5 huge changes in Tesla's Model S refresh

Tesla's Model S is getting a major refresh. Here are the biggest changes you should know about.

The new Tesla Model S interior

Every once in a while Tesla likes to give its cars a sweeping update, and recently, the electric automaker's Model S sedan and — to a lesser extent — the Model X SUV, were the recipients of significant overhauls.

While the interior redesign of its Model S has been getting lots of attention, several changes are more than just skin deep.

Here are five major updates you need to know about...

This bonkers steering wheel

Tesla is known for making bold design choices, and the Model S is no exception. One of those design choices comes in the form of a yoke steering wheel that may not even be legal. It's unclear if the yoke will stay in the Model S' final redesign, but if the goal was to turn heads — and not just wheels — then mission accomplished.

Automatic back-up and reverse

Perhaps one of the biggest and boldest changes is the shift (if you'll pardon a pun) away from, well, shifting. Musk said on Twitter that the new Model S will be able to automatically change between park, reverse, and drive, negating the need for a shifting stick. Documents obtained by Electrek suggest that the feature will use cameras to intuit which direction motorists want to move in.

"The vehicle uses its Autopilot sensors to intelligently and automatically determine intended drive modes and select them. For example, if the front of Model S/X is facing a garage wall, it will detect this and automatically shift to Reverse once the driver presses the brake pedal. This eliminates one more step for the drivers of the world’s most intelligent production cars."

A Tesla document obtained by Electrek.

Super, supercharging

According to documentation on Tesla's website highlighted by Teslarati, the Model S refresh has some really impressive fast-charging capabilities that will allow the car to gain 200 miles of range in just 15 minutes. Tesla didn't specify which chargers would be capable of juicing the Model S up, but it's likely that speed is only accessible via one of the company's superchargers.

Sjo/iStock Unreleased/Getty Images

Improved range

One model of revamped Model S (the Plaid+) will come with a new and improved powertrain and a new battery capable of 520 miles of range on a single charge. It'll also enable the car to go from 0 to 60 mph in under two seconds, making it, in Tesla's words, the "fastest accelerating production car ever made.”

200 MPH

The "Plaid" and "Plaid Plus" Model S variants will top out at 200 mph.

Interior revamp

Tesla made some pretty substantial changes to the Model S interior, including a smaller touchscreen with thinner bezels and a second display in the backseat. There's also more carbon fiber and wood and a few more perks for backseat passengers — a wireless charger and the ability to play games on the newly added rear display.

The backseat of the refreshed Tesla Model S.

The new Model S will come in three trims.


A long range version offering 412-miles on a full charge.



The Plaid trim will come with a third motor and 200 mph top speed.



The Plaid+ will come with 520 miles of range and a top speed of 200 mph.



Tesla's website suggests deliveries of the new Model S and Plaid trims are expected to start in March, with the Plaid+ option shipping in "Late 2021."


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