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Wiper fluid and other minor questions

Wiper fluid and other minor questions

I drove a Nissan Leaf this week. Not a Tesla for sure, but a solid entry into electric vehicles. While I was inspecting what's under the hood, a couple of questions arose: where is the wiper fluid to squirt the windshield in the Model S (or is there any)? Can we buy stock replacement wiper blades at the local auto store? Is there a rear wiper? (These are important questions here in Seattle--we use the wiper blades a LOT). Rear/front window defrost? What about accessory power jacks to power a video game system, air pump, etc? Rear climate controls? Do we change the battery coolant or does Tesla do this? Why isn't there a remote unlock--seems like Tesla should be able to do this (and it would be a great iphone app feature)?

I'm sure you gurus out there have answers to these questions, and thanks in advance!

Volker.Berlin | August 30, 2012

- The wiper fluid refill is under the "frunk" hood, in a corner close to the wind screen. You can find photos showing the filler.

- There is no rear wiper. The assumption is that aerodynamics keep the rear window clear from rain. When I had an old Saab 900, it had a similarly shaped hatch and no rear wiper -- was great. It actually took some getting used to when I switched to a VW Passat wagon and the rear window was always dirty and sprayed with rain (or water from the rear wheels).

- The a/c is two-zone, left and right. There are air outlets for the rear passengers (at least under the center arm rest, possibly elsewhere), but no separate climate controls.

- Owners/users are not involved with battery maintenance other than charging it regularly. As far as I understand the issue, the coolant circuit is sealed and does not need changing the fluid under normal use.

- Remote unlock has been promised. It's one of a couple of missing software features and will be made available by an update of the car's software.

Those are the questions I can answer with reasonable certainty. I guess the other questions require answers from someone who owns a car or at least has spent some time exploring it first hand.

nickjhowe | August 30, 2012

Wiper fluid filler is under the hood.
No rear wiper
Battery Coolant is a Tesla service/maintenance item (if required)
Remote unlock - you mean via phone/Tesla HQ rather than the key remote? Might be coming in future.
Wiper blades - don't know. @Rod and Barbara may know
Screenshots of the 17" screen suggest both front and rear heated defrost
There is no 12v outlet in the trunk, only in the front console

Don't know the answer to the rear climate control question.

Volker.Berlin | August 30, 2012

I have similar questions:

- Where are the USB ports located?

- Is it true that there are no USB ports accessible from the rear seats, although at some point these were announced as part of the Tech Pkg?

- I hope there will be a 12V outlet in the trunk in the future... And in the frunk as well, please. Want to keep those groceries cool.

ddruz | August 30, 2012

The two USB ports are just to the driver's side of the 12V outlet on the lower front bottom of the cup holder/armrest module.

There are no rear seat USB ports at this point. They were removed from the spec sheet some time back.

There is no 12V outlet in the trunk at this time.

wbrown01 | August 30, 2012

Is the car in metric nuts and bolts? I sure hope so.

DouglasR | August 30, 2012

Another minor question: My Ford has an audible "beep" that increases in frequency as you approach objects while backing up; I find it very useful. Does the Model S have something similar?

Volker.Berlin | August 30, 2012

DouglasR, it does have a backup camera (wide angle lens installed at the rear end of the hatch, with its image displayed in the upper half of the 17" screen) but it does not have parking distance sensors (beeep!). We have nothing official from Tesla in this regard, but looking at the (gasoline-powered) competition it seems likely that Tesla will offer these at some point in the future. The same applies to adaptive cruise control and blind spot warning, just to name two other frequently requested assistants.

nickjhowe | August 31, 2012

Re Park Distance Sensors - none there right now, but a service tech I spoke to says the wiring harness IS already there.

DouglasR | August 31, 2012

It would be nice if I could add these later, even if I had to pay for it.

Bubba2000 | August 31, 2012

What is the expected maintenance that would require the car to be serviced by Tesla? Oil change of the single speed gearbox? AC refrigerant replacement? Filters replacement? Coolant for the batteries... do they need to be checked regularly?

One of the reasons to by a BEV is to avoid maintenance trips. No Telsa service center in my state.

archibaldcrane | August 31, 2012

From what I gathered from talking to two different Tesla employees, the only "required" service would be whatever the computer tells you to do - it monitors the systems and will let you know if something is wrong. Tesla's "optional" yearly service is basically just a checkup - there's nothing that must be done at a certain mileage marker like oil changes - it's more just looking to see if anything is going wrong.

If you look at, for example, the Leaf's maintenance schedule, it's very similar. Keep your windshield wiper fluid topped off and your tires inflated and in good repair and you should be good to go for a long time - the beauty of the simplicity of an electric motor.

dbullard | August 31, 2012

I'd be surprised if you had to change the gearbox oil more often than 50,000 miles - it's like a differential - sealed, no engine crap to degrade the oil (less heat, too), so it should last a very long time.

Shouldn't have to change the AC refrigerant unless you have a leak. Since the battery cooling system is sealed, again, should last unless you have a leak.

dahtye | August 31, 2012

How does the USB interface and s/w work?
When plugging in a device, it is automatically identified by the on board computer (i.e. it has drivers loaded or can get it from the internet if needed)?

Are both USB ports the same or is one just available to charge devices (i.e. that port would not be physically connected to the on board computer)?

I would really like to know whether I can view my iPhone screen on the large 17" screen....this may take a bit of hardware and a lot of software though.

pilotSteve | August 31, 2012

@archibaldcrane - from talking to two roadster owners its clear that Tesla has performed many upgrades and engineering improvements, as well as collecting statistics, when vehicles were in for 'maintenance'. That made for happy owners! Its my hope that Model-S owners will be similarly rewarded with great service that goes beyond the minimum as recognition by Tesla that we are pioneers of the 2nd generation.