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Tesla Motors' press conference doesn't take place until later today, but a great burgundy version of the Model S was already on display at the company's Detroit Auto Show booth. We've seen the car in silver and white before, but the dark red of this latest show car really caught our eye. We're excited to hear what Tesla has to tell us in a little while, and we really hope it's not simply that the Roadster road trip was a success. We know this, especially since the dirt-splattered car that made the trek is on display at the booth, signed by a lot of people and decorated with all of the major stops along the California-to-Detroit route. Take a look at both cars in the galleries below and we'll bring you whatever news there is shortly.

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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 20 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Love the design but not the price. If the automobile industry is to survive they need to lower prices and give us CHOICE and alternative green energy. Put me down for the first affordable sporty roadster!
      • 5 Years Ago
      WANT
        • 3 Months Ago
        Ditto!
        Pure technolust!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm not a human factors engineer, so I've just got a sample size of one -- me -- and I have to agree 100% with Nick. Touch screens are way more distracting from the business of driving than things you can do by feel, even when you have to glance at the knobs or whatever. Possibly, that's because driving needs 100% of the visual cortex and 0% of the tactile.

      So I also wonder about the optimism over HUD displays. Sure, it's better if your eyes are pointed in the general vicinity of the road than staring down at the car's floor mats. But the real concern is whether your brain is watching the road. I can too easily imagine badly designed HUDs you have to peer at to figure out. Meanwhile, the deer that's not really on your radar steps delicately out into the road.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm no technophobe, but unless the Model S has a rich, highly effective and reliable voice command system, the touch screen only control panels are a fail. You need to be able to reach down, with your eyes still on the road and by touch alone adjust the radio, climate control, etc. But a smooth flat surface forces you to glance down. That's inferior to 99% of ordinary cars, and to what benefit?

      And to display a button rather than just have a real physical button eats more electricity, the one thing an EV needs to look for ways to conserve.
        • 5 Years Ago
        But you aren't trying to drive while using an iPhone. It is now illegal in most places to do so.
        • 5 Years Ago
        To each his/own in regards to a touch screen, I would be glancing down with physical controls anyway. And the amount this feature eats electricity-wise is somewhere between miniscule and infinitesimal compared to the amount of energy stored in the battery pack.
        • 5 Years Ago
        He's right. Tactile feedback is a very important element in human interfaces.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Rick

        For obvious reasons. Are you using your iPhone without looking at it?

        I am not making this up, it's all well researched and readable in a good Human Factors handbook. As a matter of fact, electronics manufacturers are aware of the issue and are looking for solutions as we speak (shape changing screens, vibrations for feedback etc..).

        • 5 Years Ago
        What Carney says is correct:

        I am a Product Designer with training in Human Factors, and touch screens are not a good idea because:

        1) They provide no feedback.
        2) They require visual attention.
        3) Considering the buttons change their position depending on the mode, one can't remember where they are.
        4) Do we really need to stare at another screen? Screens induce visual fatigue.

        Conclusion: This screen might be cool looking, but a practical disadvantage. This is why we're not typing on touchscreen keyboards by the way.

        BYW the Model S really is gorgeous in red.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Nick, i guess you don't have an iPhone...
      • 5 Years Ago
      I've only been watching the Tesla cars from a curious distance as I know I will not be able to afford one anytime soon. I appreciate what Tesla is doing, however, and think that going for the upper end market first to help establish fully electric cars is a time tested way to establish new technology.

      What I found the most interesting are the two Roadsters they have in the booth. Both are cars with stories---one being the 1,000th produced and the other being the Road Trip car shown in the gallery, with full dirt and salt covering giving it a certain authenticity that a clean car would lack. I would like to see more vehicles at auto shows with compelling stories. It's what makes some of us passionate about cars.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wow... That looks so good in red. I knew the model S was a pretty car, but wow.
        • 3 Months Ago
        My dream car.
        • 3 Months Ago
        It is a beautiful car. I prefer Fisker's designs, but you just can't deny the Tesla S.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The prius touch screen doesn't pose any problem while driving because you can access all of the necessary controls from buttons on the steering wheel(audio, temp, defrost). The buttons have different shape and feel and are easy to learn so you never have to look down.

      The new 2010 prius also has a hud display so you can easily see which button your finger is over. Hopefully tesla will take some inspiration from toyota and add some more steering wheel buttons to compliment the advanced touch screen controls, but adding more hardware buttons is more complicated and costly than adding a button to the touchscreen software.
        • 3 Months Ago
        The photos showed control buttons on the steering wheel of the Model S, so that will control all the basic functions, conveniently and without taking eyes off the road. There were also buttons for shifting, and probably some other knobs and buttons elsewhere on the dash.

        That extra large display not only looks luxurious, it also offers a very large and easy to read display. It won't take the driver long to read anything displayed there, whether operation messages or GPS maps.
        • 3 Months Ago
        I own a car that is opposite the Prius, this car begs you to burn fuel and it has HUD. So HUD me.
        • 5 Years Ago
        HUD is a brilliant idea, and will save a lot of lives by allowing driving without taking your eyes off the road.
        Cool looking car, BTW!
        • 5 Years Ago
        @David Martin

        "HUD is a brilliant idea, and will save a lot of lives by allowing driving without taking your eyes off the road."

        It might, but then again, the Model S has a touchscreen interface, and unless there's steering wheel mounted buttons, you'll still have to look down where you touch it with your finger....so the HUD's benefit is limited here.
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