Minus the little hiccup that came with the voluntary recall of nearly five thousand Model X SUVs by Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), the company at its owner have been enjoying a ridiculously good run of form. Tesla and Musk enjoyed an amount or reservations and pre-orders for the Model 3 that even the most bullish analyst didn’t anticipate recently. Less than a week later and Musk’s SpaceX sticks a water-landing of a Rocket 9 booster in the Atlantic, and now, one of the best made and reviewed cars, the Model S Sedan, just got better with a number of upgrades today.
What’s new for the Model S?
The voluntary recall of the 4,700 Model Xs yesterday, was again, just a hiccup. No injuries and certainly no deaths were reported from the small defect that COULD see the third row of seats collapse in an accident, but Tesla made it easy and is making the Australian supplier pay for it. Job done.
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The fact that Tesla announced the recall the day prior to announcing the first upgrade to the Model S since its debut in 2012, clearly shows that Tesla didn’t expect much backlash from yesterday’s recall.
It is a bit crazy that Tesla hasn’t felt the need to change the Model S in over four years. I speak to physical changes, of course, as Tesla added the “auto-pilot” function to the Model S well after they ran off the line. And how cool is that? A software update that gives you, effectively, a self-driving car downloaded from the Internet like you might have downloaded a new version of Skype a few years ago. The American auto industry has made steps that more resemble leaps and bounds from that garbage that was foisted on consumers in the 70s and 80s as a result of Detroit’s laziness.
That is thanks to Tesla.
The 2017 Model S
Tesla has essentially taken the front end off the Model X and fastened it to the 2017 Model S. The front end of the Model S was one of my few complaints about and otherwise beautiful automobile. While I recognize that that is subjective, feel free to try to tell me that it doesn’t look better now. Getting rid of the grill makes a fair bit of sense and I’m not sure why it was there in the first place. I understand the need for a grill on a gas-powered car in order to provide a cooling airflow, but last I checked a “fake grill” is just going to take away from the automobiles ability to cut through the air aerodynamically, but above all electric vehicles don’t need under the hood airflow.
I’m willing to stipulate that Elon Musk is a lot smarter than me and the inclusion of the grill was simply to accommodate people who are just used to seeing a grill. It’s possible that numerous focus groups essentially told him to do it. Either way, it’s gone now and looks better.
The new model is also equipped with adaptive LED headlights that have 14 LED lights that move between three positions to make sure you have the optimal driving conditions. There is also a new air-filtration system installed that not only provides “medical grade” HEPA filtration by a “Bioweapon Defense Mode” that seems a bit over the top until you’re driving through a chemical or bio attack.
The only real disappointment for many will be the lack of a rumored 100 kWh battery option with the largest battery still coming in at 90 kWh. That said, Tesla’s charger is now capable of pulling 48 amps rather than the 40 amps that present Tesla customers pull and you can further open the wallet for a 72 amp charger.
Things that don’t need changing, weren’t changed. Namely, free access for life to Tesla’s Supercharger network and what might be the best warranty package offered by any automaker with a eight-year unlimited-mile battery and drive-unit warranty which is truly exceptional.
This is one of those rare cases where if “it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” just doesn’t apply. The car was nearly perfect, yet, at the same time you can just tell that Elon Musk and Tesla feel that they owe their customers something. Whether that is a “Bioweapon Defense System” or just a beautiful car that makes you the envy of all your friends and is a sales pitch for Tesla on four wheels.
There is just so little wrong with this car and now that they have fixed that faux grill, it just makes sense on so many levels.