Model 3 screen embedded on the dashboard

Model 3 screen embedded on the dashboard

I hope the Model 3 screen gets embedded within the dashboard. The current version we have all seen, seems to be unsafe in case of a collision. The hanging/mounted screen could easily become a projectile harming cabin occupants.

The Model S concept showed a hanging vertical screen also, but as we all know the production car has it very nicely embedded within the dash.

I hope the final version of the 3 has it embedded too.

What do you think?

gavinfaulkner | 9 April 2017

Newtons third law: Objects in motion tend to keep the same motion.

If the car abruptly stops or is abruptly stopped by something while it is travelling forward the screen will fly off its stalk, through the window and away from harming any passengers. Its quite a brilliant design feature. Auto lights, auto wipers, auto pilot, now we've got auto hazard eject.

Of course, it only applies if passengers wear their seatbelts.

topher | 9 April 2017

If you are going to cite Newton's Laws, please get it right. That's the first law.

Next, please show your math for the breaking strength of the stalk versus the force from deceleration.

Otherwise, you are just spreading FUD.

Thank you kindly.

hoffmannjames | 9 April 2017

Unfortunately, I don't think Tesla will embed the screen. First of all, we've seen release candidates and the screen is unchanged. If they have not changed it already, I doubt they will at this point. Second, Tesla wants the screen in the 3 to be landscape mode. With such a narrow dash area, there is not enough space to embed such a large screen in landscape mode, certainly not if you still want to keep the screen at the same level as the steering wheel. But I don't see the issue. It is not like the screen is clipped on. I am sure it is firmly attached to the car.

carlk | 9 April 2017

@topher Don't argue when you're the one who does not understand physics.

Frank99 | 9 April 2017

carlk -
Would you enlighten us then? As a card-carrying engineer, I find nothing wrong with topher's post, but I must have overlooked something.

nyca | 9 April 2017

Absolutely, if what we see in these spy photos is the final dash - it shows they spent zero time designing it, an iPad sticking out of what is otherwise a featureless dashboard, no HUD, no instrument cluster. It's beyond ridiculous, the loyalists will buy whatever Tesla puts out there of course, but any serious person looking at that dash would have to wonder what is going on.

carlk | 9 April 2017

OK Frank99. Your body absorbs the maximum kinetic energy when hitting a fixed object. That's why we has collapsible steering column and crumble zone.

carlk | 9 April 2017

..we have...

mntlvr23 | 9 April 2017

If the screen is embedded, it will be connected to the dash in some manner - and will have a certain strength based on the choice of attachment and what it is attached to.

If the screen is attached from a stalk, it will be connected to the dash in some manner - and will have a certain strength based on the choice of attachment and what it is attached to.

Either of the two could be stronger or weaker than the other. I would imagine that they would design either of the two to have adequate strength and an adequate safety factor.

mntlvr23 | 9 April 2017

btw - it seemed to me that Gavin.faulkner was just kidding (and in that scenario did not need to fact check his laws of physics)

gavinfaulkner | 9 April 2017

Woah. Well I just got spanked. Regardless of flagrant errors the response was in jest. I apologise to the gods of physics for any offense. *genuflect*

Frank99 | 9 April 2017

Carlk -
If your concern is an unbelted driver/passenger hitting the screen, it's certainly valid. I'm guessing that significant thought went into the design of the stalk to make sure that when a 100 pound body hits it, it will collapse without causing more injury than the body is going to suffer hitting the dash anyway. The amount of force that a 1 kg screen could be subject to in a survivable accident is easily calculated - and the mounting designed strong enough to keep it in place. The amount of force that a 20 kg child flying towards the dash is also easily calculated - and there's a huge gap between the two forces that allows engineers to design a secure, yet safe, mount.
I think it's fair to have the opinion that "it's ugly and I hate it", but it's not fair to suggest that it's a safety hazard.

rafael | 9 April 2017

Just to provide a bit of my thought process when I posted this entry. I used to race with the SCCA a while back and per the rules, all drivers had to have secondary means of securing even the smallest video cameras attached with steel bolts to the roll cage with a certain type of strap. It seemed like overkill to me but for safety reasons you can never be too safe. All teams gladly comply with such rules.

