Tesla’s Plaid Model S refresh event details

    Image credit: Gerald McNerney

    Today, Tesla held their Model S refresh event where they showcased the new Plaid Model S variant. The event was held at Tesla’s Kato Road, Freemont facility at their newly sealed test track. Back at Battery Day last year, Tesla announced the pilot line would be capable of producing about 10 GWh of batteries per year by 2021, but the big question many in the Tesla community had was around the new 4680 battery and if it has made its way into the refreshed Model S.

    This launch event comes many months after the original plan to close down production for just 17 days back in late 2020. We’ve now gone a full 6 months with new Model S and Model X being produced, so anticipation for these refreshed vehicles is massive.

    The event is being streamed online at


    The Model S Plaid is now the fastest production car on the planet, with a 0-60mph time of just 1.99s (with rollout subtracted) thanks to a new tri-motor powertrain. A top speed of 200 mph (320km/h) is possible when equipped with the proper wheels and tires (available fall 2021).

    If it wasn’t clear the future of performance vehicles is electric, it should be now.

    The car can complete the 1/4 mile in just 9.23s.


    While the exterior design has been tweaked, the big refresh is really on the interior. The new 17″ landscape display running 2200 x 1300 resolution is powered by an AMD processor with up to 10 teraflops of processing power, enabling in-car gaming on-par with today’s newest consoles.

    The refresh also improves the experience for passengers in the back, with a rear display that can also be used for gaming and entertainment.

    During the event, we seen Cyberpunk 2077 running on the front screen, showcasing how powerful the graphics are.

    Yoke / Smart Shift

    The start of Model S customer deliveries means we’re now going to see people experience the new Yoke for the first time. This has been one of the most controversial changes in the new design of the Model S and X. This change is also combined with a new approach to selecting gears.

    Smart Shift was revealed in leaked photos of the upcoming V11 software update and in theory could come to Model 3 and Y vehicles as well. If it is indeed a better way of selecting gears (having the car guess which direction you want to go, other Tesla owners will certainly be keen for it).


    During the event, Elon confirmed the charging speeds have improved, with the ability to add 187 miles (around 300km) in just 15 minutes. He went on to say that despite having grown the number of Supercharger stations to 25,000 globally, they’re not done with V3, and are working towards 350kW.

    Australians know that we already have electric vehicle chargers from Tritium and ABB that offer 350kW charging.

    Live Stream

    The event has now concluded and if you missed it, you can re-watch it on YouTube below.

    Other noteworthy developments..

    Spotted for the first time at the event is a new Plaid badge on the Model S.

    This is the first look under the Model S Plaid, naturally we can’t tell the battery size or chemistry from this view, as the hardened shield below.

    At the launch event, attendees are reporting this very unique, side-mounted Model S, promoting the Coefficient of drag – Cd 0.208, this is down from 0.24 in the previous Model S. By having an aerodynamically car, range is increased, so a focus on this in the design of an EV is important to delivering 390mi / 628km of range.

    Event Gallery

    There were a number of video clips rolled during the vent and many of them showcase the changes in the refreshed Model X. Below is a gallery of images from the event.

    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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