Oct1Event–The Model S Exterior and Interior

Oct1Event–The Model S Exterior and Interior

This Oct1Event thread focuses on the Model S exterior and interior related to the October 1-2 Model S event. Here are a few examples of relevant areas of discussion for this thread:


Overall Beta exterior design characteristics
Fit and finish of the Beta
Front and rear lights
Exterior dimensions, clearances, etc.
Images and video links of the exterior


Overall Beta interior design characteristics
Fit and finish of the interior – seats, steering wheel, dash
The control panel
Other interior controls
Spaciousness for seating, legroom (front and back)
Interesting dimensions (e.g., the ground clearance for the Model S)
Features that were a surprise
Images and video links of the interior

Note that other Oct1Event threads address general impressions, the test drive, and the formal Tesla presentation. If you have comments on those topics, please post them in the appropriate Oct1Event thread. If you’ve created your own thread or site or blog or on-line photo album, please provide a link.

All of us who couldn’t attend thank you for filling us in!

Volker.Berlin | 1 octobre 2011

The head rests -- are they adjustable? From the rendering of the interior on the Features page, I get the impression that the head rests in the back seats are adjustable, but the head rests in front may not. Can anyone check that for me? I am tall and non-adjustable head rests usually do not work for me (as a safety feature).

cybercop | 2 octobre 2011

As someone who fell in love with the Alpha when in visited Washington, DC, I am surprised to find myself getting less excited as the production model
gets closer. Lots of things that I thought would make the car a great value, possibly justifying buying an "expensive" car at $50,000, are now options. No big wheels, air suspension, open roof. Heck, you cannot even get the red paint from the alpha on the base model.
Worse, the incredible looks of the alpha inside and out are now looking pedestrian to my eye. That incredible dash in the alpha has become instead something that looks like an early minivan. Too square. Where are the curves and stitched leather? As much as I would like an electric car made in the USA, I am back to trying to justify a premium for an untested car. When you cannot afford to make a mistake with $50,000, you think differently.
I might be singing a different tune if I could afford the model I really want, but today I am less enthusiastic about Tesla than yesterday. I am sure that is not what they wanted out of this event. Maybe the buzz from people who actually felt the ride and acceleration will compensate for the on-lookers like me who admittedly have mostly subjective and personal "disappointments."

wtrask4 | 2 octobre 2011


I got a chance to test ride the Model S last night!

It was amazing... Very smooth ride, easy cornering and fast! While I felty the test driver held back on the ride... Didn't floor it, or push the car to the limits, it was a fun ride. I was sitting shotgun and had a upfront and personal view of the dashboard. It's slightly slanted to the driver but still easily viewable to passenger on extreme angles and it bright late evening California sun. I was very concern about the touchscreen responsiveness. It was much better than it appear in earlier versions i saw on the web. It still can be optimized over the next 9-month hopefully! The dash is nice... To me it looks modern and the color combos look good together.

In terms of options and standard... I agree. My wife walked away from the event say how much will this car actually cost us? She knew the $49,500 base price... However after all the options she said this is probably an $80,000 vehicle! That caused some hesitation to her excitement... We are really looking forward to the final option list and the pricing associated with the vehicle.

The signature should be a fully loadedSport versions... And the rest of us can upgrade to the Sport if desired. But some of the things like the sunroof should just be standard on all vehicles! That's part of the wow that will inspire more to buy into the electric revolution!

stephen.kamichik | 2 octobre 2011

Those of us with skin cancer DO NOT want the sunroof standard on all vehicles. Skin cancer is an ugly and painful disease.

Volker.Berlin | 2 octobre 2011

cybercop, das Leben ist kein Ponyhof!

I am kind of in the same boat. I am not in the market for a BMW 5 or Audi A6, I would never even think of spending 50k (Euros, in my case) on a stinker ICE car. I love the turbine rims, the panoramic roof, the burgundy red. All really beautiful with a big want-it! factor. But... You should step back and see the bigger picture.

Tesla is doing many surprising things, but they cannot do magic. Actually they have been the only company in the world in history to successfully market an electric car (the Roadster) and sell more than a few hundred units. They have a plan and they stick to it, and that is a good thing, because as small as they are they have a chance to change the world for the better. The web is full of skeptic reports about how Tesla is going to fail with the Model S. You and I, we do not want Tesla to fail. It would not be good for customers, nor for share holders, nor for the world.