Granted, in a street car you are not driving at the limit all the time but you are also not held in place with a six point harness, fireproof suit and gloves, wearing a helmet in a car with a fire suppression system.

If all crashes involved a single hit in one direction only, and no bounces I would agree there is very little chance of getting hit by a flying 15" screen. But that is not realistic. Hence my concern.

I will still get my Model 3 as soon as I am given the chance per my turn on the reservation order, but I still think this is a legitimate concern.

For a car being claimed to be 10x safer that most current vehicles on the road, the current screen we have all seen just seems not final.

One can only hope....

carlk | 9 April 2017


Things that will break off is always better than things that don't when a body hits it since part of the energy will be absorb by that. That's simple physics said by this Ph.D. physicist.

rafael | 9 April 2017

I see. So you don't think there is a chance that after a multiple collision accident an occupant can end up being stationary and the 15" monitor could end up smacking him or her in the head with a broken sharp edge?

I suppose I should stop getting concerned about flying debris as well.

Thank you.

Frank99 | 9 April 2017

Then we're in agreement, carl. I still don't understand what your issue was with topher's post, but that's OK.

mntlvr23 | 9 April 2017

Rafael - do you see this as any more of an issue than for a rear view mirror or for a steering wheel?

rafael | 9 April 2017

In my opinion, yes. To me, it is a lot more than an issue when compared to the rear view mirror, and definitely the steering wheel.

First, I should clarify that the rear view mirror, in my opinion is also a problem. If it becomes loose in a collision, it's also a projectile. However, since it is light weight and small in size, the probabilities of getting seriously injured by a rear view mirror are small.

The steering wheel is for the most part a fixed element in the cabin, so I don't think it will ever hit anyone but the driver (the driver will hit it, not the other way around) and the driver is probably holding on to it, so not a big concern there for me.

If the monitor is held in place by a part that is 1/16th the size of the monitor, like a bracket, the weight and volume in case of a collision could snap such bracket like a twig. At the very least bent it. Keep in mind that while I personally do, a lot of people don't wear the seat belt all the time. Their fault in that case if they get injured, but still, it should be made as safe as possible.

Please, don't get me wrong. . .I am by no means trying to say I am backing out of my Model 3 reservation because of this. I just want to know if there are more people that have the same concern I have, in regards to the 15" monitor being potentially dangerous in a collision. I am in love with the car, and will get it regardless of having that concern. In fact, it's not so much a concern as it is curiosity on what people think about it.

I trust that Tesla did not overlook safety with this item and that once in production it should not pose a problem. I am wondering if they address this concern by embedding it or with a slightly different design will be executed in the production line. I am sure that if the design remains what it is right now, I must be wrong in my concern and Tesla thought of every possibility, giving us the best product they can provide.

If the car is passing safety regulations, it's probably a non-issue.

Thank you.

Bighorn | 9 April 2017

My sense is that it is a neurotic fixation. Never crossed my mind and raises zero concerns personally. What's provably dangerous is the airbag--chew on that.

rafael | 9 April 2017

Dude. . .no fixation here. I am not insulting anyone by asking if anyone has thought about that potentially dangerous 15" screen. I actually could care less about the issue I am raising at my own personal level.

Right now, after over 25 years riding motorcycles, I am recovering from my first and only motorcycle accident that happened in January 18 while on my way to work in my 2011 Hayabusa. During rush hour in the morning, a distracted driver invaded my lane and stopped suddenly (at slow speed). To avoid getting killed by a head-on collision, I avoided hitting the car and after losing grip my bike high-sided me and when I recovered consciousness, I was on the ground with broken ribs, a fractured tibia and collar bone. I required surgery as soon as I got taken to the ER. Do you think I am going stop riding motorcycles for ever? No. Will I avoid riding during rush hours to or from work? Probably.

