Tesla is currently one of the world’s most innovative automobile and sustainable energy developers.
They invest massive funds in research and development to deliver premium quality electric vehicles that can last more than 500,000 miles.
Moreover, we’ve come to trust the company and believe everything they make lasts.
Well, one prominent feature that seems to have faded into obscurity is the Tesla panoramic sunroofs. Do they still make them?
Current models of Teslas do not have sunroofs, as the company stopped producing them in November 2018. If you still want a Tesla with a sunroof, however, you could opt to buy a 2012-2018 Tesla Model S, as these were the only Teslas made with sunroofs.
Why did Tesla cease producing sunroofs? What are the shortcomings of the sunroofs? What are their alternatives? Are the alternatives better?
Here’s Why Tesla Ceased Having the Sunroof as an Option
The sliding panoramic sunroof was a standard feature on the Tesla Model S from 2012 to 2018. At first, it was lauded as one of Tesla’s premium features and a move in the right direction.
However, it wasn’t long before the masses realized that having a panoramic sunroof on a Tesla was impractical.
It was costly to the manufacturer and a source of some reliability issues plaguing the Teslas as well as other cars featuring panoramic sunroofs.
From 2012 until June 2015, Tesla used an older sunroof featuring roof mounting straps on the edges of the side panels.
Afterward, they updated the sunroof and introduced a newer version with mounting flaps at the side panels’ middle instead of the edges.
However, the new version didn’t solve the issues of leakages and breaking associated with its predecessor. Both had significant mechanical faults that would cause the sunroofs to open or close partially instead of completely.
Secondly, the rubber seals on the sunroofs weakened and would occasionally result in leaks and wind noise.
Thirdly, it’s challenging to overcome the above-stated shortcomings of the panoramic sunroofs, so Tesla opted out as it wasn’t a profitable venture.
What Roof Options Are There for Tesla Cars?
Across its production history, Tesla has had three types of roofs available across its Model 3, Model S, and Model Y electric vehicles (EVs). These are:
- A panoramic sunroof (only available in the older versions of the Model S).
- A solid metal roof in the EV’s body color.
- Present-day glass roof.
From the beginning, Tesla preferred the industry-common metallic roof over its cabin, but soon found it unimpressive.
Therefore, their next move was a shift towards a blend of metal roofs and an option for the panoramic sunroof on the Model S.
Note that the panoramic sunroof was present in Model S cars configured to have the roof and related components.
For example, it was available only on models with anchor points for a roof rack.
Moreover, it isn’t feasible to add a sunroof to any other model that came from the factory without one (unless you opt for an aftermarket installation and know how to deal with the falcon door assembly).
Eventually, Tesla opted for the glass roof as a standard for all its Model 3, Model Y, and Model S vehicles.
And unlike its predecessor, the glass roof features two panels firmly attached to the car and polarized for infrared and UV light protection.
How Strong Is a Tesla Glass Roof?
Tesla has, over the years, been excelling in safety tests by the United States Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
One area that many new buyers wanted clarification on was the strength of the glass roof.
How strong is it? Can it support the car’s weight plus its payload in the case of a rollover?
Can it withstand the weight of a tree or rock falling on its roof? Well, the short answer is yes.
Tesla glass roofs are made of tempered glass and steel supports that can withstand more than 20,000 pounds of force.
In 2019, the IIHS gave the Tesla glass roof a maximum safety rating, meaning that you have very high survival chances in case your Tesla rolls over.
Advantages of the Tesla Glass Roof Over the Sunroof
The glass roofs came as an upgrade to the older sunroofs and had better visibility of the surroundings as they covered the whole roof.
To this day, they’re more appealing to look at, offer better safety than the sunroofs, and are cheaper to maintain.
The panoramic view allows more light into the car in addition to offering you a wider visibility angle.
Additionally, the roofs come with polyvinyl butyral (PVB) coating for extra strength and to limit external noise from getting into the car for a smoother drive to your destination.
Shortcomings of Tesla Glass Roofs
As much as Tesla has the best glass roofs for their cars, some issues still need to be addressed. The first is that the sunroofs leak heat into the car’s cabin, increasing internal temperatures.
And, you will undoubtedly notice during the summer that driving under the hot sun will leave you sweating and your AC overworking itself.
And remember, the AC relies on electrical power to function. The result is that you’ll drain your battery faster than you usually would in the winter.
Secondly, some Tesla owners felt shortchanged due to the lack of flexibility that came with the new glass roofs.
In effect, you can’t change or customize the roof lest you compromise the vehicle’s structural integrity.
Final Remarks on Teslas Having a Sunroof
If you have an older Tesla Model S with a sunroof, it’s vital that you clean and changes its rubber seals periodically to prevent leakages.
Also, clean the water drains on the front right and left of the car, so your sunroof doesn’t hold debris and water.
For the rest of us, the glass roof is an excellent design that improves your Tesla’s aesthetic appeal while ensuring that you’re safe in case of a rollover.