Tesla's minimalistic approach and never-ending pursuit of how to simplify things (from the removal of buttons to megacastings) is one of the company's trademarks.
The refreshed Model S and Model X brings another interesting change as there is no drive mode selector (D, N, R, P) on the steering wheel, which also changed to a yoke.
The manufacturer developed the Auto Shift feature that is expected to correctly guess in which driving mode the car should be. The driver will be able to select the modes manually, on the touchscreen as well.
However, that's not all. There is a third option. The driver can manually select the mode also using capacitive buttons on the center console, below the wireless phone bays. It is an alternative option if the touchscreen would die or something.
It looks interesting and probably is far less costly than a lever.
Here is how Tesla explains the shifting gears using the center console:
"In addition to manually shifting gears on the touchscreen, you can select a gear by pressing a button located on the center console. In most situations, these buttons are not available until you press one of the gear buttons to activate it. When active, the LEDs associated with each gear illuminate and when you select a gear, the associated LED illuminates amber.
In situations where the touchscreen is unavailable (for example, experiencing a technical issue), or Model S is in Valet or Transport Mode, the gear selector on the center console activates automatically and there is no need to touch it to activate it."
The description of all three options can be found in the owner's manual:
For more specific details, check out the full owner's manual by clicking here.