A while back, after much research, I reviewed the EVannex Center Console Insert (CCI) for the Model S and it gained high marks and i’ve been enjoying it every day since. EVannex recently released a rear version of the console, the Rear Center Console Insert (RCCI), and I recently had a chance to get hands on with it.
The Problem: Rear Seat Challenges
The Model S has great leg space and head room for rear passengers and the seats are comfortable but Tesla left out some things that are expected by most passengers. At the top of the list are arm rests, cup holders and storage, usually served by a fold away section which is notably missing in the Model S. Other expected items like USB outlets and rear climate controls are also missing.
The RCCI solves several of these needs and provides a great upgrade for rear seat passengers at a reasonable cost and with an easy installation. To take it to the next level, EVannex also offers a solution for the USB outlet needs. Tesla will have to figure out the climate control problem some day on their own. I’m thinking the smart phone and Tesla app is the way they’re going to go.
The Solution: EVannex RCCI
The EVannex RCCI is a simple but elegant product. It has two cup holders at the front with a ribbed insert to securely hold drinks of several sizes, and then a padded arm rest that covers a storage area.
Around the cup holders is the trim you selected and the cupholders are spaced far enough apart to allow large drinks to easily fit in the space. As with the EVannex CCI, the rubber inserts are removable if you need additional space or don’t like the grip they provide. Fortunately, unlike the CCI, the cupholders themselves are not removable and are firmly attached to the console.
The storage area is quite spacious at 10.5” L x 6.25” W x 4” D (260mm x 158mm x 102mm) and easily fit a mid-sized hardcover book as well as several kindle and iPad mini type devices along with other odds and ends. Note that a full size iPad will not fit in the space.
When closed the RCCI provides ample space for elbows at about the same height you’d expect from any rear seat arm rest. I own a (now) vintage Model S and the arm rests for the front passengers are too high, too hard, and too far back for my tastes. The RCCI provides more padding, a better height and your elbow lands in the middle where it belongs. The RCCI cover itself is sturdy and quite heavy and rests on padded areas which help to prevent it from bouncing or making noise as you’re driving around.
Overall for cup holding, storage and supporting those elbows the RCCI does a perfect job.
The RCCI is simple to install. EVannex, as usual, did a great job on the installation instructions and even provided a video on how to install the RCCI:
With EVannex i’ve found that the instructions are sometimes a bit more work than is needed. In the above video they have you crafting a special hook from a coat hanger to pull through the rear strap for the RCCI. After a quick check, I easily pushed the restraining strap through with my fingers and passed on the whole coat hanger business.
Coat hanger mutilation is optional.
If you’ve never had car seats in your car you may have to poke around for a bit at the back of your rear seats to find the slits in the fabric for the attachments. By law they’re there and the plastic snap for the RCCI simply clicks onto the metal restraining hook under the fabric:
You tighten this connection by sliding the simple buckle until you have it secure enough. I found this part to be a bit awkward and would have preferred some kind of ratcheting buckle or system to help tighten it. The strap was also quite long which made for a bit more adjusting.
Fighting the rear strap was a bit fiddly.
The front connection is a simple hook that clips onto the front of the seat. While you could forgo the front (or even back) hooks I wouldn’t skip either. Drinks, and perhaps stuff inside the RCCI, would not remain in place without both hooks securely attached.
The front hook was easier to tighten and the connection was simple. You will see the strap when its installed but its important and you’ll forget about it in short order.
While the installation was simple and fairly quick, its not something i’d want to do on a daily (or even weekly) basis. Fortunately we usually have 3-4 people in the car and driving with 5 is a rare event so I wouldn’t expect to have to remove the RCCI very often. You should think about your own situation to see if this would be an issue.
The RCCI is best when you don’t have to put it in/take it out often.
Prices on the RCCI range from $309 for the basic piano black finish in any interior color to $349 for the carbon fiber finish. The one in this review was the Obeche Wood Matte trim with the Tan upholstery color and is priced at $329.
The RCCI is priced well as it provides similar functionality to the front Center Console Insert (CCI) and is almost half the price.
Tesla also offers a Premium Rear Console (more on that in a bit) which would sell for $650 in the same configuration.
I’ve been looking for a good solution for my rear seat and have not found anything close.
The main competition to the RCCI is Tesla’s own Premium Rear Console:
Tesla’s console sells for $650 and, on paper, has the same features as the EVannex RCCI. While i’ve not seen the rear console in person, the images i’ve seen have lead me to expect disappointment — the rear console is essentially the center armrest unit made into a rear console. The cupholders are too close together, too shallow, the arm rest is too hard, etc.
The Tesla console has less storage and only connects at the rear. While the shape is different, I suspect the front of the console (where those precious drinks go) will shift around as you’re driving — the EVannex one certainly did without the front strap in place.
The RCCI is solid and sturdy. When its not installed the shape looks a little odd, but once installed you realize they had to accommodate for the downward sloping rear seat while keeping your beverages level. They also provided more space on the end for large drinks by expanding the cup holder area a bit which also helped soften the boxy shape.
One of my concerns was around the lid and the hinge and if it could take some abuse. The hinge is almost the full width of the RCCI with 4 screws securing it to each surface:
The hinge is not the type that prevents itself from being over-extended, but the RCCI opens at the front edge and presses up against the back seat before it even hits a full 90 degree angle. When properly installed there’s no chance of over extending this hinge as the rear seat is in the way of opening it up too far:
The RCCI is a wood frame covered with trim, upholstery and cloth . The bottom is covered with a black felt cloth along the lines of the material that covers most of the Model S near the floor and in the frunk/trunk. A lot of that material is what comes in contact with your seat/seat back but the upholstery does also come in contact with your seat material.
Neither the felt nor the upholstery seemed like they would lend to rubbing or scratching of the leather, but as with anything you leave or secure to a seat for a long time it may leave a small impression. The most likely point for an impression on the seat seems to be where the front strap presses in as it makes a secure connection. Also the front hook is a painted black metal, its wide but not coated with fabric or any other kind of material.
A car seat, left long enough, will leave some lasting dents in your seats. The RCCI has the potential to do that too although it has a few things working in its favor: There’s no kid sitting in/on it, its much lighter than a car seat (about 8 lbs) and it has a wider flat base to better distribute the pressure.
You can control how much pressure is against the seat back by how tight you make the strap and the same goes for the front strap and the front edge of the console.
I loaded up my RCCI with my books, iPads, Kindles and my favorite beverages and headed out for some spirited driving 🙂
I launched the car many times, came to a quick (but safe!) stop, took sharp turns, accelerated hard into corners, and drove on some typical New England poor back roads. Through the entire drive the RCCI stayed stable and my full large Dunkin’ ice coffees stayed where they belong. Not a precious drop was spilled. I heard no creaking or and detected no movement from the console. Overall the installation seems very secure and I think would hold up most driving.
So, with all that said, here’s how the EVannex RCCI scores: