Published on February 5th, 2016 | by Kyle Field


Tesla Model S Door Handles Changed Quietly In Slight But Important Way

February 5th, 2016 by  


Originally published on EV Obsession

I recently purchased a Tesla Model S and one of the only things I have had an issue with is the door handles not triggering the door to open every time. With handles that don’t mechanically open the door, they are essentially just sensors that detect a tug and trigger a solenoid or similar mechanism to unlatch the door.

The phenomenon would occur one in twenty pulls or so, making it an annoyance, but then finally stopped working altogether on my rear passenger door. I invoked the warranty and Tesla came out and replaced the handle mechanism.

It was fascinating to watch and I’ll do a more detailed write-up shortly with some of the juicier learnings, but one thing I learned that surprised me is that Tesla actually changed the entire design of the door handle mechanism in the newer Model S cars being sold today vs my older version.

The specific change is related to the number of micro switches in the handle and the way the handle operates. I learned from a Tesla insider that the new handle mechanism has 3 micro switches as opposed to 2 in the older cars.

The older handle mechanism would pop the handles out so that the inner wall of the handle sat flush with the rest of the body of the car. The newer handles still pop out but leave the inner wall of the handle a bit recessed. Check out the pics below for a visual:

Old Handle - 2 Micro Switches, sits flush

Old Handle — 2 Micro Switches, sits flush

New Handle - 3 Micro Switches, sits recessed

New Handle — 3 Micro Switches, sits recessed

This change seems minor but really improves the feel and function of the handles. Leaving the handles sitting a bit recessed allows them to move out slightly when pulled on, resulting in the handles feeling more like a typical door handle that moves out when pulled. The older handles don’t move at all when pulled on to open the door, which takes a bit of getting used to after decades of pulling door handles that physically move.

It was curious to me that Tesla changed out one handle on my car, leaving the new handle sitting recessed with the rest sitting flush. I have since confirmed with Tesla Service that the other handles are similarly acting up and will have them replaced at my next service appointment, but thought the approach to service was interesting vs. what feels like an otherwise purist approach to service.

Images by Kyle Field

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About the Author

I'm a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need. TSLA investor. Tesla referral link:

  • neroden

    The “new style handles” actually started being issued last year or earlier. I had them retrofitted at least 12 months ago. I guess they’re doing the replacements as the old ones break.

  • ROBwithaB

    There’s far more there than is really necessary to sell a car… Some of
    these things are so difficult; they do make the car better, but the
    difficulty of engineering those parts is so high, that in retrospect, if
    we had known the true engineering costs and the amount of complexity
    associated with it I think we would have probably done fewer new things.

    Couldn’t have said it better myself, actually. The basic idea that you don’t need all the bells and whistles to sell a car that is already compelling. The idea that those bells and whistles entail engineering costs and manufacturing complexity,
    So you can all stop arguing with me now.
    Go argue with Elon instead. Because you’re apparently all a lot smarter than him when it comes to making and selling cars.

  • Bob_Wallace

    Over 60 comments about door handles.

    It’s a slow week in a first world country….

    • ROBwithaB

      Hasn’t been a slow news week at all, actually. The main (non gossip) news story would have to be the massive global bear market underway, linked to low oil prices, interest rate concerns, and a radical re-evaluation of “growth” stocks.

      In fact, the almost 50% drop in the TSLA stock price has been getting a good amount of ink in its own right. Yup, Tesla is actually one of the big news stories right now, for all the “wrong” reasons.

      So why are we talking about door handles? Well, because for some reason I don’t think we’re going to see a story about a plummeting TSLA stock price on Cleantechnica. And also because the door handles are symbolic of some of the problems that are now coming back to haunt Tesla and threaten its long term growth strategy (perhaps even its very survival).. The debate has spilled beyond this type of special interest site, and entered the mainstream. But you don’t have to believe me. A quick google search of recent news will confirm the notion.

      • Bob_Wallace

        That’s interesting. We were just discussing the drop in Tesla stock price on another thread. I, in fact, just posted a comment.

        A story? What story? Are you aware of any story about Tesla that might cause their stock price to drop? Has there been news of one of their competitors introducing a better EV, especially one with a rapid charging system, or anything else that might eat Tesla’s lunch?

        The market is down. Big correction that many were expecting. My portfolio is down over “one Tesla”. These things happen and one waits for them to pass.

        Tesla is a speculative stock investment, not a company with a long term earnings record and an established market. Expect price swings to be larger than, say, Proctor and Gamble.

        • ROBwithaB

          Sure, volatility in TSLA is always going to be greater than for a typical dividend stock.
          And many people have seen a general market correction coming for some time.
          Some of us even kept some money aside to buy into the correction.
          And I’m probably going to take another bet on Tesla early next week, before the Wednesday quarterly.
          There is no guarantee that Tesla will simply bounce back and then grow indefinitely in a similarly bouncy fashion. The valuation is predicated on the ability to deliver 500k cars in 2020, at a 20-25% gross margin. Some of the biggest bulls are starting to raise doubts about those projections.
          There are real risks to the company (mostly of their own making) that are not only a threat to the heady growth projections, but the very survival of the company. The value of my shares might just fall to zero. It happens.

          In fact, there have been quite a number of stories published recently, that would definitely be expected to move the stock downwards (and probably have). And some of the most crucial threats mentioned are not external at all (perceived “competition”) but internal. I don’t want to bombard the comments with links, but I’ll post a few relevant news stories if you’re interested.

          The drop in the value of Telsa has been significantly larger than for the broader market, and larger even than many of the other volatile momentum stocks. It has been specifically targeted.

          One senses that there has been a fundamental shift in sentiment, apart from the general market pessimism, that is starting to creep into the public Tesla narrative. And a lot of it has to do with the unnecessary complexity of some of the design flourishes, and the potential of these to cause production delays, maintenance bottlenecks, potential recalls and resale guarantee liabilities.

          When there were only a few hundred Roadsters on the road, they could afford to design iteratively. Customers were generally wealthy people with multiple cars, and with a keen sense of environmental mission. They would (and did) tolerate a number of issues.
          Now that Tesla are producing tens of thousands of cars a year, it becomes a lot more difficult and expensive to handle any kind of persistent maintenance issues. Without a widespread dealer and service network, customers stand to be massively inconvenienced. There are already tales of long waits at the service centers, even for routine maintenance.
          If production ever gets into the hundreds of thousands of cars a year, a single recall (of something more serious than a seat-belt bolt) could conceivably destroy the company.

          • Bob_Wallace

            A couple of points. First, a single recall destroying the company is a bit melodramatic.

