The Tesla Model S is the first premium all-electric car built in the US. It won car of the year honors from both Motor Trend and Automobile magazines, and Consumer Reports called it the best car they have ever tested. But the main reason I’d like to get behind the wheel of this vehicle is the massive, 17-inch touchscreen display.
Automobile in-dash displays are traditionally the poster children of poor UX design. Tesla’s is the antidote — thoughtfully laid out with intuitive controls inspired by the best iPad apps. And most notably, clean typography. Gotham is not the most exciting typeface, but I can think of few better options for this display. It’s very clear, legible at a variety of sizes and weights, and just like the car: American made. I commend the company for looking beyond Helvetica and Eurostile, dashboard choices that are standard in the auto industry and certainly not stars of legibility. This is also a major improvement over the Arial Italic display of last year’s Model S.
Personally, when it comes to car controls, I’m a fan of big knobs. And maybe a touchscreen can never successfully replace the immediate accessibility of a tactile device. But this is the best attempt I’ve seen so far.
Now that Tesla has produced a dashboard this lovely, maybe they can rethink their ugly logo, conceived with the goofy “hi-tech” aesthetic typical of contemporary car brands.