A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


Opinion: Teslas are poorly designed

Bram Van Oost
Tesla Model 3 complete with functionality hidden behind a sleek touchscreen interface, a headache-inducing acceleration pedal and a hidden gearshift.

Teslas are a poorly designed, hot mess of a car that feels like it was engineered by somebody who has never driven a car and doesn’t know how to make one functional.

I test-drove the Tesla Model 3 on Sept. 30 at Mt. SAC’s National Drive Electric Week and it gave me a headache.

The gas and brake are tied together, the gearshift is for some reason on the right lever control, all mechanisms are controlled on a distracting tablet, and the door handles are annoying to open.

Why in the world would anybody want to drive this car?

At the start of the test drive, I walked toward the Tesla Model 3 with optimism. Everybody loves Teslas so I probably will too.

I was instantly perplexed by the design of this door handle. I had a ratatouille moment, transported through time as my 4-year-old self, reaching up to the car door handle confused. I eventually figured out how to open the regular car handle.

I was unable to figure the Tesla’s door handle out. The sales representative kindly demonstrated to me how to open the door. You are supposed to push the handle in, and then pull the opposite end of the handle out.



One commenter in a tutorial on how to open a Tesla door handle appropriately pointed out how a door handle has never been so complicated until the modern day. “The door handle – a problem that was comprehensively solved six thousand years ago, has now been “disrupted” by the tech industry,” Commenter @sarahsytubeid stated.


Tesla Model 3’s sleek, futuristic but unintuitive door handle (Eyosias G.)


My expectations shattered, I entered the vehicle noticing that there was no stick shift nor buttons to control the air conditioning, defrost, mirror position, windshield wipers and every other useful function.

The sales representative explained to me how every button was localized into the central tablet except for the stick shift. The stick shift is located on the right lever control on the wheel.

On a rainy day, a Tesla driver would have to turn their focus from the road to their tablet, go through multiple different dropdown menus then click on one of the buttons that corresponds to the different modes of the wipers.

In an emergency situation with heavy rain and low visibility, it is important to activate the windshield wipers as fast as possible. Instead, a Tesla driver would be going 100 down the highway, bouncing up and down, trying to push a 2-centimeter button. In a standard car, it is a right middle-finger flick downward to activate.

In the Tesla Model 3, a right middle-finger flick is to shift the gears to drive. The stick shift is on the right wheel lever.

The worst part about the Tesla Model 3 is its new one-pedal driving instead of utilizing both the acceleration and brake pedals. The acceleration and brake are tied together, feeling like a fisher-price toddler car.

The driver loses control of their speed with this change. Whenever the acceleration pedal is pressed down, the car speeds up. When the acceleration is released, the car rapidly decelerates. It seems like the speed of the car is dependent on how hard you step on the accelerator.

According to the Tesla Model 3 Owner’s Manual, this feature is called “Regenerative Braking” as it regenerates the battery at the cost of decelerating after the driver releases the accelerator.

The driver is unable to control how hard the car decelerates precisely. A 1997 Toyota Corolla can precisely control this using a revolutionary technology called brakes.


Tesla Model 3 at the Mt. SAC National Drive Electric Week. (Adam Young)


The overarching problem of Tesla’s design philosophy is that it doesn’t try to improve the driver’s experience. Their design philosophy seems to be creating something that looks aesthetically futuristic but fails to actually create that design without making the whole experience mildly infuriating.

The “Regenerative Braking” technology that Tesla named exists in a Toyota Prius. When the driver releases the accelerator, the Prius uses the wheel’s kinetic energy to recharge the battery without the car activating the brakes.

The touchscreen would be great if all the functions were not hidden behind several drop-down menus. MMORPG videogames have already decided to stop using drop-down menus for most functions because players need to access all their items, spells, and weapons during a life-or-death situation.

Likewise, a driver needs access to their windshield wiper in one click because driving in the rain is actually a life-or-death situation. According to aa.law, 15% of fatal car crashes happen due to rainy conditions.

“This is the funniest car I’ve ever driven.” Kanye West

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About the Contributor
Adam Young
Adam Young, Editor in Chief
Adam Le Young is the Editor in Chief. He has been pursuing journalism since 2022. Adam likes covering local news as well as being vocal on his various, polarizing opinions. He is interested in Dungeons and Dragons as well as keeping up with politics.   Email: [email protected]

Comments (3)

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  • L

    LolOct 25, 2023 at 7:18 pm

    Lol you don’t know how to drive.

  • J

    Jen SOct 16, 2023 at 3:11 pm

    I’m not really a fan of the touchscreen being the main control for essential features. I feel like we as drivers have been told all our lives not to be distracted by our phones while driving so it feels counterintuitive to me to now rely on it.

    Every car is different and obviously you should always test drive cars to see what you’re comfortable with. Everyone’s preference is different. This is not a car for everyone.

  • B

    Bobby JOct 12, 2023 at 10:45 pm

    It’s wild that you have so much misinformation in a single article.

    When you press a gas pedal, how do you choose your speed? Are you only capable of slamming it to the floor? No, because you modulate the force. The entire idea of one pedal driving is that *you don’t lift your foot from the pedal except to fully stop.* You want to slow down? Press the pedal less hard. Don’t jerk your foot off of it. It’s just as smooth as a brake pedal.

    Literally nothing is hidden behind menus in the screen. You just don’t know what you’re doing. The left scrollwheel controls your wipers, for instance. Almost everything is voice controlled.

    As for “headache inducing acceleration,” maybe you DO only slam your pedals on and off? You don’t have to push it all the way to the floor, you know.

    Utterly ridiculous take.