            Second, I doubt any serious investor will have been expecting a 20+% GPM with the Mod3. Lower GPM is what one expects when they move down the value ladder. Profits move from higher margin to higher volume.

          • neroden

            The market is completely irrational.

            There are a lot of risk factors for Tesla, many of which I have listed myself. *All of them were known and fairly easy to find six months ago*. The price drop obviously has nothing to do with fundamentals. Does it ever?

          • ROBwithaB

            Clearly, the REAL value of the company did not magically shrink by 35% over the course of a few weeks. And the real value is clearly not the same now as it was in Q3 of 2013, although that’s what the share price is saying.
            As you point out, all the potential risks were already well mapped out months ago. Even the delays in ramping up production of the X were anticipated by many, due to the complexity effect that Elon himself noted months ago.There literally has been no new information in the past six weeks that would justify such large movements.
            (Unless someone has secret information that I’m not able to access.)

            That being so, I’m using this as an opportunity to load up on shares at basically half the price, compared to about six months ago. I made some fundamental calculations about 18 months ago and set out certain parameters that would constitute a buying signal for me. These were, basically:
            1) Model X shipping to customers
            2) Tesla energy products shipping to customers
            3) Model 3 launch date announced and imminent
            4) Elon still alive and not gone insane yet
            5) Competent CFO, CTO and marketing leaders in place
            6) Share price below $240

            So I started buying, tentatively, after the Q4 delivery announcement, and have been adding to that position ever since.
            If the share price is going to increase to about $750 (as I hope/expect) over the course of the next 5-6 years, I’d obviously rather buy in at $150 than $250, because that’s the difference between a 5X gain and a 3X gain.
            Basically, the way I see it, I just got lucky, in that, from the time I decided to step in, the price has just been falling and falling, without any significant change to the fundamentals. (My average price will probably come in at somewhere around $200, depending on what happens in the next few weeks. Nerves of steel….)

            Honestly, I suspect that the market was irrationally optimistic when the share price first shot up to the $280 level.
            Similarly, I suspect that it is irrationally pessimistic now.
            Time will tell….

          • neroden

            Actually, the valuation doesn’t depend on that. I think, based on my calculation, that 500K cars at a 10% gross margin would easily justify the current valuation. That’s still a major bet, of course. There are lots of possible downsides which would make that valuation way too high (such as people buying another company’s electric car en masse instead and sucking Tesla into a price war).

        • ROBwithaB

          Here’s a fairly typical headline:

          “Let’s Face It: Tesla’s Model X was a mistake.”
          And the subheading:

          “Amazing Or Not, You Can Bet Elon Musk Regrets It”

          From Autoblog. That’s pretty mainstream, as far as motoring publications go. And they’ve been quite supportive of Tesla to date.

          And here’s something from Fortune. Just a general “analysis” piece, but referring to the about face by Adam Jonas that seems to have taken many by surprise, having been a pretty ardent fanboi in the past.

          • Thanks for the Fortune piece. I hadn’t seen it (or the other one), and hadn’t seen that Jonas lowered his target.

            I still don’t see any explicit reasons why the stock price has dropped an average of about 1% a day since the beginning of the year. A lot of possibilities, but nothing clear, and certainly nothing warranting a headline like “Here’s What’s Behind Tesla’s Long, Slow Stock Slide.”

            Here’s a choice sentence: “Meanwhile, analysts at Pacific Crest lowered their expectations because they believe Tesla’s production of its new SUV, the Model X, is slower than expected.”

            They, like everyone else, are guessing. Fine for them to guess, and adjust their price accordingly, but it’s all highly speculative right now.

            We very seldom wrote about TSLA in the past, even when it was skyrocketing, and without a clear cause & effect, we aren’t going to start doing that any time soon, since it is such a speculative game and the market is often so irrational.

          • ROBwithaB

            Your reluctance to comment on share movements here is well founded, I believe.
            It isn’t really valid Cleantechnica news, unless movements in the share price are so severe that they become likely to alter the survival prospects of the company. And I don’t think we’re there just yet.
            There has definitely been a problem with delayed deliveries of the X. Maybe not so much with the production. Various people have reported that their vehicles have been sitting at service centers for “final inspection” for weeks. Partially informed rumours have suggested a wait for some final missing component/s. A lot of speculation, to be sure. But the delay is real enough that many people are getting upset enough to cancel their orders.

            The reason that this particular bout of (partially irrational) negativity is interesting to me, is that it is opening up the debate to include some valid criticism from respectable analysts, not just the usual shorters and FUDders who have a clear vested interest in seeing the company fail. There are long-term Tesla fans who are finally speaking openly about some of the long term risks and threats. It’s almost as if they feel they can now speak their minds without having their heads bitten off, because they’re being “asked to explain” what’s going on. Under the guise of post-hoc analysis, they have carte blanche to speculate on possible roadblocks to the glorious future. And some sensible stuff is emerging. (Along with a whole lot of wildly speculative, uninformed rubbish, of course.)
            Hopefully some good will come of all of this. It’s not as if the folks at Tesla don’t realise for themselves that they got in deeper than they bargained for with all the unnecessary complexity of the Model X. Elon himself is on record as admitting that they probably went too far with all the novel futuristic stuff. If respected analysts start talking about it as a serious prolbem, perhaps Tesla will take some concrete steps to address the issue, like announcing a “base” version of the model X without all the bells and whistles.
            *ahem* #OptionTheDoors
            Some of the stories have touched on poor communication from the company, especially w.r.t. those customers who have already paid for their cars and have been waiting weeks or months to take delivery. This is something that needs to be addressed.

            However, some of the “news stories” doing the rounds can be clearly traced back to rumours started by identified shorts. One of the stranger ones is that the Model 3 launch will not reveal any prototype, only sketches. This seems to be based on a single flippant answer from Elon, taken out of context, to a question by a French student at the Paris event. Seeking Alpha and the like have been eating this stuff up, and the commenters have fuelled the confusion. Other media outlets link to that “story”, who are then quoted by a mainstream outlet, and next thing you know it’s a “fact” being spouted by the WSJ or NYT.
            I’ve been following some of these threads quite obsessively for the last couple of weeks, in a mythbusters/Scopes kinda way, to try to understand how “news” can be formed almost out of thin air. It’s been very interesting, tracking things down like some kind of cyber detective, through layers and layers of inadvertent replication errors and deliberate obfuscation.

            I have no doubt that some of the shorts will be riding this dip hard.

            But at some point they need to close out their positions….

          • “There has definitely been a problem with delayed deliveries of the X. Maybe not so much with the production. Various people have reported that their vehicles have been sitting at service centers for ‘final inspection’ for weeks.”
            -Yes, have seen quite a few anecdotes regarding this. Have also seen signs deliveries are going quite well. I’m guessing there are some bigger-than-expected problems getting production up to scale, but am basically trying to reserve judgement until Tesla announces something.

