Ideas for *that* center space

Ideas for *that* center space

We're back to arguing over whether or not a center console is a good idea or required or whatever. Let's try to take all this energy in a positive direction -- describe the perfect center space for your needs. If you like, defend why your design overview is the best.

I've been looking at all the things I won't need to haul around anymore and it turns out my in-car storage desires are pretty minimal: place for wallet (I don't like sitting on it), place for phone/accessory charging, place for change purse, place for drink (like to have something at hand for longer trips). And maybe a place for backpack but I'm fine with it in passenger seat or in trunk or behind driver seat if I have a passenger.

So here's my design:
Appears about 5" across at bottom, could be a little wider at top, I'd prefer something about same height as the seats at the top, so 8" to the top. 8" depth is a very deep compared to other cars.

Towards front, space for misc accessories that plug into the USB ports I presume are under the screen. A cubby tray at top for that stuff, maybe 3" depth. Under it is another 4" of space you can tuck away under it because the next section is full depth for most of the length to the armrest.

That long center section is where I'd have removable trays/options. One example is a removable drink tray that snaps into place -- removable so can easily clean out the crud that tends to accumulate. Another includes change rows for parking meters plus generic cubby trays would be fine too. Or a hybrid that does both. I envision having a tray for everyday use and one for longer trips, since the items needed can change for different trips.

Can have a rolltop with the storage for it in the empty space under the accessory tray for near the armrest. Under these tray things you could put the rarely used items; umbrella, maps, w/e. Or could bypass the tray option and simply put a purse or w/e there. I carry a backpack routinely so maybe I'd squeeze it into that large middle space rather than put on the passenger side seat like I do now.

As you can tell, I'd like accessory trays for things I'd plug into USB. This is something I'd make an item for, and it would likely be functional but not beautiful, if the car doesn't come with or quickly get a console.

What do you all think should be there, if anything? If you'd rather have nothing there, why do you think that's the optimal solution? If you'd like something there, please describe it (drawings not required) and how it would be an improvement over the relatively empty space.

AndyM | March 28, 2012

Well-done, Soflauthor!
I would much, much rather pay $250 for a center console here than $250 for a parcel shelf.

prash.saka | March 29, 2012

+1 AndyM, I agree.

Soflauthor | March 29, 2012

@AndyM: I'd be surprised (very pleasantly, I might add) if the price for a CCA is $250. My guess is that it will cost between $500 and $1,000, but I hope I'm wrong.

My more immediate concern is that TM (1) gives us their design before deliveries begin, (2) provides an indication of what it will cost (Sigs who want a CCA might get it gratis as part of the 'Sig tax,' hint, hint :)) and (3) tells us when the CCA will be available.

ddruz | March 29, 2012

Do you think they might offer two options, a small closed storage compartment closer to $250 for folks who don't need much and a more extensive CCA at a higher price for folks with greater needs? That would cover all buyers' preferences.

Personally I don't think people should have to pay anything at all for a small amount of concealed storage in addition to the glove box because it's taken for granted by car buyers. But realistically I realize they are probably going to charge us for it. I'm just hoping it's not too much.

Jason S | March 30, 2012

Comments so far indicate 3 real preferences; 1) it is fine the way it is, 2) a small something under the screen for stuff, usually stuff you'd plug into a USB, 3) full center storage similar to what Soflauthor has sketched/designed.

I'd like something but it doesn't need to be much. #2 would probably suit my needs but delivered as a full version (#3) I certainly wouldn't complain.

Larry Chanin | March 30, 2012

For the field retrofit, I think that Tesla should consider a redesign of the current console to a)correct the armrest/cupholder conflict, b) add two rear cupholders, c)provide UBS ports for the rear, d)add slide out trays.

This new design should be compatible with a second optional console that extends to under the display.

Perhaps Tesla should abandon the idea of using the center console as an armrest and simply add optional folding armrests that attach to the seats.


Jason S | March 30, 2012

Maybe for the S 2.0, but I'm guessing it is much too late for seat redesign of existing components. Addons, however, seem reasonable so that's what we've been talking about so far.

A complete redesign is worth considering, however. For folks who really use the car to hold more than 2 people additional cupholders in the rear area are useful. Given that a middle armrest is out of the question, the cupholders must be attached to the center console.

Tech pkg provides USB for rear, so I think that's already covered. Trays and whatnot are details but count as some small item storage is desired, so that sounds good.

