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Interior design... Is this the Model S becomming to posh for it's own good?

When I first saw video the Model S working prototype, the first thing I thought of was "TRON"!

Being I was part of the development of team for “TRON” (next gen), I perceived the “Model S” as more of a futuristic vehicle, in a class by itself, not just another posh-mobile..i.e. Caddy, Lincoln, or Benz, but, rather more like an exotic (Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, Audi R8, etc) type.

Now the interior looks too average, more my grandfathers car.

For example… The wood accents, and dash design now looks far to average (kind of like an iPod or iPAD with a faux wood case). I love the tec, however, the way the interior is looking now, it kind of make me feel that my gen (30 to 50 year olds) is being snubbed by the interior design staff, to appease a bunch of old fogie caddy-gramps, who will NEVER really appreciate what this vehicle really is (sorry gramps, you had your chance when GM was selling you down the toilet).

Also, the last car I drove that had the ‘Drive’, ‘Reverse’, ‘Park’ controls as a side-stick on the steering column, was my first hand-me-down 1970 Ford Maverick when I was in high school …

What happened to the really fantastic center console stack that was on the original prototype?

Maybe I'm incorrect to assume that the current Beta S is the one and only interior design style available, however, if so, I am really fearful Tesla is going in the complexly wrong direction for the serious modern executive that will use this car to its fullest!

What is everyone else’s thoughts on this subject? Do you want your grandfathers’ car, or a vision of the future?

That site is now over 2½ yrs old! That's all old outdated future stuff, now.

@TikiMan, I have to say that with your definition no computer or related gadget manufacturer use "traditional" style. It's all futuristic by your definition. Which makes futuristic a traditional style. Kind of oxymoron don't you think?

TikiMan. You need to drink less coffee. The center console issue has been well addressed in other forums. This is not a make or break issue. Time to focus on delivery. Once again, Robert.Boston said it quite well.

“... to appease a bunch of old fogie caddy-gramps, who will NEVER really appreciate what this vehicle really is.” A significant number of “S” buyers will be over 50 years of age. Us old fogies invented the computer, internet, landed on the moon. Our level of appreciation may not be fully appreciated by some of our ungracious children.

Early adapters are adventurous and flexible. Five years from July 2012 the “S” will be much improved and cheaper. By the way, some of those old cars are quite spectacular. Check out a 1930’s Duesenberg or Cadillac. A 1950’s Jaguar X120,or a ‘60’s XKE are breathtaking- even after 50+ years. I would take a 1961 Ferrari SWB over any modern Ferrari, Lambo, or Veyron.

The “S” may not be perfect to everyone's taste, but you are nitpicking over trivial details.


Yes, I know it has been addressed in a few post already, and the last time I checked, most of those post were directly related to the lack of center console, not as much about interior design. Like I said in a few of these post, I work on innovative future products that sell in the multi-millions of units, and make Billions of US dollars! So, I think I have a bit of an edge on design knowledge, and what makes products successful or what makes products fail. With that said, I am just trying to add my input (which as a deposit holder, and investor, I think gives me a right to my openion here on this forum).

I will agree, I am not part of the "baby-boomer" gen, but rather part of "Generation X", some of whom are currently changing the planet for the better, and cleaning up the mess. I believe Mr. Musk is a "Gen X".

Regardless, I love 'classic' cars just like the next average warm-blooded American male, however, I don't want to commute 150 miles a day in one either.

If Tesla sticks with the current interior design, fine, I am sure we can all live with it, however, the generation that will become the ones who will make Tesla a household name, might not (and I would hate to see that happen).


Maybe, however, I think the majority of deposit holders here prefer "sporty" over "posh". I don't think the average deposit holder for this car were looking at Buick's and Caddy's, before making a deposit. Most of us saw the first Beta, and said... SOLD!

For that I agree. Interiors need to be functional, what it looks like is secondary (though, really really ugly would drive some of them away).

OTOH to make that center screen look good doesn't need much. Just something to make it look less like it is hanging mid-air without any support changes it a lot.

@Timo: I agree that an interior must be functional. But I completely disagree that "what it looks like is secondary." The interior is a critical part of the Model S aesthetic. It should flow, all of its features should be integrated effortlessly, it must reflect the high tech, innovative nature of the vehicle itself.

You state that that "to make that center screen look good doesn't need much." Yes. It. Does. The beta interior needed a substantial redesign. We can only hope that TM did just that.

If the buzz on the Model S design after it hits the streets is "beautiful exterior, pedestrian interior," I suspect many potential buyers may pass—and that can't be a good thing.

The interior is not the equal of the body.