            “The reason that this particular bout of (partially irrational) negativity is interesting to me, is that it is opening up the debate to include some valid criticism from respectable analysts, not just the usual shorters and FUDders who have a clear vested interest in seeing the company fail…”
            -Definitely agree.

            “Hopefully some good will come of all of this. It’s not as if the folks at Tesla don’t realise for themselves that they got in deeper than they bargained for with all the unnecessary complexity of the Model X. Elon himself is on record as admitting that they probably went too far with all the novel futuristic stuff.”
            -Agreed, again. But I don’t think a much simpler base Model X will ever be on the table. Think Tesla will work out the bugs, like it did with the S (which many forget had similar type issues at the beginning) and the X will take over the luxury SUV market, specifically because of some of those cool but tricky features. Of course, I fully recognize this could be wrong and your concerns could be distressingly valid.

            Regarding communications, yes, I think it’s Tesla’s weakest area. Have been quite a lot of big (or even huge) communications fails in the past few years.

            “However, some of the “news stories” doing the rounds can be clearly traced back to rumours started by identified shorts. One of the stranger ones is that the Model 3 launch will not reveal any prototype, only sketches. This seems to be based on a single flippant answer from Elon, taken out of context, to a question by a French student at the Paris event. Seeking Alpha and the like have been eating this stuff up, and the commenters have fuelled the confusion. Other media outlets link to that “story”, who are then quoted by a mainstream outlet, and next thing you know it’s a “fact” being spouted by the WSJ or NYT.”
            -Again, completely agree. Furthermore, some EV-focused sites have apparently fueled that fire. As I’m sure you noticed, we haven’t posted anything on it, because we have the same opinion as you. Eager for the unveiling to just arrive and be past this speculation phase. It’s getting out of hand. 😀

            “I’ve been following some of these threads quite obsessively for the last couple of weeks, in a mythbusters/Scopes kinda way, to try to understand how “news” can be formed almost out of thin air. It’s been very interesting, tracking things down like some kind of cyber detective, through layers and layers of inadvertent replication errors and deliberate obfuscation.”
            -I imagine that has been quite interesting. The media world today…

            And yeah, think it’s a great buying opportunity. But not recommending it publicly since that comes with a number of risks I don’t want to take on. 😀

          • Carl Raymond S

            “without a clear cause & effect”

            That pretty much sums up stock markets IMHO. I click on articles with titles like “Why TSLA is down today”, and the article will explain that the market is down because so and so forecast a decline. It’s like betting on which way sheep will run when spooked.

            Few investors seem to have worked out yet that the Model 3, being the first car to tip the value proposition in favour of EVs (and keep tipping it), is about to change the world. People who have worked it out are reading every scrap of Tesla news (and gaining labels such as ‘fanboy’), because it’s fascinating to watch. Look over there sheep, the grass is green.

          • Bob_Wallace

            People who have worked it out are reading every scrap of Tesla news (and gaining labels such as ‘fanboy’), because it’s fascinating to watch.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Perhaps it’s not the downside of the stock price that’s unrealistic but the upsides. Stock pricing can involve a lot of emotion.

            Consider this scenario –

            People start talking about a “self-driving car” based on a couple of things Elon casually says. It gets spun, in some people’s minds, as a fully autonomous car. They start buying stock which makes the price rise. Other people see the price go up and figure they can make money trading the upside. Price overshoots reality and then comes down.

            So perhaps the price was irrationally high. Not just optimistically high, but the next level up. More information came out about whatever caused the upward movement and prices dropped back to a more reasonable level.

            And at the same time there was a general market correction.

          • neroden

            Honestly, it’s really hard to put a price on a company like TSLA. Look at Adam Jonas’s range… $50 to $400, I think? Quite a spread of possible values there, depending on whether various things succeed or fail.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Correct. With a large amount of uncertainty there’s a lot of room for unreasonable overvaluing and for unreasonable undervaluing.

            Lots of people treat the price peaks as if they are somehow the real value and movement back to what is closer to the median evaluation says something bad about the company.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’m not saying that those headlines are wrong. I have no crystal ball.
            But I will point out that the folks at Tesla have gotten a lot right and are way out in front of other companies. They have a lot more information and access to knowledgeable people than a journalist who isn’t an expert on electric vehicles.

          • Frank

            I’ll start worrying about Tesla when they start having trouble selling cars.

          • neroden

            Silliness. What is up with the mainstream auto press? Tesla’s still in the “haven’t filled pre-orders” stage with Model X, and it’s being declared a mistake? My only reaction is “huh?”

            There are serious risks for Tesla, but they aren’t the ones people are talking about. Stock markets are whacky.

  • Anthony C

    I’d guess they just did the one since they might have only had a certain number in inventory. That way they could make sure they could take care of all the ones that started having issues and maybe start having data on if these ones solve the issue or at least make it longer lasting.

  • Eric Lukac-Kuruc

    Please stop with Tesla fan stuff.
    Energy related topics only.
    Thank you.

    • WuestenBlitz, as in Clean Technology. One of the most important pieces of clean technology is the rise of the electric clean car. A clean piece of automotive technology. This article is dealing with a big piece of the clean energy puzzle. Therefore it is a perfectly appropriate article for this forum.

      • Benjamin Nead

        You can’t be serious. This isn’t an article about better batteries, more efficient traction motors or more effectively deployed charging infrastructure. It’s about silly motorized door handles.

        • Knetter

          I found it interesting and you did take the time to spray everywhere.

          • Benjamin Nead

            I take the time to “spray everywhere” because I think it’s useless bullshit that doesn’t have a thing to do about what’s genuinely important in regards to electric car technology
            . . . and I’m not the only one who leveled that sentiment here.

            You found it interesting? Good. I find this equally compelling and on topic . . .


          • Knetter

            ahhh muffin go fire up your wambulance friggin libertarian. Ya i do find it interesting, you hear of any other car company actually making improvements once the car has been released? You’re a fool, Apple doesn’t bother to take the time to fix their piss poor engineering on their flagship laptop and that’s been a decade, with multiple class action lawsuits. So spare us. You don’t like the article don’t fucking read it. Otherwise STFU and go do something constructive with your time and that doesn’t include stealing our lands.

          • Benjamin Nead

            Rather sad if you can’t intelligently debate me on the merits of this article like an adult. Instead of trolling me again with junior high level insults, why don’t you tell all of us what sort of electric car you own or lease? Something tells me that you haven’t even so much as driven one.

          • Bob_Wallace

            How about dialing it back?

