As Tesla refits its Fremont, California, assembly plant to prepare for production of its Model Y crossover, the EV startup will be refreshing its flagship Model S, giving it a “minimalist” interior similar to that on the Model 3, according to current and former Tesla workers, as reported by CNBC. The Model S will also be getting a larger-capacity battery, and its current motor will be replaced by one similar to the one used in higher-spec Model 3s.
Though Tesla has not officially announced where the Model Y will be built, employees report that the Fremont plant's separate assembly lines for the Model S luxury sedan and Model X luxury SUV will be combined into one, freeing up floor space to build the Model Y. They also report that Tesla has started ordering machinery and tooling for the Model Y.
When that new assembly line starts building the Model S, it will be an updated version, with an interior that has the same look and feel to that of the Model 3, including seats from the Premium Interior versions of the 3. The long-range version of the Model S will also reportedly get a battery that provides a 400-mile driving range, up from the current 370. Production of the refreshed Model S is planned to begin in September.
As with other sedans, sales of the Model S have slowed as crossovers and SUVs dominate the overall automotive market, and it will be interesting to see if the updates reverse the trend for the Model S. While potential consumers may appreciate more range and an upgraded traction motor, the Model S competes in the rarified air of the luxury sedan market, and some of those consumers might find that a minimalist interior looks cheap. Also, the Model S is getting a bit long in the tooth. Originally introduced in 2012, the S received a restyled front end in 2016 that eliminated its faux grille, but for the most part the sheet metal has been unchanged for seven years. In the meantime, competitors have introduced all-new versions of their firm's luxury sedans.
Tesla declined to comment on the reports.