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A/C Effectiveness in 5-seat configuration - Predictions?

Will 5-seat A/C cooling be as effective in high heat (> 95 F) as the 6&7 seat config?


  • Total voters
    7
  • Poll closed .

essmd

Phantom X
Aug 14, 2015
372
228
DFW, Texas
I am hoping to get feedback from 5-seat owners regarding predicted cooling and air flow to the rear cargo area when outside temps are over 100 degrees.

I was one of those that was heartbroken and whiny when they eliminated the folding 2nd row seats from the original Model X presentation, so I ordered the 6-seat that was delivered in July. Being an avid fan of A/C living in Texas, I was very pleased with it's effectiveness after adding full ceramic window tinting, a necessary add-on.

We rarely use the 3rd row seats, but have 3 dogs that love to travel, and among them they share the 2nd row seats (covered), between-the-seat floor space, and the folded rear deck.

I am considering another X, prefer the 5-seat option for several reasons, don't care about the "unsightly" cosmetics but have concerns about the A/C effectiveness, knowing there is only a single fan system and less vents.

During a recent 5-seat demo, I noticed weaker air flow (compared to 6-seater) from the middle console and the B-pillars at max fan speed, only improved by partially closing the front vents, but nothing like the high flow from the secondary rear fan controls in the 6 seater.

Since 5-seaters were not being delivered until the winter, what are the thoughts and predictions for the summer heat, for passengers seated in the 2nd row as well the pups on the fully folded down deck. I am sure that with the 2nd row folded up, the air flow will be very much reduced in the very rear cargo area.

All reports from Tesla reps are that A/C compressor is the same for all Model X's, but will the lack of a secondary fan have a significant drop in A/C efficiency during the summer heat behind the front row?

Any thoughts and feedback appreciated, plus the attached poll.
 
It should be fine for front and 2nd row passengers. If you have any pets in the back area then definitely not. You can get the rear sunshade for the X and it majorly helps out with the heat that comes in the back hatch window (quite a bit does still). If that doesn't help then you could also add the FWD sunshades but haven't tried those yet. Quite a bit of warm still comes in the windshield itself but that has never been an issue - even though we all got that free sunshade too (more about light it seems).
 
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essmd

Phantom X
Aug 14, 2015
372
228
DFW, Texas
I think a good thermal tinting of all the glass will help more than the add-on shields. It made a huge difference just in the driver seat, as i clear tinted the entire windshield below the safety line, then darker above it so help with the intense Texas sun.

I just hope all 5-seat owners will not be disappointed with the inadequacy of the A/C system in the summer heat, as i will be one of them.

If it wasn't for the ability to pre-cool, I would be much more hesitant to commit.
 
I can tell you from experience that the 5 seater A/C IS NOT ADEQUATE. They have asked me to do a work around being pre-cool the vehicle before you get in. But that only helps for the start of a drive. The airflow out of the back vents is anemic. I would recommend that you DO NOT BUY a 5 seater for this reason alone as the A/C can not keep the real passengers cool.
 
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verygreen

Curious member
Jan 16, 2017
2,978
11,581
TN
I can tell you from experience that the 5 seater A/C IS NOT ADEQUATE. They have asked me to do a work around being pre-cool the vehicle before you get in. But that only helps for the start of a drive. The airflow out of the back vents is anemic. I would recommend that you DO NOT BUY a 5 seater for this reason alone as the A/C can not keep the real passengers cool.
Well, it depends, I guess.
In my 5 seater airflow out the center vents and right hand side vents in B pillar were ok.
Now left B pillar was anemic and they promised they'll fix it (still in service, so we'll see how that turns out).
Probably related, left and side dash vents were also under-performing.
 
I am hoping to get feedback from 5-seat owners regarding predicted cooling and air flow to the rear cargo area when outside temps are over 100 degrees.

I was one of those that was heartbroken and whiny when they eliminated the folding 2nd row seats from the original Model X presentation, so I ordered the 6-seat that was delivered in July. Being an avid fan of A/C living in Texas, I was very pleased with it's effectiveness after adding full ceramic window tinting, a necessary add-on.

We rarely use the 3rd row seats, but have 3 dogs that love to travel, and among them they share the 2nd row seats (covered), between-the-seat floor space, and the folded rear deck.

I am considering another X, prefer the 5-seat option for several reasons, don't care about the "unsightly" cosmetics but have concerns about the A/C effectiveness, knowing there is only a single fan system and less vents.

During a recent 5-seat demo, I noticed weaker air flow (compared to 6-seater) from the middle console and the B-pillars at max fan speed, only improved by partially closing the front vents, but nothing like the high flow from the secondary rear fan controls in the 6 seater.

