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Transportation Technology

Tesla Releases First Official Photos of Model S Sedan 378

Thelasko writes "After several pictures of the Model S were leaked onto the internet, Jalopnik has the first official pictures of the Model S. One of its most striking features is its massive touchscreen in place of the center console."
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Tesla Releases First Official Photos of Model S Sedan

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  • by SupremoMan ( 912191 ) on Friday March 27, 2009 @01:54AM (#27353663)
    taking it home, and noticing a bad pixle, what a buzzkill.
    • by pudro ( 983817 ) on Friday March 27, 2009 @05:03AM (#27354525)
      Want to know a bigger buzzkill? The realization that the touch screen sucks in a car. I realized that when I drove a 1987 Buick Riviera with touch screen controls (my first car, and it was over a decade old at the time). It's neat and all, but it is so much nicer to be able to feel the controls you are reaching for while driving down the road. Even once I was used to the controls and could change radio presets without looking, it was still a pain to do some things without looking (notably the climate controls). That is kind of important, and it pains me to see such a bad move (IMO) from a company I have been otherwise rooting for. Not a deal breaker by any means, just disappointing.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dunkelfalke ( 91624 )

        for navigation system, touchscreen control is imho much better and faster to use than normal dials. radio presets can be changed by the controls on the steering wheel.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ciderVisor ( 1318765 )

          A navigation system is usually mounted in a head-up location, though. Moving your eyes down to the centre console in a moving car to find navigation info is truly wide-screen surround-sound epic fail. Tactile knobs and switches are also much better for things like AC, demisters, etc from both a useability and safety point of view. This was a bad idea when I was studying ergonomics in the early '80s. It's still a bad idea today.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Retric ( 704075 )

            It's normal in High end cars to use voice activation and or steering wheel controwls to change the temperature, radio station, make phone calls etc. The center console is normally for a passenger use or driver use while parked.

      • Show cars are stationary most of their lives and touch screens work just fine then. The problems only occur when you drive the thing and clearly it is not meant for that.
  • American cars.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tpgp ( 48001 ) * on Friday March 27, 2009 @01:55AM (#27353669) Homepage

    Quote from the third link:

    "it has a 3G connection all the time."
    "There's HD, AUX, USB and iPod input to the car"
    "there's no start button. You just sit there and wait for the car to detect your RFID presence."

    Keep on building kinda cool stuff that noone actually wants & they'll keep having their lunch eaten by the Japanese & Koreans.

    • by Jurily ( 900488 ) <jurily@gmail.COLAcom minus caffeine> on Friday March 27, 2009 @02:14AM (#27353753)

      The RFID tag is also very interesting. When you walk up to the car, the Model S detects your RFID keytag and pops out the handles for you. When you want to start up the car, there's no start button. You just sit there and wait for the car to detect your RFID presence.

      WTF? What if I stand near my car and don't want it to open or start up?

      Sounds like a usability nightmare.

      the most interesting feature of which is that it has a 3G connection all the time.

      Yay, now we can have a moving botnet!

      • Yay, now we can have a moving botnet!

        Maybe it'll be faster?

      • by Idiomatick ( 976696 ) on Friday March 27, 2009 @02:39AM (#27353863)
        The RFID could be done properly. The handles pop out as you are within a meter of your door. Then the car starts while you are sitting. It isn't like a gas car starting isn't really a big problem. I don't know why if i'm sitting in the front seat I'd need the car to be off. The reasons you would shut off a car in that position aren't present in a full electric car.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by tftp ( 111690 )

          The reasons you would shut off a car in that position aren't present in a full electric car.

          Reasons like climate control and DRL and radio are present in all cars.

          • Amazingly my computer can be 'on' without music playing or the fans on or screen or camera or wireless or bluetooth or vidcard or hdd or usb or cd... Pretty sure the car could manage the same. If not, it would be a coding problem not a key problem.
        • The RFID could be done properly. The handles pop out as you are within a meter of your door. Then the car starts while you are sitting.

          That's still not done properly. Maybe I'm within a meter of the car because I'm getting in the trunk. Or fetching the coffee cup I left on the roof. Maybe I'm sitting in the seat, but not actually ready to leave because I'm still talking to someone. Or reading the magazine I just picked up. Or fetching something I left on the passenger seat. Or in the glove box.

