I"ve used the Model S front trunk --"frunk"-- onlytwice in the first 15 months of ownership.
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First time, my wife thought it would be originalto put the groceries under the hood where a gasoline engine would normally be housed. She was attracted by the novelty of the experience, like trying on a pair of the latest from Louboutin.
The second time, our kids begged me to open the front trunk so that they could climb inside. They brought iPads along and got comfy. For them, it was new territory, like a modern treehouse or a hidden attic crawl space.
And that"s been it, which bothers me a little. Why aren"t we using the space more often?
For sure, the frunk is not large enough for a full-size baby stroller or a golf bag. But there’s plenty of room for small carry-on suitcases, boxes, bats and balls and school backpacks.
Plenty of room for three school bags in the front trunk. Getting them out requires some effort.... <+> Photo Credit: Dunne Automotive.
I asked some fellow Tesla owners about their own experience with the frunk. A 50-something real estate entrepreneur from Palos Verdes, California said he uses the back trunk "10-20 times more often" than the front. And a mergers and acquisitions pro from San Diego represented the survey results best when he said he “never or almost never” uses it.
So why is the frunk getting neglected?
Fragile. Closing the frunk requires two separate steps, two hands and a measure of concentration. First, you guide the hood down to its resting position. Then you set your hands on either side of the center latch and press down evenly (but not too hard) to complete the close. Why the need to handle with care? Tesla advisers told me that that the thin hood metal gets bent if not handled properly. Imagine the hand motions of a maestro softly silencing his orchestra. Elegant-looking, maybe. But not user-friendly. As one Model X owner put it politely: "It would be nicer if it could be self-closing, like the rear."
Bending Backs. The Model S’s front end slopes down quite dramatically. The frunk opens at about knee-height, around 25 inches off the ground. This made it easy for the kids to climb in and out. But adults need to bend pretty deep (can you feel your lower back yet?) to grab groceries and duffle bags and boxes.
Tight Fit. Teslas are large and long. When pulling into the garage, I need to park within 12 inches of the wall to leave enough room for the automatic garage door to close behind me. (Luckily, Tesla sensors give me digital inch by inch updates as I drive in). Once parked, I need to shuffle sideways between wall and car to get to the frunk. There’s no room to set items down at my feet either. Just too cramped.
Who Needs It?Tesla is no VW Beetle where front-loading was the only option. Several Tesla owners said that the back trunks already offer lots ofstorage space. They feel the need to go to the frunk only in a couple of special situations: (1) Opening the third row of seats on the Model X shrinks the back trunk space. This was a case for a mother with her infant girl sitting on the back perch at a Tesla Supercharger station. Moving boxes and bags to the front gave them more room to spread out. And (2) To get an uncluttered back trunk look, some people place quick carry items like gym bags or extra jackets or water bottles in the frunk.
Not all frunks are the same size. Dual motor "D" versions of the Tesla Model S are tighter than the... <+> standard Model S. Photo Credit: Dunne Automotive.
Awkward. "Frunk" sets out to be a clever combination of words, but ends up sounding kind of forced.You: "Here, you can just toss your bags into my frunk." Friend: "Umm, into your what?"
Oh, pity the forlorn frunk.
But, there is hope. Musk & Co are always thinking ahead.Future Teslas equipped with the next generation Autopilot may not need steering wheels and pedals. That should produce more front-end space and (hopefully) much easier access, especially in the Model 3.
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Aneasy-accessfront trunk will surely become more than a novelty. More thanan iPadcrib.
Revolutionary changes coming in the global automotive arena: Electrics. Autonomous. Mobility. China. An entrepreneur with 25 years in Asia, Michael J. Dunne is CEO of…Read More
Revolutionary changes coming in the global automotive arena: Electrics. Autonomous. Mobility. China. An entrepreneur with 25 years in Asia, Michael J. Dunne is CEO of ZoZo Go LLC. Author, American Wheels, Chinese Roads. Newsletter: The Chinese Are Coming. Connect: michael.dunne