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Tesla unveiled an updated version of its Model S sedan, with its interior undergoing its most major cosmetic overhaul since the car was first launched in 2012.
The new Model S features an even more minimalistic design than previous models, replacing the large vertical center screen with a more subdued horizontal one, as well as a curious semicircle steering wheel design. The new version is already showing up on Tesla's online ordering system.
Aaaaaand the Tesla Model S refresh is here pic.twitter.com/f64YHFcBD7
— Marques Brownlee (@MKBHD) January 27, 2021
Looking at the renders, the new Model S almost feels as if it's daring you to turn on Tesla's self-driving Autopilot mode. The steering wheel doesn't look comfortable to hold for long periods of time (unless this Tesla is also secretly a plane), and the addition of a screen behind the center console for rear-seat passengers suggest it's a car for leaning back and enjoying the autonomous ride. The images released also show video games like The Witcher and Stardew Valley on the main screen — perhaps for when it's time to charge up the car, or maybe a hint at a future where drivers can take their attention entirely away from the road. But with the very safety of Autopilot still a serious concern for regulators, that seems like a distant future. Elon Musk must be quite confident in Autopilot's abilities, though; otherwise, why would there only be half a steering wheel in the car?
The new Model S is set to be released later this year, starting at just shy of $80,000, with what some analysts expect to be one of the most efficient charging setups available today. Unlike some of its newer competitors.
Mike Murphy ( @mcwm) is the director of special projects at Protocol, focusing on the industries being rapidly upended by technology and the companies disrupting incumbents. Previously, Mike was the technology editor at Quartz, where he frequently wrote on robotics, artificial intelligence, and consumer electronics.