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Xenon HID Headlight alignment for continental driving

tfboy

Gimme the Caaaaaar!
Jan 7, 2016
79
17
Reading, UK
First post here :) I thought I'd post in this section as there probably aren't many other RHD Teslas in other areas...

I went for my first Model S test drive yesterday from the West Drayton branch. Having read up an awful lot about Teslas in general, spending a week watching various YouTube videos, etc, I'm pretty clued up and know just about everything I need...

...except the whole thing about headlight alignment for EU driving.

I saw that you can change the height of the beam on the touchscreen, but no mention of deflecting the upwards sloping beam from the left (in the UK) to the right (rest of Europe).

I asked the friendly and helpful chap looking after me and he was stumped / didn't know.

Obviously, the car supports both.

So is it really clever and based on GPS, it knows which country you're in and adjusts the beam pattern accordingly making it a fully automatic process?

As I plan to go over to France quite a lot when I eventually get the Model S, it would be good to know.

Ta :)

Now for some more reading here :)
 

Brunel

Member
Jan 26, 2015
161
88
Bristol, UK
I think the adjustment is only on coils. I have air suspension and it is all automatic with no manual changes. Wrt Europe - the beam is tight enough so no adjustments are needed - just drive :smile:.
 

Drewflux

Member
Aug 25, 2015
272
96
Australia
First post here :)
So is it really clever and based on GPS, it knows which country you're in and adjusts the beam pattern accordingly making it a fully automatic process?
Unfortunately it's not a automatic process. The the beam shape is determined by the deflector shield inside the HID prijector. Tesla make two versions of headlight jousing LHD and RHD. On the rear of the housing is two adjustments to focus the beam along with the touch screen height adjustment. I would adjust the beams lower when driving in LHD countries.
 

tfboy

Gimme the Caaaaaar!
Jan 7, 2016
79
17
Reading, UK
Unfortunately it's not a automatic process. The the beam shape is determined by the deflector shield inside the HID prijector. Tesla make two versions of headlight jousing LHD and RHD. On the rear of the housing is two adjustments to focus the beam along with the touch screen height adjustment. I would adjust the beams lower when driving in LHD countries.
Thanks DrewFlux. Do you know of those adjustments are "user-accessible" ones or are you meant to take it to a service centre and ask Tesla to do it?
I guess us in the UK form quite a minority with the requirement to switch. I'm just a little surprised that given all the tech in the car, this isn't more apparent / the Tesla demo chaps in the stores don't know about it.

I've not found the headlight adjustment settings on the touch screen. Where can they be found?
I can't remember exactly, it was in the Controls set of menus. I think there's a screen for lighting where you can turn the interior lights on and off. On that screen is a section for exterior lights and there was a 0, -1 and -2 setting or something like that.

If you don't adjust the deflection, then the only way to reduce the blinding of incoming drivers is to lower via the touchscreen. The issue then is the normal horizontal flat beam (the main part directly ahead of you) is really rather low meaning you don't see as far ahead as you should with the dipped beam lights, making it a safety concern... Maybe because the car's source is electric, they've deliberately lowered the power of lighting - I understand the ballasts and bulbs are 25W not 35W or sometimes 50W which is available on HIDs.
 

arg

Supporting Member
Aug 22, 2012
1,803
1,787
Cambridge, UK
I can't remember exactly, it was in the Controls set of menus. I think there's a screen for lighting where you can turn the interior lights on and off. On that screen is a section for exterior lights and there was a 0, -1 and -2 setting or something like that.

I believe this feature only exists on cars with coil suspension - it's there primarily to compensate for load, so with the air suspension that's self-levelling, you don't need it for that purpose.

If you don't adjust the deflection, then the only way to reduce the blinding of incoming drivers is to lower via the touchscreen. The issue then is the normal horizontal flat beam (the main part directly ahead of you) is really rather low meaning you don't see as far ahead as you should with the dipped beam lights, making it a safety concern... Maybe because the car's source is electric, they've deliberately lowered the power of lighting - I understand the ballasts and bulbs are 25W not 35W or sometimes 50W which is available on HIDs.

There's a rumour going around that the headlight pattern is symmetrical enough that you don't strictly need beam deflectors for driving on the continent.

Another rumour suggests that the reason for the lower power HIDs is that EU regulations require headlight washers to be fitted above a certain headlamp power, while Tesla's US-focussed design makes them hard to fit.

Can't vouch for the accuracy of either of these...
 

tfboy

Gimme the Caaaaaar!
Jan 7, 2016
79
17
Reading, UK
I believe this feature only exists on cars with coil suspension - it's there primarily to compensate for load, so with the air suspension that's self-levelling, you don't need it for that purpose.
There's a rumour going around that the headlight pattern is symmetrical enough that you don't strictly need beam deflectors for driving on the continent.
Another rumour suggests that the reason for the lower power HIDs is that EU regulations require headlight washers to be fitted above a certain headlamp power, while Tesla's US-focussed design makes them hard to fit.
Can't vouch for the accuracy of either of these...
Ahh, that could make sense: I saw the height adjustment in the menus on one car outside - it must have had the standard suspension which might explain why others don't see if if they have air.
I don't think the pattern is symmetrical at all: I tried it on the car outside: the beam definately deflected upwards on the left hand side and didn't on the right. So that bit going up on the left would blind people as they approached you when you're driving on the right...
Of course, I don't know yet how much continental driving I'm going to do, but one of the appeals of the whole thing is being able to drive, use the SC network as you go from town to town, etc. Whilst I wouldn't mind so much on a budget car, it does bother me on a high end car: I have difficulty accepting these limitations or compromises that might be necessary preventing me enjoying the car the most.
 

Whitmarsh

Member
Ahh, that could make sense: I saw the height adjustment in the menus on one car outside - it must have had the standard suspension which might explain why others don't see if if they have air.
I don't think the pattern is symmetrical at all: I tried it on the car outside: the beam definately deflected upwards on the left hand side and didn't on the right. So that bit going up on the left would blind people as they approached you when you're driving on the right...
Of course, I don't know yet how much continental driving I'm going to do, but one of the appeals of the whole thing is being able to drive, use the SC network as you go from town to town, etc. Whilst I wouldn't mind so much on a budget car, it does bother me on a high end car: I have difficulty accepting these limitations or compromises that might be necessary preventing me enjoying the car the most.
Suggest you look at this link: Changing the lights when travelling abroad | Speak EV - Electric Car Forums. speakev is a very useful site for all sorts of things to do with EVs.
 

tfboy

Gimme the Caaaaaar!
Jan 7, 2016
79
17
Reading, UK
Thanks Whitmarsh, I'm also on Speak EV now :) Although I'm with Eletric Toad: there is a difference and beam does slope up on the left as I noticed during my time at the Tesla Store in Heathrow. So if, on springs, you can manually lower the beam so the "pointy up bit on the left" doesn't dazzle incoming drivers, the horizontal part is going to be really low giving you very little range. If on air, you don't get the adjustment. I can't see how you could "compromise" the beam and tech of HID so much that one solution fits all...
 

Battpower

Supporting Member
Oct 10, 2019
1,992
1,953
Uk
Sorry for posting to this old thread, but I'm struggling to get to the bottom of this, and find nothing newer.

On 2019 Raven S UK RHD, the beam is not symmetrical at all and as far as I can see as others have posted, goes up quite markedly to the left. The idea of deflecting the beams downwards doesn't sound correct as you would lose too much illumination.

My guess is that stick on beam diflectors should work as on any other car.
 

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