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17 screen in the center console

17 screen in the center console

I think we need to make sure Tesla knows about their subpar center console. Let’s use this forum to constructively criticize it. For me this is not a deal breaker, but I actually like the pre-alpha center console much more than Beta 1.
Here are two pictures of the pre-alpha:

Here is a picture of a beta 1:

Notice how there is an empty space right below the 17 inch screen? Reminds me of old Cadillac:

Also, the rectangular shape of the 17 inch screen just does not fit nicely. It should have curves or rounded corners.
Compare the interior console of other cars here:

The Froq | October 4, 2011

Simply the console was not ready....can't be true this is the final version.
Everything fits, except the biggest eye-catcher of the car.

Change will come!

Soflauthor | October 4, 2011

When you compare the pre-alpha and beta pics that @nlukin posted, it's really no contest—the Model S needs a complete center console. The pre-alpha console is fully integrated and appropriate for the Model S. The display fits beautifully.

The beta 'non-console' misses completely. It gives the impression that the display is floating, but not in a good way. IMO, the floor "tray" is sloppy and not up to high-end car standards. The squareness of the display is accentuated (not a good thing) and the entire look of the dash doesn't flow.

If Tesla is reading these posts, I hope they reconsider and put the console back in, recessing the display slightly to better integrate it. It's a much better design, and will make the car's interior as beautiful as it's exterior.

Tesla interior designers -- are you listening?

EdG | October 4, 2011

Thanks for the photographic comparison. But, as others have pointed out elsewhere, I think the console that normally hides a transmission tunnel is a pointless catering to the ICE technology.

Again, as others have said, I'd rather see:

1) a smoother transition from dash to screen. (I'm afraid that sofware updates won't make the boxy look go away when it's 2014.) Perhaps that would include a new shape to the dash. A small amount of margin on the screen could be an option: the same color as the interior so that the edge tends to disappear - sacrificing screen space. But the intensity of that margin color would have to change with interior light as real material does.

2) AC venting might flow through a cooler between front passengers before entering the passenger compartment. It would have to be a selection, as you probably wouldn't want heating to go through the same box. But cool air straight from the inner workings would keep sodas (small amount of groceries, whatever) cold on a hot day.

3) Perhaps a box with a door could actually become a pass-through to the front trunk, if the safety issue (structure) isn't compromised. There isn't a firewall there as in an ICE care.

4) Simplest: a storage box that matches the interior can be added as an option.

I see the bare floor not as a 1960 Cadillac, but as an indication that we're dealing with something new. Get used to it, world, EVs are coming. Making the style match what we're used to is not the goal.

Hopefully the kids' softballs won't be rolling around on the floor and getting under the brake pedal....

Designtime | October 4, 2011

I agree nlukin.
The prototype dash looks about 1300 times better!

Robert.Boston | October 4, 2011

One reviewer complimented the Model S as having "not a pixel of wasted space," but this (lack of) center console proves the reviewer wrong. Storage space for sunglasses, phones, coins, parking passes, wallets (I hate sitting on my wallet for long drives), and so forth -- all these need places, preferably behind closed doors. It can be overdone; I dislike the Infiniti M's massive console, which made me feel hemmed-in. But the space in easy reach to the driver is precious and needs to be used thoughtfully. The current beta doesn't.

Soflauthor | October 4, 2011

@EdG: I think most of us (and there are many, if you look at the Tesla Facebook "up close and Personal" photos page) who are critical of the interior display layout and lack of a center console, recognize that EVs don't require a transmission tunnel. That doesn't mean they shouldn't have one.

A center console provides defined driver and passenger areas. It also allows for convenient storage of small articles. It helps establish interior axial symmetry. And most important, it would help immeasurably in integrating the large display screen into the dashboard complex.

This is not about "catering to the ICE technology." It is about suggesting that Tesla fix a kludgy, ill-conceived design that you note requires a "smoother transition from dash to screen." IMO, a center console would help to do that by providing a base for the screen and a "connection" to the interior, thereby improving the flow of the overall interior design.

Can you honestly argue that @nlukin's interior beta pic looks better (more aesthetic, more integrated, a smoother design feel) than the pre-alpha pics? I certainly can't.

