Over the weekend, Instagram user Richard Hennessy posted a picture of someone driving a Tesla Model 3 prototype. Now that Instagram post is gone, but thanks to the delightfully cruel nature of the internet, it’s not really gone. So, what exactly are we looking at here?
The photo first showed up on tech site Boy Genius Report. First, we need to be clear about a few things: we have no idea if this is a production-spec car, or just another Model 3 prototype. The interior is almost an exact match for the prototype interiors we’ve seen so far:
This could be how the eventual Model 3 dashboard will look: remarkably spartan, with no instruments save for a big LCD screen in the center, and large flat areas that I really hope will open up into cupholders or storage compartments or something less useless.
What is interesting about this shot, though, is what we’re not seeing: any real attempt to make a usable instrument cluster.
Look at that huge center screen. That’s a lot of digital real estate, and yet there seems to be nothing that tells speed, how much range the car has left or battery level, odometer, coolant temperatures, anything. There seems to be a large map display, what the audio system is playing, and a cryptic little window with a ‘6' on it.
I can only guess that we just haven’t seen the actual driving-ready instrument display, because this is clearly not it. Hopefully, what we do get will be something that’s very customizable, and, hopefully, not trying to pretend to be actual gauges.
So, what’s the big deal about this picture that it had to be removed? There doesn’t seem to be anything here we haven’t seen before – the steering wheel looks to be the same slightly-widened ovoid design, there’s still a whole lot of nothing around there. So why remove it?
For what it’s worth, Elon Musk has suggested that what we’ve seen in the prototype Model 3s isn’t what the production version will have at all:
So, will the production controls for the Model 3 really feel “like a spaceship?” If movies have taught me anything, that means a lot of small screens with rotating 3D graphics and wireframe diagrams of the car with maybe a big control stick in the middle. Pretty cool!
Or, maybe the post was taken down because, yes, this is, in fact, basically how the production Model 3 dash will look. Clean, sleek, but not so spaceship-like. That seems like something that Elon would be more bent out of shape about.