Tesla new Model S/X refresh: 12 new features yet to be announced

Electrek has obtained more information about Tesla’s new Model S and Model X and some of the smaller changes that have yet to be announced.

Tesla officially unveiled the new Model S and Model X refresh yesterday, but surprisingly, it was sort of in the sidelines of the company’s Q4 2020 financial release.

CEO Elon Musk confirmed that Tesla will hold another call to discuss the new Model S and Model X in more details either later this week or next week.

But in the meantime, Electrek has been finding more information through sources familiar with the new versions of the electric vehicles.

We already did a deeper dive on Tesla’s new steering wheel, which is definitely one of the most interesting changes introduced with the new Model S and Model X.

Now let’s take a look at a few more features and changes that Tesla has yet to announce or get into the details about:

Tesla is moving to phone key with card for Model S and Model X

Like Model 3 and Model Y, Tesla is making the primary key for Model S and Model X your phone through the Tesla app with the updated version unveiled yesterday.

Tesla will supply keycards to set up your phone as the key, and there are sensors on the B-pillar and the phone-charging tray to unlock and power on the vehicles.

However, the automaker still plans to also supply keyfobs for the more premium vehicles.

Tesla Model S and Model X get chrome deletes

Like Model 3 and Model Y, Tesla is not using chrome trims around the windows and door handle, but it’s not the same satin-black brightwork finish as the smaller vehicles.

Tesla instead uses a “premium gloss black finish” for the new Model S and Model X.

New Tesla Model S and Model X battery pack

Tesla is introducing new battery modules and overall pack architecture in the new Model S and Model X, but it’s not the using the 4680 cells nor the structural battery pack announced at Battery Day last year.

In fact, Tesla didn’t even upgrade to 2170 cells, and it is still using the 18650 cell in the Model S and Model X.

The changes are mainly focused on thermal performance. For example, the automaker has developed new coolant channels to allow for cross-flow, making temperatures more consistent across each channel inside the battery pack.

There are two main performance improvements that are enabled by the new thermal performance of the new battery pack: faster charging that is now on par with Model 3 and Model Y at 250 kW and repeatability of power out for consistent back-to-back quarter-mile runs or laps.

Cupholders and first-row storage

Tesla has designed some retractable cupholders below the sliding door of the new center console in the new Model S and Model X.

The automaker is also introducing new deep pockets on each front doors.

New Tesla Model S second-row seats

With the Model S refresh, Tesla has redesigned the second-row seat to have a more reclined angle seating position. It also bolsters more headroom and legroom as the first row is now farther forward.

The second-row seats also fold flatter than in the previous version of the Model S.

Also, the new folding center console not only provides an armrest and cupholders, but it also has embedded inductive phone chargers like in the front.

New screens in the new Model S and Model X

Of course, the second row also has now its own screen – making it three screens in the new Model S and Model X.

The main touchscreen center display is now horizontal, but it’s still 17 inches (2 inches bigger than in Model 3 and Model Y), and it is now tilting (left and right).

The new second-row screen is also a touchscreen and the automaker is finalizing the user interface interaction between all the displays.

What about the ‘frunk’?

Tesla has slightly changed the front trunk (frunk) in Model S and Model X to accommodate the new powertrain, but it apparently doesn’t affect the storage space in any significant way.

Tesla Model S and Model X trunk updates

It’s a similar situation for the trunks, which have changed but the overall storage space is roughly the same. In the Model X, you can now fit a full-size set of golf clubs laying horizontally, and the ModelS parcel shelf can now be stored flat in the compartment below the floor of the trunk.

Tesla’s next-generation Airwave climate control

The new Model S and Model X are equipped with Tesla’s next-generation Airwave climate control built on the climate control system first introduced in Model 3.

However, Tesla improved the design and now uses screen and other glass surfaces in the car to direct airflow and create the impression that the air is blowing out of the screens.

It allows for an instrument cluster display while maintaining a complete airflow to the driver, like in Model 3 and Model Y.

The vents are also even better hidden than in Model 3 and Model Y – resulting in a very simple interior.

Force-touch door opening buttons

With the new force-touch door openings, Tesla has also added release handles that should only be used if there are problems with the former.

New tire and wheels

Tesla claims that it is now using new “advanced tires” in the new Model S and Model X that should result in “better rolling plushness” and make the ride even smoother.

New interior sensors in new Tesla Model S and Model X

With the update version, Tesla has introduced the same cabin-facing camera that is found under the rear-view mirror in Model 3 and Model Y.

The new Model S and Model X also comes with an interior radar for intrusion sensing and occupant detection.

Original Publication by Fred Lambert at Electrek.

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