          • Re:American cars.... (Score:5, Informative)

            by koiransuklaa ( 1502579 ) on Friday March 27, 2009 @04:57AM (#27354495)

            Don't be an idiot. There are always ways to blunder a usability invention but saying that this idea is a usability nightmare is ignorance.

            Lexus has been doing pretty much the same thing for quite a while now, and the current system works really nicely (I don't know the radio technology they use though). You just walk up to the car and pull the handle -- if you have the fob in a pocket it will open, otherwise it won't. When you sit down you push a button to start the engine (naturally the car checks your personal fob and adjusts mirrors, the seat and radio channels to your settings).

            Not having to dig for keys really does improve usability.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          As a first responder to a car accident one of the first things I do is shut the car off - almost always the car is still in gear, and the last thing I need is to have that car move while I'm tending to a patient. Now I've got to, what, find their RFID and throw it out the window? What if, because of the way their body is positioned I can't get into their pockets without moving them? What if they keep it on a string attached to their cell phone and in the accident it flew down the floorboards somewhere?
      • Re:American cars.... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by gutnor ( 872759 ) on Friday March 27, 2009 @06:37AM (#27354985)

        "WTF? What if I stand near my car and don't want it to open or start up?"

        Funny you said that. Renault, the french car manufacturer, had this kind of technology a few years back. The car would unlock if it detected you were nearby.

        In later models they decided to put a big lock/unlock button on the RFID card. It happened that people were not so trusting on the technology and were never sure the car was really locked. ( in case of theft, this is a critical difference between getting your money back from the insurance or walking to work for the next few years ) So people relied on old school: go inside house - drop the RFID on the table, go back outside and check the car is unlocked. I had a colleague doing exactly that at work - drop its keys and go back in the parking lot to check the car is locked. Kind of silly.

        They had all other kind of little problems linked to theft or general annoyance. At the gaz station - you are too close to lock your car, yet your are not in and some thief could steal something in it. People washing their car were annoyed to have the car contiousely locking/unlocking, ...

    • I can understand 3G connection, that might have real applications, like real time traffic update. (Which we have in my city but it is not safe to use on a smart phone while driving)

      On the other hand, lack of start button, what the hell? Who would want to use a computer that you cannot turn it on and off at will. Oops, we were talking about a car, well...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by drago177 ( 150148 )

      OTOH, the AUX & ipod input probably cost $1 each. I don't understand why every car built after 2005 doesn't have those.

    • The Japanese and the Koreans would be delighted to have as long a waiting list of customers as Tesla has, especially if they were selling those backordered cars at a price that would get you a house in many parts of the country.

    • Make an affordable electric car with a decent range. That's it. All this other crap just adds unnecessary complexity and cost. RFID to detect your presence? What the hell are they thinking...
      • by MadUndergrad ( 950779 ) on Friday March 27, 2009 @03:35AM (#27354143)

        They (Tesla) can't make it affordable. That's why they have to make it luxury. No one will pay those prices without those extra features.

        • Re:American cars.... (Score:5, Informative)

          by iamdrscience ( 541136 ) on Friday March 27, 2009 @06:52AM (#27355087) Homepage
          That's one of the most excellent summations of Tesla Motors I've ever read. Whenever they come up there's somebody who says "That's great, but why don't they make it affordable for me?" and the answer is, as you said, that right now they can't.

          The problem in making an affordable, mass-marketable electric vehicles right now is the cost of batteries. At present you have three main choices: Lead/acid, Nickel-Metal Hydride and Li-Ion/LiPoly.

          Lead/acid cells are cheap (relatively) and are the prime choices for hobbiest EVs, but they would be hard to sell in a consumer EV because (1) they're large and heavy compared to the power they provide, making it difficult to make a car with much more ~100 mile range, (2) they take a long time to recharge (many hours) and (3) they wear out in a couple years. You can make a pretty affordable EV with these (indeed, there are plenty DIYers who have), most auto-buyers would not be willing to make those sacrifices: Why pay for an EV when you could get a regular car for the same amount of money (or less!) that can drive 3+ times as far without stopping, can be refueled nearly instantly rather than having to be left to charge overnight and doesn't require you to replace a $1000 worth of batteries every few years? So basically lead/acid is a non-starter. Some people might be willing to deal with their difficulties, but most will not. BTW though, if they do still sound interesting to you, look into building/buying a DIY EV conversion, it can be very fun and there are tons of nerds that will help you out.

