunk area.
Power Consumption – Using the Mobile Connector, after the car is fully charged the vampire AC power load is less than 2 watts! (from our measurements)
Radar Transponder – Tesla uses a 77 GHz radar transceiver (from an article by Ron Freund in Jan-2015 Current EVents). The first radars likely used the NXP’s MR2001 chipset or similar and the chip consumes a negligible 2.5W when operating. The Radar system is present in all cars built after late September 2014 and until Fall-2017 were sourced from Bosch.
Vehicles with AP2.5/3.0 hardware, including all Model 3 and Model Y cars, now use a radar assembly from Continental, the ARS410 CV, similar to the ARS404-21 or ARS408-21. It consumes under 7W typical, with a peak of 12W.
In mid-2021 Tesla discontinued the radar in the 3/Y as unnecessary, as the visual processing system works better without using radar, due to the frequent false radar information.
Rear Camera – 720P HD 30 fps (from the 2012 OmniVision Press Release, no longer linkable)
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 and X:
- 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 560 W; For Model S and X (through 2020)
- Front door woofers (2) – 200 mm, 80 W each, 1 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)
Speakers – 2021 LR/Plaid – a total of 960 W; For Model S and X:
- 22 Speakers
- Diagnostic Access – On Controls -> Software, press the model name text (like Model S) for 5 seconds and release. A dialog appears that requires a password. The password is created daily inside the car and sent to Tesla’s servers. There may be some non-password options that work like DYNOTEST. Note that DYNOTEST makes your car undrivable, so don’t use it other than for dynamometer testing.
- Ethernet connector – For the S/X via custom 4-pin connector behind driver side dash panel (only enabled via Tesla service through WiFi or 3G/LTE). A fleetwide software update in August 2015 added additional security to prevent non-Tesla access through this connection. With the Model S refresh, the connector was moved to behind the cubby. The newer model Y has Ethernet access via an RJ45 connector under the dash near the driver’s door.
- Bug reports – If you have what appears to be a software bug, press the Voice button and say “Bug Report” along with a short description of the issue. Both screens will automatically be captured with the log, along with the message.
- Honk to manually save 10 minutes of video when the dashcam feature is available and active.
Suspension – While components such as the Bilstein monotube shocks and Brembo brakes are well known in the early Model S, check out this excellent analysis by Edmunds of the entire suspension system with extensive photos and explanations. Many improvements have been made over the years. The current S/X now has an adaptive suspension system.
USB Connections – Depending on the car and year, there are from 2 to 6 USB ports available. Newer cars include a USB port in the glove box, which can be used for the storage of dashcam video or music. The S/X and earlier 3/Y allow the two ports in the center console to handle dashcam video or music as well. All other USB ports are only for charging. Some center console USB ports do not support dashcam video/music, likely due to the supply shortages (as of June-2022).
Check out our Accessory Power Guide for our detailed tests of USB ports for voltages and currents in the S/X/3/Y.
Devices that can be connected in the glove box and most front ports 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.
All model Y include USB-C connectors, and Model 3 vehicles made around Jun-2020 switched to USB-C style connectors as did the mid-2021 S/X.
To access music via USB, the drive must be formatted for exFAT, FAT32 or Linux Ext4 format. NTFS is not supported. See more on how to select and use a 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.
WiFi – b/g/i/j/n 2.4 GHz hardware support, but we believe b/g is currently enabled in software; Uses the Parrot FC6050 W chip. Use WPA or WPA2 for the best security. Low-security WEP was supported in early software versions, but now smartly, it is no longer supported. With the Model 3/Y and S/X MCU2 in March-2018, 5 GHz is supported.