Tesla Model S Has New Glass Roof That Lets In 5x More Light; Showcases Continuous Innovation

By Kevin Armstrong
New Model S cars feature a glass roof that is lighter and lets in five times more light than previous versions
New Model S cars feature a glass roof that is lighter and lets in five times more light than previous versions
Tesla

Tesla has quietly refreshed its Model S vehicles, introducing a new "high-visibility glass roof," improved brake pads, and many other features. In an email to owners, the company lists several new tweaks to the latest Model S.

The new, Ultra Red paint grabbed all the attention. Tesla unveiled its high-chroma color and multi-layered paint process, delivering an exceptionally vibrant finish. But several other features in that Ultra Red launch video (below) are worth just as much attention.

Let the Sun Shine in - Not the UV

The new and improved panoramic roof for the Model S lets in more light and provides a clearer view of the sky, day or night, according to the message from Tesla. The new glass roof weighs less than the previous version and lets in five times more light, while still providing the same level of heat and UV protection. According to Tesla, the new roof also improves handling by lowering the center of gravity.

In addition, Tesla has integrated its new hardware 4 computer for Autopilot and self-driving capabilities, and the Model S now offers a free option of a round steering wheel.

New Brakes Put to the Test

Tesla's vehicle updates are always highly anticipated; the latest refresh is no exception. The improved brake pads with higher thermal capacity are designed to improve the Model S Plaid's braking performance.

Tesla announced the Carbon Ceramic Brake Kit in late 2021, but it is still not available for purchase. Tesla says they will be available in "early 2023." The kit costs $20,000 and is said to make the Model S Plaid a true monster on the track.

Although the ceramic brake kit isn't available to the public yet, test driver Sebastian Vittel raced a Model S Plaid taking on the Circuit de Bresse race track in France with the new performance brakes (video below). Despite the track being best suited for small, nimble cars, the Model S Plaid with the Carbon Ceramic Brake Kit was able to set a track record for street-legal cars on non-semi-slick tires with a lap time of 1:33.610. This record was set with the vehicle's original tires, indicating that the brakes were a significant factor in the vehicle's impressive performance.

Tesla's latest refresh of the Model S includes new features like a high-visibility glass roof, improved brake pads, and the integration of hardware 4 for Autopilot and full self-driving capabilities. The Carbon Ceramic Brake Kit's impressive performance on the track demonstrates Tesla's dedication to enhancing the vehicle's driving experience. Tesla remains at the forefront of the electric vehicle industry with their continuous improvement and innovation.

A Closer Look at Tesla's Ambient Lighting Feature in the New Model 3 and Cybertruck [Video]

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla introduced a wrap-around ambient lighting strip to its new Model 3
Tesla introduced a wrap-around ambient lighting strip to its new Model 3
crospotter13

If you look up ambient lights for Tesla, you'll see several ads for third-party light kits. Perhaps this is why Tesla added its own Ambient Lights feature to the new Model 3. So, let's get enlightened.

Tesla's ambient lights are thin light strips that are embedded in each of the vehicle's doors near the top edge. It also curves around the dashboard near the windshield, giving passengers a near 360-degree light effect.

Supported Models

Tesla new ambient light feature is available on the new Model 3 (2024+), and will be available on the Cybertruck in a similar manner. With a refresh ongoing for the Model Y, known as Juniper, it will likely also have ambient lights. That just leaves out the most luxurious flagship vehicles, the Model S and X, for now.

The Model S and Model X could be due for a minor refresh that would not only add ambient lighting, but also include a front-bumper camera that the Cybertruck has and the new Model 3 is expected to have in the near future.

Customization

Tesla introduced a wrap-around ambient lighting strip to its new Model 3
Tesla introduced a wrap-around ambient lighting strip to its new Model 3
AutoTopNL

The ambient light settings allow you to light up the interior in a color that reflects your mood or preference. Under Controls > Lights > Accent Lights, you are handed the freedom to choose virtually any color to adorn the interior of your Tesla.