          NiMH and Li-Ion/LiPoly diminish a lot of these troubles by having better energy/weight ratios (more range) recharging faster (NiMH in a few hours, Li-Ion/LiPoly even less) and lasting longer (NiMH is better in this regard, Li-Ion/LiPoly will have to be replaced much sooner). An EV built with either of these, like Tesla's cars, can't match every feature of a regular car, but they are much more acceptable to consumers because there is less of a sacrifice and you still get the advantages of an EV (cheaper energy costs, less pollution (depending on what your source for electricity is), better energy efficiency, better source of hippy smugness, etc.). The problem is that while many consumers might drive a car like this, most of them won't buy/i> one because NiMH and Li-Ion/LiPoly batteries are expensive enough that any car based on them would (at present) cost more than most people would be able or willing to spend.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Whenever they come up there's somebody who says "That's great, but why don't they make it affordable for me?" and the answer is, as you said, that right now they can't.

            Remember that automobiles in general were a luxury item too until Henry Ford came along and decided that he wanted to make cars that were cheap enough that the people assembling in the factory could afford. Granted, it isn't readily apparent on how to make the batteries cheaper, but it wasn't readily apparent in 1900 how to make internal

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by _Sprocket_ ( 42527 )

              Also keep in mind that Ford started out producing luxury vehicles that were more expensive than the competition. The Model T didn't come until years after the company was founded. And even when it did come out, it took years of refining the assembly process as well as various other cost-cutting steps (to include paying generous wages and decreasing work hours - which also helped increase sales to Ford's own employees) to drive the price of the Model T to it's infamously affordable level.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          What? People have been paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for naked cars with spartan interiors and little else for luxury than pure performance...

          I, for one, would pay the price to drive an electric car, especially if it wouldn't be bundled with features I wouldn't use...
      • by tftp ( 111690 )

        What the hell are they thinking...

        They are thinking of selling you a $1,000 option that costs $10 to build. Include a few of these and suddenly their business is profitable... which may be a necessity because parts for electric cars still cost too much. Nobody can afford a common Volkswagen-class all-electric car, that's why all these premium options are there - to mask the cost.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by c6gunner ( 950153 )

      Keep on building kinda cool stuff that noone actually wants & they'll keep having their lunch eaten by the Japanese & Koreans.

      Pft. I've spent hundreds of dollars adding these types of things to my car. I'd give anything to get my hands on that touch-screen.

      Anyway, people don't know what they want if it's available yet. Sure, the average person might not even realize you can plug an iPod into a car. But when someone new gets in my car and discovers the interface for the first time, they immediate

    • Evidently, you missed the point of the car. This thing competes with BMW 7 series, Mercedes S-class vehicles, not your cheapo honda. Of course they're going to build in nifty features - ever seen S-class stuff? It's pretty insane by most standards. If you wanted a cheap electric car for the masses, get a G-Wiz
  • by SoupIsGoodFood_42 ( 521389 ) on Friday March 27, 2009 @02:13AM (#27353743)

    Call me old fashion, but the center console of a car is a place where I prefer to have physical controls that don't need to be looked at in order to use. Perhaps they plan to back it up with some other type of UI, such as voice recognition or a HUD?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by psone ( 1416351 ) *
      Voice recognition combined to the hazards of driving (and the swearing of the driver) could lead to a whole new series of bad jokes...
    • You are old fashion.

      That's like complaining that the leaver is so much more useful than the button. It is the same reasoning that people have against iphone keyboards, and after a couple weeks, I could type on that thing with my eyes closed.

      There is the added advantage of being able to have multiple control consoles in the same convenient area, instead of having arrays of buttons and knobs all the hell over the place.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        I own an iPhone and the touchscreen is great because most of the time I'm using it, I'm looking at it. A touchscreen would be great if it also had physical buttons for the important things, such as de-fogging the windscreen.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Idiomatick ( 976696 )
        Tactile feedback is real. Typing speeds go up a good deal when you have actual keys. And you have to move your fingers further with them... I mean F and J on almost all keyboards have an extra nib just for feedback. If it wasn't useful it wouldn't be there.
      • I could type on that thing with my eyes closed.