But that skepticism does have some substance to it. Take a car like the A6 or the BMW 5 (you did not want that comparison, but I cannot avoid it). Remove the ICE and add an electric drive train to it. Wow, 30 miles range! Ooops. Try more range, "it cannot be done". Do it nevertheless, and you end up at 100k+ per car. Which is why it has not yet been done. As I said, Tesla cannot do magic. They also cannot afford to sell the Model S at a loss, in that case they would be doomed. To the contrary, they have to be profitable on much (much!) fewer units sold, than the big auto makers, and in much less time. Like, 18 months and (less than) 30000 units. To the average analyst, that must seem impossible. Conclusion: Tesla has to make a substantial profit on every single unit sold.

IMO, they tackle this problem in a very clever way, and maybe the only possible way. If they told from the start, the Model S is 100k and all options included, who would have taken them seriously? They would have sold about as many units as the Roadster. A really exotic car, great collectors item, known to very few enthusiasts, possibly but unlikely profitable. But that's not what they want. They want to provide irrefutable proof that affordable electric cars are feasible, and they want to change the industry, want electric cars in general to become the next big thing. Ah, and by the way, they want to make a living from it.

Wait a minute. "Affordable"? Yes. You can buy one of these cutting edge revolutionary cars for 50k. And it's not like that's a stripped-down version that barely moves. The base model offers the same performance as any other Model S, and many features that are options in other cars come standard with the base model. Heck, give me one single other publicly available electric car with 160 miles EPA range! From the customer's stand point, that base model is an incredible value for money. It is also very probably the best value for money you can get in any Model S configuration. Tesla does not make a great profit with the base model (my guess), but they have to make money. Lots of it. Fast. What better way is there than offering this incredible vehicle, and offer very desirable options at much lower value for money?

I think they are clever, and I think it's good. They will end up selling the average Model S at 80k, maybe even 90k. At the same time they will build a strong reputation for EVs in general and for their own brand in particular. Tesla may not become a household name over night, but the Model S will massively contribute to making the general public aware of EVs, and in a positive way. Meaning more people going electric, even if they cannot afford a Model S and choose a model from a different manufacturer. Meaning that EV infrastructure matures, which feeds back into Tesla's own sales. But I digress...

They will be profitable and everybody will be happy. In particular because the profits from the Model S will enable the next generation Tesla model, the "Bluestar". It has been touted at 30k, and similar to the Model S, I would not be surprised if a fully-fledged Bluestar with turbine wheels and all ends up at 50k. Fine with me. Far too many companies that tried to sell electric cars have failed, and they did fail mainly because they sacrificed everything for the goal to create an "affordable" electric car. Did you ever even think of buying one? No, but you seriously think about buying a Model S even though it is almost out of your range. Tesla must be doing something right!

Then why did they not start out with Bluestar? Because it is impossible to do it that way around. It has been proven too many times. The reasons are not strictly sensible and logical. Cars have more to do with emotions than with rationality. It is not sufficient to offer a car that moves your body from A to B. To be successful, you must offer a "desirable" car (dare I say burgundy red with turbine wheels), which is something close to black art. Go google for The Secret Tesla Master Plan. We may end up with a real cool, desirable, affordable and profitable mass market EV made by Tesla, but the only way to get there is to stick to that plan.

If you do not want the Model S base model, and if you cannot afford the Model S with the options you want, then wait for Bluestar. I know it feels disappointing, but it is so much better than the alternative -- that Tesla fails and creates yet another argument for the people that insist on saying EVs are not feasible. From a buyer's perspective, I am also disappointed that I cannot afford more, but I cannot blame Tesla for it. Actually I am very happy that they are selling those options at a premium because that gives me some confidence that they actually get their numbers straight, i.e., will not fold in undue time.

I got my priorities straight. I want a Model S, and I won't give up on this opportunity just because I cannot afford the panoramic roof. If I can afford more than 50k, I will put it into the batteries first. And possibly the air suspension as it will improve aerodynamics at high speeds and thus will increase range on longer trips, which to me seems a much better value than any particular exterior color.

I hope this makes some sense to you. If it does not, never mind. It's just the way I see it.

