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    1. #1
      Member Dieselstation's Avatar
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      Does Tesla need new designers?

      I'm not saying Teslas are ugly or unappealing.. To me, they're just generic. They play it too safe. The styling doesn't excite but it also doesn't offend. It's on the generic, if not boring, end of the spectrum. I suppose being safe and generic helps when you're a new car company breaking into a whole new genre of vehicles.. but now that they're established... should they take more chances with their styling? You can't be a Camry forever, and even Camrys are taking more chances nowadays. Especially the Model X and the Model S. Model X just looks ungainly and out of proportion... while the new Model 3 greenhouse area is a bit too large compared to the body, thus a bit awkward.





      Some concepts by independent designers.






      Last edited by Dieselstation; 04-17-2017 at 08:42 PM.
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    2. #2
      Member madrussian's Avatar
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      Yes they do if youre a car enthusiast like most on here.

      However, the majority of people who are buying a Tesla fall into the same camp as those I know who own them and have them on order. The technology behind it drives their purchase, not the fact that they're car people.

    3. #3
      Senior Member Ryukein's Avatar
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      Credit the artists who did the renderings that you posted.

      Quote Originally Posted by Dieselstation View Post
      I suppose being safe and generic helps when you're a new car company breaking into a whole new genre of vehicles..
      Yes.

      Quote Originally Posted by Dieselstation View Post
      but now that they're established... should they take more chances with their styling?
      What makes you think they won't be doing that? They're only on their third model and are still establishing/developing their design language. Also, I definitely wouldn't call Tesla's designs "safe." The pre-refresh Model S, maybe. But not the X and 3.
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    4. #4
      Member Dieselstation's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Ryukein View Post
      What makes you think they won't be doing that? They're only on their third model and are still establishing/developing their design language. Also, I definitely wouldn't call Tesla's designs "safe." The pre-refresh Model S, maybe. But not the X and 3.
      hopefully they'll go wild on the new Roadster.
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    5. #5
      Member JMotion's Avatar
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      I was never blown away by the Tesla's appearance, but after driving a P90D w/ Ludicrous & Autopilot... it looks completely different to me.

      Every other aspect of a Tesla is radically different... would you prefer it looked as over-cooked as 85% of exterior designs with loads of surfacing and styling details? Follow the trend of quirky eco-friendly designs (i3, Prius)? I'd argue the car stands out for it's simplicity, and it's certainly become iconic... not much more you could ask for from automotive design.

    6. #6
      Senior Member patrikman's Avatar
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      I'm a car enthusiast (that's arguable to some of you likely) and I find Tesla's understated but modern styling refreshing and enjoyable. Some hybrids and EVs tend to be too eye catching and end up just being plain ugly. I'm talking to you Fisker Karma, BMW i3/8 and especially you Prius. The first Volt was a great looking car, as was the ELR. Hondas, well look like any other Honda. Awkward, but that works for them.
      Last edited by patrikman; 04-17-2017 at 09:00 PM.
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    7. #7
      Member vwpiloto's Avatar
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      Define what you think is good design. I think the Model S is quite nice, and very well done, with great proportions and interesting surfaces. Their cut lines are also very well done and compliment the form very well. I'm not a fan of the Model X, because, in general, the proportions of sporty SUVs hasn't yet grown on me (including the likes of the BMW X4 and X6).

      Also keep in mind the low coefficient of drag that Tesla is aiming for, along with as little of a frontal area as possible while still allowing for class competing room.

      In general, I wouldn't equate outrageous styling with good design.

    8. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by Dieselstation View Post
      while the new Model 3 greenhouse area is a bit too large compared to the body, thus a bit awkward.
      Perhaps the buyers want to be able to see out of their cars?

    9. #9
      Senior Member WineBasket2.0t's Avatar
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      yes. next question.
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    10. #10
      I think Tesla hit the nail on the head with the Model S, and the 3 is growing on me although I have other reservations about it that aren't styling-related.

