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Most people know Tesla for its state-of-the-art electric vehicles. But the company also manufactures battery energy storage, solar panels, and solar roof tiles.
Most people know Tesla for its state-of-the-art electric vehicles. But the company also manufactures battery energy storage, solar panels, and solar roof tiles.
( Source: Tesla)

Tesla Tesla EV models: comparison and Model S/X refresh update

Author / Editor: Jason Unrau / Erika Granath

Tesla's vehicles don't hold to the typical model year-end refresh structure. Still, new options and tech find their way into the lineup regularly. Will there be a Tesla Model S refresh or Model X update coming soon?

This article takes a closer look at Tesla's Model S luxury sedan and the Model X SUV and reviews recent and upcoming updates to each model. Furthermore, it goes through what's new for the rest of the Tesla range.

But first, let's recap the basics of Tesla's Model S and Model X.

Tesla Model S vs. Model X: What's the Difference?

Launched the same year, 2016, there's one main difference between Tesla's Model S and Model X—one is an SUV, and the other is a sedan. Still, the two models have plenty in common.

Model S

Tesla Model S.
Tesla Model S.
(Source: Tesla)

Tesla Model S is an all-electric five-door liftback sedan. As of February 16, 2020, the Model S Long Range Plus has an EPA range of 390 miles (630 kilometers.)

Tesla's Model S has received a perfect five stars in every National Highway Traffic Safety Administration test. It comes standard with both a blind spot monitoring system, lane-departure warning, and automatic emergency braking.

In 2013, the Model S became the first-ever electric car to top the monthly new-car-sales ranking in any country, leading in Norway both in September and December that year.

Model X

Tesla Model X.
Tesla Model X.
(Source: Tesla)

The Tesla Model X is a mid-size all-electric luxury SUV. One thing making this car unique is that it's using falcon-wing doors instead of traditional automotive doors. The Model X has an official EPA rated 250–325 miles (402–523 kilometers) range.

The Model X was developed from the platform of its slightly older sibling Model S and shares ~30 percent of its content with the Model S, half of the initially planned ~60 percent.

In 2016, after one full year on the market, the Model X ranked seventh among the world's global best-selling plug-in cars.

Recent refreshments for Model S and Model X

Extended battery range in April 2019

In April 2019, Tesla started using optimized motors with improved lubrication, bearings, cooling, and gear designs. The result was an electric motor with more than 93 percent efficiency. The direct impact for both the S and X models was an increase in range of 10 percent. The Model S could now achieve up to 370 miles (595 kilometers) on a full charge while the Model X topped out at 325 miles (523 kilometers) per charge.

Raven update in June 2019

The Performance model of the Tesla Model X and Model S was updated in June 2019 with new headlights as the main visual change. However, this version also shortened charging times on Superchargers by half and upgraded the air suspension to fully-adaptive damping. Repeat customers who buy the Performance model receive Tesla's Ludicrous Mode upgrade for free also.

Interior upgrades for Model X in October 2019

Effective from October 2019, the Model X is being built with new front seats that are slimmer and less bulky than the previous seat model. The change adds legroom for second-row passengers and allows for a seatback pocket to increase storage options in the Model X.

Wireless phone charger released in January 2020

Incremental improvement for the Model X and Model S came in the form of a feature already offered in Model 3, a wireless phone charger. It's built into the center console's lid, and, while seemingly minute, the upgrade is a popular and relevant feature.

Long Range Plus variants announced in February 2020

Early in 2020, the Long Range Plus variant was available on the Tesla website. Although the ranges listed for the Model S and Model X respectively were increased to 390 miles (627 kilometers) and 351 miles (564 kilometers), the onboard equipment doesn't appear to have changed. In fact, Elon Musk said that the two models are capable of the longe range even previous to the release, and the extra range will be unlocked for free via a software update in the future.

A look at the rest of the Tesla portfolio

Tesla's lineup may have started with the Model X and Model S, but there are other models to draw inspiration from. Below, we'll take a closer look at Tesla's Model 3 and Cybertruck.

Model 3

Tesla Model 3.
Tesla Model 3.
(Source: Tesla)

Limited production of Tesla's Model 3 began in mid-2017. There are two versions of Model 3, the Standard Range Plus version and the Long Range version. The Standard Range Plus version delivers an EPA-rated all-electric range of 250 miles (402 kilometers). The Long Range versions offer 322 miles (518 kilometers). At least one Model 3 was driven 606 miles (975 kilometers) on a single charge.

The Model 3's landscape-positioned center stack screen might not seem like a big deal, but users tend to like it better than the portrait-style screen in the X and S. It doesn't only go well with the minimalist interior but is also said to be more UX-friendly.

Model Y

Tesla Model Y.
Tesla Model Y.
(Source: Tesla)

Tesla's Model Y, an electric compact crossover utility vehicle (CUV), was unveiled in March 2019 and went into production at Tesla's Fremont plant in January this year. The Model Y fills a smaller size segment from its bigger sibling, the mid-sized Model X.

As of now, there are four different powertrains planned for the Model Y: Standard Range, Long Range, Long Range with Dual-Motor All-Wheel Drive, and Performance.

Roadster

Tesla Roadster.
Tesla Roadster.
(Source: Tesla)

The Tesla Roadster is a concept all-electric battery-powered four-seater sports car. According to Tesla, the car is 'the quickest car in the world, with record-setting acceleration, range, and performance.' It has a top speed of eye-popping 250 mph (402 km/h) and goes from 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) in as little as 1.9 seconds.

A lightweight, removable Glass Roof stores in the trunk for an open-air, convertible driving experience. However, all this luxury comes at a high price tag; Tesla's Roadster's base price is no less than US$200,000.

Cybertruck

Tesla Cybertruck.
Tesla Cybertruck.
(Source: Tesla)

The Tesla Cybertruck is an all-electric, battery-powered, light commercial vehicle still under development. The futuristic-looking Cybertruck might not be everyone's cup of tea. That said, its design may inspire future model refresh items in other Tesla models. The full-width LED front headlight bar, armor glass, and stainless-steel exterior are a few items Tesla enthusiasts can hope to filter their way into other models.

Cybertruck production is slated to begin at some point during 2021. Tesla has announced that there will be three versions of the Cybertryck, with range estimates of 250–500 miles (400–800 kilometers), depending on the model.

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