Elon Musk tweeted late Friday night that the delivery date for Tesla’s Model S Plaid was pushed back by one week to June 10.
The Tesla CEO said the highly anticipated electric vehicle “needs one more week of tweak.” He also described the car in some pretty dramatic terms.
“This car feels like a spaceship,” Musk, who also builds spaceships, said. “Words cannot describe the limbic resonance.”
According to Psychology Today, limbic resonance “refers to the energetic exchange that happens between two people who are interacting in a caring and safe relationship. Their interaction stimulates the release of certain neurochemicals in the limbic region of the brain.”
The Model S Plaid goes for $113,000 on Tesla’s website and can reach speeds of up to 200 mph.
Tesla cars will now monitor drivers who use Autopilot through in-car cameras, TechCrunch reports.
Tesla will activate the cameras, located above the rearview mirror, in Model 3 and Y cars to check that drivers are paying attention to the road while using Autopilot driver assist, it said in a message to drivers.
Last year, Tesla activated its cabin-facing cameras installed in its Model 3 and Y vehicles in a software update. The camera, if approved by the driver, would “help engineers develop safety features and enhancements in the future,” Tesla said in its release notes at the time.
Tesla has faced criticism over the safety of its self-driving features. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened at least 27 investigations into Tesla car crashes, and Autopilot was involved in at least three fatal crashes since 2016, Reuters reported.
Rumors have been bubbling for years that the Tesla Model S – the company’s longest-running model – would be getting a refresh. And on Wednesday, Elon Musk’s electric automaker came through.
Tesla teased a revamped Model S in its fourth-quarter 2020 earnings report on Wednesday, and updated its online configurator to reflect the forthcoming changes. Both the Model X and Model S are getting a full overhaul, with the new models entering production later this year, Tesla confirmed.
“Over the past few weeks, we have been upgrading our Fremont Factory to launch the new Model S and Model X. These changes include a new powertrain (battery modules, battery packs, drive units), an entirely new interior, exterior updates and other improvements,” the company said. “Production will resume in Q1 and ramp back to full capacity over time.”
Tesla has turned the sedan and SUV’s portrait-oriented touchscreens 90 degrees, so they now look like the landscape displays found in the Model Y and Model 3. The vehicles still retain a display behind the steering wheel, and get an extra one for the rear passengers built into the center console.
The most striking change is that Tesla ditched the normal round steering wheel found in the Model S and Model X in favor of what it calls a “steering yoke,” a squared-off wheel that doesn’t have any stalks. The turn signals appear to have migrated to haptic-touch buttons on the steering wheel itself.
A similar style of steering wheel was found on concept versions of the upcoming Cybertruck and Roadster.
The two models are getting new powertrain options as well.
For the Model S, Tesla eliminated the Performance trim and replaced it with the Plaid version. A new Plaid Plus version becomes the top-tier Model S, sporting a 520-mile range, 1,100 horsepower, and supercar-like speed and acceleration.
During Tesla’s earnings call with investors Wednesday, Musk said the new Model S and Model S Plaid would begin shipping in February, calling the latter “the fastest-accelerating car ever made that is allowed to go on roads in history”
The Model X now has a Plaid version of its own with a $119,990 sticker price and 1,020 horsepower.
The Long Range Model S costs $79,990, the Plaid version costs $119,990, and the Plaid Plus variant commands $139,990.
Tesla was asked by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to recall around 158,000 vehicles over faulty touchscreens, the agency said in a letter to the company Wednesday.
The NHTSA said the media control units on certain Tesla vehicles failed after their memory ran out, causing issues with the backup camera, defogging and defrosting settings, Autopilot system, and turn signals.
The issue impacted certain 2012-2018 Model S vehicles and 2016-2018 Model X vehicles, which used the NVIDIA flash memory devices that failed — after just five to six years on average.
Vice News first reported on the issue in October 2019, prompting the NHTSA to open an investigation in June 2020.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration sent a letter to Tesla on Wednesday asking the company to recall around 158,000 vehicles over faulty touchscreen hardware.
The agency said it was “investigating a potential safety-related defect concerning incidents of media control unit (“MCU”) failures” that had resulted in problems with the backup camera, defogging and defrosting settings, Autopilot, and turn signals.
The issue, which stemmed from the MCUs failing after exceeding their storage capacity, impacted certain 2012-2018 Model S and 2016-2018 Tesla Model X vehicles.
The touchscreens on those models are powered by an NVIDIA processor which stores data in an attached “flash memory device.” But those devices have a finite amount of storage capacity, and according to the NHTSA’s investigation, once they filled up – which happened after just 5 to 6 years, on average – they shut down, causing the MCUs to fail and creating other safety issues.
The MCU failures resulted in the rearview/backup camera screen going “black,” an inability to control defogging and defrosting settings, and the loss of some Autopilot alerts and turn signal functionality, which the agency said could “increase the risk of crash.”
The NHTSA said its Office of Defects Investigation had “tentatively concluded that the failure of the media control unit (MCU) constitutes a defect related to motor vehicle safety.” While the letter doesn’t formally require Tesla to order a recall, the automaker must submit additional justification if it decides not to, and the NHTSA can still take further action if it isn’t satisfied with Tesla’s response.
Vice News originally reported on the issue in October 2019, citing a Tesla repair expert who said: “When this burns out, you wake up to a black screen [in the car’s center console.] There’s nothing there. No climate control. You can generally drive the car, but it won’t charge.”
The NHTSA said it opened its own investigation on June 22, 2020.