      Over-styled vehicles tend to look stale quickly. Tesla's styling is free of the surplus edges and corners that, notably, Toyota and Honda have been using lately. With the Model S in particular, Tesla needed something that would age well ... it's now 5 years in and there's no sign of an impending redesign, and they needed that car to be able to have a long production run while they fleshed out the rest of the lineup. I still think it is a good looking car.

      The concepts above are interesting, but the need for an EV to have extremely good aerodynamics in order to have good highway range means a convertible top is not happening any time soon.

    11. #11
      Senior Member patrikman's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by GoFaster View Post
      The concepts above are interesting, but the need for an EV to have extremely good aerodynamics in order to have good highway range means a convertible top is not happening any time soon.
      I don't know about that, the combination of a well executed folding hardtop and ingeniously engineered wind deflector can go a long way.
      Quote Originally Posted by Elbows View Post
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    12. #12
      Senior Member Iroczgirl's Avatar
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      They sell just fine. It's like an iPod, the simpler the better.
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    13. #13
      wonder how the new pick up will look like.

    14. #14
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      Quote Originally Posted by GoFaster View Post
      I think Tesla hit the nail on the head with the Model S, and the 3 is growing on me although I have other reservations about it that aren't styling-related.

      Over-styled vehicles tend to look stale quickly. Tesla's styling is free of the surplus edges and corners that, notably, Toyota and Honda have been using lately. With the Model S in particular, Tesla needed something that would age well ... it's now 5 years in and there's no sign of an impending redesign, and they needed that car to be able to have a long production run while they fleshed out the rest of the lineup. I still think it is a good looking car.
      ^This x1000. Cars that look more interesting and in your face today seem to get outdated after a year or two, while the simple designs (S2000, Golf, 911, Aston DB9, etc) still look fantastic 10+ years down the road. That's what Tesla needed for their first car because they had a brand to establish.

      The model X on the other hand...I have no words.

    15. #15
      The looks of the cars are very redundant. They look like a big water drop. Pretty bland if you ask me.

    16. #16
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      Besides the odd (in pictures at least) proportions of the upcoming Model 3, I disagree.
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    17. #17
      They just look like they sound!
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    18. #18
      Member atomicalex's Avatar
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      They not only need new designers, they need people who understand fit and finish.

      I was in the Columbus Tesla showroom and the panel gaps were just wow bad. Panel alignment was off, trim alignment was off, it was not pretty at all. A friend noted that Tesla buyers are getting NUMMI quality. It took me a few minutes to get that he was politely avoiding saying "Geo Prizm quality fit and finish". I lol'd.
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    19. #19
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      Quote Originally Posted by GoFaster View Post
      I think Tesla hit the nail on the head with the Model S, and the 3 is growing on me although I have other reservations about it that aren't styling-related.

      Over-styled vehicles tend to look stale quickly. Tesla's styling is free of the surplus edges and corners that, notably, Toyota and Honda have been using lately. With the Model S in particular, Tesla needed something that would age well ... it's now 5 years in and there's no sign of an impending redesign, and they needed that car to be able to have a long production run while they fleshed out the rest of the lineup. I still think it is a good looking car.

      The concepts above are interesting, but the need for an EV to have extremely good aerodynamics in order to have good highway range means a convertible top is not happening any time soon.
      That's exactly what I was thinking.

      They knew they didn't have the funds to do MCE every 2 or 3 years let alone 4 or 5 so their design had to be stylish (long-lived), but not fashionable (short-lived)... especially when you consider the tooling is hardly worn at the volumes they make. To have made it as far as they have required a monumental effort in all manner of ways including being... frugal. And Tesla does that well for the most part from design to manufacturing to sales.

    20. #20
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      Quote Originally Posted by atomicalex View Post
      They not only need new designers, they need people who understand fit and finish.

