Life With 2013 Tesla Model S: Some Bikes Don't Fit


2013 Tesla Model S electric sport sedan on delivery day, with owner David Noland

I've now had my 2013 Tesla Model S for six weeks since it was delivered in late February, and I'm getting used to living with it.

I've recharged at the Supercharger network, measured its vampire current usage at night, tested the impact of speed on range, and even experienced my first software update.

According to Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA], one of the original clean-sheet-of-paper design criteria for the Model S was that the rear cargo area--with seats folded down--should be able to accommodate a bicycle without removing the front wheel.

As an avid cyclist, this was one of many factors in my purchase of the car.

But it doesn't apply to my bicycles, it turns out.

At 6'2", I'm a tall guy, and both my road bike and my mountain bike have large frames and high seat posts. 

With a bit of carefully choreographed manipulation and the passenger's seat pushed all the way forward, each bike just barely fits into the back of my Chevrolet Volt.

But to my surprise, the rear hatch opening of the much larger Model S is actually a smidgin narrower than the Volt's. That smidgin makes the difference.

Unless I want to push the bike forcefully against the Model S's soft interior material--and risk ripping it--the bikes simply won't fit in the back without removing the front wheels.

The road bike has a quick-release front wheel that pops off in a second or two, so it's no big deal to remove it.  But my mountain bike's front wheel is maddeningly designed to be virtually impossible to remove by hand, apparently for liability reasons.

So no mountain-bike excursions in the Model S.

Maybe that's not so bad after all. Do I really want to be loading a greasy, muddy mountain bike into the back of my pristine Tesla? Not really.

At least not until the new-pet-car syndrome wears off.

If it ever does.

David Noland is a Tesla Model S owner and freelance writer who lives north of New York City.

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