Missing Premium Features in Teslas

There has been a lot of fuss lately around the lack of HUD and other features for the Model 3. In Tesla decides to offer these gadgets in the future, they will most definitely appear in the more expensive Model S and X before trickling down to the more mass market 3. No matter how disruptive and different the auto manufacturer is, toys are going to be there for the rich. How else would they differentiate their portfolio, other than offering cars of different sizes?

With that said, in my opinion, Tesla should try to get these options (at least) in the “larger” models:

#1: HUD

Yes, the numerously times mentioned Heads-Up-Display. Currently, BMW is probably the leader in this category. Their HUDs are very sharp / clear, easy to read in basically all conditions, and provide many types of information. My favorite setup of a system like this is having current speed & speed limit shown next to navigation directions. The navigation in the windshield seems so gimmicky, yet in BMWs case, it can even project complex junctions and highway exists right into your field of view, making driving in any city like driving at home.

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Of course, as Elon Musk has pointed out, that no longer matters when you have fully autonomous driving, but for the time being, it does…

#2: 360° Parking Cameras

Again, looks like a gimmick, helps with maneuvering in very tight spaces, while Autopilot can’t.

#3: Good navigation system

I will most likely get a lot of hate for this one, but hear me out. I like the huge touch-screen. And I absolutely love the way you can search for destinations. Just a single search box. The problem is with the navigating part. As I mentioned earlier, the way for example BMW presents guidance instructions is much clearer. Also, not being able to add waypoints to your journey? In an electric car, where you have to take charging stops? That seems like a miss.

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Now, in complete honesty, I cannot even express how much I appreciate Tesla taking the effort to keep updating the infotainment system with actually useful updates.

#4: Fully Adaptive Headlights / Night Vision

Tesla has only recently introduced full-LED headlights into their vehicles. And they are not even fully adaptive. Yes, the low-beam can follow the curvature of a given road, but for example, high-beam cannot modulate the beam in such way that it would “cut out” other traffic. Not to mention, there Laser headlights are already available in other production cars, with range up to 600 m and very low energy consumption.

Not to mention, that Night Vision has been available for more than 10 years, and it is one of the features which could actually significantly help Autopilot with night-time driving.

#5: “Premium” Interior

Last but not least, I would like to address the “lack of premium interior” argument, because after reading some comments, I was expecting VERY plasticy fit and finish. Well, that just isn’t true. (Just for the record, I drove the “pre-facelift” Model S 90D with the next generation seats.) The car doesn’t feel cheap by any means, it just isn’t trying to look as posh as possible / spoil you, like for example an S-Class or the 7-Series. Which is totally fine. Not every big car has to be a “chauffeur” car, however, I think Tesla is missing an opportunity here.

tesla-executive-rear-seats

I remember, that the Model S was offered with Executive rear seats for a short while, but I have never seen those inside an actual car. Understandable, given you had to give up the fifth (center) seat for seats which were nothing special compared to the highest end offerings from Mercedes and BMW. My question is, why? Couldn’t they design better ones? They could with the Model X and they already had decent seats in the front of the S.

Speaking of the Model X, that is the perfect executive car (with a bit of sound-proofing added). Sitting in the rear of the Model S is not very comfortable for tall people, because the combination of high floor and low seats results in knees touching your ears. This could be solved by removing the front passenger seat, creating an open space to stretch out your legs, but that means sacrificing not one, but two seats for travelling in comfort.

This is not a problem in the X, so I cannot see a real reason why there is no 2 + 2 seating configuration, with the front seats “copied and pasted” into the 2nd row. (With heating, ventilation, and massage anybody?)

The Future

… will be autonomous, making many todays driver assistants obsolete or integrating them as sub-systems / sensors into a single autonomous driving system. The focus will get back to comfort and convenience features. Automakers will try to make the best use of the available space, and even today, we see plenty of interesting concepts, with the front seats being facing the rear passengers, converting cars into lounges on wheels.

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On the other hand, my nerdy and purely functional mind thinks flipping the rear seats instead would be a better idea, because it would not have any significant impact on head room, whilst keeping an aerodynamic profile.

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