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Tesla Model S instrument cluster and center console (touch screen) display

Tesla Model S
Tesla breaks out the big guns when it comes to display technology in its new Model S electric sedan

It's been nearly two years since Tesla Motors took the wraps off its Model S electric sedan. The Model S represents the second vehicle to join automaker's fleet after the Tesla Roadster/Roadster Sport. Whereas the Roadster is high-performance two-seater with little real-world usability, the Model S features five seats and a trunk for stowing your luggage.

Today, we're getting a bit more info on the huge LCD display that we first saw (in rough form) on the vehicle when it was announced. We now know that the center dash is taken up by a huge 17" touchscreen -- the largest ever installed into a production automobile. The display, which is powered by a single NVIDIA Tegra processor, provides full 3D graphics for the driver/passengers. The Tegra processor also controls the infotainment systems and the navigation system.

In addition to the massive center display, a traditional gauge cluster is replaced by a large 12.3" LCD display that also will provide 3D graphics.

"Model S is designed for performance-oriented efficiency. NVIDIA allows us to use the highest graphics with the lowest energy use," said Tesla Motors CTO JB Straubel.

NVIDIA senior vice president Dan Vivoli continued, "The Model S is a modern marvel -- a blend of beauty, performance and efficiency. Tegra's combination of graphics power and energy efficiency make it a perfect match for the Model S."

The Model S will carry a base price of $57,400 (before $7,500 tax credit) and features a battery pack that weighs 1,200 pounds. Despite a total curb weight of 4,000 pounds, the Model S can dart to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds and has a driving range of “up to” 300 miles.

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my morning chuckle !!
By kattanna on 1/4/2011 12:04:50 PM , Rating: 2
the Model S features five seats and a trunk for stowing your luggage .

LOL like your going to be going on any long trips in a pure EV

thanks, i needed that chuckle

RE: my morning chuckle !!
By Pandamonium on 1/4/2011 12:07:49 PM , Rating: 3
Trunks come in pretty handy on trips to/from the airport...

RE: my morning chuckle !!
By Brandon Hill on 1/4/2011 12:09:07 PM , Rating: 2
My roundtrip from the Raleigh, NC area to the NC coast is less than 250 miles (I make it about three times a year). I don't really see what's so funny...

Anyway, just plug that 'sumbitch in whenever you get to your destination :)

RE: my morning chuckle !!
By kattanna on 1/4/2011 12:20:59 PM , Rating: 3
and at 250 miles your pretty much at the limit of their purported 300 mile range. which im sure doesnt include running the heater or AC. and if you do come up short, its not like you will be able to call AAA to come out and give you some gas to make it.

there is simply going to be a lot of hassles involved with EV's that i think some people arent fully taking into account.

and when they do resolve the limited range and long recharge times, i will be first in line to get one because i really do believe they are "the future" of transportation, but they just are not there yet, like some do think.

RE: my morning chuckle !!
By lelias2k on 1/4/2011 3:08:38 PM , Rating: 1
Just like computers were not there yet in the 70s?

We always need to start somewhere.

A decade ago we'd never heard of a great looking, 5-passenger, all-electric vehicle with such range. Look how far we've come already. :)

By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 1/5/2011 7:16:08 AM , Rating: 2
Vaporware is vaporware. So a non-existent car is going to come with non-existent energy hungry displays. And go how far on a charge? Pie in the freakin' sky. You can mark my words. If this car is ever released, and it has even half the puffed capability, I will apologize profusely. There hasn't been an energy revolution yet, so this is a non-starter.

RE: my morning chuckle !!
By PrinceGaz on 1/5/2011 12:20:45 PM , Rating: 2
The sensible solution with an all electric car is to keep a petrol-powered generator in the boot so you can pull over for a couple of hours to give it a bit extra charge, and presumably watch a movie on that 17" screen whilst waiting.

RE: my morning chuckle !!
By nafhan on 1/4/2011 12:09:37 PM , Rating: 2
There's always groceries...

Anyway, I'm curious who's making the software for this beast. All that beautiful screen real estate could easily be wasted with the wrong software choices.

RE: my morning chuckle !!
By amanojaku on 1/4/2011 12:12:39 PM , Rating: 3
Maybe you're picking someone up from the airport or train station. Maybe you're buying groceries. Or stuff at the mall. There are plenty of reasons to have a trunk for short trips, and EV's have never had trunks because of the batteries. Until now.

