Keep it simple, stupid.
That's the mindset Tesla has adopted for the strikingly sparse interior of its Model 3 sedan, the electric vehicle that racked up a mind-blowing 325,000 advance orders within a week of its unveiling.
Bringing the EV to market by the end of 2017, hitting its $35,000 target base price and doing all this at volumes the automaker never has achieved? It sounds, well, problematic.
But helping Tesla's cause is the remarkably straightforward interior design. There's no instrument panel in front of the driver. No tangible buttons or remote knobs, levers or touchpads controlling any screens built into the dashboard.
Instead, a single touch screen, 15 inches wide, protrudes from the center console. It controls nearly every ancillary function not related to driving the car.
The Verge says the screen "looks like it could've been pulled off a Lenovo workstation pilfered from an office cubicle." Wired calls the interior "sleek and minimalist." Road & Track deems the whole setup "completely bizarre."
Reacting to the reaction, CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the unusual interior will "make sense" later on.
Whatever your take, the setup is crucial because it saves the company significant time and money in both the r&d and production phases of the Model 3.
"That's a huge part of it," said Ed Kim, vice president of industry analysis at AutoPacific. "The Model 3 is a car that even if you weren't accounting for the EV powertrain, it's pretty high-tech for $35,000," so it's important that Tesla look for every way it can save money and headaches.