Tesla Model 3 “Initial Design Sketches” Show Good Follow-Through To Real Thing

APR 3 2016 BY JAY COLE 40

Initial Tesla Model 3 Sketch (@elonmusk)

Initial Tesla Model 3 Sketches (@elonmusk)

Late Saturday night Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted theseinitial sketches for the Tesla Model 3 (of which the ~800 live attendees of the reveal (watch here) also received a copy of), and the drawing shows some pretty decent follow-through from the company on its way to production.

Here is the production-intent Tesla Model 3 from its Thursday debut looking near identical, except of course for those pesky side mirrors and the occasional “faux” front grille:

Tesla Model 3 (March 31st, 2016)

Tesla Model 3 (March 31st, 2016)

And before anyone says, “Hey InsideEVs, Elon didn’t say it was the initial sketch…”

Well he did…but he accidently referred to the Model 3 as the Model X in his tweet (something we are guilty of doing ourselves in recent stories from time-to-time as the characters are so close on the keypad), and hurriedly pulled down his original tweet and corrected the mistake…but with a little less info.

Thankfully, we never sleep and caught the tweet before it disappeared.

...and the original tweet w/description

…and the original tweet w/description


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40 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 “Initial Design Sketches” Show Good Follow-Through To Real Thing"

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Nice… from drawing to reality.. 😀

Notice how the steering wheel seems to have a cutout section on the top, maybe for un-obstructed view of HUD

Looks like the center touchscreen was already popping out in the design phase. I don’t think they’ll change it.

They have what, less than a year and 3/4ths to set up for mass production?

Dunno. I’m sure the designers and Elon, have been reading people’s reaction to the interior, trunk and nose. They may have some mockups we haven’t seen, or are tweaking some stuff. But there isn’t a lot of time left for radical redesigns.

I was thinking that maybe in the way the screen is designed it is easy to replace. Like they can send a new screen to random garage and they can do it for you. So maybe not so beautiful but easy to fix.

I think they did the simple screen in order to keep costs down. Also, lack of a hatch as another example of shaving costs.

Great to see, any world on the last count of orders for the Model 3 and did Tesla gain any orders for the S and X ?

I like the S-Style door handle buttons, better. The little hook shape catches my eye as I scan long the side of the vehicle, and not in a good way.

I’m guessing the active area to touch on the handle-button, is probably where that vertical section is? If so, that’s probably why they’re emphasizing it?

At this point, the handle can be just an actual square button. No need to emulate anything mechanical anymore. Might even save a little cost per door.

I actually like the manual door handle design for the model 3 as can be seen in this video.

– Beautiful
– Simple & durable
– Cost effective

Wow, didn’t notice functionality at first. Pretty clever design. Right side doors is a right handed function where you’d press large “button” area w/ thumb and pull on pivoted exposed handle. Left hand for left side of car. Attendants aren’t doin this.

Weird. But clever. I thought they were similar to the X.

They pushed up against the edge of “weirdmobile”, pretty close. 😉

Thanks for the video!

The one with the S style handles looked like it had self presenting doors like X’s fronts.

Was that Swedish?

Very True ! I heard that power window costs are now actually less costly overall than installing crank windows. Not too too Long ago they were an expensive option..

Ha, gotcha! Look at that roof line, surely we would call that a coupé. It’s so darn sexy. But we all what happened between design concept and practicality, the rear glass became bulbous to eliminate complaints of lacking rear headroom. Phooey??

Now we have some almost word looking lift back car. I’m not sold on this cars side profile. Either make it a coupé or give us a typical sedan like a BMW 3 series or Audi A4, ya know, like the ones it’s suppose to compete against.


Rudy Clarke said:

“…surely we would call that a coupé.”

The word “coupé”, more often spelled simply “coup” in American English, indicates a two-door car body design, unlike the Model ≡’s four-door design. At least according to Wikipedia, the meaning is the same for both British and American English.

Nobody spells coupe as coup in American English.

In American English, a coup is what we do to regimes we don’t like. 😉

I could look past the ugly front bumper cover but I can`t get past the current dash set up. I will not pay 35k plus on a car to have to look off to my right to see range & speed thats not going to happen. I can understand the cost savings to covert the car to RHD with this set up but its not my problem. I didn`t by a Toyota 10 years ago when they went threw their phase of center pod dash design I not going to start now with the model 3.

