Tesla Exits The Grille Wars



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Refreshed Tesla Model S

Refreshed Tesla Model S

Congrats to Tesla for ditching the fake Model S grille. Maybe now, the words “Tesla” and “fake” will never again appear in the same sentence,  besides the one you just read. Make that two. Going mouthless is pretty remarkable considering the recent automotive trend toward agape kissers loaded with baleen. Take Lexus for example. Puh-lease. If you drove a Lexus briskly through a farm, you know what you’d get? Salad.

But now, the Big Question: How the heck will Tesla design a pickup truck without a grille? Trucks have a lot of frontage, most of it grille. Yet it seems Model X already represents maximum “negative space” possible on the front of a vehicle. A truck would need even more. So Tesla would have to either re-invent pickup truck design to minimize frontage, or find a tasteful way to interrupt a big, flat surface with something interesting. TelsaMondo suggests the oldest trick in the book — REALLY old — for spicing up a bland facade: Tell a cool story using hieroglyphs. There’s more than enough room on today’s pickup pusses to tell a compelling parable.

BTW, when was the last time an automaker’s mid-cycle refresh received this much coverage in mainstream, non-automotive media like Marketwatch, USA Today, Fortune — even syndications like AP? Just a reminder that Tesla dominates in mind share, and therefore needs no advertising. The company simply uploaded a new image and some new data on its website, sent out a tweet and let natural curiosity do the rest.

Does Tesla have enough clout to force a pullback from the grille obscenity we’ve witnessed in recent years? Will prominent grilles now say “old school?” Some brands have resisted going grille-cuckoo. Others haven’t. You be the judge.

*Editor’s Note: This and other Tesla-related posts appear on TeslaMondo. Check it out here.

Categories: Tesla


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35 Comments on "Tesla Exits The Grille Wars"

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Trucks need a range extender, and Tesla should stay away. They are smarter than this.

The moment they became publicly traded company they lost the option. The investors will easily make them …. That is should they survive and live after model 3 is delivered in high numbers.

The project was already in the air in 2010 with 150 miles range. Would be easy to make it even better now.

NO range extender needed. Ditch the dirty and archaic ICE!

Yes Ditch The “ICE” “N0 half baked solutions” are needed , nor wanted…Your are either In* Or 0ut!

Grills will look ridiculous & outdated in the years to come ..We are so used to seeing them & that is the only reason grill-less looks strange ., For now..I actually like the No grill look!…Maybe they can just paint one on for the people that can’t adjust … l o l ….

I’ve always thought grille less designs were better looking.

My teenaged auto design sketches frequently included the radiator mounted in the front or rear fenders, in a flow over configuration rather than flow through, for better aerodynamics.

I agree. And I think the Grill-less design of the Model 3 is the best of all. Hope Elon Musk doesn’t change it. I actually like it a lot more than the new Model S design.

Yeah, I’d stay away from trucks for now.

Maybe when battery prices are much lower. But it is not a good market for EVs and they are not aerodynamic. Not a target rich environment.

They need a range extender? On what data is that statement based?

They will use it as a Twitter board, right?

Trucks have a huge amount of “wasted space” that can easily be filled with batteries.

Grilles are a reminder that ICE vehicles use a LOT of air to run. The air that gets polluted when it exits the vehicle. The same air we all breathe. Yuck.

Eh, not really. The grill is just used for cooling, not for air intake. And don’t forget that Teslas have grills too, for air conditioning.

And before anybody thinks that Tesla was the first to have a grill-less car, check out the 1985 Ford Taurus.


That’s right, Ford hid the visible grill 31 years ago.

The Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe was also grill free if I remember correctly ?

yeah, the grille on an ICE car is a reminder about how horribly inefficient gasoline cars are. They have to suck in a lot of air flow so they can throw off all that excess waste heat.

It’s really striking on the Prius. Compare the sensible Gen II to the slightly silly Gen III to the ridiculous Gen IV.

Why not keep the grille on trucks and use the air to cool the batteries & electrical components?

There should still be a radiator for the coolant.

Tesla could replace the tool box in the bed with a couple of integal, streamlined, side access ones in the frunk space.

If 18-wheelers can get rid of the big front, so can pickups.

Or maybe they’ll turn to a Luigi Colani design?

Old school

Hey, how do you add images? I tried an html img tag but that didn’t take.

Hey Yupe,

You can just put the picture address in with your post and the system will auto pick it up (can take 15-20 mins or so).

The only caveat being that the max viewable width is 775 pcx (just so there isn’t huge oversized images outside the borders of the comments people have to deal with)…which is why your above “link” (which normally would be just fine) is still showing the text, as opposed to the picture itself. Larger files still need to be clicked to view.

Ah, that explains it. Thanks!

New school

LEAF is from 2009, it has no grill and it’s world best seller ;-).

Tesla still has a grille, its just at the bottom of the fascia.

I’m not sure what you folks are talking about. Its right there in front of you.

scott franco (the evil EV owning republican)

THings to put in front of a Tesla truck (instead of a grill):

1. Fork lift (doubles as warehouse car).
2. Cooler and barbecue for “front gate” parties.
3. Pedestrian catcher (man that thing is quiet).
4. Snow plow (obvious).
5. Front power take off for harvester, etc.
6. One of those sci-fi glowing cones that is supposed to drill though rock.
7. Large phallic symbol (hey, isn’t that what big truck owners are after anyways?).

It’s all well and good to get rid of grills, but can we at least make cars that don’t look like they were designed for them?

The Model 3 looks like they took a car with a grill and then just Bondo-ed over it.

Nissan, Kia, and the Chinese have won this by putting the charging port on the front center of the car behind the branding. Front-port charging just makes things a lot easier in so many situations. And you need some sort of function to lead the form.

How many Porsche 911 got front grill?

Or any Mid/Rear engine cars in general?

Grille is a relic of the combustion engine era.

Good job Tesla.

Even bonnet can be eliminated since Tesla vehicles have motor in the axle. Raise the floor height so that the driver just sits above the wheels and that space can be claimed for passenger usage.

Something like this van.

Just use the 3 horizontal lines or letter T for tesla as a grille.

40’s and 50’s style truck shapes sans grille can be done as Mark shows above. Read Chevy SSR but functional like a real truck…

All those retro cars with big grilles like Chevy HHR, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Chevy SSR went down badly.

They have a big drag which reduces fuel efficiency. That’s why today’s cars have sleek front.

Tesla did a good job by getting rid of grille. After all in a EV, fuel efficiency and range are very important.

Anyone tell LeEco that they will have to change the grill on their Tesla Clone?