Refreshed 2021 Tesla Model S revealed with airplane yoke steering wheel, 520-plus-mile range

The updated Tesla Model S is no longer a rumor.

On Wednesday ahead of the Silicon Valley automaker’s earnings call, Tesla released its fourth quarter and fiscal year 2020 update, which contained images of the refreshed Tesla Model S.

Refreshed Tesla Model S

Refreshed Tesla Model S

The largest changes take place inside where the vertical 17-inch touchscreen has been replaced with a Model 3-like horizontal screen. The size has not been released yet. A storage cubby now sits below the touchscreen, along with a hard button for the four-way flashers. Unlike the Model 3, a digital gauge cluster remains. The steering wheel now has an airplane yoke design with what appear to be touch-sensitive buttons augmented by two scroll wheels.

It appears Tesla has also deleted the turn signal and gear selector stalks, and will use steering wheel buttons to control the turn signals and headlights.

The interior image is likely representative of the updated Model X as well given the two vehicles share a dashboard.

Tesla noted the updated Model S and Model X will launch in January 2021.

Refreshed Tesla Model S

Refreshed Tesla Model S

Another touchscreen appears to be mounted on the back of the center console for rear-seat passengers. It’s unclear what function this screen might serve at this point.

2021 Tesla Model S

2021 Tesla Model S

The exterior of the updated Model X hasn’t been shown, but the updated Model S was shown in Plaid+ form. The front bumper has been updated with what a new lower grille and side intakes that could direct airflow to cool the the brakes. The Plaid model also has wider, flared front rear fenders, likely to house wider tires and wheels for more grip with all the extra power.

Plaid+ models are claimed to sprint from 0-60 mph in under 1.99 seconds, run the quarter mile in under 9.0 seconds, and have over 1,100 horsepower. The braking system features upgraded carbon-sleeved rotors, and there are three electric motors, two powering the rear wheels and one powering the front axle.

Musk tweeted that the three-motor Model S Plaid will ship in February while the Tesla website says Plaid+ deliveries will begin late in 2021.

This story is developing and will be updated when more information becomes available.

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