Video: Sci-fi wizardry of the Tesla Model S doors

Consumer Reports News: May 13, 2013 09:08 AM

It's clear the Tesla Model S dazzles us. But what you might not know is that even the door handles are cool.

As you approach the car, with the key fob in your pocket, they begin to motor out from the sides of the car so you can grasp them. You don't need to pull on them; a light squeeze releases the doors' electronic latches. It's the first thing that impresses everyone who checks out the car.

We're not saying the door handles on the Model S are the best ever. There's probably no need for any car to have motorized door handles. (Tesla says once underway, the retracted handles improve aerodynamics.)

To learn more about the Tesla Model S, see our road test review.

Cool as they may be, they aren't perfect. Before entering, you need to wait a second or two for the sleek, brushed-aluminum door handles to finish their extension before you can grab them. Several of our staff members expressed concern whether motorized door handles would even be strong enough to power out through a sheet of ice, if you left the car outside in a winter ice storm. And motorized door handles seem needlessly complex, increasing the odds of possibly having problems down the road.

Still, there's no question they add to the Tesla Model S mystique. Once you squeeze them and get in, the rest of the car only builds on the car-from-the-future impression.

Check out the video below to see the handles in action.

Read our complete Tesla Model S road test for more details, and check the Ratings to see how it compares to other luxury cars.

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Eric Evarts

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