I don't see how I could possibly be the first to notice this but there _is_ an instrument panel in the Model 3. How do I know? Because at least 2 different Tesla engineers say so on camera on at least 3 separate occasions. (Remember the engineers that worked on the car are the ones that gave the test drives at the first reveal.)
So where is it? It's the the black strip that runs the full width of the dashboard right in front of the air vent gap and right behind the white dash trim. (On the matte black Model 3 the trim piece is wood not white.) So, yes, it's right there in plain sight. OK the location is a guess but I'm pretty sure that's it (see below).
I was thinking about the puzzle of the Model 3 not having an instrument cluster so I watched some of the reveal test drive videos on Youtube hoping that one of the engineers would say something that was a clue. And they did.
- https://www.youtube .com/watch?v=r2ozan7SuDQ&t=29s
At 0:29 in the video the engineer says: "So we pushed the I.P. as far forward as we possibly can..." I.P. stands for Instrument Panel. And that would be a really funny thing to say if the car didn't have an instrument panel, don't you think? The engineer also gestures toward it with his hands.
But maybe it was just a mistake...
- https://www.youtube .com/watch?v=xtqbYNCAG_0&t=2m5s
At 2:05 the same engineer says on a different test drive: "So the I.P. is pushed nice and low here. It's pushed all the way forward..." The engineer again gestures to it.
But maybe "I.P" doesn't mean what we think it does...
- https://www.youtube .com/watch?v=VZ0kAwUq9DM&t=1m48s
At 1:48 a different engineer talks about the 15 inch screen and says: "...in landscape mode so that both myself and the passenger can access the screen. All the information is here." As he's saying this he's gesturing to the screen. Then he goes on to say: "The I.P.-- the instrument panel-- is down lower..." When he says this where he's gesturing changes. He no longer seems to point to the screen but to something else. This sounds to me as if he's saying the instrument panel is lower than the screen (which implies that they're not the same).
The part of the dashboard where that strip is located is angled. And the angle is just right to intersect your eyeballs if you were to draw a perpendicular line from it.
But, you say, the top of the steering wheel would partially block your view of the instrument strip! It sure would. Except Tesla removed the top part of the steering wheel on the Model 3 and that's why! Look at the concept sketch they sent you.
Funky sci-fi looking steering wheel? Check. Instrument panel that blends into the car so well you don't know it's there when you're looking right at it? Check. Very futuristic, right? Boom. There's your spaceship. No, it's not a HUD but it's better than nothing.
No, I can't be 100% certain. But that's what I have.
- https://www.youtube .com/watch?v=mAjfsl5J6xQ
This video is also interesting but only because the guests are really, really drunk. The look on the engineer's face is priceless. You can almost hear him thinking "God, this guy's not going to throw up on me, is he?"