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Tesla Model S, Model X could get major interior and powertrain updates in 2020

One of the most prominent Tesla hackers has learned that the company is about to update the Model S and the Model X, the two oldest nameplates in its three-car lineup. The firm often makes changes to its vehicles via its over-the-air software updating system, but the next round of upgrades will include hardware modifications carried out at the factory.

A mysterious hacker who goes by the name Green wrote on Twitter that Tesla files he has been able to view reveal that the S and the X are about to receive a wireless device charger, two new batteries, new-look seats, a different charging port, and a redesigned suspension. The addition of a Qi charger might require a broader interior redesign, which rumors have pointed to for the past few months. The S and the X might also get the same touchscreen as the Model 3 and the Y. And while we’re intrigued by the new batteries, details about their capacity remain under wraps for the time being.

New hardware incoming.
Integrated inductive phone charger (Qi) for S/X cars.
Two new S/X battery types in several configs (not yet sure of the capacity – TBD)
new lumbar (so new seats?)
New charge port type.
New suspension version.
I would speculate all these are imminent 1/

— green (@greentheonly) January 25, 2020

When Tesla began making the Model S in 2012, the sedan stood out as the first car developed in-house by the young company. A midcycle update brought a sharper-looking front end in 2016. The Model X entered production in 2015 and it hasn’t significantly changed since, though engineers made a few minor tweaks to it (and many software updates to the Autopilot feature). At eight- and five-years old, respectively, both cars are due for a midcycle update by industry standards.

While the California-based company hasn’t commented on the report, it wouldn’t be the least bit surprising if it’s accurate because a quick glance at annual sales confirms both cars need an update. In 2019, Tesla sold 19,225 examples of the Model X and 14,100 units of the Model S in the United States, figures that were down 26.3% and 45.2%, respectively, compared to 2018. The competition is waking up — even the Model S isn’t in a class of one anymore — and customers are taking notice. Expect both updated Tesla models to make their debut by the middle of 2020.

While the hacker found no evidence of this in Tesla’s files, the company previously confirmed that it’s developing an even quicker evolution of the Model S that will inaugurate a powertrain called Plaid. It will consist of three electric motors — one up front, two out back — and it will be accompanied by a comprehensive selection of suspension changes made to improve handling. Tesla’s goal is to dethrone Porsche on the Nürburgring, its home track. The yet-unnamed Plaid-equipped Model S will be positioned at the top of the Tesla range when it makes its debut in summer 2020.

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Ronan Glon
Ronan Glon is an American automotive and tech journalist based in southern France. As a long-time contributor to Digital…
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