2012 Tesla Model S Prototype Spy Shots

2012 Tesla Model S Prototype Spy Shots

Designtime | June 27, 2011

I hope this is camoflaged. It is starting to look like every other sedan on the market today.

RobQ | June 27, 2011

I agree. Very depressing. It looks like just another Alpha Ugly tho, not anything more that that. Let's hope for a Beta comeback.

jfeister | June 28, 2011

First reaction: Bleech!

Taking a closer look, I think the chrome accents around the windows, chrome door handles, and larger / fancier wheels would help the looks a lot. The blurry faded color of the picture doesn't help either.

But not of that fixes the stunted front end. Older models had that bulging hood which gave it a more imposing feel, but this hood looks too small and out of proportion with the rest of the car. Certainly disappointing. I've heard they've been going back and forth a lot at Tesla about what the front end will look like in it's final state.

DrJ | June 28, 2011

Wow, I hope that wasn't a Tesla design bound for production, or I'm pulling my reservation. That thing was not what they have been selling on their website. The proportions were, in a polite term, boring.

Iz | June 28, 2011

The original concept had better lines and definitely a better nose. Seems as if a majority of posters are in agreement. Why does Tesla continue to parade the original concept when the alpha version is somewhat different and as Designtime stated, "starting to look like every other sedan on the market today"?

jklemon | June 28, 2011

Everyone calm down. The first thing I notice when looking at those photos is that there is NOTHING on the car indication that it is a Tesla. I'm not saying it isn't, but I think important to note that the car in those photos does not bear the Tesla name.

I think it's unlikely that the production Model S will have a much shorter nose than what we've seen in every prototype photo posted in Tesla's website. My guess is that, if that was a Tesla car, it was testing certain motor or other features that did not require it to look like the Model S is intended to.

Mittar | June 28, 2011

Well I definitely think it's a Model S. Enough websites are posting it such and it would be really embarrassing if they were wrong. That said, the angles of these shots are very unflattering and they are generally just really bad pictures.

Todd Burch | June 28, 2011

1. Yes, it's an alpha versioin of the Model S.

2. All decorative accents have been removed, which has a significant impact on the looks of the car.

3. Even the rims are "boring". Tesla is not trying to attract attention with these cars, remember. They're intended solely for testing the car's systems. It's like when you wake up on a Saturday morning to go running before showering. You're out for the exercise, you probably look bad, and you don't really want to attract attention to yourself.

4. From everything I've seen, the external body design of the S is very similar in form and proportion to the prototype.

5. Pictures can be unflattering. Take a look at your own photo albums to see what I mean...

msiano17 | June 28, 2011

Ya it is the same exact model s that are in most pictures out there. In one of Elon's interviews he says he drive it to and from work on a weekly basis to test it out.

The lines are not crisp like the original prototype, but I know they have a long way to go before launching the Beta. That will be the big tell of how it will look. So hold tight until then.

William13 | June 29, 2011

Please remember that even the Beta will not be final design. I expect the aluminum will be finalized or at least very close but the decorative aspects may be changed in the production car. I still wonder about the front wheel vent.

Thumper | June 29, 2011

Any body panels coming off of that enormous multi-ton press Tesla bought are being pressed by dies that will not be changed at this point! Plastic bits, trim and wheels may vary. I do not find the spy shot photos unattractive for what they are. Have you looked at spy shot photos over the years of ICE vehicle that turn out to be OK looking?
I believe the spy shots are of the shop tour vehicle with the bicycle reflected in the nose cone. It has the nose cone, the identical wheels, the same paint and the squared off side mirrors. Comments?

msiano17 | June 29, 2011

I did hear in one of the interviews that the Beta is expected to be 95% of the final production. So I take that as it is the production except for a very few minute tweeks and changes.

Nicu | June 30, 2011


Brian10 | June 30, 2011

There is no way Tesla is going to get most people to pay $50,000 or $60,000 for the car in this photo. It looks like a Ford Probe from the late 80's. If the production model does not closely resemble the prototype, you'll see a lot of people, including me, pulling their reservations.

Mycroft | June 30, 2011

$80,000 for the Signature edition. And I agree, if it's not up to the level of an Audi GS there will be lots of defections.

VolkerP | June 30, 2011

Hey folks,

calm down. it is an alpha car. look at the rear license plate in these photos

spy shot rear view and
autoblog article.

It reads "OCT California MFG 63277 SA". The alpha looks are well known and have been discussed already. So there are no new design changes to fret about!

Anybody want to accuse Tesla that they switch license plates?