      I was in the Columbus Tesla showroom and the panel gaps were just wow bad. Panel alignment was off, trim alignment was off, it was not pretty at all. A friend noted that Tesla buyers are getting NUMMI quality. It took me a few minutes to get that he was politely avoiding saying "Geo Prizm quality fit and finish". I lol'd.
      I'd imagine that is the nature of an upstart, right? I've seen similar and while I wouldn't expect it from a luxury marque, I think most of their buyers are a lot more forgiving... tolerant (i.e. They're getting more bang in other areas that permit them leniency here.).

      Of course that tolerance can only last so long.

    21. #21
      Member BetterByDesign's Avatar
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      No. The design may be generic looking, but have you ever mistaken a Tesla for something else?

      Plus, when you are introducing or reintroducing "new technology" you typically don't want it competing with garish or too exciting design.

      You want the technology to stand out while the design is still recognizable and wanted by the masses.
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    22. #22
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      Quote Originally Posted by vwpiloto View Post
      Define what you think is good design. I think the Model S is quite nice, and very well done, with great proportions and interesting surfaces. Their cut lines are also very well done and compliment the form very well. I'm not a fan of the Model X, because, in general, the proportions of sporty SUVs hasn't yet grown on me (including the likes of the BMW X4 and X6).

      Also keep in mind the low coefficient of drag that Tesla is aiming for, along with as little of a frontal area as possible while still allowing for class competing room.

      In general, I wouldn't equate outrageous styling with good design.


      When the S intro'd the swoopy, Aston/Jaguar-like mainstream sedans were just starting. The age of family sedans receiving some sexiness was coming about, but unlike those FWD examples, the S was blessed with RWD proportions. The sleek, aero profile just helped show that you didn't need to be an historic British marque to have style... nor did you have to go to exaggerated proportions (Karma) to find some balance.

      If the S seems stale it's not so much that the design is stale or boring, but rather... IMHO... because we're blessed with a lot of handsomely-styled, mainstream vehicles today.

    23. #23
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      Quote Originally Posted by tjl View Post
      Perhaps the buyers want to be able to see out of their cars?
      Not only that, but a smaller car will naturally see proportion changes that cannot follow the older sibling... if you want to maintain the level of space that is likely highly-prioritized. And we know Tesla does given they go to the point of fitting seats in the back of the S when most every MFR would shun it.

      I don't think the proportion is bad at all. If you look at vehicles like a 90s Civic sedan or an E30 or 80s Golfs... you get similarly larger greenhouses. It doesn't hurt that without an ICE powertrain up front the hood doesn't need to be raised for Pedestrian Protection Regs, which drives all manner of other design changes that affect proportions like rising cowl and thus rising beltlines.

      People should be happy that these BEVs can package subsystems well enough to satisfy Ped Pro AND the industrial designers. That seems to be lost of some.

    24. #24
      Member col.mustard's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by jnm2.0t View Post
      yes. next question.
      i could not disagree with you more.



      the first 3 generations of Audi TT will always be iconic and beautiful cars... yet the exterior styling is about as simple as it comes.





      the last two generations of prii will never go down in automotive history books as being renowned for their over-sculpted exterior styling.
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    25. #25
      Member Sledge's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by uncleho View Post
      Not only that, but a smaller car will naturally see proportion changes that cannot follow the older sibling... if you want to maintain the level of space that is likely highly-prioritized. And we know Tesla does given they go to the point of fitting seats in the back of the S when most every MFR would shun it.

      I don't think the proportion is bad at all. If you look at vehicles like a 90s Civic sedan or an E30 or 80s Golfs... you get similarly larger greenhouses. It doesn't hurt that without an ICE powertrain up front the hood doesn't need to be raised for Pedestrian Protection Regs, which drives all manner of other design changes that affect proportions like rising cowl and thus rising beltlines.

      People should be happy that these BEVs can package subsystems well enough to satisfy Ped Pro AND the industrial designers. That seems to be lost of some.
      My old 88 Accord had a very low hood and visibility was excellent. Of course it would not pass today's pedestrian collision requirements. EVs give designers a chance to move away from the current trend of high waisted gun slit greenhouses and back to something more practical.
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