David M. | October 4, 2011

Tesla, please connect the console to the dash!!! Maybe soften those hard edges around the 17 inch touchscreen. The software is OFF THE HOOK! But you already know that!

Finally, my wife thanks you for the second cupholder.

cytek | October 4, 2011

I completely agree with Soflauthor!

Sorry, if I am reposting my opinion earlier, but I think it fits this thread topic more than the other thread. Here goes.

The large LCD screen looks out of place like an eye sore on the dashboard, as if someone just slapped a PC monitor and glued it on the dashboard. It looks like a computer monitor installed ready for use in a police car, or in a commercial vehicle, hence not a luxurious appeal. They could have used some design creativity with a layer of anti-reflective tinted glass cover over the monitor without affecting the touch screen to conceal the boxy frame appearance that clashes with the smooth curves of the dashboard. With tinted glass cut in any shape, it will make the monitor's boxy shape less noticeable by blending in with the shape of the dashboard contour lines. It would also look cool to have LED glowing accent light around the screen and the dash. When the LCD screen is off, you won't see, nor notice the boxy monitor is there, just a black glass surface for a simpler cleaner appearance, like a work of sculptural art. I am sure this will appeal more stylishly than just a boxy framed screen slapped on the dash that looks cheap. Where's the creativity Tesla, or do you need me to design it for you?

What bothers me is why did they remove the center console from the original alpha prototype? I prefer a cockpit interior like a driver's car, where I spend hours in the driver seat like a living room and I want to drool and enjoy a beautiful interior that gives character. Without the center console with organized multiple storage compartments, it looks more like a cheap basic low end car, a minivan or a truck interior to me. I hate dumping stuff on the floor that makes the car look dirty, messy and disorganized. Even worse whenever people get the wrong impression that you are a damn slob with your junk on the floor! The ergonomics for the cupholder shown in the pictures is poorly placed near the armrest because the drinks are too close to your arms to rest on and can easily get knocked off with spillage. Talk about an awkward uncomfortable position. The cupholders should be further down below inside one of a center console concealed compartment to avoid interfering with our arm for a comfortable arm resting position. I know this from experience.

This is just my opinion on why I think the interior is a lackluster disaster, which does not appeal to me at all, as cheap looking GM quality build. The only exception from GM is 2012 Buick's Lacrosse night interior view with glowing LED lighting accent that looks really stylish and modern. I know everyone have their own tastes and opinions, which I can fully respect them. If you guys like the interior styling of Model-S as is, that's great for you, but it's not my cup of tea to my taste, as I am a designer accustomed to high end luxury European cars. Sorry, if I am bashing about Model-S interior, but I am just deeply disappointed that Tesla didn't meet my expectations on designing an elegantly modern luxurious interior styling. I thought Model-S was supposed to be a luxury car on par with Mercedes/BMW/Audi, but it looks more like how GM/ Chrysler would design and build a cheap looking interior. I hope this is not a finalized interior. Tesla needs a better interior design department than that to impress me with a "WOW!" factor into buying one.

Model-S exterior looks nice, has impressive technology, has great performance potential, but the interior styling is a major failure for me. I guess my Model-S order maybe on the chopping block, if Tesla did not restyle a better luxurious interior.

cytek | October 4, 2011

I also agree with nlukin too!

Alpha's interior looks better than Beta. Interior styling is as important as the exterior styling of the car that makes the car unique aesthically like a work of art. I unfortunately don't see any of that in Beta's interior because it just looks bland, awkward and cheap. I know most people will say wow, when they first see Beta's interior, because it's just a frickin large touch screen slapped on the car they have never seen before. But stylingwise, it's a disastrous failure for me on how they poorly executed the dashboard design.

adstein | October 4, 2011

I couldn't agree more with the OP. The beta screen looks out of place and looks awkward. The integrated console in the alpha was much more appealing. I just put down a deposit and love the exterior but hope that they bring the dash and display up to par. I would be happy with a cockpit design that had lots of storage in a center console.

nlukin | October 4, 2011

Also, I need more wheel controls. Even a 10 year old car has at least radio channels, volume, and cruise control. All we get is two little up/down knobs?

