Hill Assist

Hill Assist

I really find it strange that in a 2012/2013 car there is no hill-hold feature standart. Does anybody know how the braking system of the Model S works? Is the braking pedal mechanical connected to device (magnetic or hydraulic) that activates and releases the brakes or is the pedal just connected to a sensor that sends an electrical signal to the braking device? In the latter case it should not be difficult to program a delay of 2-3 seconds between the release of the brake pedal and the release of the brake and should not take long to develop and implement.

djm12 | January 26, 2013

Two thumbs up! Hill assist should be a high priority for the Tesla development team. It's a safety issue - I don't want to back into another car after releasing the brake on an incline. With any hope, this is a software fix.

Alex K | January 26, 2013

I agree that it should have hill holing capabilities. But that feature is available to you if you have two feet: You can use your left foot on the brake, then apply your right foot on the accelerator and then release your left foot. You can also heal and toe with your right foot, but that takes more training. Usually I just use my right foot on the brake and quickly move it to the accelerator. Worst part of this is the clunk from the brake pedal popping up.

AaronX | January 26, 2013

I live in San Francisco and drive on some of the steepest streets in the city. I don't even have "creep" enabled and I haven't had 1 issue. In the short time that it takes me to move my foot from the brake to the accelerator the car maybe rolls back 6 inches, a foot at the most.

Hill holders are clutch savers. This car has no clutch.

DouglasR | January 26, 2013

And remember, unlike an ICE, touch the accelerator of an S and it goes. No worry about the engine lugging or stalling.

defmonk | January 26, 2013

heel and toe. | January 26, 2013

I find I can hold a hill with a light touch of the accelerator. I don't have creep enabled & will likely not enable hill hold. Reminds me of my manual car driving days.

teddyg | January 26, 2013

Wow this is a problem I have with my 10 year old EV..thought Tesla would have solved it by now. Really the car shouldn't be moving backwards unless the car is in reverse, like all other automatic vehicles.
Not a problem for people who are aware of it..but if someone else (valet, friend, etc) uses the car it could be an expensive learning curve for them!
Hope is a software issue that can be rectified.

Brian H | January 26, 2013

"... like all other automatic vehicles". Say what? Automatic what? It's a single gear drive. No clutching or gearing. Give the motor a little power and it will hold fine.

AaronX | January 26, 2013

Also, the idea that automatics don't roll back is absurd. This is a non-issue.

wbrown01 | January 26, 2013

Does the Creep fix this thus no need of Hill Hold?

jjaeger | January 26, 2013

The whining is amazing, guess folks have never driven a standard. High priority? - would expect bug fixes first, timed charging next, and then car functions for those who prefer to not drive the car, but the car drive them...

Timo | January 27, 2013

@jjaeger, what is that "standard" people have not driven? You mean manual? AFAIK "standard" transmission in US is automatic, stick is rarity.

I have seen one girl in driving school here that had driven several years in Los Angeles. Drive instructor didn't believe her when she said that she has no knowledge how to drive a manual. After first start doing jumps like some sort of kangaroo in wheels that skepticism went away.

That hill holding using brake could be done by computer. Car does have ABS so it already has capability to control brakes. Again, it is only software that is missing. And maybe sensor for detecting that it is in a hill.

Brian H | January 27, 2013

'Standard' means manual. Hangover from the early days when automatics were first introduced.

Mark K | January 27, 2013

Timo's approach is the right path.

No extra sensor hardeare is needed. If you are in reverse, and the car starts to roll back, software can detect this and activate the brakes (which are already fully servo operable for ABS).

Think of this as just a further refinement like creep.

Although you can resist hill roll-back with just the accelerator, that's a bad way to do it becauses it eats battery even when you aren't moving.

A skilled driver can negotiate a steep hill with both feet, but with this car platform, a new level of drive management intelligence is possible, so why not not sieze the opportunity to further highlight the EV benefits? Upsides like regen single pedal driving are very well liked.

Give TM time to address the rest of the wishlist, and to thoroughly validate performance for a drive control feature like this, but I think it's a winner.

EVTripPlanner | January 27, 2013

This is a no-brainer for a robo-car. Servo to zero RPM after coming to a stop until the accelerator is - works forward/backward on hills or if big fat dudes try to push the car.

EVTripPlanner | January 27, 2013

(that said, it really is easy to do with your foot...such precise torque/speed control without fear of stall/lug/clutch wear)

Superliner | January 27, 2013

It appears there needs to be a stiffening of the requirements to get a drivers license. This is a total "NON ISSUE" with anyone who actually knows how to drive. To those having problems, If I have to explain you would not understand.

GreenDot | January 27, 2013

Hill holder has been discussed a lot of this and the TMC forum. Folks seem quite passionately for it while others seem insulted that someone would need that functionality.

