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Tesla Model 3 Ditches Instrument Panel To Help Drivers Focus On Road

Technology / 23 Comments

One of the most technologically advanced cars of our time will come with fewer screens.

Step into a car that's a few eras old, a 1970 Buick GS for example, and more than likely, you're bound to find conditions that would be appalling in modern cars. Drum brakes make stopping an act comprised of equal parts standing on the pedal and praying while a steering wheel that reserves the first 90 degrees in either direction for on-center aim makes staying within your lane an act of constantly sawing the wheel back and forth. Thankfully, evolution moves in a forward direction.

The first ergonomically arranged cabins in modern cars were probably welcome oddities that sacrificed simplicity, but they've managed to stay. So far as we know about the Tesla Model 3, its interior is going to get much more simple than what you get in current automobiles, partially because it will lose its instrument panel, and that could just as well become the norm. The shift means no speedometer, no tachometer (not like that'd be there anyways) and no Model S-like instrument display that shows battery status, Autopilot information, or even which song is playing on the radio. Driving without one sounds like a foreign experience, but it Tesla is confident that won't be the case.

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According to what a Tesla Motors Club forum member found when speaking to a Tesla engineer after encountering a Model 3 last week, the instrument panel won't be missed. Pertinent information such as vehicle speed will be displayed on the singular center screen, with the vehicle speed placed in the upper left hand corner where the driver can easily see it. As the TMC forum member writes, "I asked him if he missed having an instrument cluster in front of him behind the steering wheel. He said you quickly get used to not having one there, only the touchscreen tablet to the right. He noted that it was especially helpful at night not having the glare of the instrument cluster right in front of him, so he could concentrate on the road, and he felt his night vision was better."

The Model 3 wouldn't be the first car to display important information out of the driver's line of sight. One of the more notable gimmicks inside the Mini Cooper was a speedometer mounted to the right of the driver on the center portion of the dashboard, and given the Model 3's ability to read street signs and adjust its speed accordingly, drivers will have less reason to look left for a glance.