Soflauthor | October 4, 2011

Tesla -- consider the vast majority posters here, on other related threads, and dozens of commenters on your own facebook photos page as a focus group of future owners. The opinion is close to unanimous. You really do need to work on the console/dash design before committing to the final production vehicle. I know time is short, but if you think about it, we'll all spend a lot more time looking at the interior of the Model S that we will looking at the exterior. Both should be drop dead beautiful.

Right now, you've solved 90% of the design problem and done a spectacular job. With a few design tweaks you'll get the interior right. Do it!

David70 | October 4, 2011

Styling isn't my first concern, but I do agree that a center console is important as a convenient storage area. That's something I liked about the Prius.

cablechewer | October 4, 2011

I would definitely like a lot more small storage spaces for sunglasses, change, wallet and all the other small stuff. The way this is now it looks like a large purse could sit on the floor between the driver and the passenger. Perhaps that appeals to those who carry purses so they don't end up between their feet or thrown in the back seat...

If there is a tasteful way to blend the screen in better and fill the space between it and the floor with closable cubbies you might still have space for an article on the floor. If so can it be made to look good?

Unfortunately both my rides were too short and I didn't get a chance to check out the area below the screen like I would have wanted to. I don't know how much space is there for them to play with.

Has anyone seen a picture of this from the side to complement the head on pictures that the OP put in?

Slindell | October 4, 2011

I like the leg space with the lack of a center console. As I plan to keep the LCD turned off most of the time (as I do with my current Prius), any display compaints mean nothing to me.

I just hope I can turn off any wireless connectivity via a hardware switch.

Timo | October 5, 2011

What is there between the cupholders I would not use and that screen? Just an empty space? A very large "basket" like opening? Different size slots?

This picture shows that it isn't completely empty:

https://picasaweb.google.com/108048161013458421120/TeslaFactoryTour?auth...

but it doesn't give a very good impression what is in that center part below the screen.

The Froq | October 5, 2011

You can see that the cars they used we're not completely ready.

The staff opened the doors using the indoor-handles and not the popular handles on the outside. (see youtube) Believe me, when they have functioned Tesla absolutely used them.

The designstudio of the Models S stop at the interior......I'm sure they will change it back to something like the alpha type. And we will all be proud of ' how they listened to us!"

Keep up the good work!!

Volker.Berlin | October 5, 2011

The staff opened the doors using the indoor-handles and not the popular handles on the outside. (see youtube) (The Froq)

Someone who attended actually asked about that and the answer was they did not want to leave finger prints on the polished cars. Whether that was the real reason or just a flimsy excuse was not clarified, no one has reported seeing anyone use the door handles so far.

The designstudio of the Models S stop at the interior......I'm sure they will change it back to something like the alpha type. And we will all be proud of ' how they listened to us!"

:-) Sounds reasonable, IMO. This entire discussion is very reminiscent of the "plastic nose cone" that was fervently discussed after the "Alpha hits road" video was published...

Dogface | October 5, 2011

I asked the guy who opened my door why they were not using the handles. He explained they were avoiding the high volume of openings required for the event because they feared the handles were not yet production quality and may lack durability.

kevjo | October 5, 2011

Of course styling is important and most of your observations are well reasoned but the issue I keep coming back to is reliability. With only one interface controlling nearly all functions of the car we're going to be screwed if the touchscreen goes down. No AC, heat, air, interior lights etc.

This thing had better be bullet proof, we're relying on it for everything.

BruceR | October 5, 2011

My wife and I talked to several TESLA employees about the status of the Beta cars and where they stood durring the event. It was clear from their comments that the exterior was manufactured off site (unlike what TESLA was willing to let you assume) but using the nearly final production tooling. What they absolutely would not talk openly about was the interior and its state of readiness. IMO they were all councelled on what to present and what not to talk about. I talked to lots of attendess and not a one saw a door handle operate or a window move. So big picture view is they have all the big stuff done like the metal stamping and exterior molding parts nearly finished with the drivetrain ready to go. That 5% they have to finish is all in the interior and all the little minor detials like working widows and doors.....

Slindell | October 5, 2011

kevjo: I agree. The first generation Prius had everything controlled by the touch screen. The newest versions went back to buttons for climate control and CD control.

