Which Tesla Options Are Worth The Price?

3 months ago by Steven Loveday 29

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

The Tesla Model S is loaded up fairly well from the start, but there is a plethora of options and upgrades, and they’re not cheap. How can you be sure that the extra cash is worth the feature?

Our friend over at Plugless (makers of fine aftermarket wireless solutions for the Tesla Model S, BMW i3, Votl and LEAF) did a “casual” study by going right to the source – current Tesla Model S owners. Yes, they just pored through forum posts and electric car website comments to get the real deal from those that know and have actually experienced the features. Who better to ask than someone that has paid for and utilized the add-ons?

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

Let’s take a look at what they learned.

Enhanced Autopilot – $5,000

  • What is it?

Autopilot is the most popular feature available in Tesla vehicles. The “Enhanced” just means that it is the newest version. You won’t get a “basic” Autopilot for free. It includes adaptive cruise control, auto lane-change, lane-keep, auto freeway change, summon, etc.

  • Is it worth it?

The consensus is that it is worth the $5,000, or even the $6,000 that you have to pay if you add it after the fact. To some, Autopilot is synonymous with Tesla.

Full Self-Driving Capability – $3,000

  • What is it?

All Tesla vehicles come out of the gate with the hardware potential for full self-driving capability
(Level 5 autonomy). However, it is not ready yet, and will require software updates. You are paying ahead to save money on the necessary update, once it becomes available and is approved.

  • Is it worth it?

This one is a big gamble. No one has any idea on time frame, and whether or not regulators will fully approve it (and when). But, most Tesla owners have a lot of faith in the company, and they believe that Elon Musk will deliver. If you have the extra cash on hand, and dream of full autonomy, go for it. You better believe that it will be cheaper now than later.

Ultra High Fidelity Sound – $2,500

Inside a Tesla Model S

  • What is it?

This feature is exactly as the title describes.

  • Is it worth it?

Forum respondents seemed okay with this upgrade when it was $990 in the past. But $2,500 is a big chunk of change. Some noted that you can go aftermarket and get fabulous sound for less money. Others were happy with the standard sound system.

Model S Self-Charging Upgrade (Plugless) – $3,799

  • What is it?

With aftermarket parts and professional installation, you can charge your Tesla without having to plug in.

  • Is it worth it?

Posters here at InsideEVs have often wondered why Tesla doesn’t offer this service itself. It’s definitely convenient, and people that have it, seem to love it. Again, like the sound upgrade, it’s lots of money and it’s merely a convenience. If you have the cash, why not? But, it’s not a necessity for most people.

Upgrade to 4G – $500

  • What is it?

Older Model S vehicles use a 3G network. This upgrade allows for a faster 4G LTE connection.

  • Is it worth it?

This depends on whether or not you use your in-car internet, and what you use it for. The 3G lags, especially when using maps or streaming. However, another recent study suggested that many Tesla owners rarely use these services. Perhaps it’s because they don’t have 4G? It’s only $500, and if lag or finicky internet bothers you as much as it bothers us, it may be worth it.

Ludicrous Mode – $5,000 plus labor

  • What is it?

Tesla’s “Go Fast” feature.

  • Is it worth it?

Are you all about performance? Do you need to hit 60 mph in record times? Is it okay to put extra stress on your Tesla?

Some people are buying their Tesla because they are pro-environment. Others want a family-friendly, state-of-the-art luxury vehicle. Still others want $5,000 worth of G-Force. This one is really your call.

High Amperage Charger – $1,000

Tesla Model S

  • What is it?

With this upgrade, you can charge faster at home or at destination chargers (Level 2 chargers). It doesn’t affect Supercharging speed.

  • Is it worth it?

Aside from longer range, faster charging is really one of the number one goals/obstacles in the EV world. However, Tesla only recommends this upgrade for people that regularly travel “off the beaten path.” This is likely because you can fully charge your vehicles overnight regardless of charging speed, and Superchargers are available for trips that are “on the beaten path.”

