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Will next Model S refresh eliminate physical controls for most functions?

Will next Model S refresh eliminate physical controls for most functions?

  • Yes, Tesla will emulate the Model 3 style on the next major Model S refresh

    Votes: 12 20.0%
  • No, Tesla will continue a hybrid approach between touch screen and physical controls

    Votes: 40 66.7%
  • Tesla will move some but not all controls to a new touchscreen central interface

    Votes: 8 13.3%

  • Total voters
    60

jelloslug

Active Member
Jul 21, 2015
4,698
6,007
Greenville, SC
I guess I could have provided a complete breakdown of the differences but figured most folks would know.

Here's what is on the Model S today that only exists as a touch-screen interface on the 3;

1. Mirror controls
2. Air vent controls
3. Cruise control / EAP controls (dedicated stalk AND distance controls)
4. Glove Box release
5. Full windshield wiper controls (intermittent rate, etc., controlled through physical switch)
6. Steering wheel adjustment

To some people elimination of all of those and moving it to the touchscreen is no big deal. To others it's a big deal. Also worth pointing out (but not point of this poll) is that Model S also has a center instrument cluster that displays some vehicle information in front of the driver that is not available on the Model 3 interface, or must be accessed on the Model 3 interface by using the touchscreen while driving.
You can guarantee that Tesla will move away from the Mercedes sourced steering column, steering wheel, and window controls.
 

Uncle Paul

Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2013
6,180
6,678
Canyon Lake,CA
Don't overthink this too much.

I believe that Tesla is showing the way here. In the future most cars will be controlled by touch displays instead of so many buttons.

Many people will not like touch screens simply because it is different from what they are used to.

A good example is how the Blackberry phone gave way to the current iPhone and other non button smart phones.

Same with television. They have gotten away from a bunch of buttons and knobs on the units, to a remote control in your hand. Even there, the latest remotes are going touch screen.

Next step after touch screen will be voice or gesture control.
 
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svp6

Member
Sep 6, 2014
731
771
MN
That's very much a possibility. However many Model 3 fans insist that the button-less cockpit is actually a feature and it is superior to what is on the Model S. .

Not me. Tesla went too far in this. Just try to scroll the bottom left panel to the energy info without hitting your wipers. Or adjust your vents while driving. Either enable much more voice control, or just use some simple knobs / stalks for basic functions. I cannot believe the car can look for the craziest song title on the internet, but not be able to adjust temp, fan, or at least bring up their menus to the front screen without tapping.
 

novox77

1.21 Gigawatts
Nov 25, 2017
1,632
3,535
NH, MA
Pretty sure I will love the refreshed S either way.

Putting aside my own personal preferences, I think Tesla will move the S more toward Model 3 mainly due to Musk pushing for the ability for FSD. When car is able to drive itself, you can't have controls that lock into place, like the wiper interval dial on the current S. This is also why the turn signals snap back to neutral on the 3 instead of locking up or down.

Didn't Tesla also recently announce that phone-as-key is going to be supported for S and X?

Things are moving toward the 3. Not all of the design decisions for 3 were due to cost cutting. It was for FSD prep.
 

whitex

Well-Known Member
Sep 30, 2015
6,427
7,599
Seattle area, WA
Don't overthink this too much.

I believe that Tesla is showing the way here. In the future most cars will be controlled by touch displays instead of so many buttons.

Many people will not like touch screens simply because it is different from what they are used to.

A good example is how the Blackberry phone gave way to the current iPhone and other non button smart phones.

Same with television. They have gotten away from a bunch of buttons and knobs on the units, to a remote control in your hand. Even there, the latest remotes are going touch screen.

Next step after touch screen will be voice or gesture control.
While companies do move to touch screens because they are cheap, physical buttons offer much better performance. This is for example why gamers prefer physical mouse/keyboard vs. touch screen. If you try playing any FPS using on-screen touch controls you'll get your clock cleaned by someone with a physical keyboard and mouse.

