Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

Recent fire another reason all controls on screen are a bad idea!

kizamybute'

Member
Aug 24, 2019
177
411
Los Angeles, CA

What concerned me most about the article, after knowing that the owner is OK, thank god, is that he struggled to get the car unlocked to get out of the car.

Yes, ALL cars catch fire on very rare occasions, including gas and electric cars. That's not the point of my post.

The point is, Tesla has continued to move all controls to the screen. While that may be ok in some circumstances, in panic situations, it's HORRIBLE!

When your car is on fire, the last thing you want to do is go looking at your screen to find the unlock button or finding a push button on the door rather than feeling for a mechanical door handle you're instinctively used to using every day!! In panic situations, which this certainly qualifies, we need quick instinctive places to go for safety items, such as being able to quickly get out of the car in a panic / emergency.

I know as it is, if a car is ready to back into me, I can sometimes struggle to quickly get my had to the big horn button in the middle of the steering wheel. Now Tesla expects me to find a little touch-pad button on the side instead. Yeah, not going to happen when in a panic situation trying to save my car from getting crashed into.

Hadn't thought of the door locks being an issue until reading this article, but after re-consideration, it's an even bigger safety concern than most other things I've come up with in my own head. The same could be true if you ended up under water somehow. Or stuck on a train track with a train coming at you, or any other host of emergency / panic situations that could arise unexpectedly.

I said previously in another post, while these cars are absolutely INCREDIBLE, Elon has taken it too far too fast in his desperate hope that they will not need a driver behind the wheel. These may be appropriate whenever that day comes, apparently sometime well into the future. But, in the meantime, drivers are still required and user friendly and driver safety functions should always be "feel" items rather than "look" items. Need to be able to do certain things on instinctive feel. Not having to focus away from driving or other safety reasons to look at a screen. In many cases, requiring multiple steps to get to where you need to go for items that used to be available immediately without moving your hands or eyes.

So thankful the driver of this car was OK. And this post has nothing to do with the fire itself. Rather, just reassures my reasoning why the Model 3 wasn't for me 3 years ago and the New Model S is no longer for me either. Love my existing Model S, but these safety concerns are deal breakers for me. After 9 years in multiple Teslas, will sadly be moving on, unless something changes.

Please be safe. Use this as a reminder to know your vehicle instinctively. With as complex as the UI's are in these cars, can be difficult, but at least be sure to know all of the safety related items backwards and forwards in case of a very rare panic or emergency situation.
 
Last edited:

beatle

Active Member
Aug 31, 2019
1,251
686
Springfield, VA
There's a mechanical door release on the armrest just forward of the window switches. You don't need the screen or buttons for anything to exit the car. The 3/Y is the same. When I got out of a 3 for the first time I instinctively pulled that lever instead of hitting the button.

The bigger secret is opening the rear doors when there is no power as there is no mechanical release on the rear doors:


I really don't understand that one.
 

SoCalDude

Waiting... for my Model S LR MSM 19s
Apr 21, 2018
236
363
Irvine, California

What concerned me most about the article, after knowing that the owner is OK, thank god, is that he struggled to get the car unlocked to get out of the car.

Yes, ALL cars catch fire on very rare occasions, including gas and electric cars. That's not the point of my post.

The point is, Tesla has continued to move all controls to the screen. While that may be ok in some circumstances, in panic situations, it's HORRIBLE!

When your car is on fire, the last thing you want to do is go looking at your screen to find the unlock button or finding a push button on the door rather than feeling for a mechanical door handle you're instinctively used to using every day!! In panic situations, which this certainly qualifies, we need quick instinctive places to go for safety items, such as being able to quickly get out of the car in a panic / emergency.

I know as it is, if a car is ready to back into me, I can sometimes struggle to quickly get my had to the big horn button in the middle of the steering wheel. Now Tesla expects me to find a little touch-pad button on the side instead. Yeah, not going to happen when in a panic situation trying to save my car from getting crashed into.