I'd prefer the LCD be an (expensive) option, and have buttons standard. I don't even own a GPS and don't miss it.

small_pif | October 6, 2011

Hi all,

I'm on the UK waiting list and one the key elements that convinced me to place a deposit (beyond the obvious electric innovations) was the cohesiveness of the design from the exterior to the interior and the overall luxury feel that the car pervades.

To say I was gutted to see photos of the Beta interior is understatement. I loved the Alpha interior which reminded me of a high end Jaguar, whereas as many have commented the Beta interior reminds me of a low-end pick-up truck. I can't believe that the dedicated and enthusiastic Tesla team have got this so wrong. Even taking into account that compromises have to made as a car moves from prototype to production - when ease of manufacturing has to be considered for the first time - I can't believe this is the best that Tesla can manage.

As it stands I really couldn't live with the interior. I would need to apologise to anybody I gave a lift in the car saying something along the lines of 'the interior isn't much, but the car is an early electric vehicle' whereas previously it would have been a case of 'you think the exterior looks good, wait to you see inside'.

Please Tesla, find a way back towards the Alpha interior. I don't want to be apologising for my choice of car.

Soflauthor | October 6, 2011

@small_pif: Well said. The criticism regarding the lack of the center console and the resultant lack of integration and flow in the interior is almost unanimous across many threads in this forum, at the Tesla Motors Club forum, and on Tesla's own Facebook pages. I really do hope that the current beta interior is truly an unfinished rough prototype ("the Beta interior reminds me of a low-end pick-up truck") and that it will return to the beauty of the pre-Alpha interior.

I also hope that Tesla is paying attention to all of the negative comments regarding the interior and will move to address our collective concerns about the console and the integration of the display into the dash design.

jfeister | October 6, 2011

I think those asking for Tesla to go back to the alpha interior are going to be disappointed. Tesla has said many times this car is nearly indistinguishable to the production car. They've got to get this car in production soon or the company will be in big financial trouble. I don't think they have the time for a major change.

That being said, Tesla has been very good about making a balance between engineering / production requirements and customer feedback. I think they did a great job working the front end of the car based on customer feedback. A lot of folks are unhappy with the interior, but I don't think you'll see a fix until 2013. If you have a reservation you've got a tough choice in front of you.

Personally, I think the interior is in some ways an improvement to the alpha design, but mostly a step back. I always though it was awkward how the alpha tried to wrap a round interior around a square screen. I think in some ways the sides of the beta meet up with the screen in the center better.

I am not a fan of the big bucket in the middle. I remember my first car, a 1973 VW Camper-mobile. It had a open front like this where I put a trash can with a bungee cord. Granted, it was very convenient having a trash can right next to the driver's seat, but not the kind of thing you would want in a luxury car, and that's precisely what that space would turn into, a place to collect trash. It looks sloppy.

I would suggest connecting the center console with the armrest and using the space for more organized and covered storage. And of course...bring those cup holders forward!!! And the folks at Tesla are clever, maybe they can cup up with an even better use for that space in the middle.

I think Tesla was trying to accentuate simplicity, but people have become accustomed to the cockpit feel and they like it. Tesla needs to swallow their obsession with efficiency in this case and cater more to customer preference.

mwu | October 6, 2011

I think if they don't provide any obvious border around the screen, they could make the background and the UI of the screen visually similar to the dash so it would appear similar to having a set of physical controls built into the dash.

Then the screen integrates into the flow of the dash rather than clashing with it.

Right now I don't really care about not having the center console as long as I have other places to put stuff (not that I store a lot of stuff in my car to begin with... I think it's a bad habit to get into) -- perhaps I would feel differently if I sat in the car.

Volker.Berlin | October 7, 2011

Here's a great walk-through through the Model S' touch screen, the most thorough video of it I have seen so far:
http://www.viddler.com/explore/engadget/videos/3321/

Having seen this, I've got two impressions: First, they seem to get it right, and this touch screen has an incredible gadget/must have factor. It is beautiful and technically brilliant and I'll certainly spend as much time in my Model S as I possibly can only to get to use that touch screen more... ;-)

Second, it does not look so badly integrated after all. Actually, IMO it looks real cool and has a big WOW factor to it -- not only for its functions, but also for the way it is integrated into the dash. I have yet to see it in person, but from this video, I don't think it's all that bad and ugly.