Physical buttons will move to more premium products where more precision control is required (like with gaming controllers today for example) and where interactions are more convenient without looking at the device (like remote controls, which already have physical buttons on premium models).

Lastly, I gotta say this, using touch screen controls on a car for 10 years is like using the same iPad for 10 years. Yea my iPad2 had updates from Apple but it's few years old, slow and dated. The same is happening with my 2015 Model S - it's getting slower (not that it started lightening fast, but it's slower than my 2013 car running 6.0 IIRC). With the new MCU, new features will be written for the more powerful hardware platform, so I expect it will get even slower. I can drive a 15 year old porsche with physical controls and it doesn't feel as old and dated as 15 year old touch screen Model S will.
 
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whitex

Well-Known Member
Sep 30, 2015
6,427
7,599
Seattle area, WA
Pretty sure I will love the refreshed S either way.

Putting aside my own personal preferences, I think Tesla will move the S more toward Model 3 mainly due to Musk pushing for the ability for FSD. When car is able to drive itself, you can't have controls that lock into place, like the wiper interval dial on the current S. This is also why the turn signals snap back to neutral on the 3 instead of locking up or down.

Didn't Tesla also recently announce that phone-as-key is going to be supported for S and X?

Things are moving toward the 3. Not all of the design decisions for 3 were due to cost cutting. It was for FSD prep.
When FSD is fully implemented, the only control you'll need is your phone. It also solves the problems such as MCU refresh - you can do it any time by simply buying a new phone.
 

novox77

1.21 Gigawatts
Nov 25, 2017
1,632
3,535
NH, MA
When FSD is fully implemented, the only control you'll need is your phone. It also solves the problems such as MCU refresh - you can do it any time by simply buying a new phone.

yeah but I don't think we'll be at level 5 by the time the S gets refreshed, which is why I'm predicting the S will move closer to the 3 in terms of physical and software controls.
 

The Duke

Member
Nov 17, 2016
498
411
While companies do move to touch screens because they are cheap, physical buttons offer much better performance. This is for example why gamers prefer physical mouse/keyboard vs. touch screen. If you try playing any FPS using on-screen touch controls you'll get your clock cleaned by someone with a physical keyboard and mouse.

I can drive a 15 year old porsche with physical controls and it doesn't feel as old and dated as 15 year old touch screen Model S will.
While much of what you say is true, you ignore voice control which can beat them all for a vehicle. Premium vehicles will have voice; buttons will be for cars too cheap for touch screens. With some exceptions, of course, for emergency flashers, etc.
Voice control in games is not all that good as key presses are faster so the analogy breaks down at that point. But for precision while driving voice is the choice. "Nicki, open the sunroof 34%" and you need not take your hands off the wheel nor eyes off the road.
The Porsche is timeless and may never feel "old". My '72 Pantera never felt "old".
 

whitex

Well-Known Member
Sep 30, 2015
6,427
7,599
Seattle area, WA
While much of what you say is true, you ignore voice control which can beat them all for a vehicle. Premium vehicles will have voice; buttons will be for cars too cheap for touch screens. With some exceptions, of course, for emergency flashers, etc.
Voice control in games is not all that good as key presses are faster so the analogy breaks down at that point. But for precision while driving voice is the choice. "Nicki, open the sunroof 34%" and you need not take your hands off the wheel nor eyes off the road.
The Porsche is timeless and may never feel "old". My '72 Pantera never felt "old".
I've never gotten a car's voice control to work reliably, not Tesla either. A large percentage of time it either does nothing or something I don't want it to do and it doesn't know what "undo last command" means.
"Tesla, turn on the lights"
"Playing Turn On Me."
"No!!!! Undo last command."
"Opening sunroof"
"Damn it! It's raining! Shut the roof"
"Playing Rainman soundtrack"

I find talking to the car about as enjoyable and as effective as talking to an automated phone attendant when I call customer service at various companies. Nothing happens when I keep saying "Operator" to my Tesla though. ;)
 

jaguar36

Active Member
Apr 10, 2014
2,020
1,465
NJ
Surprised we did not hear anything regarding model s or x upcoming refresh. Only about the model Y.
I wouldn't expect to hear anything about an S refresh until its about to hit the factory. As soon as there is any concrete info on a refresh, S sales are going to tank until the new one is available.
 

bob_p

Active Member
Apr 5, 2012
3,638
2,775
Surprised we did not hear anything regarding model s or x upcoming refresh. Only about the model Y.

