Will the Model S have model years?

Will the Model S have model years?

With rolling updates and improvements, it's easy to imagine a time when a new Model S doesn't really match an earlier one feature-for-feature. Have there been any announcements from the company regarding model years or other designations for new feature sets? | April 22, 2014

No one is going to be able to address this except by opinion.

To date, the Model S has seen a number of updates and improvements and there has been no indication of that changing. At some point there will likely be a refresh of the design, but, with the Model X and 3rd gen vehicle coming, the expectation is that won't happen until those products are out.

I like this continuous improvement process, although it means there is not some point where everyone gets excited about a new model with new features and press coverage that comes with the new model.

That's not much of an issue at this time considering the small number of Model Ss and the current strong demand.

stevenmaifert | April 22, 2014

There is a model year listed on the MVPA, but I suspect that is there more to satisfy state DMV registration requirements than anything else. Like most ICE cars these days, the model year changeover is more evolutionary than revolutionary, but I am old enough to remember the good old days when we waited with anticipation to see what Detroit had to surprise us with each year.

amitb00 | April 22, 2014

Mine is a 2014 model

Red Sage ca us | April 22, 2014

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that the Model Year is tied to the VIN designation.

Pungoteague_Dave | April 22, 2014

It is not just opinion - there are lots of new parts numbers, on more recent cars and updated parts on some older cars, but all updates are not applied to every car when serviced. Some are not offered at all, such at the the A battery vs B-D batteries, and some are done only on request, such as the rear seatbelt mod, defroster outlets, and many more. Even the underbody armor upgrade is done only at owner request.

However, every new car being delivered will have the latest, so it does matter when a car was built - but even that does not always tell the story, as some people received A batteries long after B batteries started going into cars. I have a fairly low VIN (#4061) and have been fairly diligent about getting optional upgrades applied to my car. Some upgrades, like the stronger wiper arms, are only done when one fails, so I was unable to get that done. Other upgrades have taken a bit of work, such as the driveline replacement for the inverter hum, which took a couple trips to Rockville, and an engineering review from Fremont, before it was decided to replace the motor/inverter assembly. On the other hand, my A battery became a B battery after it failed while at a service center - serendipity provided that upgrade, which would never be done on request.

Model years will never tell the story because of the rolling nature of the engineering changes. Tesla has changed manufacturers for some parts at least three times. For example, there are currently three versions of both the rear package shelf and the footwell cover. Which one you have depends on your diligence in getting the latest version. Even some body reinforcements have changed on an interim basis, so knowing what you are getting in a used Model S purchase is almost impossible. For example, the jump seat reinforcements are now applied to every car. Initially the required reinforcements were not there at all, but TM had a program to retrofit some early cars on an as-requested basis. Then they established a policy that jump seats had to be ordered with the car as OEM. Now all new-delivery cars have the required reinforcement and the jump seats can, once again, be retrofitted.

Most car manufacturers have some interim upgrades, and their parts catalogs have VIN number ranges within model years. So a throttle body on our 2007 Honda Ridgeline would have one part number up to a specific VIN, and another after that VIN. I am sure that TM maintains such a database, but it is doubtful that it is able to know which carpet or package shelf is on your car, as these tend to be local grab-and-go upgrades, usually documented in the service record system, but unlikely to be listed anywhere as a part number specific to your car. This is a positive and negative - your car is as up to date as you make it, but not every car within a model year (or even within a specific VIN range) is the same. In my mind, our car will always be an Early-2013, because Later-2013's have things I will never have, such as a new wiring harness that supports things like parking sensors, the cold weather package (rear heated seats and heated wipers) and retractable mirrors - features that did not exist for my version of the "2013 model year", but which became standard options for later deliveries.

Bottom line - we do have model years based on the manufacturing date of the car. What that means is highly variable based on what was being applied to cars on the production line when the car rolled out the back door in Fremont.

Brian H | April 22, 2014

Excellent summary.