Hadn't thought of the door locks being an issue until reading this article, but after re-consideration, it's an even bigger safety concern than most other things I've come up with in my own head. The same could be true if you ended up under water somehow. Or stuck on a train track with a train coming at you, or any other host of emergency / panic situations that could arise unexpectedly.

I said previously in another post, while these cars are absolutely INCREDIBLE, Elon has taken it too far too fast in his desperate hope that they will not need a driver behind the wheel. These may be appropriate whenever that day comes, apparently sometime well into the future. But, in the meantime, drivers are still required and user friendly and driver safety functions should always be "feel" items rather than "look" items. Need to be able to do certain things on instinctive feel. Not having to focus away from driving or other safety reasons to look at a screen. In many cases, requiring multiple steps to get to where you need to go for items that used to be available immediately without moving your hands or eyes.

So thankful the driver of this car was OK. And this post has nothing to do with the fire itself. Rather, just reassures my reasoning why the Model 3 wasn't for me 3 years ago and the New Model S is no longer for me either. Love my existing Model S, but these safety concerns are deal breakers for me. After 9 years in multiple Teslas, will sadly be moving on, unless something changes.

Please be safe. Use this as a reminder to know your vehicle instinctively. With as complex as the UI's are in these cars, can be difficult, but at least be sure to know all of the safety related items backwards and forwards in case of a very rare panic or emergency situation.
Do you own a Tesla? Did you know that they have mechanical handles on the front doors? You also do not need the screen to exit the vehicle. I am thankful too that he is alive and I hope Tesla can determine what happened here.
 

Dan D.

Member
Dec 7, 2020
698
797
Vancouver, BC
I have seen a YouTube video, they are there but integrated well into the armrest. Definitely needs to be part of the walkthrough of the car before delivery.
Emergency door opening devices need to be intuitive to anyone, regardless of any special training that may be offered. IMO.
If you're going to use a novel electrical haptic button, or anything other than a physical thing that can be grabbed, fine. But you also need the physical thing that can be grabbed. Right where someone panicking is going to be grabbing. Lots of drivers and passengers are going to be unfamiliar with the car manual.

My car has a door handle that is disabled when you lock the door. So if you want to get out in a panic you first have to unlock the door. I found this stupid so I had to physically modify the handle to unlock the door as you pull the handle. I get that it's dangerous to open the door while it's locked, but that's precisely the problem you need to overcome when you absolutely have to get out of the car. It's fine if the car unlocks after crashing, but it does not sound like this guy crashed exactly, he just needed to get out quickly.

As far as rear seat, having an emergency handle as well as child-proof rear doors is a bit of a challenge. Hiding the emergency handle between the seats on the floor is a non-intuitive safety feature. I'm not sure there is a good intuitive method of allowing rear passengers to open a child-proofed door while the car is rolling, in order to escape a fire.

Something that requires a lot of strength is risky too, a child cannot lift an x falcon wing door even if they could unlock the hidden switch, but an elderly or injured person likely can't open the door either. Plus the switch is too hidden to be useful anyway.

There needs to be more work done on these safety features, especially once all the windows in cars becomes unsmashable laminated glass and you're stuck in the car and can't figure out how to get out.
 

FunSecured

Member
Sep 7, 2019
110
236
Laguna Beach
I’ve had a 2018S and have a newly “Refreshed” Long Range S. As mentioned above by another, I can confirm there is an easily accessible manual release for the front doors integrated right on the door arm/handle itself. This is similar on the 3, Y, etc.

While there are manual releases for the rear doors, they’re not as quick/easy as the front.

All that said, in ALL my vehicles, we carry a small metal window glass breaking device for extraordinary situations and Tesla is no different for me in carrying that in the center console of the car, in the incredibly unlikely event anything should occur.

This, in the same way I carry a knife, in the event a car’s seatbelt will not release.

