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Tesla Model S Deliveries

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They begin on Friday, as you may have heard on NPR this morning.

So I found it particularly surreal after the NPR interview when my car's web browser defaults to the tesla.com site, and there is a picture of this very car the day before it went to the paint shop.... with a countdown clock to the official customer ship date and test drive tour.

Below that is a google map view, with live traffic updates. It's a bit surreal to drive with satellite view zoomed in to the max. You can see the parking lot and nearby environs in a way that is so much more contextually interesting than a desktop big screen.

Another interesting cloud service is the album art display (here seen to the right of the speedometer, but normally on the big screen for me). No matter what the music source (radio, satellite, internet from overseas or personalized channels, bluetooth from your phone, or as in this case, MP3s on a thumb drive in one of the USB ports), the car sends a music sample for sound recognition and fetches a high-res image of the album art and the song's metadata, so the song process bar and title are part of the display.

Jones L, immaculate aaron, avlxyz, and 19 other people added this photo to their favorites.

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  1. sbove 22 months ago | reply

    ps: really excited to see a few of these out on the road around SF...and then go test drive one. Up here in Mill Valley have recently sighted a Fisker, a bunch of Leafs, the usual Tesla model 1s ...and way too many new/jurassic ferraris, lambos, maseratis, porsche panameras (ugliest car of the century)...each of which should be all-electric by now...

  2. solarc 22 months ago | reply

    As a reservation holder of over 2 years (#2078) I am absolutely dismayed with Tesla's decision to leave the 17" TS as the only control on the dash besides the steering wheel. I am 100% with linux-works.

    I have hard time imagining constant stream of updates in the software. It's one thing to put up with iOS or Android updates or Windows security patches and totally different to also have that in the car. I recall horror stories of my friend being stranded in a SAAB whose engine control module shut down the ignition because of a burned tail light.

    I am not a huge fan of iPhones or iPads and the similarities are not in Tesla's favor.

  3. jurvetson 22 months ago | reply

    Guessing you might not be an early adopter of the fully autonomous Google cars... =)

    The shift of key automobile functionality to software happened long ago (with mechanical backup in many cases, like steering and braking). Sounds like a bad software partitioning design in the SAAB, and customers will not like that. But consider how many mechanical failures have stranded people, and we don't call it a horror story - just a bad design or a “low quality” car company. Countless car starting problems have come from mechanical failures, such as fuel pumps and cables/connectors to fuel and emissions systems (as has been my experience). It's relatively rare that you take your car in and hear that whatever problem you had was fixed with a software upgrade.

    - Yes, there are audible directions from the Nav system, and for the turn indicators. Tastes differ here. Personally, I hate audible directions and written directions. I only go by map. This might relate to visual thinking styles. So, luckily, the software layer allows me to adjust the Nav system volume down to faint audible cues, or off altogether.

    And I’m totally with you on the HP calculators. It’s all I ever use. I like the buttons, and love the horizontal aspect ratio, battery life, and RPN-native design. I also cling to the two-thumb keyboard buttons on my blackberry.

    Why is that? Is it because we are old school, or romance the past (I vividly remember getting my precious calculator on my first day on the job at HP). We don’t like that answer, right? We just know that the button design is perfect for our needs, and elegant, and missing for all the jaded new users who never experienced it. And we respect how hard it was to get it right.

    So why are we vastly outnumbered by button-free iPhone fans? One major reason is that any physical instantiation becomes rapidly antiquated when competing against a software and services layer. As new users go beyond email as the killer app, the device has to be fluid to keep up. It was obvious that the physical instantiations of Nokia and Motorola and the giants of just a few years ago had to be scuttled in a race to catch up with Apple.

    So the reason I still use a RIM is that I still use it primarily for work email, and the two-thumb tactile feedback of buttons makes it better for that. Same for the HP calculator. Calculator speed contests are always won by buttons and RPN. I doubt that will change. But almost nobody cares about that.

    You mentioned the simple fixed display of the HP calculator. Yes! Think about that use of precious real estate. Mostly input, very little output. That describes the classic calculator. And for many email cases (especially the early days of personal email, when a message usually warranted a reply, and writing takes longer than reading), input and output time was roughly symmetric. Corporate broadcasts, commercial mail, and media-rich newsletters shifted that balance. So for some, touchscreen email is preferred because they consume much more than they enter.

    And of course, for a new generation consuming apps and rich media, the input/consumption equation has shifted dramatically to consumption. Email is an afterthought, at most.

    So that brings us back to the car. I think the input/output ratio may guide the screen versus button debate. I want the map to be on a rich media screen. The volume control for the radio does not need visual feedback, and so I like having the physical button near my two thumbs – just like the calculator and blackberry.

    A sea of buttons is a nightmare to me… and I think it will look just as antiquated in a few years as a Nokia phone does today… Here is a 2011 model dash:


    — your request for touch screens on the steering wheel is being answered. I saw them in the Model X and thought they were so awesome. =)

  4. vennettaj 22 months ago | reply

    would be cool to have options ..you can't get everybody to be same..or push down their throats your thinking/functioning style..that's just ideally tho

  5. linux-works 22 months ago | reply

    options make sense.