            This is not important enough to release your inner a**hole. Save it for a climate change denier or one of the Koch brothers.

        • WuestenBlitz

          If the silly door handles were on a Ford F350 I would agree. BUT it is on the leading EV on the market which used a less than conventional door handle to increase effeciency. And guess what? It had problems and fickle people are everywhere, for an example just look in a mirror, and something like a door handle will keep someone fickle from adopting a better drive train technology. The article was relevant to the theme of the site.

          • Knetter

            They wouldn’t fix the handles on an F350 until the next model came out.

      • I don’t think we should have to spell out things so obvious… but maybe. And thanks for spending the time to do so.

    • Jenny Sommer


    • Bob_Wallace

      And just the other day someone complained that there were too many articles about energy….. ;o)

      • Pawan Sharma

        Yes. Why can’t we have more articles about trump hillary ted and berni like every other site.

        • flamingo

          well, there are more than enough commenters here that like to fling mud at people they deem more lowly then themselves due to political party affiliations.

          articles such as this point out an important feature relative to an important company. the feature being that they fix things on the car under warranty to encourage sales and further adoption of this clean tech. as another comment mentioned, people have not bought cars for sillier reasons.

        • We published 1 or 2 and got slammed for getting political. 😛 😀

      • jeffhre

        This site has way too many articles about clean technology! And what is it with constantly covering technical stuff that is clean. Those are really my only two complaints!

        • Otis11

          I know… I was hoping they’d do a little bit more on the ‘-nica’ part of it.


        • eveee

          Clever the way they disguise its true nature in the name. 🙂

          • jeffhre

            A fiendish plot indeed.

        • Hahaha. 😀

      • eveee

        And Zach gets hit with you are too hard on GM. Then its articles are not critical enough. I thought talking about a Telsa failure and improvement was a balanced way of covering Tesla. You can’t please everyone.

        • Knetter

          Fuck pleasing everyone. Like I said I enjoyed the article, shows how the current iteration of the handles didn’t work and Tesla stepped up to make improvements. Doesn’t sound like any other car company out there. It’s like they haven’t forgotten about their Model S’s once they’ve rolled out the door.

          • eveee

            Complaints will always be there. Make them requests, I say. IMO, there has been and will be discussion and reviews about the many EVs and PHEVs. It makes sense. People don’t just buy cars because they are EVs. (although IMO, thats a big plus selling factor) They buy them because they are good cars.

          • Frank

            I saw a youtube vid the other day and they were talking about Tesla and how they acted like software companies. This is rather like a minor patch. Big companies do it with recalls. Not sure about other things. Someone did tell me once that it is good to avoid the first model year, implying they were fixing problems.

          • Kyle Field

            Fully agree. I like the continuous improvement and would expect a recall if it were wide spread to the point of affecting reliability or safety, obviously.

        • Yes, we are certainly not pleasing everyone!

          Fact is, the site has gotten quite large. We publish ~20 stories a day. Everyone isn’t going to be happy with every story.

          Ironically, Tesla stories are the most popular by far, yet seem to also attract the most unhappy readers. Odd dichotomy there.

          • eveee

            Its been generally true. The more controversial, the more the posts, the more the readers. Sometimes I see that readers are there, but not posting, because I see occasional odd posts. You probably have better data on that than me. But there are now a bunch of articles on the Bolt and e-Golf, i3, others. I think its pretty balanced with some emphasis for Tesla because its a leader and doing a lot. There is a lot of Tesla news on other MM sites, too. It would be a bit odd if CT had less Tesla coverage than MM, doncha think?

          • Thanks. Yeah.

            We basically cover every cleantech story I see and think is notable, as well as many that authors find themselves. As it turns out, Tesla is behind many of those stories, particularly the really big ones.

            Seems obvious enough to me (and many here) that Tesla would get more virtual ink than Fiat, but guess not for everyone.

          • eveee

            Fiat? Whose that? LOL. Rodney Dangerfield of automotive? Seriously, the new Chrysler minivan PHEV is a welcome announcement. I heard it on this cool green website. They cover obscure green stuff that MM sometimes doesn’t, not just Tesla.

          • Kraylin

            Strange human phenomenon. People love to hate the leaders or people at the top (Tesla), especially anonymously on the internet.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Yes. Attempting to tear down the successful is something we commonly see.

            Is it a situation where someone is jealous of another person’s/organization’s success and attempts to decrease the distance between them and the successful by finding (often minor) faults and harping on them?

            “Look at me. I found a flaw that X didn’t prevent. I’m as good as them. Hell, I’m better.”

          • Otis11

            Ironically? Tesla stories might be the most popular stories ‘because’ they attract the ‘readers’ who want to ***** and moan about Tesla getting so much attention when their company doesn’t get any media love.

            I mean I haven’t seen a single article on the Owosso pulse! or the Magna-Steyr Mila! Come on!

            (I totally didn’t have to google “obscure fuel efficient vehicles” and dig through 6 links to find those… promise.)

          • Frank

            Well, Tesla hasn’t pleased everybody with their model S, so they made the X, still not everybody is pleased, so they are preparing the model 3, which will please some, but it sure ain’t a pickup, a minivan, or a subcompact, so I sure hope they keep trying to make everybody happy.

    • Philip W

      If you don’t like it, you know your way out 🙂

      • Benjamin Nead

        Most of us come to CleanTechnica to read about
        (drum roll. please . . .) clean technology: not
        lifestyle of the rich & famous stories.

        • jeffhre

          Yet, some of us read the title and commented, perhaps even after reading the “useless bullshit that doesn’t have a thing to do about what’s genuinely important” article. Hmmm?

        • Philip W

          And yet you still clicked on an article that clearly stated in the headline that it is about doorhandles. You’re weird, dude.
          There are a lot of articles on here that don’t interest me very much. I still don’t click on those and complain. I just ignore them which is the sensible thing to do.

          I for one found the article interesting since there have been problems with the doorhandles in the past. And since there are quite a few Tesla owners here at CT, it is also relevant to them.

          • jeffhre

            LOL, the sensible thing to do!

          • Benjamin Nead

            It is completely within bounds to comment on the merits of an article here. I did so without hurling invective here at people with an opposing view. The defensiveness of some who didn’t see it the same way as I did was extraordinary and, in some cases, devolved into immature personal attacks.

            It’s fairly obvious to most that this blog is set up to provide general coverage of clean technology topics and it’s not simply an online hangout for a handful Tesla owners who somehow haven’t figured out that there is already a comprehensive space where people who care about every last detail of these vehicles can interact and share that sort of news . . .


            When I start to see articles on Clean Technica that talk about an aspect of a car – Tesla or otherwise – that doesn’t relate to its environmental impact or technology that doesn’t relate to how the car gets from point A to point B without gasoline, then it has the feeling of something that should have been posted on another site. Simple as that.

