Tesla single-handedly accelerated the automotive industry’s transition from combustion engines to fully electric vehicles, and its first mass-market EV, the Model S, played a big part in this. Launched in 2012, the Model S has undergone several major updates over the years that have kept it up to date, and it’s still a relevant full-size electric sedan that offers an unmatched value proposition with its advanced tech and remarkable performance.

However, it’s not the class leader it once was, and direct rivals beat it in every category except for semi-autonomous driving. Tesla’s Full Self Driving may be far from perfect or ready for a wider public rollout. Still, it’s far more advanced and usable than any similar solution from a rival manufacturer. However, the Lucid Air Sapphire has surpassed the Model S Plaid as the world's quickest electric sedan (and the Porsche Taycan Turbo GT is way quicker around a track), and the regular Lucid Air boasts superior efficiency and a longer range.

Tesla Model S Level 2 Charging

If Tesla were a traditional automaker, it would have pulled the plug on the Model S years ago. It’s a different company that views the business of making cars very differently from most of its competitors, which is one reason it overtook them so quickly. They still haven’t fully caught up. No OEM would consider keeping the same sedan in production for 12 years, and if you look at the sales figures (which for the Model S are insignificant compared to how many Model Ys and Model 3s Tesla sells), it doesn’t make much sense to keep making it.

Tesla has not officially announced the arrival of a new Model S, but some clues suggest it may be in the pipeline.

A Look Back At The Model S

2016 Tesla Model S

2016 Tesla Model S

2016 Tesla Model S

Work on the Tesla Model S began before 2007, and it was first shown as a concept in 2009. The production version debuted in 2012, and its design stayed true to the sporty yet luxurious-looking concept, whose aesthetics had hints of Jaguar and Maserati with performance to match. It was far more appealing to look at than any EV that came before it, dispelling the notion that EVs looked weird and were slow.

Tesla made numerous changes to the Model S in 2015, including new battery packs and powertrain improvements. No version of the Model S can be called slow, but the P100D variant (with P standing for “Performance”), which debuted in 2016, delivered up to 762 horsepower in “Ludicrous” mode, which launched the car from 0 to 60 mph in about 2.5 seconds.

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S with 17-inch portrait style infotainment display.

The sub-3-second sprint time, which at the time made it the world’s quickest-accelerating production car, finally convinced many naysayers to change their tune on EV performance—no matter how much high-octane fuel ran through your veins, you simply couldn’t ignore the numbers. Tesla later introduced “Ludicrous Plus” mode, including a dedicated launch mode, lowering the benchmark sprint time to 2.3 seconds.

The current version of the Model S debuted in 2021 with an updated exterior featuring refreshed fascias and light clusters and a more modern interior. The big addition inside was a new landscape screen that replaced the 17-inch portrait display the car had since launch. This refresh also marked the introduction of the fastest Model S version to date, the Plaid, as well as the controversial yoke.

New Tesla Platform

Tesla Giga Texas

Tesla Giga Texas

Tesla is said to be working on an all-new electric vehicle built on a new platform. The project is internally designated “Redwood,” and it's a crossover that is expected to launch next year. During an earnings call in January of this year, Elon Musk confirmed that the first in the new line of next-generation Teslas will enter production at its Giga Texas plant in Austin in mid-2025. He was most likely referring to Project Redwood.

This new platform won’t just be used for one vehicle, though, and according to a Reuters report, at least two more models will use the next-gen platform, which bears the internal codename “NV9X,” and it’s fair to assume that not all will be crossovers or SUVs. Reading between the lines, it doesn’t sound like the platform has only been developed for compact, affordable vehicles (although that’s what Tesla is believed to build on it first), and it will probably underpin larger, more luxurious vehicles, like the Model S.

Even though the Model S still looks good, it hasn’t received a major design update since 2016. Combining a sharp new design and a ground-up new platform with better efficiency, range and performance would surely be a winner, building on the model’s existing fame and fan base.

Increasingly Talented Competitors

2025 Porsche Taycan Turbo GT

2025 Porsche Taycan Turbo GT

2024 Lucid Air Sapphire
2024 BMW i5

When the Model S debuted, it had no direct rivals, and it stood out as a very unique proposition alongside the EVs of the era. Today, though, there are a whole slew of talented electric sedans that are quicker, more efficient and have a longer range. Luxury electric sedan buyers have a lot more models to choose from, like the BMW i5, which is the fully electric version of the new BMW 5 Series, the Mercedes-Benz EQE, a bespoke E-Class-sized model, or the Porsche Taycan, which ticks all the right boxes for driving enthusiasts looking at electric sedans.

With electric sedan sales still fairly strong, Tesla probably won’t want to lose out in a segment it used to dominate, even if the Model S doesn’t sell in high volumes. Tesla sold just under 69,000 Model S sedans and Model X SUVs combined in 2023, compared to 1,74 million combined Model 3 and Model Y sales. The market for electric sedans at the Model S’ price point is smaller and already pretty crowded, but an all-new Model S could shake things up.

Tesla has never in its history launched an all-new second-generation model to replace an existing car in its range. The closest it’s come to doing that is with the Roadster, its most heavily delayed model ever. Perhaps Tesla doesn't want to demonstrate its dominance in its market segment by launching a second-generation Model S, particularly given Elon Musk's apparent waning interest in electric car manufacturing and his focus on non-Tesla ventures—it would be a shame to stop the Model S legacy with the first-gen model, though.

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