When one looks at frequency, these are truly corner cases/rare events, but being prepared and familiar serves anyone well; as “luck” generally does favor the prepared.
 

omarsultan

Active Member
Supporting Member
Jun 22, 2013
4,108
14,912
Northern California
The refresh S has a direct mechanical release integrated into the door armrest for both front doors--basically the same approach as the Model 3. For the rear seats, there is a mechanical release for each door in the carpeted area between the passenger's legs.

1625195618959.png
 

Dan D.

Member
Dec 7, 2020
698
797
Vancouver, BC
I’ve had a 2018S and have a newly “Refreshed” Long Range S.

All that said, in ALL my vehicles, we carry a small metal window glass breaking device for extraordinary situations and Tesla is no different for me in carrying that in the center console of the car, in the incredibly unlikely event anything should occur.

This, in the same way I carry a knife, in the event a car’s seatbelt will not release.

When one looks at frequency, these are truly corner cases/rare events, but being prepared and familiar serves anyone well; as “luck” generally does favor the prepared.
I believe the S Plaid and S LR have laminated glass that you cannot break with your tool. Or at least you can pound away at it for a while and maybe push it out eventually.
 
  • Like
Reactions: croman

stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
10,835
5,763
Emergency door opening devices need to be intuitive to anyone, regardless of any special training that may be offered. IMO.
If you're going to use a novel electrical haptic button, or anything other than a physical thing that can be grabbed, fine. But you also need the physical thing that can be grabbed. Right where someone panicking is going to be grabbing. Lots of drivers and passengers are going to be unfamiliar with the car manual.
This conflicts with the the desire for the user to not grab the manual release in daily use (which has to do with how frameless windows operate). Plenty of cars have similar designs where you have to look for the manual release (it's deliberately not the first thing you intuitively grab), but it's there. Tesla's design is already better than some of them. GM's cars have them on the floor.
 

Dan D.

Member
Dec 7, 2020
698
797
Vancouver, BC
This conflicts with the the desire for the user to not grab the manual release in daily use (which has to do with how frameless windows operate). Plenty of cars have similar designs where you have to look for the manual release (it's deliberately not the first thing you intuitively grab), but it's there. Tesla's design is already better than some of them. GM's cars have them on the floor.
Well if they insist on frameless windows then they can still look for a solution to emergency door opening that also allows normal operation day-to-day.

I wonder how do you expect every passenger to know this rule too, it wouldn't occur to me:
CAUTION: To avoid damage, windows automatically lower slightly when you open or close a door. If you manually
raise a window when the door is open, ensure it is slightly lowered before closing the door.
 
  • Like
Reactions: David29

Dan D.

Member
Dec 7, 2020
698
797
Vancouver, BC
I’ve had a 2018S and have a newly “Refreshed” Long Range S.

All that said, in ALL my vehicles, we carry a small metal window glass breaking device for extraordinary situations and Tesla is no different for me in carrying that in the center console of the car, in the incredibly unlikely event anything should occur.

This, in the same way I carry a knife, in the event a car’s seatbelt will not release.

When one looks at frequency, these are truly corner cases/rare events, but being prepared and familiar serves anyone well; as “luck” generally does favor the prepared.

I believe the S Plaid and S LR have laminated glass that you cannot break with your tool. Or at least you can pound away at it for a while and maybe push it out eventually.

Tnks. Didn’t even think about that! Hmmm. That’s worth checkin on. Did I mention I have a 45 as well?
Here you go, a new tool to cut through your laminated windows. The Extrication Tomahawk. Not sure how easy it is to use from the inside, and perhaps someone can make a smaller one...

 

henderrj

Active Member
Jun 16, 2014
1,008
839
Graham, WA, United States
The primary problem you have is creating a new problem. The reason most of these systems, such as the difficulty of manually opening the rear door, were put in place is because people died in more normal situations because they were easy to access. I think you're going to have the same problem with this. If you fix one thing, you're going to cause a problem in another area. To the gentleman who modified his door so that it would open in any situation, including moving, you might note that many people have found that that safety mechanism has kept them from getting out of the car when it's still moving slowly, because they forgot to put it in park. I think you're "fix" is worse than the original problem. This is going to require some careful thought.

