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Tesla updates Model S with new front end, air filtration system, and faster charging

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Tesla Motors

The rumored refresh for Tesla's Model S sedan is now official, bringing a new-look fascia and adaptive LED headlights that hew closely to the design that first debuted on the Model X crossover late last year. The car is also getting a couple new interior finish choices and the a version of the Model X's ultra-aggressive cabin air filtration system as an option, which promises to filter out "99.97% of particulate exhaust pollution and effectively all allergens, bacteria and other contaminants from cabin air." It also includes the positive-pressure "Bioweapon Defense Mode" from the Model X.

Additionally, the Model S now has a 48-amp charger standard — up from 40 amps — which Tesla says will enable faster charging when connected to higher-amp outlets.

The changes are effective immediately and are already live on Tesla's website.

As evidenced by both the Model X and the Model 3, Tesla's design language is definitely trending toward a grille-less front end, possibly in an effort to squeeze as much aerodynamic efficiency out of the car as possible. (Elon Musk has said that he hopes for an impressively low 0.21 coefficient of drag for the Model 3.) It's a look that takes a little bit of getting used to — but judging from Model 3 pre-orders, it's certainly not deterring very many people.

Notably missing from this week's Model S update is the rumored 100kWh battery, which would improve the vehicle's range. Musk noted on a call last year that he expects battery packs to continue improving in capacity over a model's life, and it's possible — if not very likely — that the 100kWh model will be coming soon. At present, the Model S's largest battery is 90kWh.

Update 12:00PM ET: Updated to note that the Model S does not have "bioweapon defense mode."

Update 12:40PM ET: Updated to note that the Model S does have "bioweapon defense mode," according to the Model S Design Studio (but not the Model S marketing page).


Tesla Model X first look