Although the Tesla Model S will not have a physical gear stalk like the Model 3 and Model Y, it appears that the flagship sedan will still offer multiple manual gearshifting options. A recent video teased this, demonstrating how the new Model S’ in-display gear shifter could work.
According to the video, drivers will be able to shift gears by simply swiping up or down on the leftmost side of the Model S refresh’s 17-inch display. If the “Smart Shift” feature fails, this should make changing gears manually relatively simple. Of course, the “V11” software in the video could be updated before it is widely released, but based on the short clip, manual gear adjustments do not appear to be a problem for the Model S refresh.
The Smart Shift feature on the Tesla Model S refresh will use the vehicle’s Autopilot cameras to decide if the car should be in Park, Neutral, Drive, or Reverse. Elon Musk described the feature on Twitter, saying that drivers would likely find the automatic shifter in the new Model S convenient to use. Musk also stated that the automatic shifter on the flagship sedan could be disabled through the touchscreen.
However, recent rumors from the Tesla community have suggested that the Model S refresh will include yet another system that will allow drivers to manually change gears. This time, the controls will be in the form of real physical buttons.
This was recently noticed when a Tesla owner was able to access a Model S refresh at the Kettleman Supercharger. According to the Tesla owner’s findings, Smart Shift can be switched off, and manual gear controls can be found on both the touchscreen and the steering wheel. Simply pressing the correct scroll wheel on the new Model S’ steering wheel should pull up a prompt on the monitor, allowing you to change gears. The driver can then change into the desired gear by scrolling up and down.
Smart Shift is likely to be one of the most divisive aspects of the Model S refresh, simply because it is so distinct from the standard. Fortunately, Tesla seems to be preparing plenty of ample contingencies in case the automatic feature isn’t well received. After all, with three ways to change the Model S refresh’s gears, drivers should be able to find one that fits them best without too much difficulty.