Debate rages on over the need for physical buttons in our cars
Innovation for innovation’s sake or sleek and stylish modern design? There are very few things in our cars that can cause as much debate as the noble button.
For years, a mainstay in our cabins, controlling our heating, climate control and volume. A timeless design that never truly felt in danger during the modern era.
How wrong we were. Over the past decade, the physical button has become more of a novelty, with manufacturers opting for a sleeker, minimalist design.
As technology and engineering has evolved, manufacturers have been able to force many of those same controls through a touchscreen or voice command functionality.
Comparisons can be drawn with the decline of physical buttons and the rise of Tesla, who have become something of a pioneer in modern cars.
Very few lease cars before them came as stripped back as the likes of the Model 3 and Model Y interiors – to the love of some and the disdain of others.
The refined nature of the Tesla line up is certainly part of the appeal and as the world’s best-selling EV in 2022, the Model Y must be doing something right.
However, not everyone is pleased with the lack of buttons. One funding campaign raised nearly £80,000 from over 350 backers to create the Ctrl-Bar product, which would see a control bar retrofitted below the touchscreen.
Of course, old habits die hard. As a society, we know what we like and don’t truly appreciate the value of something until it's gone.
As consumer demand highlights an apparent desire to reinstate the button, we’re digging deeper to understand why they’re becoming less important for the manufacturer and the reasons for their decline.