This is important enough to take action. The analogy to a beautiful woman comes to mind. A gorgeous body may first attract you, but what's inside is what makes you stick around.

The dash has dramatic innovation (17 inch touchscreen), but it's all bolted together without finesse and integration. There's no flow, as you see in abundance on the exterior.

The absence of a center console is also not right for this market segment. The bragging rights of no transmission tunnel are just as strong if you manifest the space in a generous console storage area.

That center space in the Beta is non-functional without enough boundary to define it. You'll never put your feet there, and you can't stow much stuff if it might tip into the pedal area. You need a bin with a cover, and that'll provide finish to the cabin, as well as leading up to the screen. This will still let you brag about how only an EV could give you this much storage.

This isn't a competency issue. The Alpha makes clear that the design team is smart and understands flow, and very sensual lines.

The Beta looks more like design by committee, where a soul-less logical checklist is driving the details instead of passion.

Will I still buy it? Yes. But the difference is you'll have lost me emotionally.

That would needlessly subdue the most evangelical early adopters. It's the "I want to love it, but .." problem. You mustn't lose this customer energy and momentum, particularly in the opening season.

TIme is certainly short and there is plenty to do. But a modest re-style of the dash is a low-order production challenge relative to the awesome engineering work on the driving dynamics and safety.

You can run a parallel tiger team on a more beautiful dash, and have them race to vie for the final release without risking your baseline version. The strategy can effectively manage the risk of delay.

Don't cave in to the logistics of the showroom Betas. No customer will bolt if you exceed what you first promised, even though it may have changed from the demo.

It'll cost some bucks to have the alternate tooled, but in this case, my view is the customer perception leverage is so huge that it's well worth it.

Most of my posts say don't worry about this or that ... don't get distracted, just focus and deliver.

Worry about this one.

Inside is where we fall in love with the car.

spot on Mark K, form following function is still a good thing,
design polizei must prevail,
even Bang&Olufsen missteps

@Mark K: You've nicely summarized dozens and dozens of comments about the importance of a comprehensive interior redesign for the Production Model S. Let's hope that the TM design team has listened. They absolutely MUST "worry about this one."

Frankly? I like the wood look. And I like the lack of center console. And I like futuristic.

I think some people have an obsolete concept of futuristic. :-) Some of these suggestions remind me of people clamoring for more plastic in the 1950s (plastic interiors were a added-cost upgrade). That was not well thought out.

NO CENTER CONSOLE. The center console is an obnoxious, terrible idea designed to hide an ICE drivetrain which doesn't exist. Mark it off with some slightly raised edges so we can put our bags there without them slipping under our feet, provide us with a removable box to put there, but leave it at that. For one thing, it makes it easier to get stuff out from under the seat....

Heck, if it weren't for the critical importance of having a highly adjustable driver's seat, and the safety requirement for headrests (and yes, we need an adjustable headrest), I'd suggest bench seating in the front.

I agree about clean flowing lines, but I really think that can be done without aping the style of what's trendy today in ICEs. "Form follows function", indeed, and the clamor for a center console is the *opposite* of form following function. Redesigning the glovebox to be a more functional compartment (most gloveboxes are terrible, and Tesla's appears to be no exception), on the other hand, would be form following function.

Just make the screen a more gracefully incorporated into the dash and it looks great.

Finishes, wood or otherwise, are a configuration option like paint color. That's an individual choice to suit personal taste, which Tesla already supports.

As to the headrests? Even an Aston Martin Rapide at $225K has integral headrests, and they feel pretty wonderful. Done well, this design is simpler, stronger, and flows more beautifully. Tesla made an intelligent choice here.

The console is different. It's architectural foundation for the interior experience. It links the longitudinal flow up the center of the cabin with the lateral flow across the dash. It unifies the elements to make them all of a piece, and it anchors the touchscreen.

Because that screen is the largest in the history of automobile design, it is uniquely important to the Model S to anchor and integrate it.

Sometimes, you have to be bold about breaking with tradition to make things better. But to warrant a radical change, it must be truly better, not simply different.

The boldly bigger screen is better. Floating it precariously is not.

Ergonomically too, the lack of a console provides no elbow rest as you browse the controls. The same arm fatigue Issues that arise are the reason Apple does not put touchscreens on laptops.

The EV is not defined by this design liberty. Front wheel drive luxury cars have long practiced consoles even though they too could have left that space empty. They didn't.

A century of evolution defined this aspect of interior layout. Consoles + personal front seats with lateral support prevail because people like it. It cradles the driver in a cocoon that makes him feel at one with the machine.

Drivers simply prefer it,

If you want to win the heart of the driving enthusiast, find a way to do it.

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