    I was thinking: how about a user cavety for users to be able to install things they want? in the old days, the rectangle cutout of the car radio was one way but now, its mostly an integrated dash with all car brands (sigh..).

    they have 2 large spots there on the dash; one could be a hide-away screen and the other could be a user installable area, DIN sized. it could be a map pocket (old term, lol) for those that want just space there, or a 2nd screen for those who demand such things.

    in the same way, the TS interface could be swapped for a hard button style one, for those that liked that (such as myself).

    btw, the button cluster photo you showed is NOT what I had in mind ;) that was ugly as can be and unusable as can be. how do you feel your way to the right button? some 'stylist' went nuts there but his style is, uhm, not to everyone's taste, shall we say. this is not a proof that it can't be done well; its more a proof that goofy designers are let loose, regularly, on commercial designs with no talent other than to 'make things sleek looking'. which is one element of UI design but NOT the main one by any stretch.

    you don't ever want a 'sea of buttons'. the layout should have some geometry that is irregular and easy to spot the central things you need to regularly get to. break up the geometry; stop trying to make things 'balance' by making a uniform cluster. its also a typical eastern approach; give an n by m matrix of identical looking buttons and then label them. BORING! and not usable as it could be. break up the pattern, make it easy to spot the sections of the buttons entry area you need. I don't know the proper term for it, but when you look at a geometrical arrangement that is not symmetrical and synthetically arranged, the mind's eye can remember that layout and identify it very quickly, even under stress. but on grids of buttons, its too much 'searching' to do and that defeats the whole idea on CUSTOM user interfaces.

  6. jurvetson 22 months ago | reply

    a thought-provoking discussion. thanks,. meanwhile the release happens in a few hours, and a live video feed will start here at 3:30pm PST.

  7. solerena 22 months ago | reply

    Very cool car... Only can say: wish I can have one...In future I want Google car, voice or even mind activated...if it will fly and sail...even more fun:) what the point in being frozen in the past, take the best from the past and go forward:)

  8. bike-R 22 months ago | reply

    Well, you have one cool car but can you talk to it? Poor KITT is gonna be jealous and maybe your car can SKYPE KITT Car and talk CPU's! BTW is he intived to the vid FEED? :)

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKCiJhA7qVo&feature=related

  9. bike-R 22 months ago | reply

    And can your car interface with a IPAD type of tablet or call your cell phone and say it needs attention? Would be really cool for it to interface with the owners that way...Wonder if the A-I aftermarket for autos is developing that tech?

  10. Chucil 22 months ago | reply

    Some sensors to help driver avoid accidents would be nice.
    Happy release!

  11. vennettaj 22 months ago | reply

    i thought of tamagotchi too..

  12. Jonathon_Wright 22 months ago | reply

    Stunning the future is now

  13. solarc 22 months ago | reply

    Steve - your photo of the "button fest" dash is the other side of the car UI spectrum. I don't favor that either... Most of the cars I have driven in my life (and that may not be too many) all had a haphazard array of screens, levers, buttons, knobs, switches, lights, blinkers :-)

    There has to be a happy middle. I was hoping Tesla would have that middle. I still hope that I will learn to love the 17" TS that they have there.

    BTW just watched the Model S launch streaming live from the Fremont factory. It is amazing that Elon seemed so very humbled by the event, noticeably more than George and Franz. I am constantly impressed by Elon but I guess it's not surprising to be impressed by a man of his caliber.

    Can't wait for my test drive in Palo Alto :-)

  14. jurvetson 22 months ago | reply

    Enjoy!

    By the way, this is how they ship the shizzle...
    Model S, as imagined by the WSJ

  15. jurvetson 21 months ago | reply

    Oh, this is so funny:

    The popular SF racing video shows the same button dash that I posted above (a 2012 Ford Fiesta)...

    but, but they added a lot more buttons and levers.... =)

    Oh, and coincidentally, Elon described a similar driving experience on Sand Hill Road...

  16. jurvetson 13 months ago | reply

    ...and fast forward to today... an amazing review in Road & Track

    "The Model S isn't just the most important car of the year. It's the most important car America has made in an entire lifetime."

  17. linux-works 13 months ago | reply

    once there is an affordable car that regular working people can afford from tesla, THAT will be a landmark car.

    this is certainly a great tech achievement but its still too exclusive to be a 'game changer' and certainly NOT something that rates 'entire lifetime' kind of description.

    and for electric cars to really be more than a curiosity, there HAS to be charging stations at a lot more places than there are now. or battery-swap stations and cars that are standard enough to be able to swap batteries across makes and models.

  18. jurvetson 13 months ago | reply

    yes, Tesla is building charging stations across the U.S and Canada like you request, and they are free forever as a bonus (since we don't actually need any of that, but most people think we do, so let's just take that issue off the table by making theoretic road trip dreams a freebie). The Tesla Model S already had more range than is needed. For 4 years now, I have never charged anywhere but home. And yes, the car price will come down with Gen3. For now, the total cost of ownership for for an entry level Model S is lower than a Ford Taurus. With an typical experience curve, no more innovation is needed to meet your goals.

  19. linux-works 13 months ago | reply

    people don't always think of total cost of ownership. and you still need to be able to afford the purchase price just to enter the game. the savings come later but the day-0 hurdle is very real and I would have a hard time justifying such an initial 'buy' price, personally.

    free refills (lol) is a nice perk but I'm fine with paying for juice; as long as the juice is easy to find and is not a stress issue (omg, I'm runnning low and I -need- to refill!).

    what good would lightbulbs be if there weren't 'everywhere' access from wall sockets?

    electric cars without an 'everywhere story' on recharging is the #1 stopper for adoption of cars like this.

    is industry enough to get the infrastructure going? I don't think it is. this would be something that the government should be involved in and invest real money in.

    of course, the gas and oil lobby would do all it could to slow or outright stop progress in this area. they have too much power and are not about to give any share away. fix this and we can move forward, for real.

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