        Do you drive like that? It would explain why you can't see that this is a stupid idea.

      • If you don't understand the usability issues with having a touchscreen in a car, you need to take a class on usability.

        Having multiple control consoles in one area is great IF YOU CAN LOOK AT THEM. In a car you can't safely do so. As a sibling mentioned, feel regular keyboard and the nubs on the j and f keys. We use that to orient our fingers without needing to look. Even then, its not perfect. I've typed without looking for 15 years and I still sometimes put my fingers in the wrong place when I sit dow
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pgn674 ( 995941 )
      Or maybe something interesting. Like, vibrate the screen when your finger is on a pressable button. Or, have audio feedback in a similar manner or maybe when your finger is hovering over the screen. Not voice with words, but tones.
      • Like with the BlackBerry Storm? I'm disappointed with the feedback delay, should have gotten the Bold.
    • by khallow ( 566160 ) on Friday March 27, 2009 @03:04AM (#27353969)
      I wonder what it takes to damage this screen? Could a 4 year old kick it in? Or would it crack if some large cargo in the passenger seat shifted into it?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Rick17JJ ( 744063 )

      When I was a teenager, I loved simple collection of, easy to find, large knobs and levers on my dad's 1971 Volvo 142E. I knew where every control was by memory and never, ever, had to take my eyes off the road to adjust anything. Without looking, or hardly even thinking, I could easily adjust the heater, defroster, A/C, windshield wipers, or the radio. The knobs and levers were large enough to easily be operated by a driver wearing winter gloves. The clicks, range of motion and other sounds, gave clear

    • It appears that physical buttons are in the center console. It is the forward center that has the touchscreen. But, as I looked over those pics, it appears that the bottom row of "buttons" are invariant. To be honest, if you have a RFID, then everybody will most likely get their OWN layout. I am guessing that the key may actually contain your preferred layout, so that you can move from car to car (car is just told to accept a key).
  • Boring! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MrMista_B ( 891430 )

    Alright, the /internal/ tech might be neat, but...

    It looks just like EVERY OTHER CAR put out in the last 20 years.

    Seriously, have car makers forgotten to make a car look like anything other than a squashed jelly bean?

    Tech might be nice, but it's just as dull and unimaginatevly plain looking as just about every other soulless melted bean blob out there.


    • I think it looks great -- not dull or unimaginative at all. Much better than the roadster. But then again, I am a fan of conservative design (as well as "out there" designs). What do you think it should have looked like?

    • Re:Boring! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 27, 2009 @03:10AM (#27353999)

      If a "squashed jelly bean" happens to be the most aerodynamically efficient shape, then so be it, I'm glad. It's convergent evolution in action.

    • by TheMCP ( 121589 )

      Yeah, I'm with you! Cars should be designed to be pretty and interesting to look at instead of aerodynamic, functional, non-polluting, and efficient! It's far more important that we enjoy looking at our cars than that we be able to afford the fuel for them or that we have clean air to breathe!

    • Actually, it does look a lot like a current Jaguar or maybe a Mondeo. However, it looks nothing like a Toyota, Peugeot, Fiat, Porsche, Chrysler, or any number of cars produced in the last 20 years.

    • I don't know, I thought similarly about the original Tesla when I saw the pictures, that is was nothing much, but last week I saw one on the street, and I have to say it looked COOL. The only other car that looks that nice when you see it on the street is a Ferrari, and those cost two or three times more. So maybe in real life this one will look good too.

      Either way, I can't afford it.
    • Are you called Homer? []
    • Look at how the front ends of most cars in Europe have grown more substantial all in the name of pedestrian safety. Top regulations of the human kind with regulations of the natural kind; think drag; and what can we truly expect?

      Aptera? Get real, the thing is too wide and it still is a three wheeler. The thing people fail to understand is that a wedge shape front is not necessarily the best for aerodynamics, those Ferraris and Lambos we see aren't the best in many cases for aerodynamics - they actually n

    • That's because it's the American market.

      I have a Honda Civic (08 plate) in the UK, and it looks like a Cylon. It's fantastic, I love it, and I get 50-52 mpg on a 2.2 litre Diesel.

      The American version of the Honda Civic looks like it's been pulled out of a scrapheap, it ain't pretty.