          • As I just posted above but will reply to you as well:

            Kyle’s doing a long-term review of the Tesla Model S. (We also have Cynthia doing a long-term review of the LEAF, and have people planned for the Chevy Bolt and Chevy Volt (probably). In other words, the most popular EVs on the market.)

            Transportation accounts for ~1/3 of our global warming emissions, and even more of our urban air pollution. EVs are a critical solution.

            Tesla stories, for whatever combination of reasons, are the most popular stories in general. This one was far and away the most popular story of the day.

            I’d simply recommend what others have recommended: if you see a story that doesn’t interest you, skip to the next one. We cover a broad range of topics now, with ~20 stories published a day. Every single story won’t be interesting for every single reader, but we’re hopefully making more people happy by the broad coverage.

          • Benjamin Nead

            Fair enough, Zach. It’s your blog. The Tesla cheerleading does get rather thick here at times, though, and tends to tarnish Clean Technica’s objectivity in reporting on the subject. Good luck.

          • I don’t think we see ourselves as cheerleading for the heck of it. We find the stuff interesting and worth highlighting. Apparently, that matches with the largest number of readers.

            I think you’re finding a lot of pushback because 1) the above, and 2) you’ve made your point numerous times and know that we’ve seen it… which together sort of starts to feel like trolling.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Could you give me a couple of examples of how articles about Tesla have tarnished the site?

            I’d really like to understand why people become so unhappy that Tesla receives attention here.

          • Benjamin Nead

            I don’t think I can speak for all here who have issues with Clean Technica’s Tesla coverage. I can only provide my own perspective. Perhaps it’s best if we could do it via regular email, as I think anything said publicly might inflame passions further, which is not in anybody’s best interests.
            But, yes, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line. I think
            Zach has my contact information. Thanks.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I have your email address. Let’s discuss why you think Tesla gets too much coverage on CT. Let’s keep everyone else involved. I think it could be a useful discussion.

            If you make reasoned and reasonable comments I can’t see how that would inflame anything.

            I find the pushback against Tesla by people who are in general in favor of EVs and in green tech in general interesting. I understand that there is the possibility of brand loyalty but this isn’t a Mustang/Camaro thing, there’s no other EV in Tesla’s class.

            I suspect some of the unhappiness with the S and X is from people who want the 3 or the possible $25k long distance Tesla that might follow the 3. Any time/energy spent on the S or X, in their minds, might be holding back the 3 or $25k Next.

            What’s your take? What’s driving you?

          • dogphlap dogphlap

            Dear Bob Wallace,
            Just a line to let CleanTechnica know that at least one reader i.e. me feels the coverage of matters Tesla on this blog is not excessive.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Clearly a lot of people feel that way. Tesla articles get a lot of views and a lot of comments. There are articles on different topics which get no love.

            Me? I’m neutral. I read the articles that interest me and skip the ones that don’t. I do that on a lot of sites. If sites publish little that I want to read I look at them less frequently, perhaps quit looking.

            I don’t understand why others get concerned about too many Tesla articles. If they were saying “Not enough coverage of the XYZ EV/PHEV” then I’d understand that. A concern that Tesla was pushing deserving cars off the page.

          • Frank

            You know what would be the worst thing for electric cars? If nobody cared. The fact that Tesla generates so much passion, especially among car buyers, is a good thing. I have been in conversations with people where I brought up electric cars, they poo pooed it, and you know the first thing that came out of my mouth? Tesla. Do you know why? No compromises. Range, charging, size, performance. You can bitch about price, and then I say model 3 is coming.

          • Benjamin Nead

            OK, here goes . . .

            I’m obviously in the latter camp: more interested in lots of so-called low and medium price EVs on the road than a handful of speedy and luxurious ones. It an ecological and quality of life thing for the sake of lots of people, not a car guy thing for a privileged few. I’d actually like to see fewer cars on the streets, with more bicycles and light rail in urban areas and more high speed rail between them. It’s a perspective of world importance and goes beyond American style consumer one-upmanship. That puts me at odds with most of the people on dedicated car enthusiast sites, which is main reason why I don’t frequent them more often.

            I also find the obsession with speed and acceleration to be callow in the grand scheme of things. An outsized emphasis on luxury is also something I don’t really care about. If that is going to be Tesla’s raison d’être for the foreseeable future, then I’m going to implore them to move on to more important things. Beyond things like superfluous door handle technology, I’m concerned by much of the effort, time and expense that went into the Model X, which I predict will be more problematic than it will be positive for the company. The argument has been made that this isn’t taking any resources away from the far more important Model 3. But I hear the same people exclaiming that Tesla is the small underdog compared to the big OEMs and every dollar counts. So that double-headed thesis falls flat for me.

            In regards to Tesla coverage on this site: if it’s the topic of clean technology (which is where one assumes this site derived its name from,) there are any number of such issues that can be expanded upon, such as sustainable/net zero housing and urban aquaponic agriculture. For every so-called luxury car door handle article I find to be inconsequential or even mildly annoying, it’s a lost opportunity for the editors to reach out and cover an even wider portfolio of actual clean technology topics that are increasingly swept under the editorial table, since it doesn’t have high click bait draw and sex appeal factor.

            If that news is going to be found elsewhere on the internet and Clean Technica, instead, is going to morph into something with more pop-oriented appeal than it had a few years ago, I will have to find those far more important topics in other places. Others will as well. In the end, you will have not really expanded your audience all that much. You merely replace it with a new one. Almost 40 years in the radio broadcasting industry gives me a unique perspective on how that works.

            And then there is the unchecked and increasing bellicose internet Tesla fan base, which is not just here, but everywhere. Despite accusations to the contrary by some here, I don’t comb the numerous Tesla articles on Clean Technica and log snarky comments on each of them just to make myself known. Just click any of them in the past month or so and look for yourself. Go back even further, if you really want to spend the day doing so. But the hyper-fanaticized enthusiasts doesn’t see it that way. You’re either 100% behind everything the company is doing or you’re not. In the political world, that’s defined as fascism. It goes as far as having them declare you to be anti-electric car for questioning the logic of where Tesla is headed, which is preposterous.

            I’m the secretary of an EAA chapter in a medium sized US metropolitan area: Tucson, Arizona. We have several Telsa owners represented in our club. I welcome their presence and participation. Though organizing NPID/NDEW events since the inception of that annual activity’s founding in 2011, I’ve engineered a couple of the largest public gatherings of these cars within a hundred miles in any direction. One of our recent events had a visit by the mayor, where he got to sit in a Model S and get a guided tour of the car’s features by the owner. I have volunteered in a advisory capacity representing southern Arizona in a project with Tesla and the US Green Chamber of Commerce that is in the process of putting opportunity L-2 charging infrastructure into various cities across the country. Would I have done any of the above if I didn’t think Tesla is a highly important player in the wider adoption of EVs?

