Tesla Refreshes Model S, Beefs Up Model X With Larger Battery, Higher Base Price — More Updates

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While everyone is still talking about the upcoming Model 3, Tesla quietly changed its flagship Model S sedan and Model X SUV today with a design refresh and a few upgrades, as well as a slightly higher base price price for both.

Tesla Model S new nose
The Model S now sports a sleek new front end without the grille of its predecessor. Picture courtesy of Tesla Motors.

The Model S, as Kyle already noted, now gets a new front end, similar to the Model X (no more fake grille), but a few other subtle details were slipped in that we didn’t cover earlier. For one, the S gets a slightly higher entry price with the upgrades: $71,500 vs. the previous $70,000. The Model S also gets a new center console, borrowed from the Model X, with integrated phone docking options for iPhones or Android-based phones.

The S also gets the same options list that the Model X had previously, which Kyle discussed in much more detail in the earlier article: the advanced HEPA filter (with Bioweapon Defense Mode), the same interior accent choices, and a new base charger capable of 48 Amp charging (the previous Model S charger was limited to 40 Amps).

The Model S interior accent options are now identical to the Model X, with Dark Ash wood now the default (included) option and Figured Ash available for $750. Picture courtesy of Tesla Motors.

For those who want to charge faster at home (and at compatible destination chargers), the same 72 Amp upgraded charger option from the Model X is now available for the Model S. This will boost AC charging up to a maximum of 72 Amps. Note that these onboard chargers only affect AC charging from compatible high-amperage charging stations such as Tesla’s High Power Wall Charger (HPWC). The charging option does not affect the ability or speed of Supercharging. The previous “dual charger” option on the Model S which raised charging to a max of 80 Amps is no longer available.

On the Model X, the Design Studio, which was previously available by invitation only to those who had paid a $5,000 deposit, is now open to the public. The biggest change on the Model X is an upgrade to the base level battery. Instead of the previously listed 70D (70 kWh) battery, the Model X now starts out with a 75 kWH battery, Model X 75D. The range has increased from 220 miles between charges for the 70D to 237 Miles on the 75D. The 0–60 time is the same at 6.0 seconds, though the top speed is now listed as 130 MPH (it was previously listed as 140 MPH).

The Model X base price has risen from $80,000 to $83,000. For for that increase, you now get 17 additional miles of range. Picture courtesy of Tesla Motors.

The base price of the Model X has jumped from $80,000 to $83,000. We’re expecting that those early Model X deposit-holders who had previously confirmed a Model X 70D at the earlier price may be grandfathered into that price. According to some TMC forum members, phone calls to their Tesla delivery specialists have confirmed this, but we are attempting to confirm that with Tesla corporate as well. It appears that Tesla has not raised the price on the larger battery versions of the Model X (90D starts at $95,500, P90D at $115,500).

Update (April 13): a Tesla spokesperson has confirmed that those who had already confirmed their orders for the 70D Model X will get the 75D version at no additional cost.

Perhaps the most welcome update for those who have already ordered a Model X (or intend to) is the updated delivery dates: if you order now, Tesla says you can expect a 75D to be delivered as soon as June; a 90D or P90D as early as next month (May, 2016). So, it does look like they are ramping up production of the Model X a bit quicker than expected. The initial delivery estimates on the entry-level 70D model were “late 2016.”

Also new on the Tesla website is the ability to buy a brand new Model S out of dealer inventory. You can still custom order your own, for the same price, but for those who think instant gratification takes too long, you can now drive a brand new Model S right off the lot, as long as you’re willing to take what they have in stock.

To get a peek of the new Model S design and the new options for the Model X, check out their design studios online:

Model S — Design Your Own
Model X — Design Your Own

Have you spotted any other changes that we missed? Let us know in the comments.

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Chris Boylan

is an EV and alternative fuel enthusiast who has been writing about technology since 2003.

Chris Boylan has 56 posts and counting. See all posts by Chris Boylan

26 thoughts on “Tesla Refreshes Model S, Beefs Up Model X With Larger Battery, Higher Base Price — More Updates

  • Configuration for the Model X is still not available on Canada’s website.

    The news that Model X’s are available sooner then later doesn’t read as good news to me…. I thought they had a lot of preorders for this vehicle as well? Perhaps a lot of people are cancelling and not taking delivery?

    • Either that or they simply have production massively ramped up. Also, they could still be prioritizing US deliveries in order to keep working out any bugs, so people in Europe, China, & Australia with early reservations may be waiting still. Of course, we’ll have more insight on the next conference call and following Q2 delivery numbers.

  • That the lead times for the Model S and Model X have fallen can be taken one of two ways.

    It is either good news as it means production is ramping up or bad news in that demand is no longer massively outstripping supply, possibly due to some waiting for the Model 3?

    Regardless those who can’t, or won’t, wait at least now have the option of buying a Tesla.

    • Yes, production has obviously ramped up (in Q4 2015), but also wondering about the ongoing upper limit of demand for the Model S. Think it’s critical that X production get scaled up, as I think Tesla’s production capacity for the two combined is a good match for demand, but think having to rely on the S to fill all that production capacity is tough.

  • The dumbass spacewaster console isn’t optional. I guess that makes 2012-early 2016 Model Ses into valuable collectors’ items. Hopefully the console will go away again in a future year…

    The dual chargers also make 2012 – eadly 2016 Model Ses valuable. We can charge faster in Canada on Sun Country Highway 🙂

    Also, are the USB plugs still there? People do plug in things other than a phone.