  • by DrBuzzo ( 913503 ) on Friday March 27, 2009 @02:38AM (#27353857) Homepage
    It's amazing people still think the big oil companies killed the electric car and not the inherent difficulties of making a car run on electricity and still have an acceptable range.

    The S-Series Tesla is a very nice electric car, which it should be for the price of 55 grand! It still is not a car I could drive even if I could afford it.

    The range of the S-Series is reported to be about 150 miles, with plans for a 300-mile extended range version (which will cost thousands more). The original intent was 225 miles, but they've since brought that down to 150. The 300 mile upgrade, (assuming it's not vaporware) won't be around for a while.

    Read the fine print, though. That's basically under optimal driving conditions. Air conditioning and combination of accelerating and stopping will drop that, potentially to around 100 miles.

    For me, that would be enough for 90% of my driving, but yesterday I drove from my home to New York City, as I often do, and that was about 110 miles to Midtown. That's not what I consider an especially long drive and I know plenty of people who drive that far or further on a fairly regular basis.

    That kind of range is just cutting it too close. Maybe if I didn't use the air conditioning too much and I drove conservatively I could squeeze in within the range and still have a bit extra, but that's way too close for comfort. One extremely nasty stop and go traffic jam or unexpected detour and I could be dead on the side of the road.

    I don't think I'm alone in not being able to reasonably buy two cars - an electric one for most stuff and a gasoline one for when I need to go on a longer trip. The S-Series would not even be able to get me reliably to a city 2.5 hours from my home, like Boston - and it's not unusual for me to drive to a city like Boston.

    Amazing that even at this price, it still isn't there yet.
    • I think electric cars will drop in price below that of a gas car in under 10years. I'm talking total cost not just initial though. Generally though. I think for a trip over 2hours it makes sense to take public transit... NVM... Its kinda silly that's not in place for you. Torrington to NYC round trip is like 65bucks. By car gas is about 26$. How ridiculous is it that a bus where you split the cost between 30 other people ends up almost twice the cost.

      Going on a tangent: It'd cost the bus about 40$ in gas
      • I think for a trip over 2hours it makes sense to take public transit

        The problem is that a 2 hour trip by car will probably be 3 hours by bus. And that's without counting the drive to the bus station, and the wait for the bus. And then there's the problem of transportation on the other side, if you're traveling to multiple destinations in one city. So, in other words, screw public transportation.

        I live in one city, and every weekend I drive my car to another city to visit friends and family. The trip is

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drago177 ( 150148 )
      Ok, we get it. This car is almost, but ultimately, not for you. But I think it is for anyone who A) lives w/in 100mi from a repair shop, and B)
      1. likes public transport every once in a while, or
      2. has a 2nd vehicle, or
      3. lives with someone with a vehicle they can borrow, or
      4. takes long trips so seldom they don't mind the public transport

      OR, anyone who has enough money to afford sending the car off for repairs and has a concern for the environment, or doesn't like sending money to the middle east,
    • There are a lot of places in the Bay Area where a drive into San Francisco would be around 45 miles. That's less than an hour of freeway driving. The trick here is that most people also want to drive home again. What's the use of driving a car into the city if the only place you can drive it is to a shop where they can plug it in and recharge it while you're at your appointment? (And then you have to take the bus from the recharge hookup to wherever you were going?)

    • Also... me, me, me, me, me!

      Dude, you're probably not the target market. This ain't a mass-market product, and if you can't afford two cars (or a train ticket) you probably can't afford this ride.

    • Think about it. This is a sedan and it costs 50K. If you afford a 50K car, then you WILL own several cars. To be honest, this car is not for everyone. But it will almost certainly be ideal for the 2'nd car.
      With that said, I really wish that Tesla would have done a minivan first AND added the option for a trailer. The electrics have a limited range, and are better suited for the family car. A minivan will appeal to a lot of women who have 2-3 kids and want to haul dogs, grocery, etc. The trailer hitch is n
    • It's amazing people still think the big oil companies killed the electric car and not the inherent difficulties of making a car run on electricity and still have an acceptable range.