Volker.Berlin | 2 octobre 2011

Yeah, right. After this post you may legitimately call me Tesla fanboy. ;-)

cybercop | 2 octobre 2011

Of course you make a lot of sense. But the disappointment is going to sting in the short term. The "promise" of the beautiful, sexy, luxurious Model S was always too good to be true. Yes, you can still get a sedan that beats everything out there for space (passenger and cargo) and performance from a US company (yes, it matters to some of us here) and help the environment and US national security, all for the price Tesla promised (despite the Leaf already getting a price increase). But in the expectations game, Tesla raised mine too high and today is a let down. That is the price they pay for the "buzz" they got earlier on.

EdG | 3 octobre 2011

@stephen.kamichi: Re: Skin Cancer

Note that no one believes that visible light is the culprit in causing skin cancer. It is UVA and UVB that are correlated with skin cancers and sunburn and tanning. Typical glass tends to cut out UVB. Some manufactured glass will cut out UVA as well. Of course, both clear and tinted coatings are often applied after-market which can cut out all UV radiation.

The question for you becomes: how much UVA and UVB will pass through the panoramic roof glass (and windshield and door windows)?

In another posting, I've already mentioned my desire to have this feature, but, of course, no answers are out yet. The 20% number that is mentioned elsewhere is, as far as I can tell, for infrared radiation (that which makes us warm in the sunlight).

mwu | 3 octobre 2011

I have learned from other manufacturers to never trust the base price to be the car that you want -- always expect to add some options onto that which would include some money. Also never expect all of the neat gizmos offered by a car to be on the base model. The base model is usually no options and manual everything unless specified otherwise... although with the Model S being an electric full sized sedan we can expect windows and locks to not be manual, but the same idea applies.

Peak Oil bruin | 3 octobre 2011

I'm disappointed in the 19" basic 5 spoke Aptera? wheel design in lieu of the Lorinser turbine style from the Alpha series. Not interested in 21" wheels in pot-hole Chicagoland. Also, tepid in regards to the blassez paint color options.

Brian H | 3 octobre 2011

"The difficult we do immediately. The impossible may take a little time."
The base S may or may not strike you (cybercop) as 'luxurious', but I suspect it would not stack up too badly in an apples-to-apples comparison with similarly priced ICE models. Luxury is a matter of taste and comfort, and there's more to the latter than interior fittings. Silent comfortable stable ride with no routine 5-min sessions of inhaling volatile hydrocarbons comes to mind.

ggr | 3 octobre 2011

I thought the car was a game-changer, and beautiful, before I went to the event. My wife was more on the fence. We came away more convinced than before. It isn't and won't be perfect, but it's REALLY nice.

Brian H | 3 octobre 2011

YouTube commenter:
All of that for $50 grand? That's like €37,000, that's the same as the Chevy Volt, and? this is a BMW, Audi specked car. I FUCKING WANT ONE!!!

jackhub | 3 octobre 2011

The painted roof option (matching the color of the car) is likely to be the default. It will be a standard roof. No sun roof, no sun. I was told that only the panoramic option will allow sun throughout and have a sun roof. The third option, the black roof, will not have a sun roof either.

ckessel | 3 octobre 2011

For those disappointed that the base model doesn't have some of the cool stuff, I'm not sure what you were expecting. The base model of every car is the stripped down version they hope you don't get. The car people want is always 25-50% more after options.

I'm not sure I can afford the Model S I'd want either, but I'm not surprised by that.

cybercop | 3 octobre 2011

OK, I have taken enough punishment for getting my hopes up. Have pity on us who had a pretty heavy crush on something out of our league, would ya?
And seeing the youtube videoes, the dash does not look nearly as bad as the Tesla website picture made it appear.
I still miss some things from the Alpha prototype, but understand there will have to be changes. By the way, am I am the only person who misses the old T side badge from the Alpha? They did change it, right?

Robert.Boston | 3 octobre 2011


I'm puzzled why the "black roof" is even an option. It doesn't appeal to my aesthetic sensibility in any body color, and seems designed to maximize A/C load.

I'll be getting the solid roof not because I don't like sunlight, but because the sunroof is noisier than the solid and adds another failure mode. It's a bad day when the sunroof won't close in the pouring rain....

Brian H | 3 octobre 2011

Here's someone's blog with a lot of uncommented shots of the tour:

Brian H | 3 octobre 2011

And the blog of the XBox's Director of Development ...

(large linked pix).

Jay Gatsby | 3 octobre 2011

Could anyone give an evaluation of the air conditioner?