Schlermie | October 9, 2011

I just got back from the Tesla store on Santana Row where they have a Signature Series Beta on the showroom floor. Admittedly, the Beta interior photos that @nlukin used to initiate this thread make the interior look pretty clunky; however, when I sat in the showroom Beta this afternoon, I didn't come away with that impression at all. In fact, I thought the dash was very stiking and engaging. The interior of the car I sat in was all black...maybe that helped. The big gap in the middle was a little strange, but not so overbearing that it stole the show. If they left the interior as-is, I'm would find a practical use for that empty area. It's a nice area for a backpack or camera bag or a laptop or something else sort of bulky.

Having said that, I asked one of the reps if there are any meaningful changes planned between Beta and Production. He gave a very confident response that the shell and cargo areas won't be changing, but it sounds like the interior is still a bit iffy. In fact whenever I took any detailed interior photos or showed any interest in a particular aspect of the interior, one of the reps was quick to point out that there's still a possibility that the interior may still encounter some modifications by production time.

Brad Holt | October 9, 2011

Very helpful Schlermie! Good to hear :)

Slindell | October 10, 2011

When I visited the Santana Row store on Friday the Tesla rep told me re: the missing center console that most women said, "Finally, a place to put my purse!"

Soflauthor | October 10, 2011

@Slindell: I can believe that most women said: "Finally, a place to put my purse!" It makes some sense.

I suppose, however, that Tesla is going to have to decide whether purse placement trumps display integration and interior design flow and aesthetics, not to mention the expectations of the vast majority of those who have commented on the beta interior. We'll see.

nlukin | October 10, 2011

I don't disagree with a great purse placement. Just cover that area with a nice little door, that makes the interior look complete.

Timo | October 10, 2011

I agree with nlukin. More storage space is always welcome, even if it is small, but for aesthetic reasons and also for protection from spying eyes it needs to be covered.

Brian H | October 10, 2011

Slindell;
That's it then! Game over.

cytek | October 10, 2011

I am adding and reposting this from Tripatinder's impression of Model-S and I completely agree with his opinion and feedback that is spot on accurate!!

Excellent Event - But I will provide feedback. Currently we own a Mercedes Benz C300 and Porsche Panamera 4S.

Feedback:
1) Model S has got the exterior perfect - a space age car - we love it - However, Interior needs a lot of work - its just pathetic
2) Model S Seats are very uncomfortable. Seats should snug you in, not push you out. Look at BMW and Mercedes Seats - sit on them and then sit on Model S.seats.You find find the difference immediately - seats need to be fixed immediately
3) Seats should have headrest - currently they are fixed like in volvo...this is very uncomfortable
4) The arm rests in the front row is just pathetic - gives a feel of chrysler mini-van. There is a gap between the 17 " Screen and the arm rest. The screen and center space between the front row seats should flow as one. Here look at Jaguar XJ and Jaguar XF for some idea
5) The Model S seats have a very bulky feel to it...look at Mercedes Seats, they are slim and gives more space to the passengers
6) Headlights should have corning lights ...like Porsche has. When you turn the headlights turn with it. Take the car on 92 going into Half Moon Bay, in night you should not be putting your high beam to see which way the road is turning. Mercedes C300 has this problem, headlights are pathetic, need to put the high beams to see which way the road is turning. Porsche Panamera does a great job on headlights. Normal headlights show the road very well. So test the Model S in night on 92 going into Half Moon Bay and into the hills
7) The Side mirrors need to be folding
8) The charging socket in the car has to be on both sides. Car should adjust to our house rather than House adjusts to the car. Having charging socket on both side, can help the car get charged easily with out wires spreading arround
9) Blind Sensor should be available...and SDK should have API's for Blind Sensor, so that we can write Applications that take advantage of Blind Sensors
10) Forward Sensor and back sensors should be available including cameras on both front and and back
11) Front sensors should also be able to sense if we have moved the car over the pathway

Model S has perfected the exterior - now lets perfect the interior - All the Best..Keep up the good work

Robert.Boston | October 10, 2011

+1 cornering headlights -- I thought this was going to be a needless folly on my BMW 5, and instead have found it to be one of the best tech applications on the car.

