Everything We Know About the Tesla Model S and Model X Redesign

By Nuno Cristovao

Tesla new 17 inch center display

Yesterday Tesla finally unveiled the long expected redesign of its flagship cars, the Model S and Model X. Fans and buyers have been wanting and waiting for a refresh for several years, but Tesla has now pulled the trigger, and it did not disappoint.

Here's everything we know about the redesign so far.

New Horizontal Center Display

New Tesla displays compared to Model 3 and Model Y

Tesla has transitioned to horizontal screens for all models doing away with the previous 17" vertical screens on the Model S and Model X. Instead replacing them with 17" horizontal screens (about 2" larger diagonally than the Model 3 and Y's screens). This seems like a relatively small difference in size, but it actually results in a 28% larger screen in terms of surface area.

We also learned that the center screen will have the ability to tilt left to right, either toward the driver or passenger. We can see this being a great feature when driving alone and being able to more easily see and reach the far end of the screen, especially given that the screen will be about 1.5" wider than the Model 3's screen.

Updated Instrument Cluster Display

We know that the instrument cluster will be slightly smaller than the current one seen in these models, however it's not clear yet what the main differences will be. We can speculate that some information normally shown in the IC will be moved to the larger center screen, such as maps, reserving the IC display more for car visualizations and navigation directions.

New Rear Display

Tesla new rear display

The newly introduced 8" rear display adds entertainment and more for rear passengers. This is somewhat of a catch up move to many other luxury vehicles. However, the size and location of this display is somewhat puzzling. With it being right behind the front armrest, it appears that it may feel rather low for comfortable viewing, and the display can even be obstructed completely by the legs of a middle passenger. Tesla may have had limited location options for this display as the roof of the car is mostly glass, but it seems like there could have been other considerations like behind the driver and passenger headrests. Either way, it's hard to complain about a feature that didn't exist previously. This is a great addition that we're sure many passengers will find useful.

Although Tesla shows off a game being played in the rear display, it can be speculated that there will be an entire GUI for that display, likely different from the GUI used on the front display given the smaller form factor. It's likely that rear passengers could also use this display to change music, adjust volume and turn on seat heaters.

One additional detail that hasn't been talked about much is that it appears Tesla will finally loosen the restriction of playing video only when the vehicle is in park. This means that you can take full advantage of the premium connectivity package and stream shows on Netflix and other streaming services while on road trips.

Updated Rear Armrest

The updated rear armrest now features two USB-C ports (in addition to the two USB-C ports underneath the rear display) and also has wireless charging for up to two phones.

Exterior

Tesla redesigned exterior

The exterior of the Model S and Model X has stayed relatively the same, with the exception of a more aggressive looking front bumper. We can speculate that this was more of an interior refresh and there may even be an exterior refresh down the road, although we would not expect this any time soon. Tesla likely wanted to minimize changes, while bringing these cars more up to date with the competition.

Plaid

Tesla has long teased their Plaid trim level coming soon to the Model S, with a three motors set-up and much higher performance. Yesterday they replaced their Performance line with Plaid and Plaid+. The Plaid trims are available on the Model S and Model X, while the Plaid+ version is exclusive to the Model S. Aside from replacing the wood trim interior with carbon fiber, these changes are all about performance, with the Plaid+ model reaching 0 to 60 in less than 2 seconds. Yes, that's about 30% faster than the Aerosmith Rock 'n Roller rollercoaster at Disney, which goes from 0 to 60 in about 2.8 seconds. Yes. This is insane.

More Luxury

Tesla new glass roof

Just about the entire interior of these cars is brand new. They now feature more luxurious materials throughout the cabin, a new glass roof, new wood trim (or carbon fiber on Plaid versions) and so much more than we likely haven't been able to see yet. The interior door handles now also more closely match the Model 3 and Model Y handles, with door pockets and a push to open button. There are many details that were added that bring an updated look and feel to these cars, while adding an additional touch of luxury.