      The big car companies have crushed [almost all of] their electric cars. The projects ran at a loss, but not a year-to-year loss. Cancelling the programs made no sense unless the goal was to crush the technology itself. If you can't put fuel into it, the major automakers won't put it on the market. Veggie oil is not a major threat because it is already illegal to utilize it as a road fuel. All the gov't has to do is start cracking down on that sort of thing. In rural areas it is not unusual to have spot inspections of diesel vehicles to check their fuel for red dye, indicating that an off-road fuel was used in them, and that you haven't paid your road taxes. Homemade biodiesel is subject to even more issues; I suspect most home producers of biodiesel are in violation of Methanol storage restrictions. The federal government forced California to abandon emissions restrictions which would have been undesirable mostly to oil companies - automakers are more than capable of meeting the requirements.

      If you don't think Big Oil is running this game (hint: practically everyone at or near the top of the Bush administration profited directly from investment in Big Oil) then you're not paying attention, plain and simple.

      The S-Series Tesla is a very nice electric car, which it should be for the price of 55 grand! It still is not a car I could drive even if I could afford it.

      What's the classic quote? Electric cars are only capable of serving the needs of 95% of the population, something like that? The vehicles could be vastly cheaper if they were produced on a wider scale. Tesla doesn't have the benefit of economies of scale to work with, so every car is expensive. Their business plan has always been to produce first the very expensive roadster, then the moderately expensive sedan, and later the inexpensive sedan (or was it coupe?) Your objection about the price is a stupid one. Your objection about the vehicle not serving your needs is valid, but the fact that it doesn't suit yours bears little weight. You are one person.

      I don't think I'm alone in not being able to reasonably buy two cars - an electric one for most stuff and a gasoline one for when I need to go on a longer trip. The S-Series would not even be able to get me reliably to a city 2.5 hours from my home, like Boston - and it's not unusual for me to drive to a city like Boston.

      Well, I do have two things to say about that. First, it's not clear that it's actually sustainable to have the majority of people driving themselves on long trips no matter what the vehicles are running on. Second, most people make those kind of trips astonishingly rarely. For people with those usage patterns, we have car rental. You can take public transportation to your destination, then rent a vehicle.

      Amazing that even at this price, it still isn't there yet.

      Amazing that you're so egocentric that you think that because it doesn't suit your needs, it's not a salable product.

  • Of course you have to pay the shipping to cart it to California every TWELVE THOUSAND MILES to have it serviced by the only authorized Tesla mechanics in the world, unless of course you want to void your warranty. I wonder what being without your car for a month every year feels like. Surely the $3000 you pay for shipping is less than what you saved that year on gas, right? Another little detail is that the battery life is 100,000 miles. Umm, I would hate to think how much replacing the batteries costs.

    • by thesolo ( 131008 ) *
      Tesla claim the battery replacements will "well under $5000" [], or so says Elon Musk.

      Interesting thing, the car will only have 160 mi range on the base model. Getting 300 mi on a charge requires 2 battery upgrades.
  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Friday March 27, 2009 @03:15AM (#27354035) Journal

    I heard it would retail for $50,000. That's 25 Tata Nanos. It's a little more than 2 of my current car when it was brand new (I drive a '07 Honda Civic). Oh, and my Honda can just... you know... fill up when it gets to the end of its range.

    I think I'll pass on this. The hybrid Aptera still looks promising though. I think Tesla kinda blew it. The sportster is cool, I live near their HQ and see them all the time. It may end up as a very special collector car. Hmmm... the roadster might be a better investment than the company.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by WindBourne ( 631190 )
      The hybrid Aptera still looks promising though. I think Tesla kinda blew it. The sportster is cool, I live near their HQ and see them all the time. It may end up as a very special collector car. Hmmm... the roadster might be a better investment than the company.
      I am willing to bet, that their production line will be full for the first 3 years of this car. As it is, the roadster is a total sell out even at double the price. Aptera? I am guessing that they will sell OK, but will not be years our for sales
  • by thesolo ( 131008 ) * <> on Friday March 27, 2009 @03:25AM (#27354085) Homepage
    Keep in mind that although they have finally shown the world their new saloon car, it won't be available for purchase until Q3-Q4 of 2011. Which means we have almost three full years before this car will actually be rolling out onto a street at all.

    Think about any concept car you've ever seen, and then think about all of the nifty conceptual bits that weren't there 2-3 years later when the car actually went to production.

