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Tesla Updates Model X, Model S, Boosts Range to 520 Miles

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【Summary】While a lot hasn’t changed on the outside, Tesla has given its aging Model S sedan and Model X SUV a redesigned interior, more powerful touch screens, and new features.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Jan 30, 2021 7:30 AM PT
Tesla Updates Model X, Model S, Boosts Range to 520 Miles

In 2012, Tesla introduced the Model S sedan. Immediately, the electric car automaker sprung to the top of the pile of available EVs on sale. Since the vehicle came out in 2012, Tesla's done little to update the vehicle. That changes for 2021, as the Model S gains a new Plaid+ trim level, more range, more power, and updated tech features. The majority of changes affect the Model X, too.

Look At That Steering Wheel

Looking at the two models from the outside, it's hard to notice any major changes. The radical part of the 2021 Model S and Model X are now the interior. The cabins have been completely updated. The center console has been redesigned to include more storage space and wireless charging capability for multiple devices, while the star of the show is a 17-inch touchscreen. Instead of being vertically oriented, the Model S and Model X borrow the Model 3's horizontal layout. A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster sits directly in front of the driver. The new touchscreen has more processing power, allowing passengers to play modern videogames.

The most radical change on the inside is the new steering wheel. It's nothing like a traditional steering wheel, looking more along the lines of an airplane's yoke than something found in a car. You might also notice the lack of stalks next to the funky steering wheel. Instead of traditional stalks to turn the turn signals and headlights on, Tesla has moved all of those functions to touch buttons on the steering wheel. There's no gear shifter, either. Going forward, the Model S and Model X will "guess" which direction the driver wants to go in by checking its surroundings. If that sounds worrisome, don't fret, as drivers can choose between PRNDL on the touchscreen.

tesla-model-s-refresh-112 copy.jpg

Even More Performance

In the back, there's a new 8-inch screen that mirrors the same infotainment and gaming features as the main, central screen. Tesla's really highlighting the 2021 Model S and Model X's gaming capacity, as the rear screen can be controlled via wireless gaming controllers. The rear seats have been updated to provide more support and now have a new fold-down armrest with cupholders.

When it comes to trim levels, the 2021 Model S will be available in three models: Long Range, Plaid, and Plaid+. The Long Range starts at $81,190 (including destination), offers a 412-mile range, and can get to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds. It's the only variant in the lineup to come with a dual-motor layout. The Plaid is priced at $121,190, offers a range of up to 390 miles, and can get to 60 mph in 1.99 seconds. The new Plaid+ costs $141,190 and brings an incredible range of at least 520 miles and a zero-to-60 mph time of less than 1.99 seconds. Both Plaid models come with a tri-motor design, have more than 1,000 horsepower, come with carbon-sleeved rotors, and have torque vectoring.

The Model X will only be available in two trims: Long Range ($91,190) and Plaid ($121,190). The dual-motor Long Range trim has a range of 360 miles and a zero-to-60 mph time of 3.8 seconds. The high-performance Plaid trim with its tri-motor configuration has a range of 340 miles and can get to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds.

Once again, Tesla has raised the bar with its EVs. Both the Model S and Model X needed an update, but these two EVs, especially the Model S, really show why the automaker is at the head of the pack.

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