Since 5-seaters were not being delivered until the winter, what are the thoughts and predictions for the summer heat, for passengers seated in the 2nd row as well the pups on the fully folded down deck. I am sure that with the 2nd row folded up, the air flow will be very much reduced in the very rear cargo area.

All reports from Tesla reps are that A/C compressor is the same for all Model X's, but will the lack of a secondary fan have a significant drop in A/C efficiency during the summer heat behind the front row?

Any thoughts and feedback appreciated, plus the attached poll.

Off-topic, @essmd, but you mention covering the 2nd row seats for your dogs. I'm waiting on a 6-seater and I also have dogs. How did you cover the 2nd row seats? Was it a home-made solution, or were the covers a product you bought?
 

rainforest

Active Member
Aug 21, 2016
1,221
638
Canada
I find that when the airflow direction is set to auto, there is almost no air flowing to the rear and b pillar vents, causing the 2nd row FWD windows to fog up when it's raining and supplying insufficient ventilation for passengers. Instead, I'm forced to turn off the auto airflow direction which is often set to the footwells, and instead manually select the upper vents and windshield vents.

Bottom line is, to get sufficient rear airflow, I can never set it to "auto". Is this some sort of software flaw?
 
I find that when the airflow direction is set to auto, there is almost no air flowing to the rear and b pillar vents, causing the 2nd row FWD windows to fog up when it's raining and supplying insufficient ventilation for passengers. Instead, I'm forced to turn off the auto airflow direction which is often set to the footwells, and instead manually select the upper vents and windshield vents.

Bottom line is, to get sufficient rear airflow, I can never set it to "auto". Is this some sort of software flaw?
For whatever it's worth, I hardly ever have the A/C on Auto in my Model S. Airflow is never right. Maybe the software is normed for SoCal, which isn't as cold as Canada or as hot as Florida.
 
I used my A/C yesterday in modest weather and wasn't particularly happy with the A/C to the 2nd row. On the "auto" fan setting, there was VERY little air. I manually dialed up the fan to 8 or 9 and it seemed ok at that setting and then I started playing with closing some front vents but it was just one short trip so I don't yet have a good feel for things.

I do have the 2nd row seats folded with a dog crate on top which got me wondering . . . doesn't Tesla say it uses the seat sensors to detect when someone is in the 2nd row seats and adjust the heat or a/c accordingly? I thought I read that from some source I trusted but I also don't want to be spreading rumors if that's simply not true. I just searched for it and didn't find anything official. Can anyone confirm (ideally with a reference) whether or not that's true? Could it be that there is damper which actually restricts the air to the 2nd row when someone isn't sitting on the seat? I intend to ask my SC.
 

boaterva

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
I used my A/C yesterday in modest weather and wasn't particularly happy with the A/C to the 2nd row. On the "auto" fan setting, there was VERY little air. I manually dialed up the fan to 8 or 9 and it seemed ok at that setting and then I started playing with closing some front vents but it was just one short trip so I don't yet have a good feel for things.

I do have the 2nd row seats folded with a dog crate on top which got me wondering . . . doesn't Tesla say it uses the seat sensors to detect when someone is in the 2nd row seats and adjust the heat or a/c accordingly? I thought I read that from some source I trusted but I also don't want to be spreading rumors if that's simply not true. I just searched for it and didn't find anything official. Can anyone confirm (ideally with a reference) whether or not that's true? Could it be that there is damper which actually restricts the air to the 2nd row when someone isn't sitting on the seat? I intend to ask my SC.
Even if that is true, there is a lot of air volume in the 'back' of an X. I would think they would see the need to cool it somewhat all the time, especially with the sun load through the back window(s).
 
I used my A/C yesterday in modest weather and wasn't particularly happy with the A/C to the 2nd row. On the "auto" fan setting, there was VERY little air. I manually dialed up the fan to 8 or 9 and it seemed ok at that setting and then I started playing with closing some front vents but it was just one short trip so I don't yet have a good feel for things.

I do have the 2nd row seats folded with a dog crate on top which got me wondering . . . doesn't Tesla say it uses the seat sensors to detect when someone is in the 2nd row seats and adjust the heat or a/c accordingly? I thought I read that from some source I trusted but I also don't want to be spreading rumors if that's simply not true. I just searched for it and didn't find anything official. Can anyone confirm (ideally with a reference) whether or not that's true? Could it be that there is damper which actually restricts the air to the 2nd row when someone isn't sitting on the seat? I intend to ask my SC.
Whether what you're saying is correct or not, I think that signal would be negated if the seat is folded, since the assumption (incorrectly, when carrying pets) would be that there is cargo, so no A/C needed.

Incidentally, I had people in the back seat and complain, or request, more A/C. So even if the air is restricted when there are no passengers, when there are, it's still not enough.
 
