Model S Changes from 2012 to 2019

We’ve identified most of the visible changes made between the 2012 and 2019 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
  • AM radio removed in Mar-2018 with new MCU2
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Autopilot hardware with 8 cameras, radar and 12 long range sonar sensors
  • Autopilot processor upgraded to HW2.5 with additional redundancies
  • 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
  • Charger on single phase S/X 100 changed from 72 amps to 48 amps in Nov-2018
  • Collision avoidance
  • DRL LEDs are now wider and are very evenly illuminated
  • Electric steering upgraded with redundant power connections
  • FOB now has rubber surround with key chain ring
  • FOB operation changes – roll-down windows function removed, open charge port door added
  • FOB security improved (June-2018)
  • 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, black, tan or cream
  • 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)
  • MCU2 – new faster processor, improved Bluetooth (Mar-2018)
  • Models 40, 60, 60D, 70, 70D, 75, 85, 85D, P85, P85D, P85+, 90D, P90D discontinued
  • 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
  • Slipstream wheels
  • Supercharger free for life changed to free 400 kW per year (on cars ordered after 2016, and in 2018, no longer free.
  • 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. Newest tires have sound deadening foam
  • Mobile Connector button has no cut-lines
  • Visors are taller
  • Windshield surrounding black paint no longer has the round dots transition from black to clear
Options – New and Changes
  • Air filters – dual activated carbon, optional in 2016, now standard in 2018
  • All-wheel drive, optional in 2014, now standard in 2018
  • Carbon Fibre rear spoiler now standard on P100D
  • Enhanced autopilot
  • Fog lights, improved, optional and now standard in 2018
  • Full-self driving capability
  • Full-self driving pre-order unavailable
  • Glass roof, optional in 2016, now standard in 2018
  • HEPA Cabin Filtering, optional in 2016, now standard
  • High Amperage Charger upgrade (to 72 amps), discontinued in 2018
  • Longer range and higher performance with the 90D and P100D
  • Non-leather steering wheel (by verbal request only)
  • Pano roof, was optional, but now discontinued Nov-2018
  • Parking assist
  • Performance options for Insane and Ludicrous modes
  • Premium seats have adjustable front headrests
  • Quick connection phone dock
  • Rear facing kids seats – option discontinued Nov-2018
  • Sub-zero weather package with heated rear seats, heating steering wheel, wiper blade defrosters, washer nozzle heaters, optional now standard in 2018
  • Three position dynamic turning lights, optional now standard in 2018
  • Ultra High Performance Sound is now standard in 2018
  • XM radio now standard in 2018
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)
  • Deep blue added
  • Midnight silver metallic added
  • Obsidian black added, and discontinued
  • 2019 colors: Black, Midnight silver metallic, Deep Blue, Pearl White, Red
Interior Color/Surface Changes
  • Grey and Tan interior colors discontinued
  • Added Cream interior (some models)
  • Added Ultra-white interior (some models)
  • Leather seating option replaced with synthetic leather
  • Premium black seating surfaces now standard
  • Ventilated seat option added, removed, and now standard in 100D
  • Fabric seats a free hidden option (by verbal request only)
  • Ultra suede partial dash surface optional, now standard
  • Lacewood, piano black, obeche matte, obeche gloss decor discontinued
  • Figured ash and dark ash decor added
  • Carbon fibre decor standard on 100D, not available on other models
  • Interior colors and surfaces now set as a fixed package and cannot be mixed and matched

5 thoughts on “Model S Changes from 2012 to 2019

  1. GTDoc says:

    Hopefully Tesla hasn’t forgotten how important the Model S is to the company both in getting tomthis point and maintaining it’s status as the innovator and leader in electric cars. The model S is due for more than a refresh but a total make over inside and out. Just when the competition finals introduces their “Tesla Killers”, a new model S with a 400 mile range and features such as heads up display, better lane avoidance collision, auto door closure ala X, perhaps 3 motors etc. should blow them into the weeds.

  2. EVRider says:

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

  3. fonguy says:

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

Leave a Reply