One of the features I went back and forth on quite a bit during my purchasing decision was the premium lighting option. This is a $1,000 USD option when you order the Model S and i’ve heard no reports of it being possible to retrofit once you take delivery.
One of the challenges with this option is that its very difficult to see in person as most of the test drive vehicles do not have it. Its also difficult to appreciate and see it during daylight hours when you would likely be test driving and visiting the store or delivery center.
Another challenge with it is getting reasonable pictures. Tesla does a good job on the site and accurately (if in an understated way) describes the feature.
With the feature each of the four doors has a strip of ambient lighting that is on whenever your headlights are on (and if the option is enabled in your settings). I really like the touch this adds to the car and I think it helps offset the large 17″ screen. While the 17″ screen has been a lot less glaring and distracting than I thought it would be, I think this ambient lighting has helped with balance against the large screen.
Ambient lighting has helped with balance against the large screen
When the door handles are extended the rear doors have puddle lights in the door handles just like the front doors. I really like the symmetry this brings. It’s almost like Tesla removed the rear puddle lights just to have more to add to this feature.
It’s almost like Tesla removed the rear puddle lights just to have more to add to this feature.
Whenever the interior lights are on (in park and when you’re entering or exiting) there is a strip of lights under the front row seats that provide rear footwell visibility as you get into or out of the car. Otherwise you’re relegated to the pinpoint four LEDs on the headliner which are a lot more glaring than ambient.
When I first took delivery I thought they had forgotten the premium lighting. Not because it wasn’t there but because it was so naturally part of the car. The touch is pretty subtle. Other than the test drive where I was focussed on other things (!) and a brief loaner I had, I haven’t spent much time in other Model S’s so it’s really hard for me to imagine a Model S without these lights “where they belong”.
It’s really hard for me to imagine a Model S without these lights “where they belong”
Passengers have commented on the ambient lights in the doors as a cool feature and a nice touch. None have commented on the extra puddle or rear footwell lights but they didn’t know they were an option.
I think the premium lighting option should be standard in all Model S’s and I think that, at $1,000, it is currently over priced. This leaves new potential owners with a tough decision. If there are other options you’re looking at this feature should be near the bottom of the list (but above even sillier things like the alcantara headliner). If you’re stretching to make the dollars work for your budget then you can easily pass on this feature. While the Model S is an expensive car, this is the only feature that I felt that I “splurged” on as an unnecessary but cool addition to the car. I still think the feature was overpriced but i’ve enjoyed it every day i’ve driven the Model S and have no regrets on adding premium lighting to my order.