Model S interior

Model S interior

I love the idea of all electric and 250-300 miles. I also think that the sedan design is very up-market. To really compete with other $100K cars, the interior needs to be competitive. Seats/consoles/arm rests/head rests/lighting/etc. need to be competitive with the best of Lexus LS/ BMW/MB etc at the $80-100K level. For the $50K model interior compromises can be made and I believe that the current interior fits well with the $50K market tier.

At $100K, customers don't want to compromise...anything. If I were Tesla management I would address these issues as a high priority imperative. If they don't, I believe that after the 'first blush' in the market wears off... sales will falter.

I am not canceling my reservation yet...but if the interior issues are not address in a quality manner in the next 6-10 months...the new Lexus and BMW will start to look like very viable alternatives.

Brian H | 2 août 2012

Copy of G.B.'s TMC post:

Hi everyone,

First of all, thanks to everyone throughout this thread who had faith in us that we were doing the right thing. Your support is always greatly appreciated.

So, what’s going on… This thread started as the result of a change to our website specs page and a response from one of the Tesla Team about rear seat reading lights and the desire to increase visibility for tall customers. The following highlights exactly what we’ve been working on.

The beta Lighted Vanity Visor that first showed up in Model S was not acceptable to us from an appearance, function or size standpoint. So we rejected it and immediately started working on another version. In the meantime, we started delivering cars. We did not want to be delivering cars without Lighted Vanity Visors when our webpage specs said otherwise…so we changed the specs page to be more accurate at that moment in time.

The removal of 2nd Row Reading lights from the specs page is also an “accuracy of the moment” issue. We removed these from the specs page because we were working on another initiative that might impact what type of light we could use in the back seat for a reading light. Basically, we found a way to potentially add a few millimeters of additional headroom in the back seat. As part of that initiative, we didn’t know for sure if we would be able to use the same light fixture, or even the same type of reading light going forward…so we deleted it from the specs page to be more accurate at the time.

Both of these issues are temporary issues, and for those of you who have been following us for a while, you know how we operate. When something doesn’t meet our expectations, we dive right in to fix it. We work hard to find the best solution possible, then we implement it. We try to keep all information as up to date as possible, but in today’s world, that sometimes causes problems from a communication standpoint. Nevertheless, we always feel as though it is better to be as accurate and up to date as possible, even if it makes things a little tougher for us from time to time.

You will soon see another change to our specs page. You will see the addition of 2nd Row Reading Lights. We have been able to accomplish what we set out to do with the rear seat headroom, and will be able provide reading lights in the same place as originally planned. We focused first on the headroom adjustment because that is more complicated within the car itself, then we focused on the lights and placement. To avoid any further questions about what will happen next, let me be perfectly clear... there will be a few early cars delivered that do not have 2nd Row Reading Lights. However, we will be happy to install them in the future (at no charge of course). The wires are already in place so this is not a major event.

You will not see the Lighted Vanity Visor back on the specs page for a little while longer because we are still working on getting the form factor and functionality exactly the way we want it. It will be lighted, it will have a mirror, and it can easily be retrofit into all cars. In fact, we will be encouraging everyone to get the retrofit.

So just to be clear, all cars that get delivered are set up to have reading lights in 2nd row seats and Lighted Vanity Visors. Those that don’t have the latest and greatest when they receive their car can have these items retrofit at no additional cost.

I hope this helps clear up all questions regarding this issue. Please understand, we are very, very serious about everything that goes into Model S. We are doing all we can to make every millimeter count while still listening to what our customers and future customers want. We are going to have lights in the right places, a shelf that was asked for by customers in the console area, and a lighted visor mirror that you can look into and smile. And when all is said and done, that is what we are really striving for…you smiling.


SMOP | 2 août 2012

It is odd that George only spoke about the lights and parcel shelf. What about all the other inadequacies with the interior of the vehicle? Why would Tesla spend so much money on gaining millimeters of headroom when those R & D funds could have been spent on other more pressing interior needs?

This all seems like a smoke screen, just like the banana leaf "durability" issue when in reality it was not durability at all but an aesthetic issue. I suspect that exterior Carbon Fiber on the Model S performance, had nothing to do with durability (my CF trim is in perfect shape after 2+ years of driving the Roadster everyday) but rather a cost/sourcing issues.

My hope is that Tesla allows those of us with the performance package who do actually want the full CF package (not just the cheapo stick on spoiler) the chance to decide for themselves if they want to take the "durability" risk.

MandL | 2 août 2012

He spoke about those two things (and the new shelf) because that's what the thread he posted to was about. I strongly suspect they don't have time to manage a big conspiracy to dupe people about trim and minor features. I take him at his word:
When something doesn’t meet our expectations, we dive right in to fix it. We work hard to find the best solution possible, then we implement it. We try to keep all information as up to date as possible, but in today’s world, that sometimes causes problems from a communication standpoint.

