Tesla Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen said that, when coming up with the styling for the Model S, he did not want to create something unfamiliar. He wanted the Model S to look good but also fit the public's notion of what a car should look like.
The Model S uses an electric power steering unit, and Tesla took advantage of this fact to let the driver choose between sport and comfort settings. In the sport setting, the wheel has a heavier feel, but even in comfort mode it still exhibits responsive behavior.
The back seat of the Model S has a surprising amount of room for a luxury sports car. It includes seatbelts for three. The receiving ends of the seatbelts are embedded in the crease between seat and back.
Tesla designed the Model S body with a hatchback, even though it calls the car a sedan. This hatchback space is large enough to accomodate two, small rear-facing seats. These seats only look large enough to accomodate children between the ages of requiring a car seat and up to approximately 15 years old.
The charging port is tucked away in a small panel behind one of the rear side lights. This port takes a standard J1772 plug. Tesla includes an adapter cable to plug the Model S into a 110 or 240 volt outlet, and the car is capable of accepting electricity from what Tesla calls a Supercharger, a high amperage charging station. The Model S equipped with the 85 kilowatt-hour battery pack includes two onboard chargers, so it will only take 30 minutes to give its battery pack a 50 percent charge from a Supercharger.
Tesla kept the cabin of the Model S very simple, limiting the amount of switchgear on the dashboard. Designer Franz von Holzhausen said he wanted the 17-inch touch screen to be the "hero of the cabin."
Because the car slows down significantly when you lift off the accelerator, a result of regenerative braking, the taillights come on under these conditions, even if you are not pushing the brake pedal.