When one confused dad tweeted at Elon Musk to complain about poor air circulation near the jump seat of his new Tesla Model S, Musk – a notoriously hands-on CEO – jumped in to troubleshoot the problem.
Matthew Feinman complained that the jump seats, designed exclusively for children, left his kids sweaty and dehydrated after just 20 minutes of driving. Feinman also noted that while his kids were sweating bullets in the jump seat, the car’s A/C was totally maxed out.
Once Musk intervened, he suggested that Feinman turn off the air circulation, noting that the third row is cooled by letting air enter through the front bumper and exit through the rear bumper. Turning on air circulation disrupts this process by not letting fresh air circulate throughout the vehicle. The jump seat faces the rear window, so if drivers don’t employ Musk’s cooling method, passengers in the third seat might heat up like dry leaves underneath a magnifying glass.
Musk’s solution isn’t the only one, however. Some Model S owners just place a heat absorbing solar screen along the rear window. Others have used more invasive methods like installing new vents along the back panel of the car. Turning the car’s range mode off also works wonders.
Jump seats used to be very popular, but fewer and fewer companies use them today. The drop-off in the use of jump seats is probably related to the fact that kids who sit in them are five times more likely to be injured in a crash than kids in the typical back seat. Most jump seats use lap-only seat belts, and as a result, in the event of the crash, kids in the jump seat are more likely to injure their heads and spines. That’s one thing that Tesla is doing right: the jump seats in the Model Ss use actual seatbelts and have more leg room than their predecessors.