New Steering Wheel and Lack of Stalks

Tesla new yoke steering wheel

This is a controversial one. Tesla has shown off a new steering wheel that they're calling a Yoke. It looks very similar to the steering wheel they showed off in the Roadster 2.0. It's much more squared off and it looks like the top portion is missing. Tesla will likely offer a more traditional steering wheel in some markets or as an option, as evidenced by additional images on their site. However, our biggest concern isn't the steering wheel itself, but the complete removal of the left and right steering wheel stalks. The left stalk, traditionally used for turn signals, has been replaced by touch-capacitive buttons to the left of the left scroll wheel. There are now three buttons used to signal left, signal right, and to control the high beams.

There are also touch-capacitive buttons to the right of the other scroll wheel, used for honking the horn, windshield wipers and microphone. The scroll wheels themselves look to also be similiar to the ones in the Model 3 and Model Y, with the ability to scroll the wheel up and down and tilt the scroll wheel left or right.

If you're wondering where the gear stalk is, well the short answer to that is that there isn't one. Tesla will attempt to automatically detect the direction you're going to move in. When you come to a complete stop, Tesla will analyze the scene with their cameras, sensors and AI and determine whether you would like to be in Reverse or Drive. It doesn't take too long to think of scenarios where this isn't going to work. For example, if you wanted to back up when maybe you've stepped over onto a crosswalk or passed the stop line at a stop sign or traffic light then we're not sure the car will pick the correct direction, given that there is no obstacle in front of the vehicle. We're sure you can think of many others. Tesla, however will also let you select the gear with an on-screen display. Our biggest worry here isn't that Tesla is determining the direction using AI, or that you'll have to use the display to manually change direction (although image a K turn!), our concern would be that Tesla gets the direction of travel MOSTLY right. This could lead to a false sense of comfort with this feature, and cause problems in the rare situation when you expect the car to go forward, but it goes backwards, or vice-versa. We hope we're wrong in this regard, as the stakes are quite high.

To wrap up this steering wheel/stalk conversation, if Tesla is going in this direction, with touch-capacitive buttons on the steering wheel, we would much prefer to see a very small screen curved around the scroll wheels. This would would give you the ability to have different colored icons to help guide you to the correct button and you could even customize them, so that if you wanted to have Drive and Reverse on the steering wheel, then you could do that. The great thing about Tesla though, is that they're not afraid to try new things and they're constantly evolving. If this doesn't work, they will be quick to adapt.

User Interface

Tesla 17-inch horizontal display

This is an unexpected and exciting change. We don't think anyone expected a new UI for the center display, whether Tesla went with a vertical or horizontal screen, but it's clear this is completely different from what we see in previous Teslas. We have only seen limited images of the UI, but Tesla is obviously focusing on entertainment and simplicity. Part of the reason for the changes could be due to a larger display, or a display that can now tilt toward the driver, giving them the ability to easily add buttons to the right of the screen without worrying whether the driver can reach them. It's unclear whether this UI will come to existing models. There's a chance we're getting a preview of how Tesla version 11 will look.

Gaming PC

Yes, you heard that right. Tesla will essentially be including a gaming PC with all new Model S and Model X models. Tesla has stated that the graphical performance of hardware is on par with the newest PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles. Additionally, you'll be able to play some of the latest games, like The Witcher Wild Hunt and Cyberpunk 2077, on the center or rear displays.

In addition to the new hardware, Tesla will also now support wireless controllers, so that players will no longer have to plug in their controllers in order to play with a gamepad.

I believe there's a lot we don't know about this yet. There's A LOT of performance builtin here. Is this the expected MCU 3? Will it carry over to Model 3 and Model Y? Will Tesla add an App Store to buy additional games? Time will tell, but we can likely expect some of these to be true.