It seems to me that if the software/hardware in the car can allow for it - it seems logical that Tesla would implement it as an option (just like creep). For those that passionately want it - turn it on. For those that do not want it - keep it off.

The function is on the "punch list" so it must have been promised to someone along the way or would be on the software enhancement list.

Brian H | January 27, 2013

Why wouldn't you want to roll back when in reverse? And what are you doing in reverse on a hill?

I guesstimate that the amount of "battery eating" for holding the car still on a hill would be measurable, but only just.

teddyg | January 27, 2013

Ugh..don't see why people get so upset about a clear "option" that Tesla should provide. If you don't want or need it don't worry about it. It doesn't bother me in my EV cause I am used to it...but guaranteed if you put someone who isn't aware of it, and has never driven an EV before, into that car they will ASSUME it is an automatic (because there is no stick shifter) and they will be SURPRISED when the car rolls back on them. Depending upon where they are when they first learn this, it could be nasty.
I know this from EXPERIENCE when friends drive the car.
I think it would be a good option to include, one that I might enable when letting friends drive, etc.

Brian H | January 27, 2013

Alternatively, you could tell the friends the car will roll backwards if not restrained on hills. <8-0

kilimats | January 27, 2013

wow people buy a 70k car and dont know how to drive, scary....

Timo | January 27, 2013

Hill assist in Tesla BEV could allow real one feet driving so that people without one leg could drive it. It's not a big deal, and it would be easy to implement. It's just one extra helper in a road to make driving even easier than it is now. Eventually we will have car that can drive itself when you feel tired or are driving really boring section of your trip and don't want to drive yourself right that moment. Kind of ever vigilant co-pilot.

teddyg | January 27, 2013

Yes well sometimes you forget to tell people things if you are in a rush, etc. Some other friends let other people drive the car as well, etc, etc...EV's are noveltys at the moment and everyone wants a spin...hill hold is a damn good idea just as it is for automatic cars...there are a lot of bad drivers out I said it doesn't really bother me...but I can see it being a valid option request for Tesla to provide at some stage in the future...and as is mentioned above is probably a software fix just like those who wanted creep so why not?

AaronX | January 27, 2013

I can see it as an option in the future as well, but it isn't as simple as creep. We're talking about setting a brake and holding the car in position only in very specific scenarios. As a software engineer, I can see how this might seem easy to others, but it's not. I still don't see this as an issue, but I can see it as a perk. If some folks can't deal with hills, why not add it. What I do think is strange, is that people will assume that this is something that HAS to be included and they just can't believe that it isn't. Come on.

teddyg | January 27, 2013

What about not making it a break issue at all? Can't the car just apply enough force from the motor to keep the car from rolling backwards when in the Drive position? Sorry not a software guy!

aaronw2 | January 27, 2013

I have never had a car with hill assist and have driven in San Francisco and other locations with some steep hills. I have never seen a need for it even when I drove a manual transmission on a heavily underpowered car. If a car is so close on your tail that you back into them then it is their fault for being too close at least in California. Also, with the model S given the instant insane torque there is very little need.

I was taught that when you stop you should be able to see the bottom of the tires of the car in front of you over your hood.

There is only one time where it would have been useful. There was a stop sign at the top of an extremely steep hill and I was in my Prius with 5 adults and lots of luggage. The car could barely creep up when I floored it and there was always a couple of seconds of lag. The model S does not have that problem :)

Brian H | January 27, 2013

Heh. Timo, there is no possible sentence in English in which "one feet" is correct.

Jolinar | January 28, 2013

Well, I guess it can be added with software like creep, however doesn't creep solved that issue already? I thought that when creep is enabled car won't move backward even on hill...
I think it is not an issue, but I undertand that for some people used to automatic transmission who has no experience with standard transmission it can be useful...

plinz | January 28, 2013

I had noted the same issue on a hill. turn creep on and the problem goes away. Creep = Hill assist for those who want it.

mthanos | January 28, 2013

My wife's Toyota Highlander has this feature, and while not always needed it is very intuitive and useful when it is needed. When stopped waiting for a light, your right foot is on the brake where it should be. Just as your light turns green you increase pressure on the brake till you hear a beep. The car automatically holds the brake for just a second, just enough time for you to get to the gas. It's probably needed much more in the hybrids because of the time delay of the engine starting up and developing torque. At first you might think why push on the brake as the light turns green? But the whole thing happens so fast no one honking at you to move. This should a simple implementation.

Personally I wouldn't need it as I drove a standard for years.

djm12 | January 28, 2013

I find many of the comments here to be more derogatory than I expected. To state that hill assist us only needed for owners that don't know how to drive is not helpful to the dialog. I've driven manual autos most of my life. As with others, my "promotion" of hill assist is based on my positive experience with it. Hill assist is a safety feature that will undoubtably reduce stress and anxiety when parked in inclines. It will reduce or eliminate a certain number of accidents. It is very helpful when parallel parking on an incline. As with creep, heated seats, Xenon lights, air bags, power steering, GPS and other such "extravagances", there will be many drivers that will want it and some that don't.