+1 comments on seating -- you can't drive a car aggressively if you're sloshing around on a bench. Get this right!

+1 folding side mirrors -- harsh realities of city living. Side mirrors sticking out = side mirrors destroyed.

HJ-45 | October 11, 2011

This article popped up today. The screen may be an option. WTF!

"Once inside the car, most could not get their eyes off the 17-inch, high-definition display in the center of the dash, a $1,900 option. It functions like an enlarged iPad with Internet access over a 3G connection, allowing clear access to Google maps and climate controls."

http://www.almanacnews.com/news/show_story.php?id=9830

David70 | October 11, 2011

WTF is right. As far as I can tell the 17" display has always been considered a part of the base package. Although 17" is probably more than I care about.

nlukin | October 11, 2011

Wow, I just went through Tesla site and nowhere does it say that 17" display is standard. I am starting to get concerned that the article may be correct.
http://www.almanacnews.com/news/show_story.php?id=9830

Klaus | October 11, 2011

Not to worry, folks. The 17" display is the ONLY option available. And it comes standard on the Model S. Did you honestly believe they would slap a bunch of knobs and switches in the dash for a cheaper option? I was at the Fremont event and no one mentioned anything about an optional dash. And the web site may not say that the display is standard, it also dosent say seats, wheels, etc. are standard. Come on guys, you're freaking out over stupid, misinformed news stories.

ThomasN | October 11, 2011

I think its an example of poor journalism. It's an optionn on the roadster, therefore it must be an option on the model s

Red shift | October 11, 2011

Slindel

That's exactly what the rep told me too! Tesla, put a cover over the cavernous hole, please.

I agree with other comments about the square edges and cheap looking interior, but this is still beta.

Alpha interior looks much much better, like a luxury car should.

Timo | October 11, 2011

@Red Shift, you mean prototype, not alpha. Alpha is the car with rudimentary interior, not much more than a steering wheel, pedals and seat for driver and dash to hunt down bugs in the system.

mcornwell | October 11, 2011

I setup a Google News alert since coming back from the ride event, and have lost track of all the errors I've read: Weight - 3,700 pounds, handling almost as good as the Roadster, base price $59,000, optional touch screen, no crash tests done yet, the screen is 18", 50 MPG...

cerjor | October 12, 2011

How about having the screen pivot so the passenger can see it better when he or she adjusts the temp, music, gps, etc.

Robert.Boston | October 12, 2011

Almanac News has corrected its most egregious error in reporting: "Note: An earlier version of this story said the 17-inch, high-definition display in the center of the dash is a $1,900 option. The display is actually standard in every Model S sedan and not an option. "

Slindell | October 13, 2011

I guess it's just what you're used to. I prefer the open space rather than a console. I bypassed the Chevy Volt because of its huge center console. Looking at nlukin's pictures I prefer the beta.

But given the option I would choose buttons and knobs over the LCD at the drop of a hat. In less that a week after delivery the hacking of a Model S infotainment system will be in the news. Oh well.

scoosba | October 13, 2011

My old cell phone had a bunch of buttons that took up alot of the real estate and my new touch screen phone basically has one button and after using it for about an hour for the first time i felt like I had been living the stone age with my old phone. Looking at the consoles of those other cars (and my own)I just see a dated tech. Those dashes look like a Christmas tree of buttons. Do I really need 30 buttons? Plus those other dashed are dominated by plastic. I love the dash of the beta, but I would like a lock box of some sort between the seat like my current car has. It is very nice for my wife to drop her purse in there and lock it when we leave the car. I also think it may help the space flow better.

Brad Holt | October 13, 2011

+1 scoosba. +1.

Mark2131@CA-US | October 13, 2011

Add me to the long list of reservation holders who are unhappy with the current state of the interior.
I can only hope that the message is getting through... love the exterior/hate the interior.

What I don't understand is WHY they went from a design that most people clearly found superior, to a
design that many find objectionable. Is it cost driven? Functional? Why move to a less desireable choice?

I remain optimistic, and hope that a "higher sense of design" prevails.

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