Perfect, don’t buy it, we’ll get it sooner.

Yea, I’m also quite disappointed by this choice. I understand the flat design but isn’t there a way to add a color HUD even as an option?

Most of the time – this car is going to be driving down the highway in autopilot mode (Remember – Elon Said: ‘Autopilot Hardware is included – so take the option!), so you will have lots of time to keep checking the speed if you want! Also – you will know if you are going faster than other cars – by looking out the window, or slower – same thing! I drove a used 2004 Prius from October 2012, until Feb. 2015 – on a few thousand Km Trips from Toronto, ON to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and to Key West, FL – never had any issue with checking the center mounted location for speed, although it was a bit strange for the first few days I had the car – you get past that quick enough! Also – they have not completed the design – even Elon said – this was Reveal – Part 1 – so don’t get all to challenged just yet! HUD could be incorporated – maybe optional for those who want it – so you can see your data on the windshield in front of you! Elon said things will evolve, and be tweaked, as well as… Read more »

I would happily check the glove compartment for the speedometer if they would give us back the hatch. 🙁

Lol Dan perfect response.

I agree. I like everything except the center console. They need to change that to a more traditional design. No reason to reinvent the wheel and turn some people off. Rest of the car is amazing.

This may answer what the first 118k store reservations are getting as a gift: some artwork memorabilia. My friends who went to the event on Thursday haven’t made their way back to the mid-West yet. Something about California being a warm, sunny place.

Heh, the blue one’s nose is obviously copied 1:1 from Aston Martin. Perhaps that’s why they felt a need to change it to the current “pug nose” (as seen in the top left sketch), so it doesn’t look too derivative.

I still can’t get over that glass roof. It seems to have only disadvantages: It prevents them from implementing a
hatchback with a big opening like on the Model S, and will probably be uncomfortable in sunny or very cold climates.

What’s the point of glass over the rear seats? Nobody will look up there anyway. On the contrary, many people put additional tint or shades on their back windows to protect the passengers/kids from the sun. This seems like another one of the gimmicky but impractical novelties that Elon seems to love so much (like the “falcon” doors on the Model X). I really hope there will be a version with a metal roof.

I’m sure it will be a costly option. Just get a plain steel roof then….probably less headroom though.

If you’re planning to sell fleets of self driving taxis’, then maximizing the interior space for 5 adults makes perfect sense.

The glass roof choice does limit the cargo utility of the vehicle. Maybe Model Y is closer than we think?

I don’t get the headroom argument. How thick is a metal roof with headliner? Maybe an inch? How thick is the glass roof?

Seems easier to make the seat upholstery a bit thinner or extend the roof area a bit further to the back.

An inch is a lot when dealing with headroom.

To some extent this is a “function follows form” compromise made by Tesla. To achieve a sleek look, the cars have about the same height as conventional cars (e.g. the Model S is 56.5″ tall, which is about the same as the BMW 3 series), even though they have to accommodate the battery pack in the floor. Other EVs with a “skateboard” architecture are quite a bit taller (BMW i3: 62.1″, Chevy Bolt: 62.8″). So, in a way, any lack of headroom in the Model S and presumably the Model 3 is a compromise in the name of looks.

Here’s a bit of confirmation from Elon:


“Only way to get enough rear passenger headroom was to move the rear roof cross-car support beam. A bike will still fit no problem.”

I’m guessing that it’s not the roof but the hinge to the hatch that will have to go somewhere. You can’t hang a heavy hatch on to sheet metal. They would need a beam there to support the hatch.

Yes, seems to be true. I think the glass must be between 1/2 to 2/3 inch thick. If the glass is around 2/3 inch thick you save around 1/3 inch. That is not much regarding headroom.

He caught his thumb at the very bottom of the picture frame and ruined the whole car.

It’s too bad that the rear end styling of the actual car doesn’t look as good as the sketch

At least it’s not as bad as the transformation from Volt prototype to Volt production. The prototype looked more like the current Camaro but ended up looking nothing like that.