All I am saying is that I see a tiny bit of potential danger inside the Model 3 with such a big screen floating in its current form. That's all. To me it personally means very little risk when compared to my other high adrenaline activities (riding, legal road course racing, skydiving, etc.).

No need for insults. I think we can all respect each other reasonable concerns if it's for the safety of all involved.

And like I said, "I am sure that if the design remains what it is right now, I must be wrong in my concern and Tesla thought of every possibility, giving us the best product they can provide.".

topher | 9 April 2017


Sorry if I missed the humor. There has been a lot of FUD recently about the screen, and what a hazard it is, without the slightest bit of evidence or even common sense. My apologies if you got caught in the backlash of that.

Thank you kindly.

Bighorn | 9 April 2017

I thought you asked for opinions. Sorry if it felt like an insult.

topher | 9 April 2017


If you had a rebuttal I would listen. Mindless insults just get you a plonk.

Thank you kindly.

Bighorn | 9 April 2017

And get well soon--I had to nurse my wife through a similar trauma.

skygraff | 9 April 2017

I am also concerned with the screen on a stalk. Figure they've probably designed the airbags to wrap around it though.

Another fine place to hang Mardi Gras beads.

M3forMe | 9 April 2017

We will have to wait for the crash test results. I think it will be fine since SAFETY is pretty high on Tesla list of priorities. IMO

gavinfaulkner | 9 April 2017


Thank you kindly.

If only the screen was round with a large face emoticon presented on it, had smooth talking voice announcements and the car horn sounded "beede beede beede" I would be tempted to call the car Tweaky and the screen Dr Theopolis.

(Of course the car would have to be painted silver)

(I'll be looking for round after market "screen protectors" with third party software or browser addons)

KP in NPT | 9 April 2017

+1 bighorn.

And I seriously doubt Tesla would overlook safety. I'm sure the final design has been well thought out with safety in mind.

Carl Thompson | 9 April 2017

As others have said I expect the screen is attached securely enough to prevent it from being a projectile in an accident.

What I could easily see, however, is people breaking their arms (wrist or forearm). The driver's and passenger's arms are not restrained and in an accident an arm could easily swing to the front and side and strike the screen edge on. Particularly the driver's arm as it's already out in front when on the steering wheel.


Red Sage ca us | 9 April 2017

OP: I hope not. It is fine as is. Seat belts work. Especially in combination with air bags.

hsadler | 9 April 2017

Actually, the screen just hovers in place magnetically. In the event of a sudden deceleration, the magnets lose power and the screen drops away to reveal an air bag. (All this takes place in microseconds)

pavel | 10 April 2017

Well it's not like the screen is attached with thumbtacks, it's built into the dash - it just protrudes. I would love it if it's flush like on the S and the X, but this serves a practical function on the 3. Since that's the only screen and that's where you're going to be getting all your information, it needs to be as close to eye level as possible. So I don't think it will be embedded at any point.

bj | 10 April 2017

If the screen being in the centre of the dash and protruding rather than being "embedded" means RHD Model 3 will be made sooner then I'm all for it :)

dsvick | 10 April 2017

In most peoples cars there are enough other unsecured objects that the screen coming loose and smacking them in the face is probably on the low end of what they should be concerned about. In my car I've got a lock I use for the gym sitting on the passenger seat, in the back seat I've got three one foot sections of 4x4, my easy pass transponder, an iPod, and whatever else my son may have left in the back seat.

mntlvr23 | 10 April 2017

@dsvick - "In the back seat I've got three one foot sections of 4x4".

Now you have my interest, please 'splain

rafael | 10 April 2017

Good to see everyone's point of view. I hope you're all as excited about the Model 3 coming out soon, as I am.

dsvick | 10 April 2017


It's for my son's Boy Scout troop. Apparently every troop going to the summer camp we are going to this year gets them and is supposed to engrave them, draw on them, or personalize them in some way. Then they are all combined with all the ones from the other troops into some sort of totem pole or something. It should be interesting ...

mntlvr23 | 10 April 2017

Cool !

jefjes | 10 April 2017

Guess I'm just crazy for liking the screen as it is and thinking it is one of the features that make the car cool and different. As far as safety, a ceiling fan requires a cable to be attached to prevent it from falling in the unlikely event it becomes unattached to the ceiling. The cable is usually unseen and part of the mounting process. Seems a stalk mounted screen could have the same to keep it from becoming a projectile plus add a bit of security from theft if it is snapped off the stalk to be stolen.

