Images of the new 2022 Tesla Model S have emerged, giving us a first close-up glimpse of the EV maker’s premium electric sedan that has been given a refreshed exterior and interior design.
Speculation has been widespread that Tesla is cooking up something new for its flagship sedan and also the Model X SUV after the EV maker said would shut its Model S and Model X lines over the Christmas break.
A new look, both inside and out, was confirmed by Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk at the company’s fourth quarter 2020 earnings call in January – the first significant change for either vehicle since they were launched in 2012 and 2015 respectively.
The images show the new sleek styling of the Model S exterior, as well as the substantially re-worked dashboard which includes a horizontal touchscreen.
Amusingly, being a test vehicle, it would appear that there is also some wiring yet to be completed.
But most noticeably, the vehicle snapped does not have the “yoke” steering wheel on a stalkless column that caught so much attention when the EV maker changed images of the Model S on its website in January:
It is understood that Tesla may offer the yoke steering wheel, which allows for better visibility of the smaller screen behind the wheel, as an option – as long as it is approved for use.
Teslarati reports that the US-based National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has said it will work with Tesla to determine that the half-sized steering wheel meets safety standards:
“At this time, NHTSA cannot determine if the steering wheel meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. We will be reaching out to the automaker for more information,” a spokesperson for the road safety firm was quoted as saying.
The Driven has reached out to ANCAP for a local response also and will update as more information comes to hand.
Other new additions to the refreshed Model S and Model X include better efficiency thanks to a new battery architecture with improved thermal performance, as well a heat pump to replace the former resistive heating system.
Heated seats are now standard for all seats, as well as a heated steering wheel and windshield, and for warmer climates there is “tri-zone” cabin air conditioning.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.