$1,000 for faster charging seems pretty reasonable. But, keep in mind that you will probably have to make electrical upgrades at home too. Respondents that did this found it to be a waste.

Premium Upgrades Package – $3,500

  • What is it?

This is a functionality upgrade. You get upgraded air filters (bioweapons defense mode), more lights, luxury interior additions, a power liftgate, etc.

  • Is it worth it?

If you’re buying a luxury car and you want it to have all the finest features, you need to get the Premium Upgrades Package. The $3,500 is not a huge amount of money for everything that you get. People appreciated the power liftgate (which you can get aftermarket for about $500). If you are spending the kind of money it costs to get a Tesla Model S, the luxury features are something that you probably have come to expect, and should splurge for.

Panoramic Glass Roof – $1,500

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S Panoramic Glass Roof

  • What is it?

The title speaks for itself … a huge glass roof!

  • Is it worth it?

Most forum talkers love the panoramic roof. Surprisingly, there were no complaints about it causing temperature issues (it has a pre-cool function). It provides an amazing view, additional headroom, and accommodates roof racks. For $1,500, Tesla owners say “Get it!”

As with any informal “study,” there will be many of you that agree or disagree vehemently with this list. It is not meant to be official. It is fun to read what Tesla owners think and have experienced.

Please share your thoughts with us about the different features and whether or not you think they are worth the price.

Source: Plugless

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29 responses to "Which Tesla Options Are Worth The Price?"

  1. Kim Jorgensen says:

    Very interesting, thanks a lot.

  2. MTN Ranger says:

    No to all except panoramic glass roof and possibly premium upgrade package. Obviously just for me of course.

    1. pjwood1 says:

      Body color roof does not have racks. Pano, that opens, does. I don’t know about the all-glass roof, which was a recent third option (doesn’t open).

  3. georgeS says:

    Good article. Food for thought since we will have to configure M3 orders in June.

    I’ll definitely go for AP but not fully self driving.

    We don’t have to worry about ludicrous mode though as it won’t be available in June.

    Is Panoramic glass a standard feature for M3???

    1. pjwood1 says:

      “Ludicrous”, I’m pretty sure, is no longer an option. It comes with P100D, and not any other Tesla. Historically, it was optional only on PXXD cars.

    2. MTN Ranger says:

      Just like Model S, metal is standard. All glass is optional probably around $750, panoramic is optional probably around $1000.

  4. SparkEV says:

    Different strokes for different folks. Only “option” I want it the ability to tow 1500 lb trailer. If there’s an option to let me sleep while the car drives in freeway traffic under 25 MPH, that’s another to consider.

  5. Devin Serpa says:

    Meh, only the 4G and high amp charging and add more to convenience, cheap too.

    Wireless charging is ridiculous, why volunteer to lose ~10% of your energy? That’s a step back for an efficient car.

  6. M3-reserved says:

    AP and Sunroof. San Diego sun and fun. Hopefully that’s enough check boxes for west coast early delivery.

  7. Glad you all find this information useful. We’ve been asking Tesla Model S owners to chime in on the options they chose. If you want to add your voice to that data please take the quick survey here – https://www.pluglesspower.com/model-s-options-poll/

    We have preliminary results of that survey but we need more data – sign up for an email (in the survey) to get those results when we get to critical mass.

    1. TomArt says:

      Thanks for doing this!

    2. pjwood1 says:

      Will respond!

      1. pjwood1 says:

        Am I missing something, or is that link looking for feedback on wireless charging? Options lists tell you how Tesla builds cars. They don’t necessarily tell you preference, or value.

        1. The last question of the poll does ask for feedback on Wireless Charging, yes. The other questions gather the options Tesla Model S chose. Thanks for asking.

    3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Thank you muchly, PluglessSteve! Much appreciated.

      If you’re offering aftermarket enabling of plugless charging for Tesla cars, then I suppose you’ll be sorry if and when Tesla changes its anti-wireless policy!