SMOP | 2 août 2012

What do you expect him to say? we removed the lights and thought no one would notice, once people started to contact us and tell them that they wanted the lights we put them back in?

Look at what happened with the banana leaf, not sure if you are a reservation holder, but people who configured got an email stating that the banana leaf was discontinued due to durability issues, CEO said that it was due to aesthetic issues.

Larry Chanin | 2 août 2012

Being an early adopter is not for everyone. Those who feel uncomfortable about the interior should either defer or cancel their reservations.


SMOP | 2 août 2012


Are you talking to me? I already own a few roadsters this is my 4th Tesla vehicle.

Getting Amped Again | 2 août 2012

I've previously posted similar comments as rabelmann, but I've noticed some subtle improvements to the cars I've seen in the local showroom in Bellevue, WA. I'm also most likely going through with my purchase, but think the interior is a double-tick below the $50 and $60K BMW's I've owned. I agree with rabelmann - when there is direct competition from BMW, Lexus, etc, Tesla's product needs to be equal or better in every respect to make me a repeat buyer.

Take a look at the Model X dash rendering - I think it's a more refined and sophisticated look that I wish would be adopted to the Model S. Just my opinion - what do other reservation holders think?


jerry3 | 2 août 2012

I think that the look of the displays (which is what I think you mean) is going to change many times as upgrades come through, and may even be customizable, so I'm not particularly concerned about what the display looks like today.

If you mean the floating 19" display on the Model X, yuck. To me it just begs to be pulled off as a passenger tries to move it so that they can see better.

SMOP | 2 août 2012


Have you seen the Model X in person? I agree in the pictures it looks like that, not so much in person. The molded in display in the Model S looks like it belongs in "Pimp My Ride" especially with some of the display being obscured by ill-fitting trim.

jerry3 | 2 août 2012

No, I haven't seen any of the cars in person. Just the pictures.

Getting Amped Again | 2 août 2012

Actually jerry3 it's not just the display I'm talking about (although I think they're too big on both vehicles). It's really the over-abundance of thin brushed metal trim and chrome paint on the plastic vents. I'm just not a fan of thin, curvy trim - I like more substantial pieces that are used sparingly, and I'm not a fan of chrome paint on any plastic part.

Like many of the posts I read, this is an issue of personal taste - that's just my take. It's possible I'm too used to German autos, which have understated interiors.

BYT | 2 août 2012

I have seen both prototype Model S and Model X live. You can still see the prototype Model S in fact in the Menlo Park Tesla Motors showroom. I would take the interior of the Model X in it's current state with a grain of salt because it will change.

jerry3 | 2 août 2012


I don't like chrome on a car period. I think it's bad left-over from the 1950s and adds tacky-ness to anything it's applied to.

Crow | 2 août 2012

Yes! Another thread about the interior!

jerry3 | 2 août 2012


I'm equal opportunity. I dislike chrome just as much on the exterior as I do on the interior :-)

SMOP | 2 août 2012

The Performance versions should have 0 chrome....I have never seen a car manufacturer make a performance variant with tons of chrome. I can see how Chrome could be considered part of a luxury/touring trim package. Chrome + Carbon Fiber is just horrid

rabelmann | 2 août 2012

I'd like to see a feature by feature check list covering the interior of the Model S versus their top non-electric competitors...the type of sales material that gives Tesla sales folks a "pitch" when selling against up-market competition.

Electric goes so far but as time goes on, comparative selling becomes much more important. George B covers a small aspect of the comparison. I know that pre-announce major additions to the line has challenges associated with doing so, but what I'd do is define the full "package" soon and include the full competitive option package on all Performance cars...on delivery or by way of retrofit. It may cost...but it will make the top of the line far more substantial and far more competitive.

walla2 | 2 août 2012

One thing I love about this company is that they seem to respond to feedback and have usually actually seemingly planned a response before people begin posting their fears.

A good example is having wiring ready in the cars for lighted mirrors and reading lights. They clearly knew that we wanted them. The alpha/beta/founder/getamped versions were not acceptable to them. They left the wiring in place to make it happen. Near perfect preemptive strike on Tesla's part.

I think we should stop the madness (threatening posts), be constructive with criticism (punch list), and listen to Tesla's response. Does Porsche/MB/Lexus/BMW tell you what they are doing and why during the design process? So far the feedback on the interior from the late founders and early sig's has been great.

Larry Chanin | 3 août 2012

Larry Chanin | August 2, 2012
Being an early adopter is not for everyone. Those who feel uncomfortable about the interior should either defer or cancel their reservations.

SMOP | August 2, 2012
Are you talking to me? I already own a few roadsters this is my 4th Tesla vehicle.