Can it handle the desert heat? Are there vents in the back?

jomo25 | 3 octobre 2011

There are vents in the back seats as seen in this pic:

I assume you meant back seats, not the rear facing seat area.

cadethoerk | 3 octobre 2011

The exterior is stunning, however the display monitors need to be better integrated in the dash and center console. The screens don't blend in. I think asymmetrical shapes or hard overlays would help. The background color should be black only and the graphical elements more high tech. Look at the Lexus LFA instrument cluster. The day and night modes should only involve the graphic elements, not the background. This however should not be a problem with software, and hopefully there will be different themes to choose from. Looking forward to a great car as I am number 5087.

Volker.Berlin | 3 octobre 2011

By the way, am I am the only person who misses the old T side badge from the Alpha? They did change it, right? (cybercop)

I noticed the same thing. And I cannot come up with an excuse for that change. The integrated T with turn signal was eye-catching and Tesla-specific.

Volker.Berlin | 4 octobre 2011

I'm puzzled why the "black roof" is even an option. It doesn't appeal to my aesthetic sensibility in any body color, and seems designed to maximize A/C load. (Robert.Boston)

I came up with 2.5 reasons why you may want to chose the black roof, all of which are purely aesthetic with no practical advantages.

1. Dual-color car bodies are in general an exclusive feature of upper-class vehicles. This the .5 reason.

2. The black roof can be used in lieu of the panoramic roof if you do not want the latter for whatever reason, but want to have your car show the same iconic lines as the Model S with its unique panoramic roof.

3. Some particularly sporty cars (BMW M3) exhibit their black carbon roofs. The black roof option on the Model S is explicitly just the same aluminum roof as the body paint option, but it gives a very similar look.

Mind you that in the Design Studio it looks like the black roof option is matt finished, whereas the body paint colors are polished as usual. The matt black roof combined with one of the polished light shades of body paint certainly does have some appeal to some, including me.

cosmomusic | 4 octobre 2011

I started wit BMW then MBZ and now 2 high end Lexus including SC50 - best driving car around. I drove the SC to the event to get immediate comparison of rides. I was first blown away with look of Beta - much more impressive than Alfa. Beta looks like a real car unlike anything I have ever seen. The interior is better than anything out there and technology is second to none. The ride was beautiful - smooth and aggressive when demanded. It took off like a rocket when the driver stepped on it.

I had thought about a Signature version but did not want to put down that much money on something I did not see, and may not like - so I took a check with me to the event just in case. After my test ride both my wife and I were overly impressed, so we went straight to the Admin desk and upgraded to the Signature version. We are now holder of #507.... Man, I can't wait to take possession of the beautiful machine. It will be a head turner on the California Roads.

cosmomusic | 4 octobre 2011

... i.e. Lexus SC430...

Volker.Berlin | 4 octobre 2011

gjunky, PHAN-TAS-TIC!!! It's incredible that this image was available and you actually shot it. Amazing. Almost as good as the 3D model that was cheekily suggested in another thread. Unfortunately the numbers are definitely unreadable when I view/zoom the online version of the image, and when choosing the Download option it's the same. Maybe you could upload the pieces? If you could make it available to me, I'd find a way to put it online for everybody. You can reach me at "".

gjunky | 4 octobre 2011

It is the jpeg compression. On the original (15mb) image, the text is easy to ready once at 100%. I am not sure if you can handle the full image in email but I will try that tonight (tomorrow your time).
I will upload the individual images as well in case someone can do a better job stitching these together.

ASG | 4 octobre 2011

Can anyone validate the legroom/headroom from last weekend's event? I convinced folks to let me squeeze into the Alpha when it was on tour (I'm 6'8"), and that was enough to say that if they don't improve the cabin space in the Beta/production vehicles I'm stuck w/the Nissan Leaf as the only EV available that fits.

Please tell me that there's 40" of headroom w/o the sunroof!

Volker.Berlin | 4 octobre 2011

gjunky, please just send a short note to "". I will then get back to you and provide you with an actual email address that should be able to handle the load.

Timo | 4 octobre 2011

@gjunky can you post bigger picture of that diagram paper, it shows the ground clearance-related angles (whatwerethenamesofthose). I think the picture shows also a standard curb stone as a well. I can almost see the numbers in that. 11.5 decree in front?

Vawlkus | 5 octobre 2011

Well, there was a 6' 4" guy that got into the BACK seats without a problem and said it was roomy for him, so I'll go out on a limb and say that the front seats will fit someone 6' 8" :)

gjunky | 5 octobre 2011

I uploaded a new image with lower compression which should be readable (same image name) as well as the individual images in case someone wants to take create their own stitched image.