Even if that is true, there is a lot of air volume in the 'back' of an X. I would think they would see the need to cool it somewhat all the time, especially with the sun load through the back window(s).
I agree. They should be striving to maintain the temperature you set throughout the cabin. Although they may be thinking they can save energy if they only maintain the temperature for the front seats.
 
Too bad they don't treat the interior of the car as one space that needs the same A/C treatment no matter if there are seats in the back or not. It still needs to be cooled, with all the glass. I'd pay for the extra to get the same cooling hardware as the 6 and 7 seat versions have in a 5.
Tesla has done away with so many features that I really wanted in the name of simplifying the production process. Just think how much simplification you would get by having the same fan, duct system and software in all the versions! Then it would give the customer the decision about how they want to control cabin temperature.
 

boaterva

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Tesla has done away with so many features that I really wanted in the name of simplifying the production process. Just think how much simplification you would get by having the same fan, duct system and software in all the versions! Then it would give the customer the decision about how they want to control cabin temperature.
Exactly. You'd think it would be simpler assembly-wise to keep the A/C the same and only change the seats!
 
Off-topic, @essmd, but you mention covering the 2nd row seats for your dogs. I'm waiting on a 6-seater and I also have dogs. How did you cover the 2nd row seats? Was it a home-made solution, or were the covers a product you bought?

I purchased $20 neoprene seat covers from Costco that slipped over each seat nicely and quickly.

Since 2 of my pups weigh over 40 lbs, I learned to fasten the seat belts to avoid the warning icon in the dash, which overrides the left display, especially the nav.



seats.jpg
 
I find that when the airflow direction is set to auto, there is almost no air flowing to the rear and b pillar vents, causing the 2nd row FWD windows to fog up when it's raining and supplying insufficient ventilation for passengers. Instead, I'm forced to turn off the auto airflow direction which is often set to the footwells, and instead manually select the upper vents and windshield vents.

Bottom line is, to get sufficient rear airflow, I can never set it to "auto". Is this some sort of software flaw?

It is a long-time known dysfunction, that does not work like other vehicles.
I equate it to only adjusting the temperature of the air being blown, not a temperature setting meant to keep the interior at that temp.
You'd have thought Tesla would have fixed this by now.
 
I used my A/C yesterday in modest weather and wasn't particularly happy with the A/C to the 2nd row. On the "auto" fan setting, there was VERY little air. I manually dialed up the fan to 8 or 9 and it seemed ok at that setting and then I started playing with closing some front vents but it was just one short trip so I don't yet have a good feel for things.

I do have the 2nd row seats folded with a dog crate on top which got me wondering . . . doesn't Tesla say it uses the seat sensors to detect when someone is in the 2nd row seats and adjust the heat or a/c accordingly? I thought I read that from some source I trusted but I also don't want to be spreading rumors if that's simply not true. I just searched for it and didn't find anything official. Can anyone confirm (ideally with a reference) whether or not that's true? Could it be that there is damper which actually restricts the air to the 2nd row when someone isn't sitting on the seat? I intend to ask my SC.

It is your comment that has me concerned about changing from a 6-seater to a 5 seater, and you are not in the summer heat yet.

I did a solid comparison for air flow last month, and definitely had to close at least 2 of the front vents with the fan on 11 to make the B-pillars blow almost as much as when the rear fan is on high on the 6-seater.

While I mostly have my dogs behind me, I cannot allow 2nd row passengers to suffer on hot days from poor air flow.

I do plan on repeating all the thermal tinting I did, but airflow is essential.

How bad are you feeling about your current A/C unit?

The issue is not with the A/C compressor (same for both), but with the Air Flow - fan and vents.
 
For me, the jury is still out on this. I need some warmer days to test more. I'm also not convinced that people's advice of closing the front vents is the best workaround. The front center vents can be directed to blow between the front driver & passenger seats to get significant air flow to the back, and even the side vents will get some air back there. I'm not saying that's as ideal as having cool air blowing directly from the 2nd row vents (B-pillar & back of the center console) but some of the "coolness" will certainly be lost traveling through any conduits to the 2nd row.

I believe the temperature is read from the center console, behind the circle of air holes by the 12v socket, so I'm also tempted to tape up half of those air holes so less cool air from the front gets in there which can mistakenly cause the vehicle to think the entire car is at temperature when in fact it's only the front seats at that temperature.

I have an appointment at my SC tomorrow for a few other issues so I plan to ask about whether the rear seat fan control is affected by detecting someone on the rear seats. My 2nd row seats are folded down almost all the time for my dog so I also want to find out if that's penalizing my air flow to the rear vents.

So as I said, the jury is still out. The situation clearly isn't ideal, but I'm hopeful that I'll be able to make it work. I still have an old Ford Explorer without any 2nd row vents and apparently that was good enough for me for many years just blowing the fan on high from the front vents. I'm not saying that should be acceptable in our expensive Tesla's, but it gives me hope.
 

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