The Model 3 sedan, the latest electric automobile from Elon Musk’s company Tesla has been on the market for about two months. Despite Tesla’s promise to crank up production to 20,000 Model 3s a month by December of this year, it still needs to catch up with the near half-million net reservations at present. It is easy to understand the great demand for the Model 3; with its $35,000 baseline price tag, it is hard to resist. But at that entry level, the latest Tesla car is starkly basic in features save for the massive touchscreen in the center of the remarkably bare dashboard, ArsTechnica reports. Opinions by Model 3 drivers about the large touchscreen vary widely.

All-in-one display

It is remarkable that information about the Model 3 dashboard touchscreen has only begun coming out now despite the first cars being delivered to customers in July. This is testament to the level of secrecy enforced by Tesla regarding the vehicle. Luckily a number of Model 3 owners have started an info-sharing group online, and they have a lot to say about the rather large (15in.) touchscreen display.

According to The Verge, while previous Tesla cars like the model S and X have onboard displays of their own, the Model 3’s touchscreen pretty much takes all the various instrumentation, buttons and switches on a regular car dashboard into itself. A video showing a Model 3 in a Tesla gallery at Austin Texas shows just what a driver can do with the display.

In addition to the gauge readings (and battery charge bar), the display also has control settings for the windshield wipers, air conditioning, music player, and so on.

Design shortcomings

While Tesla’s idea of putting all of a dashboard cluster into one place with the touchscreen display is an inspired bit of design streamlining, some new Model 3 owners do find shortcomings with the display. Its central position on the dashboard forces drivers to turn away from the road (where before, they could look at the gauges through the steering wheel). The wheel has two buttons, one as an alternative audio controller and the other for adjusting the mirrors and steering position.

Speaking of audio, while the Model 3 has online access to satellite radio and podcasts, it cannot access regular FM radio stations. This apparently is due to Tesla conceptualizing a future music service exclusive to its cars. Lastly, smartphone synching and Wi-Fi access will not be available until a future software update by the manufacturers, so that is that.

While the new capabilities of the Tesla Model 3 touchscreen are novel, owners have been able to point out some shortcomings. Even Tesla representatives agree that there is a steep learning curve for it. One can only hope that the coming upgrades can improve the experience and that the design lessons from the car might carry over to the planned electric semi-truck teased by Elon Musk recently.