Sound System

Tesla noise canceling speakers

Tesla has also greatly upgraded the sound system in this redesign. They now feature 22 speakers throughout the car, providing you with the best sound you've ever heard in a Tesla, which was already fantastic. Furthermore, they're also introducing the ability to use noise-canceling waves to increase cabin comfort by reducing road and wind noise. This is an exciting feature and one we'd be excited for. These cars are already very quiet, especially when compared to the Model 3 and Y.

Vents and HVAC

Taking another cue from the Model 3 and Model Y, the refreshed versions of the Model S and X will feature the same vent system as their smaller counterparts. It provides a much sleeker appearance and better distributed air throughout. You do lose the ability to manually adjust the air direction with physical buttons, but any Model 3 or Model Y owner will tell you that this isn't much of an issue and the benefits outweigh the cons.

Conclusion

Elon Musk has often said that there would not be a major redesign for the Model S and Model X, and that Tesla continously develops and makes changes throughout the year. However, we all felt a major redesign was coming eventually. We think Elon was right and Tesla does make continous changes, but there comes a point when you just can't piecemeal the new design elements together because so many of them rely on each other. This is an overdue update, but that doesn't make it any less exciting, and we're thrilled to see what else we find out about this redesign over the coming weeks and months. Deliveries are now being scheduled for March, so it won't be long now.

Tesla is updating its 'Automatic Window Reversal System' to fix issue

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla notified the NHTSA that it will update its automatic widnow system
Tesla notified the NHTSA that it will update its automatic widnow system

Tesla will soon send an over-the-air update to address the Automatic Window Reversal System. During product testing in mid-August, the company's technicians detected the system varied in response to obstructions in the window path. After more testing, Tesla concluded that it would notify the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of a voluntary recall to address the issue.

The majority of Tesla's recalls are much different than traditional automotive recalls. Tesla owners don't have to schedule an appointment and bring the vehicle to a service department. Instead, the company will update nearly 1.1 million Teslas using an over-the-air update. However, several news organizations picked up the recall, some linking it to the lower stock price when the market closed. Elon Musk tweeted: The terminology is outdated & inaccurate. This is a tiny over-the-air software update. To the best of our knowledge, there have been no injuries.

The recall and Musk's tweet generated a lot of discussions on social media and in comments below articles on news websites. What Tesla is doing is not a recall in traditional terms. However, it is the only course of action available to the company in the current system to notify the government and owners of required changes.

With more of the automotive industry following Tesla's lead, the recall term will be misleading as most fixes to electric vehicles should be conducted through updates, not physically bringing the car to a service center to change parts. A more fitting term that should replace recall in this new EV world should be: update. The headlines would read, Tesla is Updating its Automatic Window Reversal System. That is much more accurate to what is happening. It should surprise no one that Tesla does not fit the archaic terminology used by the industry.

In a report filed with the NHTSA, Tesla states that it "is not aware of any warranty claims, field reports, crashed, injuries or deaths related to this condition." However, starting September 13, the company started updating vehicles' firmware in pre-delivery and one production line. This change came one day after notifying the federal authorities about the voluntary recall. The over-the-air update will go to Model Xs, and Model Ss built between 2021 and 2022; Model Ys produced from 2020 to 2022 and Model 3s dating back to when the car first hit the market in 2017.

Tesla update 2022.36 features new Energy App, Supercharger popular times

By Nuno Cristovao
New Energy app
New Energy app
Not a Tesla App

Tesla's next update will be update 2022.36 instead of 2022.32. Tesla's version naming is based on the year and the week number. So update 2022.36 would have been started around the 36th week of 2022.

Tesla traditionally releases an update every four weeks, but sometimes updates can take longer to develop, test, or fix bugs, causing the version number to fall behind the calendar.

Although it doesn't happen too often, Tesla has skipped update version numbers in the past.

Given that we're now in the 39th week of the year, Tesla has chosen to skip version 2022.32 and jump directly to 2022.36.

Update 2022.36 is right around the corner and we're now having our first look at the features included in this update.