Mittar | July 1, 2011

Oh the panic that can be accomplished by a terrible photography lol. Seriously people, wait till you get to go and see one in person, and take it for a spin before freaking out.

jfeister | July 1, 2011

Who is panicking? The fact that this is a bad picture of a prototype isn't news to anyone. Folks are simply pointing out that the car doesn't look good, and that the production model needs to be more like the original prototype they paid to reserve or they might pull their reservation. It doesn't mean that anyone is freaking out.

ckessel | July 1, 2011

Some of the reactions are a bit hyperbolic. The reactions over the Tesla staged release of previous Alpha pics where folks went "Augh, that front end!" are a bit more reasonable since that's Tesla delivering the picture of what, presumably, they think is a good showing of the car. I had that reaction myself as I prefer the lines of the prototype.

But a somewhat fuzzy, through a windshield, look at a test car, is more a curiosity than something I'm going to critically judge.

masterxmac | July 2, 2011

I have posted once or twice before when the alpha video came out. It really bothered me how bad it looked, I figured out then that the entire car had bees changed from the original concept.

Back then the main thing people were complaining about was the nose. I said no, they chained the whole car, it was a cheap knock off of the prototype, the guy who said the sheet metal was stamped is right, this is the car, it's not going to change much.

Elon is a flake, anybody that would not be smart enough to cash in on that amazing awe the prototype created does not deserve to own a successful car company. Blogging about his marriage issues?

This car won't sell, not even for 30k, why? Because it's uuuugggly...

After that video came out I blogged that "my dream ends here" and it did, but I held on to a lil hope deep down that maybe something would change, these pics naiedl that door shut. I sleep in peace now and don't dream about owning a tesla anymore. I'll keep driving my e class until until somebody creates a sexy electric car that I would like to own.

It's too bad tesla won't just sell those 3 prototypes they built, I would buy one of those in a second, then buy a production model s and transfer the parts over to the prototype and get the awsome car I dreamed of owning. Now that really is dreaming.

Tim10 | July 2, 2011

It is amazing to read how much passion everyone has for this car. There are parts I like and some that I don't. However these are all alpha builds, not from the final assembly line, probably not with final parts and likely not using the final presses or dies. I will reserve my joy or disappointment for when Tesla feels ready to say this is it world!

Supergreekster | July 5, 2011

Agree that it looks like 1980s ford probe, I think it needs more aggressive styling cues, or I may be out as well... I don't think it should be "dumbed down" for the general population, the aggressive looks are what make people desire it and be proud to drive it!!

It is already an amazing technological feat, make it look like it!! I know, form must follow function, but vehicles should evoke emotion, and not boredom... IMHO

Ramon123 | July 5, 2011

I have no clue as to what some here are complaining about. These
pictures have been available for months and nothing in these shows
anything different. And the differences between this and what we saw on the first prototype last year are practically non-existent.
Hard to fathom ...

Discoducky | July 5, 2011

I'm liking the looks, features and price of the new 2012 A7 actually if Tesla can't pull it off:

David70 | July 5, 2011

I'd never spend that much an car that isn't electric. The only reason I want the Model S is that although it's of luxury car price, it has electric car capabilities that no other electric offers. At least anywhere close to what I can hopefully afford.

tangent | July 5, 2011

I am blowing up the rear view picture of Model S spyshot, and comparing it with concept picture of earlier Model S, there are quite some changes that we could suspect whether the spy shot was indeed Model S. For the ease of comparisons, I have assembled both pictures side-by-size, and annotated the big differences I have found so far

The differences I have found are:

1. Low bumper stop light (in spy shot but not in concept)
2. Chrome at lower bumper grill (eek)
3. Missing "lips" connecting left and right tail light.

I would agree the concept looks way more gorgeous than the spy shot, and I am hoping Tesla would not depart too much from the concept as I am about to put in my deposit soon.


The right side pictures used in comparison is from:

tangent | July 5, 2011

More I looked at the spy shot, the rear of the car reminds me of Pontiac Grand Am or Bonneville reincarnation. grin.

msiano17 | July 6, 2011

personally i really like the tail end of the original prototype ... i like the direction they are heading with the alpha, but not fully convinced yet with it... we shall see

Ad van der Meer | July 11, 2011

Disgusted with the idea of having to wait another 18 months or so, I'd take a pink Alpha with rainbow dots today.
I am not going to speculate on how the final product is going to look as none of us, and maybe even Elon Musk, don't know what is going and what is staying from the pictures that have been published so far.

Volker.Berlin | July 11, 2011

Disgusted with the idea of having to wait another 18 months or so, I'd take a pink Alpha with rainbow dots today. (Ad van der Meer)


David70 | July 11, 2011

I wouldn't go that far. But I agree that it's what's in the book and not the cover that's really important. I want a Model S because of what it is and does, not how it looks. On the other hand, it couldn't do what it will do without a well designed exterior.

Brian H | July 11, 2011

The ticket is to expect the worst, and then you'll never be disappointed.
Keep visualizing your car as slightly ugly and harshly functional, until it arrives ...


Graphene | October 14, 2013

Photographed a black model S in Franklin MA earlier today. It had a California license plate.

Captain_Zap | October 14, 2013

Looks like Volker.Berlin only had to wait an extra 16 months instead of 18. ;-)