            Not needing to pad my online resume any further, I’ll emphasize this point again: it’s deeply insulting for rabid and vocal minority of internet performance car fanboys, many who sheepishly hide behind anonymous online profiles and only express themselves in course Twitter-like sound bites, to paint anyone into a corner for questioning to logic of luxury door handle articles. There so many other things of importance that can be discussed here, Tesla related or otherwise. But if this is the audience the site’s editors want to foster, that’s their decision, not mine.

          • Riely Rumfort

            Welcome to the futurist party, seeing the greater picture few do.

          • Benjamin Nead

            Thanks, Riley. I’ve got a few of these Panasonic NCR18650s
            that I bring to our electric car events . . . something like 6800 of them inside a Model S pack and I declare that a Tesla triumph in engineering . . .


            I let someone else wax on about the door handles. 🙂

          • ROBwithaB

            You write well. And come across as substantially sane.

            Perhaps you’d considering penning an article or two for CleanTechnica, on some of those other important subjects you mentioned…

    • Knetter

      You got upvoted by every tesla hater that comes on CT, good job.

      • Benjamin Nead

        And you got downvoted for being a troll. Bravo!

      • ROBwithaB

        You may not realise this, but it is possible to be selectively critical of a certain feature, action, or product, of a person or entity, without necessarily being filled with hatred for the target of the criticism.

        It is only on the playground (and perhaps in American party politics) that the strictly dichotomous good guy vs bad guy narrative exists. When George W said “You’re either for us or against us” the rest of the
        thinking world was not tempted to pick sides, we simply sat there
        thinking: “What an idiot.”
        The real world is a little more nuanced than that.

        This overly simplistic tendency to lump people into the category of “hater” if their opinions do not match yours 100% doesn’t help in the free exchange of information.
        I wish to see the world survive. I wish for Tesla to succeed (especially since I have a financial investment in their success). I suspect I might enjoy Elon Musk’s company if I met him.
        None of those things means that I cannot or should not criticise particular aspects of a particular vehicle.

    • Kyle’s doing a long-term review of the Tesla Model S. (We also have Cynthia doing a long-term review of the LEAF, and have people planned for the Chevy Bolt and Chevy Volt (probably). In other words, the most popular EVs on the market.)

      Transportation accounts for ~1/3 of our global warming emissions, and even more of our urban air pollution. EVs are a critical solution.

      Tesla stories, for whatever combination of reasons, are the most popular stories in general. This one was far and away the most popular story of the day.

      I’d simply recommend what others have recommended: if you see a story that doesn’t interest you, skip to the next one. We cover a broad range of topics now, with ~20 stories published a day. Every single story won’t be interesting for every single reader, but we’re hopefully making more people happy by the broad coverage.

  • Hans

    I think this article has no place at cleantechnica, but should be place at luxurygoodstechnica, boringdetailstechnica, or comforttechnica.

    • Ronald Brakels

      You forgot lovehandles dot com. (Oddly enough, that site seems to get a surprising amount of traffic.)

      • ROBwithaB

        You know I’m going to be typing that into the browser now, right?

        How many times can you be “scarred for life” in one life?

    • jeffhre

      This comment should be redirected to hanspetpeevesdotnet.

    • Frank

      When Tesla designed the Model S, they were too small to make a mass market car.

  • ROBwithaB

    Why not just make “normal” door handles?
    Or have them as an option for “normal” people who just like a thing that works, rather than a trendy tech gimmick… ?
    So much of this going on at the moment, I fear for the company’s future.

    • Bob_Wallace

      People purchasing luxury goods expect things that are more than ordinary.

      • ROBwithaB

        The car is extraordinary, with or without the problematic door handles.

        • crevasse

          I guess they wanted to be like other luxury cars which are loaded with gimmicks and other costly fixes when they inevitably go south! At least they left the engine out.

    • Ronald Brakels

      They add a little bit to the car’s range through improved areodynamics. I expect they will become a standard feature like how almost every new car suddenly seemed to have electric windows for no good reason.

      • Benjamin Nead

        It’s not too hard to design conventional car door handles that are relatively flush, that are aesthetically pleasing and don’t have complex retractable hardware. The amount of range that can be extracted by using the Tesla S handle design is probably not even measurable.

        • jeffhre

          “It’s not too hard to design conventional car door handles that are relatively flush”

          That is easy to say from a perspective of 100 years and thousands of iterations forward from the first try!

          • Benjamin Nead

            Perhaps I should have said, instead, that it’s very easy to design overly complex mechanisms that impress people with just a bit too much money and are willing to pay for it.

            There are car door handles with even greater aerodynamic specs, but these work just fine for me . . .


          • Ronald Brakels

            Personally I’ve never liked these new fangled electric starters. I never saw what was wrong with having my footman crank the engine for me. Mind you, I was so rich before the crash of ’29 I could afford toemen.

          • Jonny_K

            Except the bozos often forgot to advance the spark so the crank would kick back, knock them on their butts and they would splash mud all over the car.

          • eveee
          • jeffhre

            It’s been difficult to get good help ever since. Especially difficult to find a guy with automobile knowledge – and two good arms.

          • ROBwithaB

            A little knowledge can be dangerous.

            Or it can be completely armless.

          • on old Camrys and many other cars these break off completely with normal use in climates that get hot and cold, with people who aggressively pull handles these have come right off

      • ROBwithaB

        I hate electric windows. It bothers me that many cars nowadays don’t even offer manual windows as an option. They’re fiddly, difficult to adjust to the correct level, and are a ball ache to fix/replace once they break (as they inevitably do).

        But at least it makes some sense to replace the heavy winding mechanism required for manual windows with something lighter.
        Door locks are simple, light, and small. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The tiny bit of extra drag that a “normal” (recessed) door handle might induce is nothing compared to the energy required to keep an aircon going.
        I don’t like aircons. I prefer to simply drive with one or more windows slightly open. Almost impossible to do with electric windows. I know I’m probably in the minority here, and that most people LOVE gadgets just for the sake of it. The aerodynamics might have been the initial driver for the automated door handles, but the reason they were retained is that they are gimmicky tech that people can use to impress their neighbours.

        • Benjamin Nead

          I can’t stand them either. What’s surprising is that so many will defend automakers for continuing to cram our cars with gadgetry like this. As far as I know, you can’t even buy a car in the US any longer with manual window cranks.

