Tesla Model S “Refresh” spotted testing on track

The new Refreshed Tesla Model S and its new features were seen in new photos from the Tesla Fremont Factory obtained by Teslarati, confirming the long-standing rumors that the company’s flagship sedan will be updated nine years after its initial release. Slight cosmetic changes were applied to the vehicle to improve aerodynamic performance in a track environment after the Plaid Model S was revealed in 2019. A broader body, a rear diffuser, and a spoiler were among some of these new features. As seen in the images below, Tesla has made many alterations to the Refreshed Model S. When the pictures were taken, the car was observed at both the Fremont Test Track and on public roads.

For those who are unfamiliar, Tesla runs its own test track for its vehicles behind the Fremont plant. Three years after Tesla’s acquisition of the Fremont factory from GM in 2013, the electric car manufacturer acquired a 35-acre property from the Union Pacific Railroad that included the test track. It is located adjacent to the Fremont plant, so within a few minutes, Tesla will take cars that need to be tested to the track. In the past, prior to their introduction, Tesla tested vehicles such as the Model Y and the 2020 Roadster on the track, suggesting that the new Model S that was spotted could shortly be on its way to the company’s Design Studio.

After numerous updates to the Model 3 and Model Y cars, initial rumors of the Model S refresh appeared in late 2020. More significant cosmetic changes were made to Model 3, although Model Y underwent several minor upgrades in China, such as a new center console, new door paneling, and a heated steering wheel. A full chrome delete kit that now comes standard, a new center console design, new headlights, double-paned glass, a powered trunk, and other interior updates were fitted with the mass-market sedan from Tesla.

On the other hand, since its initial release almost nine years ago, the Model S has only undergone one true cosmetic revision: the elimination of the nose cone. Tesla may have thought it was time to “refresh” the vehicle because the vehicle has gone too many years without a real upgrade or any significant improvements to its cosmetic qualities.

Photographs have now been taken of the new Model S, displaying a wider frame, updated fog lights, new wheels, and many other cosmetic updates.

A new front diffuser, a part that became standard with the newly built Plaid Model S, is a few of the more noticeable improvements. A diffuser displaces air under the body of the car, thereby improving aerodynamic efficiency. Additionally, the front fascia was also slightly changed. This is the second revision since its release that Tesla has made to the Model S. A larger central air intake vent for enhanced airflow and battery pack ventilation is included in the new design. This eliminates the risk of overheating and increases efficiency and battery life.

One of the new Model S’s most fascinating and speculative changes is that no touchscreen protrudes from the top of the dash. When looking through the windshield, the Model 3 and Model Y center dash display can be seen from the outside of the car. For the Model S refresh, there is no proof that Tesla is implementing the 3 and Y center touchscreen style. Currently, we are not aware of any improvements to the regular vertical touchscreen on the Model S and Model X.

The fog lights mounted on the bottom of the front lip have also been altered, giving the lower lights a slightly new look. Furthermore, new wheels seem to be on the Model S, and they look to be an updated version of the Arachnid wheels that were included back in 2016 by Tesla as a Referral Program incentive. Neither the 19″ Tempest Wheels nor the 21″ Sonic Carbon Twin Turbine Wheels available with the Plaid Model S fit the wheels on the Fremont Factory vehicle. This appears to suggest that a new wheel design that will be included with the Refreshed Model S design will also be announced by Tesla.

More features that are going to be included in the Plaid Model S tend to have been adopted by the Refreshed Model S, scheduled to be launched in late 2021. A wider fender design is paired with new, wider wheels. These changes were first noticed On the Plaid Model S that was spotted running spirited laps at the Nürburgring in Germany in 2019.

Another interesting note is that the side repeater cameras were modified, but only slightly, on the new fenders. Tesla seems to have driven it forward towards the wheel well. This may be when the cameras are triggered to maximize visibility.

A new rear bumper design that is more durable than the initial Model S design is the last visible external revision. This could be evidence that the Plaid Model S might be the black Model S in the photos, as it also has a wider rear bumper. It does not, however, have a rear diffuser mounted underneath, which means it may just be a revamped version.

On Wednesday, Tesla is conducting its Q4 2020 Earnings Call and several enthusiasts expect the company will either announce a refresh to the Model S, or will suggest that the Plaid Model S will soon be on its way. We know that Tesla is working on a revamped version for its flagship sedan with the numerous external modifications that have been spotted thanks to the images above. Although no specifics about the interior are known as of yet, as they are discovered, details will be shared.

Some more pictures of the Model S at Fremont were spotted by The Kilowatts, offering some extra insight on what improvements Tesla made to its flagship sedan.

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