Months after test-driving the Model S, I bought an Audi A7, sad to say. I post the following comments in hopes that Tesla will read them, heed them, make adjustments, and make the Model S more appealing to mainstream buyers like myself so that we can participate in the sustainable transport revolution.
I loved the concept, drive, look, and state-of-the-art technology of the Model S. It was different enough to get me excited about buying a car again. And it doesn't sacrifice range, power, or style as its EV predecessors do. Though it's more expensive and can't be justified by fuel savings (until gas goes north of $8/gallon), I could afford it as a second car and would really have fun owning one and participating in a revolution.
But I couldn't get past the interior.
Unfortunately, this is a very competitive class of cars and the Model S interior is far behind that of its rivals. The German automakers have evolved their cockpits to wrap around the driver just the right amount of tasteful appointments. I understand that the touchscreen eliminates the need for knobs and buttons and that's what's cool about the Model S. But it doesn't eliminate the need for door pockets, handles, hooks, armrests, and possibly even a more traditional shift lever just because many of us are used having these things.
Does the dash need to be pushed so far under the windshield just because there is no engine under the hood? Couldn't the touchscreen be a bit closer to the driver and angled that way to make the driver feel like the only one in the car (which they usually are)? Could the air vents be in better proportion to the large screen? Why can't there be something that fills in the space next to the driver's right leg, just because there is no transmission there? And how about a simple, familiar shift lever near my right hand to make me feel like I'm driving a car instead of a golf cart? Why can't the front seats be more substantial? Are these oversights all to save on the weight of the vehicle? Or was the interior simply an afterthought relative to the more substantial innovations of the Model S?
The Model S, as I configured it, was over $90K. And there's no pre-owned inventory. So I ultimately traded in my 15-year-old Lexus for a 2012 Audi A7 costing almost half as much and I love it. But I'm still burning gas and that's still in the back of my mind. So I'm hoping that Tesla will re-style the interior - they've solved many more difficult problems - and the next version of this car will win me over in the not-too-distant future.