How fast can you go in reverse?

Since the cumulative knowledge on this forum is incredible, from technical advice to grammatical correction to philosophy and beyond, I was wondering about reverse. In ICE vehicles reverse is a low one-geared drive with a limited top speed. Since the S has no transmission, is Reverse simply the opposite of Drive and therefore you can go as fast backwards as forwards?

Since I've had my S, I spend a lot less of my time at gas stations so I am able to spend it more productively like pondering questions like these. In the new marketing strategy Tesla says that you can drive the S for $500/month because you spend less time at gas stations and your time is worth $100/month or more. Who knows, maybe someone will invent the perpetual motion machine in the time he/she might normally have been in a gas station.

Ask BYT. He drives to work every other day in reverse..

I believe reverse is limited to about 15 mph.

I've tested it and for me on SW v4.3 the car limited itself to 15mph.

I'm in my car now, driving in reverse at about 50 mph and texting this message. So far, there doesn't seem to be any probl

Mikegre, If you can look up for a moment... are the people in the cars following you waving to you?

Transferring the steering control to the rear facing seats overrides the 15 mph limiter.

From a similar thread a while back, the OP is correct that the theoretical limit is the same as for forward, but the S is software limited. There was a video of a Leaf doing a whole race in reverse.

I think unmodified Leaf does have software limit as well (something like 20mph), but for that race it was removed.

Bumper Sticker -

Honk if you love Jesus

Text if you want to meet Him

especially driving top speed in reverse!

Afaik there has been only one production car that could go as fast in reverse as forward (without modificaton). The DAF. With 'het pientere pookje' (the smart stick). It had an early version of the CVT, we see on some cars today. But back in those days it had rubber belts instead of the metal one now used.

There were special races in The Netherlands that were quite popular for some time:

23 solid minutes of Dutch madness!

Sign displayed on the wall of a local body shop:

I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather;
not screaming in terror like the people in his car.

I guess the Nissan Leaf holds the record for backward driving.
As fast backwards as it can drive forwards.

"Transferring the steering control to the rear facing seats overrides the 15 mph limiter."

Yeah, when my almost 3 year old twins drove from the 3rd row seats we all became very car sick. They like to turn the steering wheel to their most extreme left and right positions at all times as fast as they can. It also cause my insurance rates to skyrocket... :)

15mph? How am I going to do a J-turn at 15mph? ;)

If can think of no greater incentive for hacking the Tesla OS then going reverse at full steam!

+1 Andre-nl


Was the sticker on the front or rear bumper---perhaps you couldn't tell.

So I am newer to the electric car concept. From what I've seen the Tesla s uses a 3 phase motor. I am interested in knowing the method the car uses to swap the motor direction, whether it be an actual mechanical change or something as simple as a seperate relay fired via the CPU to change the motor leads.


Inverter makes 3 phase AC from DC. So no mechanical change needed,
not even relay. Timing of power transistors is changed.

Yup. The phase timing is shifted slightly. That's enough to do it.

The real question is; if you are traveling in the forward direction at 100mph and you slide the car 180 degrees, what happens, if you are accelerating, breaking?

Hell of a regen

You're probably breaking. You might even be braking while you're breaking!