        • neroden

          Actually door locks and handles are complicated and finicky. The “pop-out” handles on Model S are… also complicated and finicky.

          The door buttons on Model X are pretty simple.

        • Dragon

          From what I’ve read, opening window at highway speeds to cool the car actually uses more energy (due to increased drag) than using the air conditioner.

          • ROBwithaB

            I seem to recall an episode of “Mythbusters”…
            Sure, if you crank the window open fully. But that’s not necessary at all. I like to open up the driver’s window about an inch or so. And then another one at the back (diagonally opposite) a similar amount.
            Pleasant cool breeze of fresh air past my face. Life is good.
            And I get to smell the freshly cut grass and sweet cow farts from the surrounding countryside, rather than my own not-so sweet farts inside.

            Aircons use a lot of energy. Somewhere around 10%, depending on the temperature difference. Intuitively, this makes sense. You can “feel” the energy by noting all the warmth that has been extracted from that big lump of air. Where is the similar amount of energy being wasted if I drive with the window slightly open?

            Sure, if the window is wide open at speed, you can actually hear and feel the buffeting and it is clear that there’s a lot of vortices being created, which is warming up a “sausage” of air (slightly) behind the car, for kilometres.

            Small amount of breeze past my face is likely to draw a similar amount of power as a small electric fan, if you think about it…

          • Dragon

            I found the Mythbusters experiment you referenced:

            Unfortunately, there are a lot of variables they didn’t test. Air resistance becomes a bigger factor in fuel use as speed increases, so it’s possible that at 55 or 65 mph the AC would have beat the open windows on efficiency.

            They also used an SUV which has much higher drag than a Model S and so, I think, opening a window would increase drag by a smaller percentage on the SUV vs opening a window on a Model S, so again, AC could be more efficient.

            Not all AC is created equal. AC in an expensive EV is likely to be as efficient as possible to increase range while AC in an ICE SUV is likely to be less efficient since efficiency isn’t a big selling point on SUVs. AC also has a smaller cabin space to cool in most EVs vs SUVs so will use less power in the EV. Even making a car white instead of black will reduce AC use (not sure what color the Mythbuster’s SUV was).

            It seems logical that a cracked window should create less drag than a fully open window, but I’m not absolutely sure about that without it being tested somehow.

            In the end, I still have no idea which is more efficient, but since Model S tracks its energy use so well I will try to do some testing of my own.

          • ROBwithaB

            Mythbusters is mostly entertainment. Their experiments generally lack rigour, being designed to provide optimal display of spectacular destruction, and Kari’s tattoos and ta-tas. But fun nonetheless.
            One of the factors they didn’t consider was the delta between inside and outside temperatures.
            Something like a Tesla is actually a great test-bed for recreating the experiment, with more inputs and more accurate results. I’d be curious to see some hard data.

      • neroden

        Yeah, the aerodynamics were the stated ‘practical’ motivation. The Model X “door buttons” are an even more extreme way of getting aerodynamics.

    • Jenny Sommer

      Why doorhandles at all?

      • Benjamin Nead

        Exactly! We need Star Trek transporter technology that allows someone to enter the vehicle by having their atomic structure
        deconstructed and assembled on the other side of the door.

        • Tesla must design in the most electric motors of any vehicle in production. I *think* Jenny was actually asking why they need to include a physical door handle at all rather than (say) an “open the pod door, Hal” command via voice recognition, with a physical button on the remote for high ambient noise.

          • Jenny Sommer

            Or a cover to push in and get a grip of the recessed or flush handle.
            I can design a cheap and reliable, flush, mechanical solution.
            Hey Tesla…just contact me via Twitter or Disqus…

          • neroden

            Jenny, you’ll note that Model X does not have door handles. Just buttons.

        • Frank

          Minus any extra belly fat.

      • ROBwithaB

        Indeed. If the process is going to be automated, the handles are redundant.
        But I don’t like trusting such a simple thing to automation. I’ve never had trouble opening a door for myself.

        • Jenny Sommer

          Just pop the door mechanically by turning the key in the door lock. Or use a spring loaded, cheap cover to push in and open the door via recessed handles.
          If this cover was just screwed to some hinge anybody could just put in personalized covers in wood or covered in leather…

          • ROBwithaB

            The idea of discreet, personalised, polished wooden door handle covers fills me with a strange sense of joy.

      • yes, convert them to Model X style door buttons with all doors being power opening and closing like the X’s front doors for future orders!

    • Kyle Field

      Why not just make “normal” gas cars? How about “normal” coal fired electricity?
      Change the world Rob. Change the world.

      • Benjamin Nead

        You’re losing perspective, Kyle. It’s all about electric cars that don’t pollute, not exotic door handles. That’s why you have more than just me and Rob here exclaiming that it’s basically useless gingerbread
        and that if Tesla tries too hard to impress with gadgetry like this on the upcoming Model 3, while possibly cutting corners on something else far more important simply to meet a price point, then they’re going to be in trouble.

        • Kyle Field

          The Model S created a splash and probably gets more looks for the door handles than it does for being electric. They are sexy. 0-60 in 2.8 seconds. A 17″ touchscreen is sexy and THAT is what sells the majority of Teslas…not the fact that it’s electric. That’s a nice to have for most.

          So…my point is that it’s likely the fact that it’s abnormal…that there are so many cool things about it that sells them…which in turn gets people interested in electric cars. I drove a Leaf, my wife drives a Mercedes B-Class electric and nobody cares…but when I bought the Tesla, people flipped out and not because it’s electric.

          Having said that, it is also a fantastic electric car.

          • ROBwithaB

            Here are a few things that make the Model S one of the sexiest cars ever made, IMHO.
            1) The bodywork. Proportions, curves, clean lines, bulges, lack of unnecessary ornamentation. “Form follows function”, aimed at lowering the cd. But also a lot to do with the fact that you have a lot of flexibility without having to accommodate big lumps of engine, gearbox, fuel tank, etc.
            2) The fact that it teaches itself new tricks. (OTA updates.)
            3) Brilliant road-holding due to the millisecond response of power allocation to any combination of all four wheels.
            4) Blistering acceleration.
            5) Surefooted handling, due to low centre of gravity..
            6) Free long distance travel for life. The freedom to go anywhere, whenever you please, with (up to) six of your closet friends. The ultimate road trip vehicle.
            7) A range that aligns very well with that of most of my internal organs.
            8) Being able to drive past every single filling station, knowing that I’ll never again validate the crazy pathological ideologies of the bin Saud clan or their western flunkies by giving them my hard-earned money.
            9) No maintenance (until all those maintenance issues actually started cropping up, thanks to unnecessary complexity…)
            10) I can actually design my own car, exactly as I want it, before it is even made.
            11) Sexy doesn’t shout. It whispers.