Red Sage ca us | 10 April 2017

Totems are cool. Seat belts work. Safety is a pivotal concern for Tesla. Leaving the screen where it is, but bringing the dashboard outward to 'surround' it would make for a very claustrophobic experience. I get tired of seeing acres of dashboard in front of me in most cars. It is wasted space that should be used for passengers and cargo instead.

rennerfra | 10 April 2017

Perhaps, we have to think different: how about a surprize during second unveil in June/July = a changed dashboard with an integrated screen (e.g. in the center stack). I would bet, that free positioned display will not come in mass production (+ I don't like it...).

stevenmaifert | 10 April 2017

OP - The Model X prototype had the touchscreen bolted to the dash:

The Model S prototype always had the touchscreen embedded in the dash: I got a chance to see the prototype in person and IMHO, the integration of the touchscreen looked much nicer than what Tesla settled on in the production version.

4fishtankz | 10 April 2017

I can see the concern and has entered my mind as well. I was hit from the side in the 80's at the rear quarter panel and it messed me up pretty bad being tossed around (even with the seat belt) and hitting the shifter/center console. I had more medical bills than it cost to repair the car. Having the center screen sticking out so far makes me wonder how it's attached too, and how the passengers would be if you do have a side impact. Of course there are a lot of things in regular cars that would injure you too in the same situation.

4fishtankz | 10 April 2017

I must say the one center screen gives me pause, not enough to immediately cancel my reservation, but I'm waiting and seeing what the final verdict is when it comes out main stream and the reviews are in.

Red Sage ca us | 10 April 2017

rennerfra: You would lose that bet.

stevenmaifert: No. That original up and over wraparound for the center screen looked as if it had been swiped from an old Eagle Talon or something. It was horrid.

4fishtankz: The steering wheel still protrudes further than the center screen. Though I'd love to see Tesla be the first automobile manufacturer to make five point seat belts standard, I do not believe that will happen anytime soon.

Frank99 | 10 April 2017

Let's think about this a minute. The screen is a TOUCH screen. That means that it has to be close enough for the driver to TOUCH it. As Red pointed out a few posts ago, if you want the screen embedded in the dash, that means you have to bring the dash out to where the screen is - which means it takes up a lot of space inside the car. We've all gotten used to having that space taken up, but with the Model 3 perhaps not having the space taken up will make for a much more open feeling, as well as moving the dash (you know, that hard, unforgiving piece of metal/plastic that hurts if you hit it in an accident) further away.

Red - I read somewhere a long time ago (I think it was a Miata forum) that federal vehicle safety standards for seat belts are written in such a way as to disallow four- or five-point harnesses in new vehicles. Seems idiotic to me, but so do the requirements for physical side mirrors.

stevenmaifert | 10 April 2017

Red - To each his own opinion, but I thought the design looked more elegant and blended well with the center console; neither of which made it to the production version:

gavinfaulkner | 10 April 2017

bj raised an interesting point about the RHD model being available faster because of (what I presume) the ease of making a car with a central touch screen for all markets. That might be true (and yay!) but lets take a step back.

Has anyone used a RHD car with a central touch screen? Most people are right handed. Using your left hand to operate a touch screen while the car (and your arm) are bobbing around can be a frustrating endeavour. Its like you're 3 years old and learning to point all over again. Personally, I can't help but feel a little retarded.

I do hope its more responsive and the icons are larger than the central screen in my Leaf. Otherwise I'm going to be hitting the passenger eject button when I want to turn on the radio.

KP in NPT | 10 April 2017

Well I'm left handed and have no problem using my right hand to use the screen in our LHD car.

gavinfaulkner | 10 April 2017

Who's a clever boy then! Who's a clever booooy. ;)