Here's Our First Good Look At How The Tesla Model 3's Touchscreen Works

Easily one of the most controversial and surprising things about the Tesla Model 3 was its single rectangular 15-inch touchscreen on the dashboard and seeming lack of any physical controls. Surely, we thought, the production car wouldn't be that simplistic; what about buttons? What about physical controls? But the screen is the real deal, and now we have a good idea how it operates.

This video from an Austin, Texas, Tesla gallery was making the rounds over the weekend, but was pulled off YouTube for unknown reasons. But the internet finds a way, and so here's a mirror you can watch.

In it two people run through the Model 3's screen controls, reviewing its various features and functions. There isn't even a gauge cluster in front of the driver -- everything works through the screen, which displays the range, map and various vehicle features like the defroster, seat heaters, windshield wipers, air conditioning and stereo. The Model S and X work much the same way.

What's really noteworthy in this video, however, is the apparent lack of FM radio functions on the first Model 3. My theory is that the guys running the video can't figure out how to find it, because Tesla's own site lists FM radio (but not AM radio) is an included option, and what new entry-level luxury car wouldn't at least have FM radio? They do have internet streaming radio, however. We reached out to Tesla to confirm what radio functions it has.

The guys in the video also claim that phone audio streaming isn't available yet on the Model 3 and that this will come with a software update. We're getting confirmation on that too, but it's a bit disappointing if it's true, and one must wonder what prospective customers will think of that.

Let us know if you caught anything interesting from the video too.

[Hat tip to r/teslamotors]



    This approach to HID seems the complete opposite of what we should be doing and I find it bemusing and frustrating, especially from a company like Tesla that considers itself forward looking. Touch screen displays are general purpose and can do a lot of things, but they don't necessarily do those things very well in a human interface sense.

      I find it hard to believe they've removed the main gauges from directly in front of the driver, especially the speed. That seems like poor design forcing the driver to look away from directly in front.

      I also can't help but wonder what this is going to do to tickets. I mean we already have people being ticketed for using the phone. Having a massive tablet in the car seems like a good way to get pinged for mucking about with a screen.

      I assume (hope) they have some rules set up so that when the car is in motion the screen is locked to only a limited set of functions. I'd have to see it in practice to decide whether it's a good idea or bad. But my gut says it's not a good thing.

      I totally agree. I think this is a big mistake. Putting wiper control etc on a touch screen is just not a good idea.

      Being able to find something without taking your eyes away from the road is critical. Buttons which are tactile and have a particular shape allow people to navigate the controls without having visual contact.

      I generally like the Tesla cars and the design approach but this appears as if the design team forgot to add buttons or a the control system then needed to add something ad hock.

      I just cant understand the use of touchscreen for so many things. It is used as a marketing tool even when buttons etc can be a better input. Oh well progress......

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now