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Tesla Model S Refresh With Minimalist Interior and Model 3 Motors Coming This Year: Report

Photo: Tesla
Photo: Tesla

The Tesla Model S got its last major refresh in 2016, four years after it went into production, and reports now indicate that the company is planning another big update for the electric car later this year that includes an overhauled interior and drive units out of the Tesla Model 3.


CNBC reports the Model S refresh will be modeled after the Model 3 in many ways, with a new minimalist interior like the one that received a lot of attention on the smaller car, premium seats from the Long Range and Performance Model 3, and the new drive units from the Model 3, including different motors, inverter and gearbox.

Tesla Model 3 “minimalist” interior. Photo: Tesla
Tesla Model 3 “minimalist” interior. Photo: Tesla

CNBC also reports the car will get a battery capable of 400 miles of range, which would be an increase over the current max EPA estimated range of 370 miles for the Long Range S, and the updated model is “aiming” for a production start in September of this year.

Correction: This article previously stated the max range was 345 miles, which is only for the Performance trim of the Model S.

The CNBC report also goes into some alleged details on the Fremont factory’s preparations for producing the Tesla Model Y, though Tesla has yet to announce any significant details of its plan for production. Here’s more on that from CNBC:

These initiatives could raise costs again for Tesla, just as CEO Elon Musk has vowed to review every 10th page of outgoing expenses, personally. But starting up production of the Model Y in 2019 allows Tesla to tap into the growing SUV segment sooner rather than later, while a Model S refresh would help it maintain or grow its share within the declining market for luxury sedans.

The company has barely begun to place orders for new equipment to manufacture the Model Y, employees said. And while Musk has suggested that Tesla would probably make the crossover SUV in Fremont, Tesla hasn’t officially announced that preparations in the factory had begun.

Making way for Model Y production in Fremont will require Tesla to combine Model S and Model X production into one line, according to the insiders. These lines at the car plant take up a significant amount of floor space today, at least partly because the S and X are each made with a lot of parts.


I think what CNBC means by the rather obvious statement that “the S and X are each made with a lot of parts” is that they’re each made with a lot of different parts. This makes combining the existing production lines difficult, though it shouldn’t be impossible. Streamlining everything could save Tesla a lot of money.

We’ll likely hear more about Tesla’s plans for the Model Y and its Fremont plant from Elon Musk during the second quarter earnings call later this summer.

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Hayden Lorell

new minimalist interior like the one that received a lot of attention on the smaller car

This doesn’t sound like good news to me. The two redeeming features the S had were that it wasn’t as hideous as the 3, quite the opposite, its the only good looking car they’ve made and a great looking one at that. And it had a more traditional layout of a digital gauge cluster and the center-stack screen.

Having ridden in both, the center-only display on the 3 is fucking stupid and distracting. Much like the long-running center gauge displays on priuses.

Whatever... At this point everyone is just waiting for the Taycan anyways. Which will be prettier and a bit more conventional judging by the spy shots.