It’s good to see that you’re still posting. I was disappointed when you chose to remove yourself from the TMC forum.

No, I wasn’t talking to you; I was addressing the original poster. However, I would like to apologize for my cryptic remark and explain in more depth what I meant. First, on the subject of early adopters I’d like to say how much I truly appreciate the Roadster early adopters, such as you. Without folks like you willing to take a substantial risk and invest in a fledgling company developing an historic proof of concept electric vehicle, I wouldn’t be standing in line willing to take a much smaller risk on the Model S, another pivotal car.

I would also like to state that it is completely understandable and desirable for everyone, including early adopters, to express their concerns in an adult and rational fashion, as was done by the original poster.

However, we also need to look at the bigger picture and realistically manage one’s expectations. The Model S is a ground-breaking vehicle. It will demonstrate to the public that an electric vehicle can be both compelling and practical as a family car. I share the original poster’s desire that in a perfect world the Model S should have all the interior luxury amenities completely without comprise. Unfortunately, time has simply run out for the Model S, it’s now or never. As we know all Tesla’s eggs are in one basket. This car absolutely must start meaningful production rates in just a few months and the execution must be near flawless. If not, there will be no Model S because there will be no Tesla period. Fortunately there is a large pool of early adopters who appreciate the need to accept some compromises in order to pursue the more important bigger picture of changing what we drive, just as the Roadster owners did earlier.

For those folks at this juncture who are not comfortable with the interior, amenities or any feature for that matter, there is absolutely nothing wrong with either deferring or canceling your reservation and looking elsewhere. The Model S will continue to evolve and perhaps down the road there will be an iteration that meets their criteria.


Brian H | 3 août 2012

TM just needs some aggressively selective ad slogans. "Quicker than most Ferarris! Better cupholders than almost any BMWs! What more could you want?"


Larry Chanin | 5 août 2012

In support of my earlier remarks about the big picture, managing our expectations, and Tesla running out of time...

From the LA Times article:

Elon Musk of SpaceX: The goal is Mars

Commercializing space, electric cars — aren't you spread a little thin?

I've been going past the red line on the gauge for a while now. It's honestly not been fun, but I have to continue for a bit longer, because for Tesla in particular, we're at the stage where the company's survival is in question. The market has given us a good evaluation. We have great supporters and great detractors. The detractors have a point, that the last successful car company started in America 90 years ago. DeLorean and Tucker brought cars to market, but they were unable to scale up their production and reach profitability. The next six months will decide whether Tesla will be the first new [successful] car company in a century.


Timo | 5 août 2012

I think it is a bit longer than six months. In "six months" referred in the article they will reach profitability, IOW they actually make money, but actual success of the company requires continuation and a bit bigger customer base. My concern is that new reservations are not building up fast enough, they should get 15-20k reservations each year, and that's not yet happening. Current 10k+ reservations build up during several years. This might change in few next years, but it is also possible that Tesla timing is a bit off, and they don't get the actual success before GenIII, and that might be too late.

(might, possible, might. Speculation. I hope and believe Tesla success, but it is not sure thing yet).

BYT | 5 août 2012

Timo, they are also made most of those 10k reservations before anyone could really see, touch and drive the Model S. Once it's out there, I think you will have more eyes on TM and more folks looking into this "new thing" but time will tell. Some people will be put off by the idea of putting money down now and waiting 6 months to receive their car, hopefully delivery will come sooner and so the pain of waiting will not be the same that we have suffered. :) Seeing it live and driven by me by an owner, maybe I'm biased, but it was damn pretty and breathtaking.

Also hoping for Tesla Motor's success!

Brian H | 6 août 2012

And considering that most buyers have pre-promised anywhere from 8-80 people "show-off" rides on delivery, there could be a flood of reservations following the initial few hundred cars in owners' hands.

Brian H | 6 août 2012

P.S. The new reservation rate since the June 22 event is very close to the 20K/yr pace. And that's with minimal exposure to "new" potential buyers.

Timo | 6 août 2012

Some sort of public TCO comparison would help a lot. Especially here in Europe where fuel costs twice that what it costs there in US BEV is a lot cheaper to own than comparable ICE vehicle, especially if you drive a lot. Problem with Tesla Model S is that there is no comparable ICE car though. :-)

BYT | 6 août 2012

Timo, no ICE compares to the Model S is a positive, not a negative. :)

Timo | 6 août 2012

Yes, but in order to make comparison you do need something to compare against.

BYT | 6 août 2012

But if that was the case, then you can't say, "The Model S is beyond compare!"

Volker.Berlin | 7 août 2012

+1 Larry Chanin ("bigger picture" post)

Brian H | 7 août 2012

Sure, just add, "... relatively speaking."