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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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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.

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