You have control over whether the ambient lights are on, off, or set to an "Auto" setting, though not fully clarified, seems to promise intelligent lighting adjustments akin to our control over dome lights, offering a reduction in reflections during drives.

While the ability to control the brightness level seems missing, Tesla did include color presets, letting you curate a series of your favorite colors.

It should be noted that the changes are confined to the light strips on the doors and dash, steering clear of the footwell lights and other interior lighting.

Future Enhancements

With Tesla, we can be assured there will be enhancements to this feature in a future update. In fact, the Tesla community is already busy coming up with useful suggestions. Some owners thought Tesla should take advantage of the lighting to provide driver feedback, such as automatically changing the ambient lighting to a red hue when there's a vehicle in your blind spot. Tesla could also glow the light strip on a door if it's not closed properly, or use the lighting to provide feedback when Sentry Mode is enabled.

Other uses could be more fun, such as cycling the light through various colors when the 'Rainbow Road' easter egg is activated.

Ambient Lighting in Action

While the possibilities are endless and Tesla engineers will surely have fun coming up with creative uses for the feature, the biggest improvement we can hope for in the near future is the ability to adjust the light intensity.

Tesla Model 3 'Highland' Performance Details Discovered in European Documents

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla's new Model 3 received a host of exterior and interior upgrades
Tesla's new Model 3 received a host of exterior and interior upgrades
Tesla

Tesla outdid itself with the refreshed Model 3, known as the Highland. Despite all the fantastic upgrades, something is missing - the Performance version or perhaps the Plaid. The letter "T" has shown up on vehicle certificates in Europe, and despite Elon Musk's sense of humor, it is unlikely this is a Mr. T reference.

Deciphering the 'T'

A new document shows the new Model 3 Performance will have a dual motor
A new document shows the new Model 3 Performance will have a dual motor
eivissacopter / X

Diligent scrutiny of the European Type Certificate, issued by the Dutch vehicle authority RDW and shared on the TFF Forum, revealed a subtle yet pivotal alteration — including the letter 'T' in the eighth digit of the Model 3 Performance's VIN.

This seemingly minor detail, indicative of the vehicle's motor/drive unit type, sparked curiosity and speculation on the forum. Could it be a tri-motor setup to usher in a new Plaid version of the Model 3? This vehicle has already got endless amounts of zip, but three motors? May The Schwartz Be With You!

This could also explain the Model 3+ badging that was spotted during the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) in China inspection of the refresh. However, the regulatory filings highlighted just two distinct variants of the car: a rear-wheel drive (RWD) with a 194 kW motor and an all-wheel drive (AWD) dual-motor setup that combines to deliver a formidable 331 kW of maximum power.

Initial conjectures leaned towards the possibility of a tri-motor setup, drawing parallels with the Plaid variants of the Model S and Model X. However, a deeper dive into the certification document clarified that the Model 3 Performance retained its Dual Motor setup, dispelling the possibility of a tri-motor upgrade.

Strategic Enhancements: A Glimpse into Potential Upgrades

Given the documented specifications, it becomes plausible that Tesla has strategically enhanced one of the dual motors, potentially aligning it with the advanced motor found in the Model S/X Plaid. This modification is poised to augment the top-end speed and acceleration of the Model 3 Performance, addressing its comparative limitations in extended races against traditional gas-powered supercars.

Meanwhile, the Model 3 refresh has become the new Bigfoot of the roads of North America, with rare sightings posted on social media. However, it appears the continent is excluded from the initial launch of the Model 3 Highland. Internal communications within Tesla suggest North American enthusiasts might have to exercise patience until 2024.

Latest Tesla Update

Confirmed by Elon

Take a look at features that Elon Musk has said will be coming soon.

Subscribe

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Sponsors

Find out how to become a sponsor and have your site listed here.

Although we share official Tesla release notes, we are not affiliated with Tesla Motors. We are Tesla fans and supporters.

Latest Tesla Update

Confirmed by Elon

Take a look at features that Elon Musk has said will be coming soon.

Subscribe

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.