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Tesla To Introduce Cabin Camera in Model S and X, Hints Towards Refreshed Design

Ever since Tesla launched the ‘refreshed’ Model 3, discussions have begun about Tesla’s other vehicles. Both the Model 3 and Model Y have been in the news quite a bit this year and have received updates too. While the Model Y deliveries began early this year, the Model 3 also received a ‘refreshed’ design in October, just three years after its launch.

On the other hand, the Model S (launched in 2012) and Model X (launched in 2015) are yet to receive a major design update since 2016. They have been getting software updates over the years, but there are no significant hardware changes. However, a number of hints kept coming up this year pointing towards a possible refreshed design for the two vehicles.

Tesla To Introduce Cabin Camera in Model S and X, Hints Towards Refreshed Design

The Newest Hint

Noted Tesla hacker “greentheonly” recently discovered possibly the biggest hint towards the design refresh. According to him, there are references in Tesla’s software dubbed as ‘S/X P2’. It is related to a cabin-facing camera similar to what Model 3 and Model Y have. Knowing that the Model S and Model X do not have this feature, the hardware might be updated in this design refresh.

The hacker stated this in a recent tweet while clarifying the current status of the ‘selfie camera’ in Tesla cars.

Normally, most people know about the eight cameras spread out around any Tesla for helping with features such as Autopilot, Sentry Mode and TeslaCam. However, there is also a ninth camera facing the cabin just above the rear-view mirror. This ninth camera is included in Model 3 and Y right now.

If Green’s observations are correct and the Model S and Model X are indeed receiving these cabin cameras, that would mean some hardware changes for the premium sedan and SUV. It is still unknown whether there will be any major hardware and design changes in the refresh, but it is more or less confirmed that we can expect a refreshed design next year.

Why A Model S Design Refresh Is Expected

Tesla is known to give out software updates to its customers from time to time to keep the technology in the existing vehicles relevant. They have done the same for all its vehicles, but it hasn’t improved the Model S and X sales recently. While the sales for the relatively-inexpensive Model 3 and Y have skyrocketed, the same is not true for these two. Both the Model S and X received their last major updates in 2016. So a relatively old design might also have impacted sales.

Furthermore, Tesla unveiled the Model S Plaid this year. One of the most interesting features of this high-performance sedan is its transmission. The new version will come with a tri-motor variant too, which means a different hardware design. Knowing Tesla, they won’t keep two different bases of design for the same car. Hence, the refreshed design might have significant design changes.

Our Opinion

There has been a lot of discussion regarding this design refresh. It won’t be an unprecedented move for Tesla, having done the same for the Model 3 this year. With sales dropping, a new design bodes well for the Californian automaker. The addition of the cabin-facing camera also suggests that these two vehicles might be included in the upcoming RoboTaxi service.

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


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