Also, it is important to remember that electric battery fires are both extremely rare, and slow growing. There's plenty of time to get out for most people. I still remember one about the guy who hit something on the highway, got the warning in the screen, pulled over to the side, got into his glove box to get something, and then finally opened the door and got out. He walked slowly away and then a few minutes later it started to get to the point where it might have been dangerous to be close.

More data needed, but obviously no one was hurt. And, to my knowledge, no one has ever been hurt by the fire from a Tesla battery. Or any other electric car battery fire.
 

kizamybute'

Member
Aug 24, 2019
177
411
Los Angeles, CA
The primary problem you have is creating a new problem. The reason most of these systems, such as the difficulty of manually opening the rear door, were put in place is because people died in more normal situations because they were easy to access. I think you're going to have the same problem with this. If you fix one thing, you're going to cause a problem in another area. To the gentleman who modified his door so that it would open in any situation, including moving, you might note that many people have found that that safety mechanism has kept them from getting out of the car when it's still moving slowly, because they forgot to put it in park. I think you're "fix" is worse than the original problem. This is going to require some careful thought.

Also, it is important to remember that electric battery fires are both extremely rare, and slow growing. There's plenty of time to get out for most people. I still remember one about the guy who hit something on the highway, got the warning in the screen, pulled over to the side, got into his glove box to get something, and then finally opened the door and got out. He walked slowly away and then a few minutes later it started to get to the point where it might have been dangerous to be close.

More data needed, but obviously no one was hurt. And, to my knowledge, no one has ever been hurt by the fire from a Tesla battery. Or any other electric car battery fire.
There have been deaths in a Tesla where drivers were burned following an accident. Impossible to know if they died because of the accident itself, or because the car caught fire and they were injured and not able to get out of the car themselves due to the injury or were already passed on. Being that Tesla's are the safest cars in the world when it comes to impact, one would be reasonable to think they may have survived the impact, but not been able to move due to being stuck in the car from the impact or injuries.

Also according to this article, the car was engulfed very quickly, but who knows if that's an exaggeration from a driver in shock at the moment? He did state he saw smoke, struggled to figure out how to get out and right after he got out, the car was engulfed in flames. So not sure it takes all that long for a battery fire to get going pretty quickly, at least in some circumstances.

But again, my post wasn't about electric cars catching fire. As noted, it's rare. It's rare for any car. The post was more focused on how Tesla's innovation toward driverless cars too soon could be adding more danger while they still do require drivers and likely will for quite some time. I went back to the Model S, after having had a Model 3, primarily because the S was easier to operate safely and without distraction. I found myself distracted from the road far more often in the Model 3. The new Model S has taken things even further by removing the shifter, blinker, auto pilot and wiper stalks and removed the large horn button. Not to mention, chopping off half of the steering wheel's real estate. When I've had to swerve to avoid sudden object, I was happy my full steering wheel was there. All the new stuff is "cool", but, not practical and arguably less safe than it used to be. Of course, not everyone will agree, but being that just the Model 3, which still retains two stalks and a shifter, was too far for my own personal driving preference and self assured security feeling within my own car, the new Model S would certainly reduce my confidence in being able to handle panic / emergency situations.
 

whitex

Well-Known Member
Sep 30, 2015
6,706
8,049
Seattle area, WA
I have seen a YouTube video, they are there but integrated well into the armrest. Definitely needs to be part of the walkthrough of the car before delivery.
Did Tesla bring the walk-though back? Last I heard a walkthrough was deemed too expensive and cut from the delivery process. Even delivery quality inspection is reportedly discouraged.
 

Products we're discussing on TMC...

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top