  • missed the adaptive headlights

    • Kyle might have caught that is his piece. I was actually more interested in the X update (75 D). I called that months ago. And Tesla PR confirmed that those with confirmed orders for a 70D get the 75D at no extra cost. (:

      • You are correct! I read it after this article.

  • Tricked out Tesla Model S costs 142K?!

    • I don’t really see the need for an exclamation point. 142k gets you a dope porsche but not tricked out, hell a BMW m3 can run you 90k. And if we really want to get into the cars that will keep up with an S to 60, you better add a zero.

      • *I’m seeing four production cars that are quicker to 60 MPH.*

        * Porsche 918 Spyder 0.4 seconds faster, base price $847,975-$931,975*

        *2015 Ferrari LaFerrari, 0.2 seconds faster for $1,416,000*

        *Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport, 0.1 second faster for something above $2,400,000.*

        Huracán LP 610-4 Coupe , 0.1 second faster for $237,250. The bargain of the ‘betters’, but it doesn’t have a frunk….

        • Ya but don’t forget Lambo’s are exhausting to drive, 30 minutes and it’s time for a nap. Plus you almost get two Ses for a huracan, each one of those is a 2 seater, and in all probability we’d die in one of those. Too fast too furious. No frunk, autopilot, and the maintenance holy@#%$!. A set of tires on the Bugatti is 45k, and an oil change 20k. No thanks.

          • All I’m saying is that there are only four faster production cars and they all cost a lot more.

          • And they don’t have frunks *OR* rear-facing kiddie jump seats. 🙂

  • What this again confirms (following the Model 3 record breaking launch), I think, is that the market has tipped towards a preference for electrics. It’s now well recognised that they are better cars. The model S now shouts “Hey, look at me – I’m a Tesla – I’m electric – I don’t need no stupid grill”.

    It might be better looking, but more so, it’s clever marketing.

  • Finally, an electric car “face” that scores for design and says I’m an electric-only vehicle.

    Model 3 “face” says electric only, but the transition from bonnet to bumper is a fail. Hopefully, Model 3 production face will take on the character of the Model S.

  • I assume the upgrade to 75 kWh is due to higher power cells and not more cells. Tesla said last year to expect cell energy improvements of 3% to 5% per year on average.

    Now that the Gigafactory is operational, are we seeing a move to larger format cells – 20700 instead of 18650??? The cell external volume increases by 33% with the larger format, but the active contents likely increase by over 40%. I would assume that the cost increase for the larger format is only half the energy increase. We must remember that Tesla uses small cells because the failure of a cell is less likely to harm neighbouring cells and they are easier to cool – allowing the use of more energetic chemistries.

    90 kWh is 1.2 times 75 kWh – thus we should assume the 90 kWh now has 20% more cells in each module block (group of cells in parallel). I assume, like other manufacturers, Tesla still has 96 cells in series.

    I think the Model X move to 75 kWh and Model X options now available for the Model S, are signs the Model 3 will come with 50 kWh and 75 kWh batteries. The S and X range will surely be 75 kWh and 100 kWh by the end of 2017. Surely Tesla will be the first company to produce a car with a 100 kWh battery – it just says “we are in another league”.

    When paying for extra range, 50% more range is a reasonable expectation. Model S EPA measured range of 240 miles from 70 kWh battery translates to 3.43 miles/kWh. Model 3 should be able to do 25% better (lighter/smaller/more aerodynamic) – 4.3 miles/kWh. 50 kWh required to achieve the stated 215 mile EPA range.

    In 18 months, Tesla would surely have moved to the 20700 cells and possibly had another chemistry upgrade. It takes weight out of their vehicles, increases range and reduces costs.

    • I’m guessing that our LEAF is about the same size as the Model 3 and we get right in the 4.3 miles/kWh when driven normally and without the A/C on.

      • Wow, real world mileage matches predicted EPA mileage.

  • The S and X have another feature which doesn’t get talked about much: they are made up largely from aluminum. Which means, I think?, that these cars are likely to last for many many decades – rust out won’t be much of a problem.

    Buy the lowest end version now, retrofit a much more capable battery pack in 10, 20 years for a song. Drive forever.

    • Good point.

      Unfortunately, it seems that the 3 will use steel. But we’ll see.

      • Aluminum can degrade as well if it is not protected. It too can conduct electricity in the presence of water and salt. I may be wrong but aluminum may make a better “sacrificial anode” than steel. Magnesium is more volatile than aluminum and it is used as sacrificial anodes in some hot water heaters. I suspect that aluminum may have the same characteristic but at a lower volatility. I remember the driver during the Model 3 intro saying that the 3 uses steel in those crush zone areas. That seems like an excellent way to protect the inhabitants while lowering the cost. So steel IMHO is not so bad.

        • Thanks for the extra technical info. All in all, I expect Tesla to try its best to make the best decision for the customers… and I trust them to do so better than I would!

  • By the time we see Model 3 on the streets in 20 months, I expect the Tesla range and fuel economy will be as follows below. Importantly, Tesla will crack 300 miles of EPA range with versions of its S and 3 models.
    Model X
    P100D 275 miles 2.75 miles/kWh
    100D 290 miles 2.9 miles/kWh
    75D 237 miles 3.15 miles/kWh
    Model S
    P100D 300 miles 3.0 miles/kWh
    100D 320 miles 3.2 miles/kWh
    75D 262 miles 3.5 miles/kWh
    Model 3
    P75D 285 miles 3.8 miles/kWh
    75D 300 miles 4.0 miles/kWh
    50 215 miles 4.3 miles/kWh

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