@VolkerBerlin: I emailed you yesterday but tried one more image upload so let me know if this one will work.

Timo | 5 octobre 2011

Thanks, gjunky. That "blueprint" picture about Model S tells a lot more than any FAQ or anything I have seen this far.

It even shows that there is one part of the car that is only about 4.5 inch from the ground, but it is in place where it would almost never hit the ground (right in front of rear tire). Main part of the car is as high as any usual car is, maybe actually a bit higher in fact.

Headroom for passengers, etc...

Tesla should put that picture in some page in here.

Volker.Berlin | 5 octobre 2011

gjunky, thank you for uploading the individual images. They are perfect! The stitched image is better than before but text is still hardly discernible.

Unfortunately I did not receive your email (I tested the mail address for myself and it seems to work), so that's the reason why I did not get back to you.

Volker.Berlin | 5 octobre 2011

Re: mailinator. Seems that messages to mailinator are automatically removed after just a few hours (my own test mail from today only lived for around 4 hours). That explains why I missed your mail, gjunky. Sorry for being off topic but I thought I'd clarify this so that others don't fall into the same trap. We should probably find another way to get in touch. TESLA: Private messages feature for this forum?

Crow | 5 octobre 2011

Head and leg room was one of my biggest concerns with making a reservation. So I went to the event with that as one of my priorities. As I commented earlier, I was in the back seat at the event. I would say that I had at least 4" of excess headroom as I sat in the back seat. Eyeballing the front head room, it looked consistent with the back and maybe a little more, at least 4" excess for me. I'm 6'4". Furthermore, my son is 6'8" and though he didn't sit in the car, I judged that he would fit comfortably. Leg room was equally roomy, tons of space.

OConnor | 5 octobre 2011

The beta looks fabulous and it is supposed to handle and feel like the dream of a car. I was looking for an alternative to ICE cars for quite a long time. This is it! Will be hard to save enough money but worth it.
I like the black roof. I got the option for my current Lancia Delta and it looks beautiful in real life.
The innovative interior materials are great. I hate the idea of having animals killed and their skin spread over the seats of my car just for luxury. If I got it right, Tesla introduces wonderful luxurious alternatives. Very nice work on that. Can't wait to feel and see in real life.
Yes, Cybercop, I miss that really cool side badge from the alpha, too.

To all Tesla people: You are wonderful! You contribute to something huge! Thank you for that!

Slindell | 5 octobre 2011

I'm 6'2" and could not fit in the back seat. Most of my height is in my mid-rif, so you need to go find out for yourself.

gjunky | 6 octobre 2011

@volker: Here is a last try. I uploaded the full size image to my web account.

Careful: This image is 16Mb in size and really only useful if you want to see individual measurements on the design poster from the Beta Event.

EdG | 6 octobre 2011

Reading the drawing on the image provided by gjunky, it says the rear headroom is 36". Whatever that means to you...

Volker.Berlin | 6 octobre 2011

gjunky, thanks for making the effort! I've got it downloaded, will have a closer look when at home later. Maybe I can create a version that is smaller in file size and still readable... We'll see.

Volker.Berlin | 6 octobre 2011

gjunky (and everybody), here is my stitching result:

I could not improve on the readability, but I think I did not loose any, either. The resulting file is around 1.3 MB. Thank you once again for providing the source images!

Brad Holt | 6 octobre 2011

BYT: Just saw that article and I have to say those are the best videos I've seen so far showing off the in-car and mobile app interfaces. Plus you get to see how quiet the car is at 100+mph.


gjunky | 6 octobre 2011

@Volker: Nicely done and you are welcome

DartLady S77 | 9 octobre 2011

I haven't seen any comment on it so far - Where is the charge port now? I have looked closely at all photos you lucky dogs who could attend have posted and I see no evidence of it on the exterior. Please enlighten me.

Timo | 9 octobre 2011

Driver side rear light has an lid that opens. Port is behind that.

It has been mentioned somewhere here, though I can't say where.

DartLady S77 | 9 octobre 2011

Thanks Timo!

Volker.Berlin | 9 octobre 2011

It has been mentioned somewhere here, though I can't say where. (Timo)

For instance, here (scroll down a bit):

And here (courtesy of Brad Holt, member of this forum):