As an example of how the principles of minimalism can be applied to the field of automotive interior design, you needn’t look much further than the Model 3. So extreme are the lengths to which Tesla’s designers have gone to remove as much switchgear from its cabin as possible that you can count the number of physical controls on one hand.
Almost. Past the window switches on the doors, you’re left with two stalks mounted either side of the steering column (one’s a gearlever, the other is for the indicators), roof-mounted buttons for the hazard lights and emergency assistance services, and two multi-function rotary dials on the steering wheel. That’s it.
Along with the enormous, 15.0in touchscreen slap bang in the middle of the pared-down, slimline dashboard, these are used to control and adjust practically every aspect of the Model 3. From the wing mirrors, to the steering wheel position, to the sat-nav, headlights, cruise control and windscreen wipers – all are operated through screen, steering wheel nipple and column stalk. There’s no instrument binnacle, either. That job has also been given to the touchscreen.
Such an approach to cabin architecture does take some getting used to. But once you’ve learned your way around the various sub-menus and figured out what everything does, it works well enough – if not perfectly. By using the screen not only as a means of controlling most of the car’s features but also as a medium for displaying important driving information, there is inevitably a heightened need to remove your eyes from the road that isn’t always comfortable.