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Model S false "grill" design

Congratulations on an outstandng overall design. It is beautiful but that pseudo grill is horrible.
It cheapens the sleek design and absolutely destroys the image of an electric automobile.
Sticking on a non-effective, non-purposeful piece of PLASTIC????

That's an early prototype picture, or computer rendering. On the expanded alpha pics it doesn't seem to be any door there anymore.

This one is in the current gallery, showing the same circle:

EdG - that is still the prototype

Hi everybody, just for orientation: The White One was a mockup, for photo shootings and exhibition only, not even drivable. I think that it has head rests mounted "in the air", but no real seats, and only the upper half of the steering wheel, etc.

Then there was The Gray One, a drivable prototype that was originally revealed on March 26, 2009, in Los Angeles. It received another paint job later and now is known as Deep Cherry, but it is still the same prototype vehicle from 2 years ago, and currently tours across North America. As far as I know, it is based on a MB chassis, which is why the handling, but also the interior room and particularly the cargo spaces are significantly different from the final Model S. All Model S videos on youtube show this vehicle, in gray or in red (except for the "Alpha hits the road" video published by Tesla, see next paragraph).

Then, we have the "Alpha hits the road" video that shows a vehicle built by Tesla from scratch (no more MB chassis, no prototype). This vehicle is gray similar to the prototype but has the infamous "nose cone" in place of the expected grille. And finally, there are some marketing photos that show another Alpha build (possibly photoshopped, particularly wrt the grille) in black color. Neither the video nor the marketing photos of the Alpha show any hint of where the charge port may be located, but that may be on purpose. Tesla loves wow-effects (can you say door handles?) and last minute surprises, never-mind their unprecedented transparency in the development process of the Model S.

The most interesting pictures available so far are probably from the "Alpha Workshop Photo Tour" from March 2011. Two series of similar but different photos have been published by autoblog and by Tesla themselves, showing a couple of Alphas at different build stages. Look closely, maybe you can also spot a hint to a charge port? I couldn't:

These photos already served to confirm that the Model S will have frameless, coupe-like doors, although there has not yet been any official statement.

Don't let the photos fool you though: The steering wheel that can be seen in one of them has already been identified as a stock MB wheel, so this most probably does not have any meaning wrt the steering wheel we will see in the final Model S.
(on the bottom of the page)

Please correct me if you think that any of the above statements is wrong or incomplete. I am trying to summarize what we have seen so far, having followed the Model S for over 2 years now.

In this video at 1:29 and 1:38 there is a Model S exhibited (with yet another grille) that I was not aware of. Does anybody know where/when this exhibition was and where the car that was on display there is now?

Thank you (from all of us who are far newer to this site than you are) for the information.

Given the photos show a car with a big ugly metal box sticking out of the dashboard, I can only assume it is not a finished model. If it were me managing the design schedules, I don't think the a clean charging port flap would be higher on my list than the dashboard installation of the display. I'm assuming they haven't yet bothered putting in an industry standard jack, but are using the equivalent of jumper cables for now. So there wouldn't be any hint of where the port is going to be.

We'll just have to leave our garages as is until we get more information, rather than having our charging apparatus installed and collecting dust for a year.

I'm still hoping I can pull my car straight in to the garage and, on the way to the house, attach the charging cable to the car. That way I can save the few steps twice a day (on the way from and to the car) to attach and release the cable with as little change to my flow as possible. And, maybe, if the charging mechanism can be mounted horizontally, I'll just pull the cable down from the ceiling (on a retractable mounting) so no one trips over it.


The image of the car with the "mesh" grill is one of the early prototype mules. It's several years old. Sorry, not sure where it was taken.

Todd, it seems that you are almost right. I did a quick Google image search and found very few shots of this particular thing, e.g.,

From these and other sources I get the impression that

  • this was not a prototype, not even a mockup (interior seems to be missing, "windows" are plain black), this may very well be a clay model.
  • this is probably the model that can be seen in the teaser photos that were published the days before the official event on March 26, 2009 (half-covered at first, then uncovered, but only shot strictly from the side, so the front is indiscernible in those images).

In any case, this model is a predecessor of The White One and The Gray One and has probably become obsolete by now.

I don't see the charge port in any recent photos either, but previously on left rear quarter panel just in front of left brake lights. I see no reason for them to change that... You may be right that front of car is better, but this is consistent with roadster, driver rear...

I don't like a false grille. It's an EV. It should proclaim its lack of need for a grille by not having a false one.

Now, if a grille is needed for the A/C condenser or the battery-cooling system, fine. But don't put a false one on it just to make it look like a stinker. Please.

If you read that article it talks about EV "experts" at Ford and Apeture saying that a 300 mile pack would be way to big and heavy to be practical, and here we are today with it in a sedan that does 0-60 in 5.6 seconds.

Just goes to show that Tesla skeptics aren't smarter. They are just projecting their own inability to achieve what Tesla achieves.

I don't like a false grille. It's an EV. It should proclaim its lack of need for a grille by not having a false one. (daniel1948)

You mean, like, why not add false tail pipes, too? ;-)

Or a CD of engine-revving noise. Uggg!!!

How about a CD of a train whistle?

It is actually laughable that this is still a frequent topic of debate. Tesla stated a while back it was a mock up grill for the testing alphas. It will be changed for the beta/production models.

I mean really, why does the style of the grill matter when it is going to get crashed into a wall for testing?

Hold your complaints off til the Beta is released....

Yeah, it does look better to me because they kept the logo in the grill, and reduced the amount of plastic. BUT my eyes are blinded by that big piece of shiny chrome around the perimeter of the grille. It just looks like a kid with shiny new braces, especially on dark color cars. I hope they don't keep the chrome. When I see chrome like that, I immediately think Buick.

Volker.Berlin wrote:
" In this video at 1:29 and 1:38 there is a Model S exhibited (with yet another grille) that I was not aware of. Does anybody know where/when this exhibition was and where the car that was on display there is now? "

That was one of the original hand-made body concepts that was shown at the "design studio" within Space-X when the Model S was first introduced. It was basically a pre-cursor to the white (no drive-train) and lighter gray (drivable) concepts. It might be made out of clay. I think that screen grille was just something they "slapped on there" before they got a "real grille" put together.

I was told at the Detroit Auto Show that the grill was needed for cooling. Electric motors get hot and the TE air conditioner needs cooling. Hence the need for a grill. I think it looks like a ripoff of a Maserati.

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