    All of that said, I like the look of the car, but I'd prefer something smaller and not quite so heavy. Then again, as a single male, I'm not the target demographic for a large saloon that seats seven. I wish they'd produce something like the Roadster for the price point of this car.
  • Does anybody remember how GM Volt prototype looked like. I said to myself "wow, I want that car". When they start to actually selling that car, it look like Seat Toledo of my grandpa.

  • That touchscreen is unattractive and a human engineering disaster. It is far too crowded and "busy", the controls are poorly laid out, and even color is used badly.

    Talk about "distracted driving"! This thing should be outlawed.
    • When one drives a car for any length of time, one gets to know the controls by feel. Good human engineering properly separates the controls not only by look, but also by position, shape and feel.

      When you CAN'T feel, you are forced to look at the controls every time, taking your eyes off the road. In addition, the controls are crowded close together, further necessitating taking your attention off the road.

      Very, very poor design.
      • The touch screen seems to mainly concern itself with entertainment and environmental control. These are a UI mess anyway. Controls for lights, indicators etc are presumably in the usual places.
  • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Friday March 27, 2009 @04:15AM (#27354311) Homepage

    Cars are, first and foremost, for getting from point A to point B. The ideal is to do so comfortably.

    The touchscreen looks like it would do anything but. I can imagine:

    1) The backlit display interfering with night vision, even at a very low brightness level
    2) Being unable to do simple - trivial - things, like change the radio station or skip a CD/mp3 track without looking away from the road.
    3) Being able to quickly and efficiently finding (visually) the appropriate widget to tell you the information you're looking for.

    That touchscreen doesn't even have widgets of a size and type which help you quickly identify what you're looking for! They look like mock-buttons, ffs! Weather/temp in particular.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      No imagination, kids these days. How about using another bit or two for the electro-expansive touch overlay to provide tactile buttons? (braille styles). Consistent UI design could mean the tactile part could be determined from the display itself (eg, buttons have shaded x on lower, y on higher). Lots of ways that this could be done.

  • I am glad they had the good taste to copy maserati ...

  • ...does it run Linux? It is only a matter of time before someone (with a shitload of money) starts porting Debian. Could make for some interesting driving. Seriously though, what do you do when this thing won't boot? Makes for some interesting driving.
  • The car itself looks nice on the outside, but my first thought about the interior was, "the center console makes BMW's iDrive look good."

    The irony is that we just had a /. article about tactile feedback in keyboards.

  • by jonr ( 1130 )

    First (R)oadster, then Model S... I wonder if Model T comes next?
    Affordable Tesla for the masses?

  • by sorak ( 246725 ) on Friday March 27, 2009 @09:49AM (#27356477)

    From tfa:

    The Model S unveiling is Tesla's last-ditch hope at a future in the business. Although it does not have financing for the production of the Model S, or even a site for a factory to produce it, Tesla plans to take deposits for the $58,000 vehicle from customers, a move at least one Tesla executive deemed fraudulent, prompting his departure.

    I don't know if this source is trustworthy, but, if it is, then shouldn't the real headline have something to do with this?

  • Enough talk ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by slashdotlurker ( 1113853 ) on Friday March 27, 2009 @01:12PM (#27359763)
    Lets get the skinny.
    Is this car :
    1. priced to be less than $25,000 ? If not, forget the mass market. Keep diddling your rich customers (declining market) for your kicks if you like.
    2. designed with the right looks/capacity ? After looking at the pics and the trunk space, this car passes that test. Someone with real world needs can actually use this car for everyday use, instead of being a fashion statement at the Golden Globe awards.
    3. designed so as to go into mass production (>60,000 cars per year in the first year, and potentially rising later) ? If not, forget it. This is related very closely to 1.
    4. designed so that (battery pack cost / time to replacement) is no greater than $500 / year. If not, forget it. No one in their right mind would want even a cheap electric car that costs a few months' mortgage per year to upkeep.

    See, its not so difficult to get a practical car on the road, if your priorities are straight. However, the fact that these people are teaming up with Mercedes is not a hopeful sign of any desire to go past the Hollywood set. In other words, they are setting themselves up for failure (out here in the *real* world). Had they gone with a cheap Japanese or Indian carmaker, it might have been exciting.

Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced -- even a proverb is no proverb to you till your life has illustrated it. -- John Keats