RE: my morning chuckle !!
By Aloonatic on 1/4/2011 12:14:07 PM , Rating: 3
From their website:


Choose from one of three battery pack options to suit typical driving needs: 160, 230, or 300 miles per charge. Concerned with Range Anxiety? Like the Roadster, the Model S is engineered to plug into nearly any outlet, anywhere in the world. With the ability to recharge in 45 minutes, the car begs to be driven everywhere you want to go.

- 160, 230, or 300 mile range pack
- 45 minute QuickCharge


So 300 miles isn't bad. I'm lucky if I get much more than that from a full tank in my car, although that might have more to do with how I drive sometimes.

RE: my morning chuckle !!
By MindParadox on 1/4/2011 12:43:51 PM , Rating: 2
hell, a 45 minute recharge? take yer xbox and play 3-4 matches online in CoD, and yer car is charged, pack up, and drive :) (xbox360 slim, flat panel tv, 2 outlets at a mcdonalds for example :P and only like 12 pounds or so)

RE: my morning chuckle !!
By Spuke on 1/4/2011 1:41:16 PM , Rating: 3
The 45 minute "QuickCharge" requires a 480V outlet. Not really available anywhere "yet" from what I understand. Also, the 300 mile battery pack adds another $15 to $20k more to the price of the car.

RE: my morning chuckle !!
By Spuke on 1/4/2011 1:58:56 PM , Rating: 2
Correction on the 480V. It can be installed but most/some utilities won't do it. I've read that there's some NEC code that prohibits installing 480V at residences but I have not read it myself so take that with a grain of salt. It may require a transformer upgrade if you don't have one that supports 480V already (most likely not) and I believe the cabling has to be run underground plus other stuff. Some people run the power cables themselves and use step up transformers.

RE: my morning chuckle !!
By CharonPDX on 1/4/2011 6:27:12 PM , Rating: 2
Portland, OR is already installing publicly-accessible 480V chargers. Pay for parking in the parking garage across from the building I work in, and you have available two 480V parking spots. One on-street parking spot directly across the street from my building has two 240V outlets, and is supposed to get upgraded to 480V by the time 480V-charge cars are on the road.

Seattle to Portland is 150 miles, barely within reach of the low-capacity model, well within reach of the high-capacity model. Someone could drive from the Tesla showroom in Seattle to Portland, stop for lunch and have a charged car when they're done. Then they could drive to Medford, OR on the full-capacity model; or Eugene, OR on the low-capacity. And that's right now. That is a good full day's drive right there, so recharge while at the hotel overnight, then drive to Sacramento. Right now, Medford to Sacramento would be pushing it on the full-capacity model, but it should be possible; and more publicly-accessible charging stations are planned for the I-5 corridor.

Not to mention, for most people, this would be a primary commuter, not a long-distance hauler, anyway. Most families nowadays have at least two cars. I know my primary car rarely gets driven more than 100 miles in even a "long" day of driving. My secondary car (which gets used for long-distances because it's our camping SUV,) rarely gets driven at all. I could easily replace my primary car with a Model S, and only ever have "range anxiety" once or twice a year at most, forcing me to use the SUV when I would have used my current car over the Model S.

RE: my morning chuckle !!
By Spuke on 1/4/2011 11:10:46 PM , Rating: 3
I could do almost a week of commuting with the Model S 300 mile version. Quite frankly, this car could do all of my local driving easily but I still wouldn't buy it though. I would want to drive a $72k car everywhere, not just locally.

RE: my morning chuckle !!
By Pneumothorax on 1/4/2011 1:43:26 PM , Rating: 2
That 45 minute recharge rate will need more amps than the 200 amps that the ENTIRE standard power line your house in USA can provide. The leaf's fast charge rate requires 400+ volts even. Check your circuit breaker, I'd be surprised to find a 400+ volt circuit.

RE: my morning chuckle !!
By MindParadox on 1/4/2011 1:58:38 PM , Rating: 2
well, if im out and about driving, i wont be hooking this to a house firstly

but i get what yer sayin :)

RE: my morning chuckle !!
By bah12 on 1/4/2011 3:55:32 PM , Rating: 1
Check your circuit breaker, I'd be surprised to find a 400+ volt circuit
You'd be hard pressed to find any "volt" circuit breaker since breakers are measured in amps not volts. But you are correct that most homes don't have the 480V supply needed.

