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Opening rear doors without power

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Trnsl8r, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. Trnsl8r

    Trnsl8r Blue 85kwh since 12/8/12

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    Hi all,

    Don't mean to stir anything up, but for lack of better things to do I sat around reading the Model S quick guide: http://www.teslamotors.com/sites/default/files/blog_attachments/ms_owners_guide.pdf

    Noticed on page 28 the instructions for opening the rear doors in case of a loss of power:

    Skärmavbild 2012-09-22 kl. 10.39.07.png

    Now, I hope that losing power would be an extraordinarily unlikely event, but in the spirit of "hope for the best and plan for the worst" am I the only one slightly worried about this? I mean, in the back seat you would typically have either children or guests, and at least the latter would likely be unfamiliar with a Model S. So what if there is an urgent need to exit the car and it has lost power? Do we as drivers have time to instruct them where the emergency levers are? I guess I'm not understanding why they couldn't make mechanical door handles, at least on the inside, when apparently the front doors have them...

    Thoughts?
     
  2. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    So this is why the Model S needs seat back pockets... for the travel safety guide, to be read before departure.
     
  3. kevincwelch

    kevincwelch Active Member

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    #3 kevincwelch, Sep 22, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012
    hammer-1.jpg

    But seriously, I wonder if it is there for practical reasons -- kids with roaming hands intentionally or unintentionally opening the hatch. Only kids should be back there, and there are specifications in terms of size. Personally, I'd unlatch the kids and pull them over the middle seat to drag them out of the car. This would probably be faster. However, if you had a child who was mentally adept and dexterous, he could pull the latches himself.

    EDIT: I was confused. This is apparent in future posts.
     
  4. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Well, that's unusual. It never occurred to me that you'd need to do anything different from the inside if you lost power. Typically when there is no power it's getting into the car from the outside that comes up.

    "Fasten your seat-belts please. In the unlikely event of a power loss the emergency exit releases are under the vertical carpeting just below the rear seats".
     
  5. Trnsl8r

    Trnsl8r Blue 85kwh since 12/8/12

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    Me thinks you have this confused with the rear facing trunk seats? It's not, this is the regular back seat.
     
  6. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    This isn't for the jump-seats, it's for the rear passenger seats.

    --You beat me to it.
     
  7. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    If it's a real emergency, nothing is going to stop me from getting to the doors that open - seat backs be damned. Kids will probably bolt over them like they weren't there.
     
  8. kevincwelch

    kevincwelch Active Member

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    I stand corrected. You both are absolutely right. I registered the picture as the jump seats.

    Now that I am back on track, it does seem odd that opening the rear doors is done this way. As doug mentioned, it's another reason why there needs to be some pockets on the backs of the front seats for storing these manuals. (Geesh, are there personal flotation devices stored under the seats?)

    BUT, while I am on the subject of the hatch, the owners manual says "To open the rear liftgate, pull the cover from the mechanical release located on the underside of the liftgate, next to the trunk’s interior light. Then pull the mechanical release."

    Where is this? Is this next to the button that depresses to close the hatch (as if you're standing outside the car)?
     
  9. cinergi

    cinergi Active Member

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    I wonder if power to the doors/accessories/etc is cut off in an accident like the high-voltage traction power is. If not, it would have to be quite the catastrophic event to kill the power to the door latch mechanisms. I'm thinking more about running the car to empty or blown fuse ...
    Either way, it's not terribly different than an accident which deforms the car enough to prevent the door from opening (think jaws of life). Find another exit.
     
  10. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    According to the manual, in the event of a crash the door handles are automatically extended, presumably before the power is cut. So assuming someone is able to get out of the front seat, presumably they can simply open the back door.
     
  11. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    The Model S seems to have solenoid-activated door latches. My Cadillac CTS has these, and the door handle is really just a switch. (In fact, the 2-door CTS has no handle... just a button behind a recess). I noticed that the "feel" of the door opening mechanism on Model S feels almost identical to my CTS. With no power to activate the solinoid, you need some sort of mechanical release.
     
  12. Trnsl8r

    Trnsl8r Blue 85kwh since 12/8/12

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    Just for clarity, I started this thread with the door handles on the inside in mind. It sounds like you are talking about the external ones?
     
  13. cinergi

    cinergi Active Member

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    Both the internal and external handles actuate a solenoid-type device to open the door. The exception is (as I'm told) that the front door handles are also mechanically tied such that if you pull them far enough, they'll open the door via cable (in the event of power loss).
     
  14. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    So basically, if you're in the back seat and the power goes out you'll be so-le-noid.
     
  15. widodh

    widodh Model S R231 EU

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    Wonder what happens if the car hits the water.

    In this very unfortunate situation, will you still be able to open the door? Will they unlock the doors prior to cutting the power?

    Everybody should have one or more of those orange window hammers in the car, but it would be nice if you could open the doors as well.
     
  16. mulder1231

    mulder1231 Active Member

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    MythBusters did an episode on this a while back (not with an EV but a standard car).

    As it turns out, when a car submerges in water, the pressure is simply too high for a human to be able to force a door open. The cabin needs to be flooded to equalize the pressure before you can even attempt to open the door. Better strategy is to break one of the windows or the sunroof using a special hammer before the car is fully submerged and escape through the opening.
     
  17. widodh

    widodh Model S R231 EU

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    That is why I also mentioned the hammer.

    But if the doors already unlock, the car floods faster thus leveling the pressure and you'd be able to open the door. Some new cars also roll down the windows a couple of centimeters as soon as the detect water, to level the pressure asap.
     
  18. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Wouldn't it be better to leave the windows closed for a bit so that you can get over the initial panic before flooding the car with water--at least in an electric car that doesn't have any CO?
     
  19. widodh

    widodh Model S R231 EU

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    Makes sense as well.

    Point is that you want to even the pressure asap so that you can either open the doors or slam the window with the life hammer.

    I never hope to experience it, it seems like a horrible death to me.
     
  20. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    No because the pressure will prevent you from opening the windows until after ALL of the air is gone. Better to open them and let it flood quickly so you've still got some air in your lungs for the escape.

    Mythbusters has done a couple of episodes on this!
     

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