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Next generation seat retrofit, pics and tinkering with old seats


Vendor & Senior Tinkerer
Feb 23, 2014
Hickory, NC, USA
So, Tesla is finally offering retrofits of the "next-gen" seats for any Model S. I didn't see anything about this posted anywhere, so, here it is.

The seats were one of the things my wife loves about my car (P85D) vs hers (P85). So, went ahead and inquired about it not long ago.

Got a quote for the parts and labor on the 21st. Pulled the trigger on the 22nd. Parts came in to the service center in Charlotte, NC on the 29th. My install appointment was this morning.

And here is the result:


A P85 with VIN P28xxx with next-gen seats. :)

Total damages: $6,366.41 (includes $423.27 in sales tax). Whole process took about an hour. Kudos to the Charlotte service team!

They're the same seats that are in my P85D. Much more comfortable than the removed "Performance Leather" ones. They lack the red piping that the old ones had, but, not a huge deal to me or my wife. To note, the rear seats don't appear to be able to be retrofitted with the next-gen version for whatever reason.


Since I bought the new seats outright (there is no core credit for returned seats) I figured I would make a point keep them instead of just letting Tesla have them. Since I'm paying full price for the new seats I might as well do something with the old ones. If anyone actually *needs* a set, let me know before I start working on my next project (see below) and we can probably work something out. They weigh something like 50-60 lbs each. So, they got stuffed in the trunk for me to take home. :) They fit pretty snug, but I probably could have done a better Tetris job than the techs did I think. :p


Here are the bottoms of them. Driver seat is on the left and includes the memory module. Passenger seat is on the right and is "dumb" (just power through switches to the motors). Both have an occupancy sensor. The driver side one is just a binary switch, the passenger one is more complex and is a liquid bladder of some kind feeding into a pressure sensor, presumably for detecting the weight of the passenger for determining air bag use.


Here they are back to back laying in my basement.


I tinkered with them a bit. I was able to get the passenger seat functions full operational just by applying 14V to the right wires (thicker red and black ones on the harness...). So that's great.

The driver seat doesn't seem to work the same. The lumbar works when power is given, but none of the other functions work. Powering the main power connection and the power to the "memory seat module" doesn't help either. (A relay clicks twice when power is applied, still no response to the switches). According to wiring diagrams the driver seat memory module has CAN bus communication with the center display... and I'm guessing it will refuse to work without some kind of command or something. :( I'll have to investigate further later unless anyone has any ideas.

The motors appear the be all the same, just the wiring of the switches on the driver seat go through the memory module. I suppose if all else fails I could just bypass the memory module and use the passenger seat as a rewire template.

My plan is to use them in my upcoming electric go-cart project... :) ... I don't think seat position memory is going to be high on the list of things to do for that project, but it would be cool to have it working without too much modification.

Pretty cool though. :)


Edit: At some point my copyrighted images were illegally copied from my external hosting and re-hosted directly by TMC. TMC was never given permission to host and distribute my copyrighted images. I've corrected the image references. If my images are appropriated again without my permission I will be forced to take legal action.
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That's steep, though not bad when you consider it's an outright purchase and doesn't include a core module credit like other Tesla products might.

I need to actually experience these seats to see how amazing they are. I'd be tempted to take the driver's seat to replace the scratched one in my car, but I'm more interested in seeing this Go Kart.
That's steep, though not bad when you consider it's an outright purchase and doesn't include a core module credit like other Tesla products might.

I need to actually experience these seats to see how amazing they are. I'd be tempted to take the driver's seat to replace the scratched one in my car, but I'm more interested in seeing this Go Kart.

^ Yes. Yes you definitely do.

It's like night and day. If it were a minor improvement I definitely wouldn't have forked over $6k+ for them... but I definitely suggest you find some to sit in and try out.
I like the next-gens and could consider getting them for my car. I could be totally happy with the 1.5 sets b/c I find the headrests to be much more comfortable than the ones in my 2013. The 1.5s (and next-gens) feel closer to my neck so I could occasionally lean back against them while driving to rest my neck for a few minutes.
I was lucky enough that the NG's front and back came available during my 2 week ordering window. I was able to go to the SC and try them both out. It was well worth the 3500.00 option at the time.

A week later they dropped the rear NG availability and adjusted the price to 2500.for the front only. As I recall there was a very short time on ordering anything other than a P that you got both front and back NG's

Well worth the price. The after retrofit is a hard price to swallow, but those seats are worth it if you spend any amount of time in the car.
Messed around with the old driver-side seat a little more. Can't seem to figure out how to get it to let me use the controls. Even did some pull-up/pull-down on the CAN connection it has to see if that helps, but it must need some kind of go ahead from the center screen unit in the car. :(

I'm probably not going to bother with that and I'm just going to rewire the switches to act like the passenger seat, bypassing the memory module. No time for that right now though, so maybe in a week or so.
Presumably the CAN bus also controls seat heating?

Are there airbags in the seats themselves?

And does the hip point in the retrofitted car feel higher than it was before?
Have you ever compared the regular seats from the P85 to the current regular seats? I was very unhappy with the seats in the car we test drove, which was probably a similar VIN to your wifes, but the ones in our VIN 4xxxx car are vastly improved.
It would be great if Tesla could send out a bulletin to the service centers about the the upgrade. Ive been bugging my service center for weeks and finally got a call that I could order them, they told me they would keep my old seats. I see your old ones were returned, which is how it should be unless a core fee is refunded.
Can't just drop in the front seats there as the chargers sit underneath the rear seat bench. Would require some significant retrofit. Plus the front seats are likely to tall to fit between the floor and the headliner int he back (haven't measured that).

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