Getting Amped Again | January 28, 2013

I agree with djm12. Just because you've never needed hill-hold doesn't mean those that are used to it are bad drivers. It's a very nice feature and would be useful, especially for the occasional driver of your S that had that feature in their daily driver.

Can't we just wrap this thread up agreeing that it is not a "deficiency" but would be a "very useful feature" if it could be added via a software update, and like creep, could be enabled selectively by the driver?

markapeterman | January 28, 2013

Uh, Brian: The wire is one hundred and one feet long.

tork | January 28, 2013

markapeterman wins

nickjhowe | January 28, 2013

+1 for hill hold/hill assist.

Mark Z | January 28, 2013

If Tesla modified creep torque based on the angle of the vehicle, it would be appreciated.

Brian H | January 28, 2013

Mark & tork;
You cheated! You made the expression plural. >;p :D

EcLectric | January 28, 2013

I think teddyg's idea is elegent: if you are in drive, apply torque so the car does not roll backward, and if in reverse, apply torque so that the car does not roll forward. There is a down-side: if a Tesla driver borrows their friend's automatic ICE car, they may get a surprise when it rolls back! They may just roll two feet, long enough to scare them. Oops! Brian, I did it again!

Brian H | January 28, 2013

Two is fine. Rolling one feet is forbidden. So is one feet on the goose pedal.

Vawlkus | January 29, 2013

If my foot is not on the go pedal, or the brake, then I want the car to freewheel in whatever direction gravity is pulling. If I want the car to stop, I will press the brake, if I want the drive motor to move me in one direction or the other, I will push the go pedal.

To my way of thinking, hill hold is unneeded, and unwelcome, as it involves the car doing something that I am not in control of.

Superliner | January 29, 2013

@ Vawlkus

Agree 100% Bravo !!!

Mark K | January 29, 2013

Brian - that was a typo - the qualifier was intended to be "when you aren't in reverse".

That way, hill assist doesn't interfere with intended reverse maneuvers.

RE Creep on hills, does anyone know if it applies throttle or brakes while on a hill? Throttle is what's used on level ground, and I'd guess that's what you are feeling on a hill with it. If so, that's not as good as brakes since it consumes a lot more power.

I have lots of personal experience with manual transmissions in places like San Francisco. I know quite well how to perform the transitions smoothly, but I don't think it's any less manly to appreciate convenience. I delegate a lot of stuff I can do myself for the liberty to focus on other things.

In any case, it's easy enough to reconcile different preferences with config options, and make everyone happy.

TM and the EV will drive fundamental innovations in the user interface for piloting a vehicle. As long as a new paradigm actually works better, (like regen), change is a good thing.

Brian H | January 30, 2013

Mark K | January 29, 2013 new
Throttle is what's used on level ground, and I'd guess that's what you are feeling on a hill with it. If so, that's not as good as brakes since it consumes a lot more power.

If by "a lot" you mean barely enough to possibly measure after a few hours, ya.

peahl | January 30, 2013

Here is the answer from Tesla:
Hi Peter,

Douglas forwarded your question to me, I’d be happy to assist. I went ahead and contacted our development team, but they unfortunately do not have an update with a ETA on when that feature will be implemented. It is a request we have heard from many customers and one that we are pursuing, but for right now we don’t have a set time frame for its release. I apologize for the inconvenience.


Derek Shu | Ownership Experience Advocate
3500 Deer Creek Road | Palo Alto, CA 94304 | (877)79-TESLA

djm12 | January 30, 2013

I'm a-ok with Tesla's response. If we design a car by committee, we get one really terrible car. Our feedback on what we like/dislike is valuable and I have 100% confidence that Tesla can sort it out.

LK | January 30, 2013

Left foot brake, right foot accelerator. Hill assist is a handicap of a convenience. Be more self aware of your driving habits...

nickjhowe | January 30, 2013

@LK - Left foot brake, right foot accelerator: Model S complains and threatens to shut down if you don't stop doing it...

ddruz | January 30, 2013

@pahlemann@seque... - Thanks for posing your response from Tesla. It is excellent news to hear they are pursuing hill hold functionality. We were told this several months ago which is why it's a Punch List item. The response you received confirms they will eventually get it done. We just need to be patient.

Mark K | January 31, 2013

Peter - Thanks for the post from TM - sounds good. A validation that they too recognize its value.

Brian - the power needed to hold with motor torque is nontrivial.

If you're on a 15% grade and calculate the steady state force needed to resist the hill-aligned-vector portion of the total 4600 lbs gravity force, it's significant.

Roughly equivalent to the force needed to sustain several miles per hour on level ground. Braking to hold the hill is far more efficient.

That is why TM will do it.