My existing car allows the armrest to position just above a storage spot that has an electronic connector. So that should work.

All basically for a Model S 2.0 design, if it turns out this kind of thing is a huge factor for folks.

BYT | March 30, 2012

@Larry, that center armrest is also the climate delivery system for the passengers in the back seat.

Volker.Berlin | March 30, 2012

There is one advantage of having the cup holders next to your elbow, that did not occur to me earlier, but that may have at least in part driven Tesla's decision for the design as is: It's almost impossible for beverages in those cup holders to spill on the touch screen. Just to name one positive aspect of that setup.

Larry Chanin | March 30, 2012

@Larry, that center armrest is also the climate delivery system for the passengers in the back seat. - BYT

Yes, I am aware of that, but it still should be possible to accommodate the rear ventilation. For example, they don't have to resort to permanent cupholders embedded in the console, they could use the pop-out kind, or the duct work could wrap around permanent cupholders. Likewise, adding trays that pop out shouldn't neccessarily obstruct the duct work.


jbunn | April 2, 2012

Regarding dying the lacewood, as I recall, it was very dark. Thats tough to do on wood. When I need to go that dark on wood, I stain with sumi-e ink. Black japanese drawing and painting ink. Very easy to work with on wood, and gets you to ebony, which is difficult with stain, yet its not paint. Grain comes through.

I told the rep I was planning on using bungee cords to tie down a milk crate in the center space for my stuff. She was not feeling it.

I DON'T like the look of the two plastic tracks on the floor. What is that? Mounting for a missing center console? If you want a flat floor, fine. Have a flat floor. But two trim pieces 1/2 inch high? Right now it looks like a place to store a few pencils where they wont roll around and get under my feet.

EdG | April 2, 2012

Maybe it's a good space for a surprise.

Brian H | April 2, 2012

Hah! Maybe we need a thread on teasing/abusing reps? >:-P
P.S.; will the bungee cords be color-coordinated with the seats?

jbunn | April 2, 2012

Ed, I sure hope so.

Brian, Tiburon grey exterior. Probably black napa or gray interior. Tan headliner. I was thinking a green crate. My cords are yellow and red. That would make for a snappy interior. Or should I go for the blue?

Best I not torment my rep. I like her, and she reads the boards. Bad things can happen to the paperwork of bad people...

TikiMan | April 2, 2012

I was counting the items that I keep stowed in my current vehicle's center console, and eliminating the things I could do without, and came to the conclusion I will now have the following items in plain view lying on the floor, if no center console or glove compartment is implemented...

1) Hand-Sanatizer: I got in the habbit of keeping this available in my center console, and using it every time I come from a place where I could not wash my hands after touching public utensils (ATM's, banks, markets, stores, etc). This is something I can not live without, as it has cut back on the amount of colds and flus over 90%.

2) Cell Phone:

3) Cell Phone Charger:

4) IPod: This is still a question-mark, as I would assume there will have to be a location to connect your iPod, for remote assess via the Model S's audio system. Being I rarely ever take my iPod with me, when I exit my car, it will stay in my car, thus one would hope that it won't just be sitting in the open with an ugly wire attached to it.

5) Tire pressure gauge: I always have kept one of these, regardless what systems the car has for tire pressure monitoring, because it is impossible to fill your tires with air unless you have a proper gauge to get exact time pressure (unless Tesla plans on comming out to wherever I am, when I want, to check and fill my tires at no charge?)

6) Car Manual/Booklet: I would assume every Model S will come with a hard-copy manual?

7) Pens and Note Booklet: I always keep a good pen and some paper available.

8) Energy Bar / Snack: Being I drive in Los Angeles, and have a LONG commute of up to two hours one way, I always keep a few non-parish'able energy bars in my car. They come in very handy when a truck jacknifes on the Interstate 5, and I am stuck for as long as 4 hours.

9) Sun Glasses, and Case:

10) Breath Mints / Chewing Gum:

11) Dust Cloth / Screen Wipe: I would assume this will be very important, as the oils in our fingers are going to be smudging up the touch-screen constantly, so I will likely need both a micro-fiber dust cloth, and a special screen cloth.

So, with no concealed accessible storage, I will have to contend with at least eleven items cluttering up the interior of my $100,000.00 Model S EV. I have a feeling when I show it off to my EV skeptical friends, they are going to think I am a slob, thus I don't think I will be showing it off to anyone, because I am very anal about my appearance.