With Tesla busy on Semi, Roadster 2.0 and Y - plus refining the design to manufacture Model 3 in high volumes, unclear a refresh of the S or X would be a high priority.

S & X sales are doing fine now - 12 to 24 months from now, they'll start getting more competition plus Tesla needs to bring the manufacturing costs down and move toward profitability.

If there are changes to the S & X, it's likely we'll see changes to add a few features to differentiate S/X from 3/Y and compete more effectively against other long range EVs in the same price range, plus we're likely to see a redesigned battery pack, using the same batteries as the 3/Y and possibly supporting faster V3 supercharging.

Some of the biggest improvements would be in the software - which would be an OTA update to all S/X/3/Y models - continuing to improve EAP/FSD, adding screen mirroring/improved smartphone integration, improving the navigation software, …

If you're waiting to get an S/X "refresh", you could be waiting for a while.

The biggest design change will come when Tesla is getting close to FSD and they'll shift focus from drivability to keeping the driver and passengers entertained with features like rotating front seats, workspaces, videos while driving, ...
 

The Duke

Member
Nov 17, 2016
498
411
I've never gotten a car's voice control to work reliably, not Tesla either. ;)

I must admit I am probably in the extreme minority. I have no accent. I donated phonemes to the original Apple speech recognition. Voice control works well for me, always has, even in the Apple ][GS days.
Wifey has a bit of southern drawl. She has to correct her speech at times, words like wash fail when spoken as warsh. Son had little trouble, daughter graduated from Mills with a masters and very seldom had to type. Dragon Naturally Speaking worked so well for her.

Eventually voice control will work for all, but like AP this will take time. Until then we have to change how we speak just like using AP changes how we drive.
 

whitex

Well-Known Member
Sep 30, 2015
6,427
7,599
Seattle area, WA
I must admit I am probably in the extreme minority. I have no accent. I donated phonemes to the original Apple speech recognition. Voice control works well for me, always has, even in the Apple ][GS days.
Wifey has a bit of southern drawl. She has to correct her speech at times, words like wash fail when spoken as warsh. Son had little trouble, daughter graduated from Mills with a masters and very seldom had to type. Dragon Naturally Speaking worked so well for her.

Eventually voice control will work for all, but like AP this will take time. Until then we have to change how we speak just like using AP changes how we drive.
It's not just the accents, though that is part of it. The bigger part of it (and mostly my problem with recent systems) is the computer expecting specific syntax of commands, and being oblivious of the context which creates ambiguities. Then there is limited capabilities. When I tell Bixby (Samsung digital assistant) "show me coffee shops near me that are open" it comes back with Google results for coffee shops. I wish it would Google the entire phrase as Google can in fact more often than not filter based on location and business hours. Out of all of the one I ever tried, Google assistant works best, but still not reliable enough for me to want to use it regularly.

Btw, my teenage kids born and raised in Seattle area, English their only language so far, I see them struggling with Alexa all the time, and that's with simple tasks like dimming or changing colors of their lights. My daughter prefers to use a physical buttoned remote control she got recently after months of dealing with Alexa. My son took the time to learn what Alexa expects, but I still see him using his phone to control his lights over Alexa lately.
 

MP3Mike

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2016
15,169
32,525
Oregon
Not me. Tesla went too far in this. Just try to scroll the bottom left panel to the energy info without hitting your wipers.

That isn't an issue anymore, Tesla changed how the card section works and now it doesn't have this problem. (Of course any muscle memory you had is now worthless.)
 

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