HomeVehicleCars2021 Tesla Model S Refresh Spotted Testing on Public Streets & Tracks

2021 Tesla Model S Refresh Spotted Testing on Public Streets & Tracks

There have been a lot of rumors about the impending release of the 2021 Model S, with a few sightings reported as well. Now, it seems like Tesla is testing the new 2021 Model S “Refresh” on the track as well as the street. New photos from the Tesla Fremont Factory show the new Refreshed Tesla Model S and its new features. This validates all theories of whether the company’s flagship sedan would be updated nine years after its initial release.

2021 Tesla Model S Refresh Spotted Testing on Public Streets & Tracks
Credit – teslarati

2021 Tesla Model S Refresh Spotted Testing on Public Streets & Tracks

Tesla operates its own test track behind the Fremont factory for its vehicles. Tesla bought the 35-acre property, which includes the test track from the Union Pacific Railroad in 2013. It is located adjacent to the Fremont factory, which Tesla bought from GM in 2010. That way, Tesla can take cars that need to be tested to the track within a few minutes. Tesla has tested the Model Y and 2020 Roadster prior to its release before. One can thus expect the Model S Refresh to reach the markets soon.

The Story Till Now

After Tesla introduced the Plaid Model S in 2019, slight cosmetic modifications were added to the car to increase aerodynamic performance in a track setting. This included a wider body, a rear diffuser, and a spoiler. Tesla has, however, made several changes to the Refreshed Model S.

Initial rumors of the Model S refresh emerged in late 2020 after the Model 3 Refresh launch and updates to Model Y. Model Y underwent several minor updates, like a new center console, new door paneling, and a heated steering wheel in China. The entry-level sedan from Tesla was equipped with a full chrome delete kit that now comes standard, a new center console design, new headlights, double-paned glass, a powered trunk, and other interior revisions.

Conversely, the Model S has only undergone one true cosmetic revision since its initial release nearly nine years ago: the removal of the nosecone. That is why it makes sense that Tesla wants to get a design refresh for its premium sedan.

Changes in the Model S

The notable changes are a new front diffuser, which is now standard with the newly-designed Plaid Model S. Additionally, the front fascia has also been revised slightly. This is the second revision Tesla has made to this portion of the Model S since its release. The new design includes a larger central air intake vent for improved airflow and ventilation to the battery pack. This eliminates the possibility of overheating and improves battery lifetime and performance.

Other changes include a wider body used to hold wider wheels, a new rear bumper, and modified fog lights.

The interior might get some changes too, although they aren’t confirmed yet. The top edge of the center screen, which is visible from outside in Model 3 and Y, isn’t visible here. The wheels on this test model match with neither the 19″ Tempest Wheels nor the 21″ Sonic Carbon Twin Turbine Wheels that are available with the Plaid Model S. This means that Tesla might bring a new wheel design with the refresh.

Most of these changes are in line with features expected in the Plaid version.

The Road Testing

There were also photographs of Tesla testing the vehicle on the streets near the factory. These photographs were taken on E. Warren Ave, a street that runs East to West and sits directly South of Tesla’s Fremont Factory.

From those pictures, it is evident that the changes to the exterior are relatively minor as the shape of the Model S is basically the same. However, there are numerous improvements to the car that will reap positive benefits to the battery, aerodynamic performance, and the look of the car. One of the most notable changes is what appears to be a revised version of the Arachnid wheel.


Comparing the photograph that shows the Model S at an angle with another similar photograph of the flagship sedan, we can see the fog light is shaped differently and seems to include a new shape that is more modern and sleek.

Our Opinion

Tesla has called for a Q4 Earnings Call on Wednesday. One can expect a few announcements from the company during this. There can be the announcement of this updated, or ‘refreshed’ Model S design. Additionally, more information about the release of the Plaid Model S could also happen.

As of now, Tesla has not stated anything about the refreshed design. But with a number of sightings happening in the past month, some change is surely expected. For now, we can only wait until Wednesday.

Mihir Tasgaonkar
Mihir Tasgaonkar
A mechanical engineer who loves reading and writing about new technologies in the automobile industry.


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