RE: my morning chuckle !!
By Rott3nHIppi3 on 1/4/2011 12:54:24 PM , Rating: 1
The price tag made me chuckle! Seems like demonizing the wealthy may backfire soon since they'll be the only ones who can afford to go green! And even that might be short lived if China cuts off supplies for producing the batteries! Before you know it.. we'll all be duct-taping our Droid phones to a Red Ryder wagon to experience true green.

RE: my morning chuckle !!
By Hulk on 1/4/2011 3:17:44 PM , Rating: 1
At best this thing will do 4miles/kWHr. And that's really high as the Volt is doing about 3miles/kWHr. But let's assume 4.

300/4=75kWHr. Now's lets assume they use 80% of battery capacity is used to have at least some battery longevity. Again the Volt only usus 65% of battery capacity so I'm again cutting the S a lot of leeway here.

That's a 93.75kWHr battery! If I remember correctly the Leaf's basic (no heating/cooling) battery is 24kWHr and weighs 600lbs or 25lbs/kWHr.

The "300 mile" range S would have a battery that weighs 2,343lbs!!! That's crazy.

Again I even gave the S some leeway in these calculations.

The S will never come to market. It won't have a 300 mile range if it somehow does. And it won't cost less than $100,000 if it does. But it will never exist so we don't have to worry about the numbers.

The Tesla was a loser too. Without the government money Tesla would be out of business now. They will be soon though. And don't get me wrong, I've love for them to succeed but I'm tired of their outrageous claims that defy the laws of physics, chemistry, and economics.

The Volt is a realistic electric vehicle with a real world range of about 30 miles. Same with the Leaf with a range of about 70 miles. So Tesla is going to quadruple that range because they say they can? Ridiculous.

Sorry to bring a reality to the S.

RE: my morning chuckle !!
By Hulk on 1/4/2011 3:20:24 PM , Rating: 1
Forgot to mention 480V charging is a dream as well. A Nissan says, continued 480V quick charging will seriously degrade battery life. "Safe" charging is more like 3kW/hour. So a one hour lunch/charging stop will gain you a whopping 3 miles of range. Maybe this can be doubled but it's still a joke compared to a 5 minute fill up taking you 300+ miles.

RE: my morning chuckle !!
By NorthernYankee on 1/4/2011 5:48:08 PM , Rating: 2
Here is some info on the Battery Packs

The base model will have a range of 160 miles (260 km) when fully charged using a 42 kW·h battery pack (24 kW·h/100 mi, 108 mpgge). Larger, longer range battery pack options will be available as well; the options announced include a range of 230 miles (370 km) from a 65 kW·h pack (26 kW·h/100 mi, 100 mpgge) and a range of 300 miles (480 km) from an 85 kW·h pack (26 kW·h/100 mi, 100 mpgge).[27] The base battery pack will contain 5,000 lithium-ion cells, reported to be sourced from Panasonic, while the larger battery packs will both contain 8,000 cells and weigh approximately 1,200 pounds (540 kg). The largest pack will use the same number of cells, but each cell will have a 30% higher specific energy to enable the pack to store the additional energy.[28] A 45-minute QuickCharge of the 42 kW·h pack will be possible when a 3-phase 480 volt, 100 amp circuit is available (80 amp continuous draw from a 100 amp breaker).

RE: my morning chuckle !!
By roykahn on 1/5/2011 2:53:51 AM , Rating: 3
Seems like demonizing the wealthy may backfire soon since they'll be the only ones who can afford to go green!

I didn't realise bicycles and public transport were considered expensive.

RE: my morning chuckle !!
By Rott3nHIppi3 on 1/7/2011 10:14:49 AM , Rating: 2
Clearly.... you don't live in the middle of bumF*** with a 40-50 mile drive to work and where there's a longer winter season than summer. Good luck with that Bicycle!!

Fuel Efficient/Hybrid/Electric vehicles appeal to "long distance" drivers because of fuel economy. And the reason they're long distance drivers is because they can't afford or simply prefer not to live in the city where Public Transit becomes an option.

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