Rumbles | April 2, 2012

@TikiMan since Tesla has already signaled its intent to address this situation over time, I can only assume you are looking for mitigation strategies in the short term. My suggestion would be to consider a nice leather toilet kit. You could fill it with your various items and place it in the center area, tucked back between the seats. Cheers.

Brian H | April 2, 2012

Or held in place with stripey red-green bungee cords ...


TikiMan | April 2, 2012


For $100,000.00 Tesla should be building it out of solid gold, if we have to wait for it!

But seriously... I don't know where you live, however, if you feel confortable placing any kind of removable hand-bag in plain sight after exiting your vehicle, you are VERY LUCKY!!!! I live in Southren California, where car thieves are more abundant than law abiding citizens. I once had my car window smashed in broad daylight, just because I accidentally left a single dollar on my passenger seat, while rushing to a meeting.

I just don't know why a closed center console can not be designed, implemented, and built now before production starts? 95% of all deposit holders want it. Hell, even I could do it in less time, and I am not in the car business!

Crow | April 2, 2012

I have the over/under on center console rants at 112. I'm taking bets. Who wants some of that action?

Brian H | April 13, 2012

How about a wireless device charger? Courtesy Chrysler:

Teoatawki | April 13, 2012

Excellent idea!

If I built my own console, I was going to include an iPhone dock. Now I might go with a wireless charging system instead. It never occurred to me.

Jason S | April 13, 2012

The "wireless charging system" comes with its own iPhone case required for $199. Maybe you can guess what the case does...

Nick Kordich | April 14, 2012

I've had an induction charger for a few years, but only used it intermittently because of the case. It didn't have a pass-through connector, so every time I got in the car, I had to remove the case to dock it, charge and play music (I don't currently have a Bluetooth-equipped stereo).

While this would seem to address that problem, it would actually reverse it - you would need to take the phone out of the case at home, unless it provided a pass-through connector or you bought compatible chargers for use at home, at work, etc. I still use mine from time to time, setting it up with two or three chargers - one upstairs and one downstairs, at least, to have the phone charge overnight but be close at hand during the day. With some of the brands, a useful number of chargers could be more expensive than what I'd want to pay, especially as I'd probably have to replace the ones I already have to get something compatible, since there's no standard..

Tiebreaker | April 14, 2012

+1 Jason and Nick.

And they don't even show the case in the pictures. It is not inductive, but conductive: pins on the back (video 1:03-1:08), interleaving conductors on the pad?

Brian H | April 14, 2012

Another must-have for the console area?

BYT | June 19, 2012

We have something! Quote from the Tuesday Blog!

There have been a lot of suggestions about what could be done with the area between the two front seats. It was initially designed to be an open area for you to easily store everything from a backpack to a purse, and many people are looking forward to doing exactly that. However, we have received several requests to add compartments, shelves or phone holders to make this area more organized. This seemed like a great opportunity to make Model S customizable to be what YOU WANT it to be. So, we have officially dubbed this area the “Opportunity Console,” and set out to design exactly the type of functional enhancements you have requested.

This weekend, we will be displaying the first prototypes of our Opportunity Console elements for you to see. These are not yet finalized, so we look forward to hearing your feedback and suggestions. The prototypes we will be showing this weekend are not for sale, but are being shown to you, our customers, to get your input so we can focus our effort on functionality that is most important to you. After your test drive, let us know what you think, or feel free to leave a comment on the Tesla Motors Club forum. We’ve created a thread on the forum to gather your input.

As I said above, many people like the area between the front seats exactly the way it is, so we will continue to offer this area as originally planned. The additional Opportunity Console options are in response to customer requests, and will be made available as soon as we finalize designs based upon your input.

Designtime | June 19, 2012

Excellent news. Also appreciate them getting in front of the reveal with a little info.

Soflauthor | June 19, 2012

I couldn't help but smile when George B. wrote "we have received several requests ..." TM got a few more than "several" requests, but no matter, they listened. Very encouraging!

George doesn't say where they'll be displaying the "opportunity console" prototypes, so I'll assume it's at the test drive event. It might be nice for TM to post pics along with pre-specs so that those of us who are not able to be at the test drive event can see what the "opportunity console" is all about.

All who attend, please post pics of the console area or whatever other display TM provides. Thx much!

Nick Kordich | June 19, 2012

I hate to sound ungrateful, but at this point I've become rather fond of the idea of creating my own center console.