            Many of the things that make the vehicle so mouth-wateringly sexy are directly or indirectly related to the fact that the car is electric. Sure, there are other electric cars, but what Tesla has done is to re-design the very notion of a car, from the ground up, to optimise the strengths of electric mobility. A bunch of very smart engineers, with a strong sense of purpose, spent a lot of time striving to make the “perfect” car. And it turns out, for all sorts of reasons, that the perfect car happens to be electric.
            And then they tried to make it even better, and that’s where the problems started. “Let’s take this everyday thing that works just fine, that has nothing to do with our mission of accelerating the transition to sustainable transportation, and see if we can re-invent THAT too.”
            Sometimes, smart people, if left to run free, and in packs, can become very stupid.

          • Dragon

            You’re quoting things people would only know about if they go online and research. I’ve literally heard someone walking behind my car go “Look at that big screen!” Haven’t heard anyone comment on the handles yet, but I have to assume they get noticed. There is definitely value to having a few startling features you just don’t see on any other vehicle. The frunk is another thing I assume catches attention. Those features may provoke someone to go online and do some research to find all the other info you mentioned.

            As for the body shape, it’s lovely, but I’ve seen plenty of other cars that share a very similar shape. It isn’t something that really grabs attention. Then again, the manager at a donut shop actually saw us parked outside and came out to admire the car and ask about it, so maybe the shape helps too.

          • Well said.

      • ROBwithaB

        I’d rather they devoted their attention to the important stuff.
        The world definitely needs changing, and fast. Things like that “coal fired electricity”. And petroleum fired car engines. Enormous amounts of R&D time and money need to be devoted to refining more appropriate technologies to replace these.

        In the greater scheme of things, automated door handles (and doors)are a distraction.

        People would still be inclined to buy a Tesla with a regular door and handles. Maybe even more so, without the threat of long-term maintenance problems.

    • t1oracle

      I just hope the Model 3 is more practical. The fancy door handles are nice, but not everyone cares about that.

    • Perttu Lehtinen

      The “normal” handles actually don’t always just work when it’s cold. I mean Finland cold.

      • ROBwithaB

        I’m interested to hear about this.
        What sort of problems were people encountering? Was it to do with differing co-efficients of thermal expansion of individual components? Or did water condense and then freeze inside the doors? Do certain designs of door handle actually get iced up on the outside of the vehicle?
        Presumably the Swedish automakers like Saab and Volvo would have been aware of the issue and found ways to solve it. What solutions did they use?

        • Jenny Sommer

          Locks freeze. U need to prepare locks so they don’t freeze in Winter. I broke a lock on my old Golf3 once in Winter. Sometimes the doors are frozen shut too and you can’t just pull them open.

          • ROBwithaB

            Thanks. I hadn’t heard about this problem before.

          • In other words: South Africa. 😀


          • ROBwithaB

            Although I hired a Mazda minivan in Eastern Ontario during February 2012. Went down to about -15C. Parked outside every night. Managed to get in and out repeatedly without problems.
            How cold does it have to get for doors and/or handles to freeze shut? What is the physics of the process? Is there some sort of sleet or ice involved?

          • Mike333

            In PA it’s usually a rainy-icy-snow combination.
            Pure snowfall doesn’t do it.

          • neroden

            It has to be roughly freezing point and wet. Condensation followed by freezing.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’ve been frozen out of a VW. Mechanical. Rain and quickly falling temps.

          • Perttu Lehtinen

            It depends also on the car and pure luck. Some mechanisms freeze easier than others. For example in my car the hatch lock freezes easily, but front doors usually work even in -30C. Also central locking itself seems to be pretty reliable even in very cold. It’s the bulk mechanics around it that fail.

          • neroden

            I’ve had the latch mechanism freeze even when the lock was working. That’s Minnesota.

        • Charles Quintin

          Years ago, I worked security in the northern U.S. A big facility, with lots of outbuildings. In the winter, water would drip on doorknobs, then freeze. A propane torch was standard equipment when patrolling. We’d need it to heat up doorknobs so we could unlock the buildings. Its not a car door I know, but still, ice gets in everything. Even overengineered stuff

          • Bob_Wallace

            I got frozen out of my car in a remote setting. Luckily I had a cigarette lighter with me. I was able to get the key part way into the lock and heat things up enough to get the door open.

            I had already tried to kick out a window but it wasn’t happening with rubber boots.

          • Frank

            The tesla has a much bigger battery than a normal ICE car. I wonder how much electricity it would take if they added resistive heating to the driver side door, and locks to be able to easily open it on a cold icy day. If you had plenty of range, that would be a good way to use it.

          • ROBwithaB

            Bob “Bear Grylls” Wallace.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Oh, please not. That guy is such a scenery chewer.

            How about Bob “Almost-Ötzi” Wallace….

      • Dragon

        I have to assume that Tesla style handles could freeze shut just as easily as standard handles. Unless Tesla handles have little heaters in them or something… Of course you can turn on the heat from your phone half an hour before driving and the cabin heat might filter out to the handles.

        • Perttu Lehtinen

          Your assumption is wrong because they have worked perfectly despite the fact that this winter was super cold in Finland.

    • SaturnV


    • neroden

      These stupid handles have sold so many cars.

      They are extremely successful marketing. Every time I show someone my car they are impressed by the handles. I think they’re dumb myself, but I can’t argue with the incredible viral marketing success. Whatever the costs are, they pay for themselves in marketing value.

  • Maloo

    you would think they would have change all of them at the same time considering they fitted a new version. perhaps supply is an issue.

    • Benjamin Nead

      But there wouldn’t be a chance for a followup story, when the other three eventually go south. What sort of helicopter was the technician flying when he came out to replace the subsequent ones? Inquiring minds want to know ! :-0

      • Knetter

        Spray. Everywhere. Like a 16 year old boy with cialis.

        • ROBwithaB

          Dude. Your fantasy life is showing.
          And it’s a bit disturbing, to be honest.

          We were all talking about door handles. And you’re… I don’t even want to know…

          • Benjamin Nead

            And you were saying the other day that one of Tesla’s greatest liabilities is letting the comments of their fans take the place of conventional advertising? We’re seeing now what that leads to.

  • Jamset

    Were they replaced for free?

    The Lamborghini Huracan has flush door handles also, but when you unlock the car the handles pop out.

    Maybe Tesla handles should depend on the remote control rather than touch sensors.

    • Yeah, covered under warranty.

    • D. Harrower

      Similar behaviour on Model S as well. Unlock the vehicle and all four handles pop out. In fact, they recently added the option to unlock/extend only the driver’s handle via a software update.

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