New Language

Tesla is adding support for a new language bringing its total to well beyond 20 now. Update 2022.36 introduces Lithuanian as a supported language for the vehicle's on-screen controls.

More Notifications

About two years ago Tesla added the ability to notify you via your mobile phone if the car doors, trunk or windows were left open.

With 2022.32 they're adding on to this feature and will now notify you if the car has been left unlocked.

If you have the walk-away lock feature turned on your vehicle automatically locks when you walk away if you're using a phone key or key fob. You also have the option to exclude locking when at home.

Supercharger Details

When tapping on a Supercharger icon on the vehicle's navigation system will reveal a pop-up that displays additional information about that Supercharger location.

Tesla already shows you the number of stalls available, the price and available amenities at the location. 

With 2022.36 Tesla has redesigned the pop-up and will display historical usage for each Supercharger location.

It appears that Tesla will display typical usage for the location by providing an hourly analysis of how busy the Supercharger typically is at certain times of the day.

This feature should let us easily view the busiest times at Superchargers, letting us plan our charging stops a little better.

New Energy Graph

The biggest feature of 2022.36 is by far a new energy graph.

Tesla has made tremendous improvements around its energy predictions in the last few updates and although they haven't changed the UI of the energy graph, it has resulted in much more accurate predictions that now take wind, humidity, the number of occupants, phone charging and more into account when predicting energy usage.

With 2022.36 Tesla delivers a brand new energy app that shows much more detail on how the vehicle is using energy.

The new Model S and Model X haven't had the energy graph available and now this may explain why. Tesla has likely been working on this new energy graph for a while and didn't want to spend time adapting the old app to fit the new vehicles. The new vehicles may finally receive an energy app with this update.

The new energy graph will not only let you view the energy the vehicle is using while driving but also the amount of energy that was used while the vehicle was parked.

Whether the vehicle is driving or parked, you'll now be able to see a complete breakdown of all the different systems in the vehicle and how much energy they've used. Unfortunately, Tesla doesn't display energy used in kW, but in percentage.

The vehicle will also provide suggestions on how to improve efficiency.

At the top of the energy graph where you normally have Consumption and Trip, you'll now have a new option called Park which displays energy used while parked.

The consumption screen looks similar to the way it did before. It displays the vehicle's energy usage on a graph over a chosen distance.

However, the Park and Trip views have been completely revamped.

On the Park screen, the vehicle will display various vehicle components and their energy usage. For example, the vehicle will break down its energy usage over several categories including the vehicle's screen, vehicle pre-conditioning, cabin overheat protection, Sentry Mode and mobile app usage and more.

Next to each category, the vehicle will display the percentage of the energy used for the feature and how it compares to the rest of the fleet. This could be helpful to let you know whether the amount of energy used for that feature is in line with expectations.

You'll also be able to change the timeframe since the last departure or other periods.

Similar to the Park screen, the new Trip screen also displays a breakdown of energy used across different vehicle systems, although it also adds a graph at the top, similar to what's available in the vehicle today.

The graph will automatically change colors, not based on the battery state of charge, but dependent on whether the vehicle used more or less energy in the given segment of the route when compared to its predictions.

Underneath the graph, Tesla will display the amount of energy used for driving, climate, battery conditioning, altitude, and other systems.

In addition to displaying the percent of the energy used for each system, Tesla will also compare your usage to its prediction and the percentage difference above or below the prediction.

There could be other features in the 2022.36 update that aren't mentioned here and we'll have to wait a little longer to see whether there are any additional features.

The biggest update in this release appears to be the new energy app and many owners will be thrilled with its release.

We may start seeing 2022.36 going out to the public in the next couple of weeks. You can also view the release notes for 2022.36.

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View the release notes for the upcoming version 2022.36.

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

Tesla News

Upcoming Release

View the release notes for the upcoming version 2022.36.

Confirmed by Elon

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

Subscribe

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.