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

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

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 Panoramic Glass Roof

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