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Model S Changes from 2012 to 2017

We’ve identified most of the visible changes made between the 2012 and 2017 Model S. We know there are thousands of additional small and not-so small changes out of sight. Not shown are the extensive software updates and new features, since these changes are mostly included in all cars regardless of age.

General Changes
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Autopilot hardware with 8 cameras, radar and 12 long range sonar sensors
  • Battery (12v) moved for easier replacement
  • Brake hold
  • Center console with options for additional cup holders
  • Charge port door auto-closes
  • Charge port lock/unlock quieter
  • Charger current boosted from 40 amps to 48 amps
  • Collision avoidance
  • DRL LEDs are now wider and are very evenly illuminated
  • FOB now has rubber surround with key chain ring
  • FOB operation changes – roll-down windows function removed, open charge port door added
  • Front bumper style changed, eliminated nose cone.
  • Front carpets are held in place with Velcro tabs
  • Front cup holders no longer have cup grippers
  • Front defroster area now a screen (like original 2012-2013 cars, but ~2014-2015 cars had plastic vents that poked through the screen that didn’t look quite as nice)
  • Front door sills have a metal “Model S” insert instead of just black plastic
  • Frunk hatch is a single hook rather than two separate hooks
  • Frunk no longer has seal in hood with insulating membrane (just different, not better/worse)
  • Frunk smaller (to make room for AWD and HEPA filters)
  • Glove box a little smaller, no longer has a cavity for J1772
  • Headliner and side pillars in Alcantara rather than a fabric, choice of black or white
  • Improved sound insulation
  • Instrument Cluster display has higher resolution (ok, very hard to tell visually)
  • LED Headlights
  • Left side stalks changed places (turn signal now upper stalk)
  • Lower outside panels are now body colored
  • LTE cellular (can be retrofitted to non-LTE cars)
  • No kangaroo pockets in front seats
  • Now shows tire pressures for each tire
  • Outside bottom rear facia no longer has a chrome strip
  • Placement of stitching on armrests moved from top to sides (should show less dirt over time)
  • Power folding side mirrors
  • Reading lights are now warm-white 2700K rather than the very blue-white 6000K in older cars
  • Rear doors open wider
  • Rear hatch’s rear chrome strip with “TESLA” now has a much stronger embossing
  • Rear license plate illumination is now LEDs
  • Rear electric brakes now do dual duty – braking and as the parking brake
  • Rear seats have “ISO FIX” buttons to indicate hidden child seat latches (all cars have the latches)
  • Rear seat higher headrests (for reduced whiplash risk)
  • Rear trunk well lid is stronger and better designed
  • Rear USB charge ports and rear cup holders in center console
  • Rearview mirror is narrower (which doesn’t matter much)
  • Right Drive stalk no longer illuminated at night
  • Shape of the trunk well is slightly different and perhaps slightly larger
  • Side parking lights are now LEDs (unconfirmed, but fairly sure)
  • Slipstream wheels
  • Supercharger free for life changed to free 400 kW per year (on cars ordered after 2016)
  • Supercharger locations greatly expanded from original 6
  • Titanium battery shield
  • The 3-camera housing behind the rearview mirror is thinner than the single camera AP1 housing, and only slightly wider than the original rain sensor housing
  • Tire types changed several times over the years
  • UMC button has no cut-lines
  • Visors are taller
  • Windshield surrounding black paint no longer has the round dots transition from black to clear
New Options
  • Air filters – dual activated carbon
  • All-wheel drive
  • Enhanced autopilot
  • Fog lights (improved)
  • Full-self driving capability
  • Glass roof
  • HEPA Cabin Filtering
  • High Amperage Charger upgrade (to 72 amps)
  • Longer range and higher performance with the 90D and P100D
  • Parking assist
  • Performance options for Insane and Ludicrous modes
  • Premium seats have adjustable front headrests
  • Quick connection phone dock
  • Sub-zero weather package with heated rear seats, heating steering wheel, wiper blade defrosters, washer nozzle heaters
  • Three position dynamic turning lights
Exterior Color Changes
  • Signature Red option only on Signature cars in 2012 in USA
  • Solid White discontinued
  • Metallic brown, grey, deep green and dark blue discontinued
  • Titanium Silver Metallic discontinued (introduced in 2015)
  • Metallic midnight silver, Obsidian black, deep blue are new
Interior Seat Color Changes
  • Grey leather discontinued
  • Ultra-white new
Interior Décor Changes
  • Lacewood, piano black, obeche matte, obeche gloss discontinued
  • Dark ash and figured ash are new

4 thoughts on “Model S Changes from 2012 to 2017

  1. EVRider says:

    Another unlisted exterior color change: Titanium Silver Metallic was discontinued in 2016.

  2. fonguy says:

    Impressive list.
    How about performance options including insane and ludicrous modes?

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