I would be interested in seeing what Tesla has to offer, both in a console and other accessories. In fact, this idea may be worth its own thread: What accessories would you in interested in seeing from Tesla?

I'm thinking a suitcase set tailored to shape and size of the frunk (with space left over, most likely, given the volume). I usually think of it for roadsters where every cc of space counts, but here a fitted set of luggage with spacers and stays to hold them in place would keep everything from sliding around in the S's cavernous cargo volume.

It would give Tesla another thing to sell price-is-no-object buyers and help position Tesla as having a luxury side. The basic set may be black nylon, but the premium set would be leather matching the interior, including the opportunity console, finished saddle (2013, maybe?).

Buyers could round out the set with matching phone/tablet cases, wallet/purse, and golf bag. Piel already has leather golf bags and does customization.

nlukin | June 19, 2012

Left a comment in the Tesla Motor Club forum too, but my idea is to have a trash bucket.
Everybody has trash in the car, where do you put it? If the opportunity console had a trash bucket, i would open it throw my McDonalds bag or empty bottle in there, and close it - no mess! When arrived home, I can empty the trash.

People with babies have trash in the car all the time: dirty wipes, diapers, other trash kids bring into your car. Having a nice built-in trash bucket can solve this situation.

Reservation holder: 3,014.

Crow | June 19, 2012

I want a place to put my briefcase. Some of the ladies on the forums prefer that space for their purse. Same difference.

the bonnie | June 19, 2012

I have a briefcase, too. You're allowed a man-purse.


Crow | June 19, 2012

Bonnie, I think you should go to the event this weekend and wear a name tag so I can find you and say hey. You are one dedicated enthusiast. Thanks.

Mi man purse es mas macho.

Brian H | June 19, 2012


Bonnie is also a mod on this and the Model X fora. Be polite or she will cast you into outer darkness!! ;)

DanD | June 20, 2012

Seems like the best answer is to build a standard slot in which a console could fit, publish the specs and then watch an after-market develop.

Why get distracted with this?

The best companies allow supportive ecosystems to develop around their products and don't try to own all of the value chain.

Consoles and apps for the computer seem good candidates.

For my part, I'd like a spot to install a Garmin, which I'll buy because I'm not spending $4000 on the tech package to get the Tesla navigation system.

kevjo | June 20, 2012

George Blankenship's 6/19 blog post announced Tesla's "Opportunity Console" - some type of improvement to the center console. He directed reservation holders to the Tesla Motors Club forum to submit ideas for how to fill the space.

I certainly hope they come up with something by the time I'm due for delivery.

bsimoes | June 21, 2012

All this time, I was assuming that the armrests lifted to reveal storage below. Really? They don't lift? That really does surprise me. Can anyone speak to how large the glove compartment is? I have found those shrinking in size with each new car that I get...and I don't feel that that is a good thing.

BYT | June 21, 2012

The arm rest is the environmental delivery controller for the rear passangers in the Model S

bsimoes | June 22, 2012

"The arm rest is the environmental delivery controller for the rear passangers in the Model S"
--The whole armrest is taken up with this? It looks like there is a division between the two arm rests. I'm wondering how big the Environmental Delivery Controller needs to be; it sounds like a fancy word for heat duct, and if that's so and it's heating or cooling the space of the back seat, wouldn't a hose be enough to transport the air?

BYT | June 22, 2012

It's my wording, sorry, I made it sound more then what it is didn't I? :)

Klaus | June 22, 2012

Anyone notice the cubby just below the touch screen. That'll be enough for me and what little I store or carry in my car...iphone, house keys, a pen maybe and some loose change.

ddruz | June 22, 2012

Yes that cubbie under the display really would be enough for a lot of people, myself included. I hope it is standard issue and not an extra option. Can anyone see if that cubbie has a cover to hide your stuff? And did people notice the rear seat cup holders briefly on the Gigaom video? I wonder where they are, how they did it?

Nick Kordich | June 22, 2012

MotorTrend has a shot of the final interior, which shows the storage shelf under the monitor and the center open storage area, which appears to be finished in the trim material, at least for this Signature with obeche wood.

Slindell | June 23, 2012

NK: sweet, I think that's the exact Model S I just took a test-drive in. I can confirm the center floor is finished with obeche wood, and that there is "non slip" material on the wood to help keep things in place.

I like the cubbie hold a lot, but would like to see a little more on the floor.

data02 | February 25, 2015