Starting and Powering Off

Starting

When you open a door to enter Model S, the instrument panel and touchscreen power on and you can operate all controls. To shift Model S, press the brake pedal and swipe up for Drive or down for Reverse on the touchscreen's drive mode strip (see Shifting).

If Auto Shift out of Park is enabled, Model S automatically selects Drive or Reverse based on inputs from various sensors. Pressing the brake pedal shifts the vehicle into the selected drive mode displayed on the instrument panel (provided the driver's door is closed and the driver's seat belt is buckled), and pressing the accelerator moves the vehicle in that direction (see Auto Shift out of Park).

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Note
To turn Auto Shift out of Park on or off, touch Controls > Pedals & Steering > Auto Shift out of Park.

Before accelerating when Auto Shift out of Park is enabled, check the instrument panel to make sure that Model S has shifted into the drive mode you want (Drive or Reverse). If the selection is not correct, or if Auto Shift out of Park is not enabled, swipe up for Drive or down for Reverse on the touchscreen's drive mode strip to choose a new drive mode. See Shifting.

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If the PIN to Drive feature is enabled (see PIN to Drive), you must also enter a valid PIN on the touchscreen before you can drive Model S.

Everything you need to know when driving Model S displays on the instrument panel.

Drive Disabled - Requires Authentication

If Model S does not detect a key when you press the brake (a key fob or phone key is not detected or two minutes have passed since you used the key card), the touchscreen displays a message telling you that driving requires authentication.

If you see this message, place the key card in either phone dock where the RFID transmitter can read it. The two-minute authentication period restarts and you can start Model S by pressing the brake pedal.

Placing key card onto center console to authenticate before driving.

A number of factors can affect whether Model S can detect a phone key or key fob (for example, the device's battery is low or dead and is no longer able to communicate using Bluetooth).

Always keep your phone key, key fob, or a key card with you. After driving, your key is needed to restart Model S after it powers off. And when you leave Model S, you must bring your key with you to lock Model S, either manually or automatically.

Powering Off

When you finish driving, simply exit the vehicle. When you leave Model S with your phone key and key fob, it powers off automatically, turning off the instrument panel and touchscreen.

Model S also powers off automatically after being in Park for 30 minutes, even if you are sitting in the driver’s seat.

Although usually not needed, you can power off Model S while sitting in the driver’s seat, provided the vehicle is not moving. Touch Controls > Safety > Power Off. Model S automatically powers back on again if you press the brake pedal or touch the touchscreen.

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Model S automatically shifts into Park whenever it determines that you are exiting the vehicle (for example, the driver's seat belt is unbuckled and the vehicle is almost at a standstill). If you shift into Neutral, Model S shifts into Park when you open the door to exit. To keep Model S in Neutral, see Instructions for Transporters.

Restarting the Touchscreen

You can restart your touchscreen if it is unresponsive or demonstrates unusual behavior.

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To ensure the safety of occupants as well as other road users, restart the touchscreen only when the vehicle is in Park.
  1. Shift into Park.
  2. Hold down both scroll buttons on the steering yoke until the touchscreen turns black.
    Steering yoke with zoombox of up arrows pointing at the left and right scroll buttons.
  3. After a few seconds, the Tesla logo appears. Wait approximately 30 seconds for the touchscreen to restart. If the touchscreen is still unresponsive or demonstrating unusual behavior after a few minutes, try power cycling the vehicle. See Power Cycling the Vehicle.
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Restarting the touchscreen also activates the drive mode selector on the center console.
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Restarting the touchscreen using the scroll buttons does not power Model S off and on.

Power Cycling the Vehicle

You can power cycle Model S if it demonstrates unusual behavior or displays a nondescript alert.

  1. Shift into Park.
  2. On the touchscreen, touch Controls > Safety > Power Off.
  3. Wait for at least two minutes without interacting with the vehicle. Do not open the doors, touch the brake pedal, touch the touchscreen, etc.
  4. After two minutes, press the brake pedal or open the door to wake the vehicle.