Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

Being that the Tesla Model S is the electric automaker's flagship offering, it may be about time for a complete redesign.

We are hearing a lot lately that the Tesla Model 3 is not the company's third-generation vehicle. It is, instead, a smaller, more affordable, dumbed-down version of the company's flagship sedan. Musk has gone so far as to say that Tesla is anti-selling the Model 3, and touting the Model S. Musk said:

"We want to be super clear that Model 3 is not version 3 of our car. Model 3 is essentially a smaller, more affordable version of the Model S with fewer features."

Is Tesla continually reminding consumers of this detail because it will make less money on each Model 3 sold? Or, because until the Model 3 is in heavy production, Tesla needs to keep Model S sales up? Or, is it really because having to change the sedan's name to Model "3" has caused confusion? According to Musk:

Inside a Tesla Model S

Inside a Tesla Model S

"I thought we were being all clever by calling it the Model 3, but actually the joke's on me, because it caused confusion in the marketplace."

Once all of this Model 3 production deadline madness is behind, it may be high time for the Silicon Valley automaker to work toward a complete redesign of the Model S. The Model S underwent a decent facelift not long ago, and it caused quite a stir. Let's face it, the car is getting pretty old. It was definitely time for a new look. The new front fascia seems to have been widely accepted.

Regardless of what each vehicle means to the company, the Model 3 is brand new and exciting, and the Model S has been around awhile. Among the barrage of other exciting news from Musk; the Model 3, rockets, Mars, boring, electric buses, electric pickup trucks, electric semi-trucks, the Model Y, hyperloop, Amber Heard ... the Model S is likely at the bottom of the list.

The Model S came to market in 2012. Since Tesla doesn't deal in regular model years, and everything is achieved via over-the-air software updates, the vehicles continually transform. Second-generation Autopilot is now here, and (mostly) up to parity with the first-gen system. The P100D came along and made a name for itself as the fastest production car to date. But, the Model S is still the Model S.

As Tesla is a major competitor in the luxury auto market, and especially against the likes of German automakers BMW and Mercedes, it needs to be sure to keep up. Although Tesla is years ahead in some aspects, it could easily fall behind in others. Mercedes brought an all-new E-Class to market last year, and BMW is following suit with a new 5 Series. Audi has, at times, been accused of not keeping up with new models and tech, and has suffered from it.

Tesla is all about the next best thing. New, new, new. Reveals and unveils. Hopefully, the Palo Alto electric automaker doesn't get so tied up in what's to come, that it leaves behind its flagship. This will matter even more in a few years when competing luxury automakers come to market with brand new electrified rivals. Then, the old S may seem even more dated. It does sound like the proper time for a new Model S.

Source: Roadshow by CNET