Tesla Model 3 engineer gives insights into driving experience without instrument cluster

One of the biggest concerns for Tesla Model 3 reservation holders is the fact that the vehicle doesn’t have an instrument cluster in front of the driver.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk insists that drivers “will not care”, but that’s going to be a new experience for most of them nonetheless.

Ahead of the launch this week, we get some rare insights into the experience from someone who actually drove the Model 3. 

Not a lot of people have driven the Model 3 so far, especially not outside of Tesla, which makes it difficult to get insights into the driving experience.

But Tesla Model X owners Robbie and Chuck from Colorado ran into a Tesla engineer in a Model 3 at a Supercharger doing some long distance testing from Fremont, California, to Denver, Colorado.

Chuck asked him about the lack of an instrument cluster and related the insights to us:

“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.”

That’s an interesting upside that is not obvious at first. People who have driven vehicles with instrument cluster more to the right, like the Prius, might relate to that.

When he refers to having the information “only the touchscreen tablet to the right”, it is the information displayed on the center screen seen below on a Model 3 prototype:

That’s probably not the final design, but this is the latest display design of the instrument cluster’s information (just speed and Autosteer/TACC icons) on the top left side of the center screen. We have also seen the screen on Model 3 release candidates, but not in driving mode.

The instrument cluster was long-rumored to be replaced by a heads-up display in the Model 3, but Musk confirmed that Tesla instead designed the Model 3’s user interface with self-driving in mind.

He went as far as saying that “the more autonomous a car is, the less dash info you need. How often do you look at the instrument panel when being driven in a taxi?”, he said.

But Tesla’s vehicles are gradually becoming autonomous and until they fully are, Model 3 drivers will still have to work without an instrument cluster in front of them.

All should be revealed on Friday at the Model 3 delivery event. We will be at the event so let us know in the comment section below what you’d like to see on the UI front.

Chuck also took a few pictures of the Model 3 leaving the Supercharger at Mesa Mall during its test trip from California to Colorado:

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Tesla is a transportation and energy company. It sells vehicles under its 'Tesla Motors' division and stationary battery pack for home, commercial and utility-scale projects under its 'Tesla Energy' division.

Tesla Model 3

The Tesla Model 3 is the first vehicle built on Tesla's third-generation platform. It aims to reduce the entry price for electric vehicles while not making any compromise on range and performance. The Model 3 starts at $35,000 in the US and deliveries to employees and company insiders began in mid 2017 - customer deliveries begin in late 2017.

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