      I understand why Elon is opposed to that, as it is an additional loss of efficiency. However, due to the added convenience and the fairly low daily cost, I think it’s inevitable that wireless charging will become the standard for EVs, and likely within just a few years.

      1. Thanks for your comments – no, on the contrary, we’ll be very happy when they jump into wireless EV charging. First, we’d obviously love, and would be best positioned to partner with Tesla (important disclosure: we did not develop Plugless with Tesla). But in that hypothetical, Tesla has a long track record of inspiring the rest of the industry. Directly or indirectly, it will be a positive not only for us, but for accelerating EV adoption.

  8. TM says:

    High amp charging seems a waste to me. Slow is still slow, and who cares as these should be done at night – what is the gain of 3 hrs while you sleep vs 4 hrs while you sleep?

    1. georgeS says:

      like the article says. If you are going on a long trip off the beaten path and away from superchargers then It is nice to have the capacity. Most of Tesla’s destination chargers will charge at 20 kw.

      I like my extra 10 kw charger it comes in handy for that reason. But if you are charging at home overnight then the option is not worth the money.

  9. Wannabe says:

    Any feedback on the all-wheel drive? Seems like the owners in states with a lot of snow would find it very useful, whereas the mild climates-not so much?

    1. MikeG says:

      AWD is a must for any long-distance EV as the range improves over RWD.

  10. Taylor S Marks says:

    The thing I always wonder about is the smart air suspension.

    I took a test drive of a car with it, and it just seemed silly to me – never seemed useful.

    1. TomArt says:

      Yes, I would really like to see solid feedback for that!

      1. pjwood1 says:

        I’ve had four Model S (blushing), three coil and one air. Wife’s is stock height. I lowered mine, by machining additional rings into the struts (~1″ lower). Air makes for a nicer ride on imperfect roads, but potholes feel about the same. Control is better with coils, if slight for most people.

        The trouble is, the less sports oriented folks are, the more encouraged they find themselves with the marginally less body roll that the air suspension provides. That inspires confidence, even if grip is no better. The traditional suspensions have marginally more body role (which, to a skateboard Tesla is close to zero) but when they “set up” in a turn are more confidence inspiring as grip is lost. Air=disconnected.

        If you occasionally drive really hard, you might be happier with coils. That said, the stock ride height of Model S on coils is about equal to the “High” setting on the air suspension cars. Some don’t like that “look”.

        Sorry if too much detail.

  11. Jonathan B says:

    Completely left off the list is “Bigger Battery” which I believe is the single option everyone should get! Let’s say that the extra 10-15kwh costs you $5K. This is still hands down a great option to take advantage of. (1) The bigger pack will offer you more range just for everyday use (2) It will charge faster on the supercharger network because it can charge at higher kw for a longer period of time. (3) It will degrade more slowly because it will cycle through less frequently for similar mileage. (4) Even when degraded, it will have similar range to the standard battery option. (5) You’ll have greater resale value in the future.

    Unless you are a Lease for 3 years and dump the car person, you absolutely should get a bigger battery pack.

  12. MVP says:

    How about getting the options pricing correct?

    Many errors here, all easily corrected by looking at Tesla.com.

    Thx.

  13. If only one option at costs, definitely the Premium Upgrades Package, because of the medical grade HEPA filter system, which is truly amazing in keeping the air inside the Tesla clean and the unbearable ICE stink out! But of course you can’t do without the Autopilot anymore neither, so that’s a close second.

  14. Justin Lutz says:

    How does one get the power liftgate option after market?

  15. theishu says:

    First of all, Thank You! I’ve been looking for such information for months now! Great to see it all compiled here with a neat bow on top.

    Second, would love to know more about what people think of all the other options, like wheel sizes, etc. Or even paint colors: for instance, Tesla’s paint is ‘soft’ due to no VOCs (California regulations). How do the various colors/coats fare over time? Any other insights into specific colors? E.g. Black gets dirty really quick.

    1. theishu says:

      Forgot to ask about seats. Now that we have had maybe two or three different seat options (including the ultra white), what do the owners think of them?

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