Tesla Model S New Spec Upgrades in 2020

The Tesla Model S was a revolutionary car when is first released in 2012. It’s impressive range has yet to be beaten by even modern electric cars, but how much has the Model S improved over the years?

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Time magazine recently released its list of the top ten gadgets of the 2010 decade, and they included the Model S as one of the top 10 gadgets and they had this to say in the article.

The electric sedan has slowly reshaped the trajectory of the automotive industry. forcing competitors to embrace a battery-powered future instead of the gas-guzzling present, and challenging the belief that electric cars can’t be cool. Features like downloadable software updates, a huge touchscreen display, and advanced autopilot capabilities, make it feel like a vehicle from 2022 instead of 2012. Think of the Tesla Model S as the iPod of cars if your iPod could do 0 to 60 in 2.3 seconds.

Here’s something that Elon musk had to say about the 2012 Tesla Model S when it was released at the Model S delivery event.

It’s showing that an electric car can be the best car in the world, that’s what makes it important. What we believe customers will discover as we’ve talked about a little already, is that this is the best car in every dimension that matters. Whether it’s performance, safety, handling, the technology, the interface, the styling aesthetics, it’s fundamentally better

The Model S was impressive in 2012, but it has gotten even better over the years. And now I want to talk about the main big upgrades that have been included in the Model S in the nine years since it’s been released.

In this article, I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the aesthetics of the vehicle, both interior and exterior design changes.

I’m going to focus mainly on the performance, the technology and the efficiency changes in the vehicle, as well as the costs.

it is important to note that in 2016 they did do a front-end redesign of the vehicle, they took away the nose cone and gave it a cleaner look.

Better Performance

The first category that I want to discuss comparing the 2012 Model S to the 2020 Model S is the performance aspects of the vehicle.

I pulled a graphic up from an old 2012 Tesla Motors website page, on that page, it compared the different variants of the vehicle that were available.

I noticed the 85-kilowatt hour battery pack for both the standard and the performance was in production and available at that time, with a range of 265 miles.

When I’m talking about performance I want to talk about these three metrics. The zero to 60 miles per hour time, the quarter-mile time and the top speed.

Based on an archived page of Tesla’s website the 2012 Model S performance with an 85-kilowatt-hour pack was able to do 0 to 60 in 4.4 seconds or 0 to 100 kilometers in 4.5 seconds.

The 20/20 Model S performance has gotten the number all the way down to 2.4 seconds, of course, that’s with ludicrous mode, which is now included in the 2020 Model S at the standard price, and it goes from zero to 100 kilometers an hour in 2.6 seconds.

Model S0-601/4 MileTop Speed
2012 P854.4 sec4.5 sec130 mph
2020 Per2.4 sec2.6 sec163 mph

Very impressive and a huge two-second shaving off the zero to 60 mile per hour time, and almost two seconds off the zero to 100 miles per hour time, an impressive update.

The quarter-mile time has also improved quite substantially. The 2012 Model S performance was able to do the quarter-mile, based on Tesla’s data, at twelve point six seconds.

I watched a video on YouTube where somebody was able to clock a 10.61-second quarter mile with a 2020 Model S performance. That’s the Raven upgrade.

The other metric to compare between these two vehicles is that the 2012 Model S had a top speed of 130 miles per hour, or 210 kilometers an hour. And the 2020 Model S performance has a top speed of 163 miles per hour or 261 km/h.

In 2019 Tesla released what they called the Raven update for the Tesla Model S, and the Model X. This included adaptive air suspension, which gave the vehicle a lot better ride and better adaptive damping.

They also replaced the front induction motor with a more efficient motor from the model 3, which is a permanent magnet synchronous reluctance motor.

The combination of these two motors allows for increased efficiency without losing any power, and a faster charge rate of up to 200 kilowatts. The 2020 Model S has these Raven updates.

Model S Range

The next category that I want to talk about comparing the 2012 model S to the 2020 Model S is the range and efficiency increases. The 2012 85 kilowatts hour standard Model S was able to get 265 miles, or 426 kilometers range.

Model SBatteryRange
2012 P8585 kWh265 mi
2020 Per100 kWh373 mi

Whereas the 2020 Model S with a hundred-kilowatt hour pack can go 373 miles, or 600 kilometers and that is a 40% increase in range.

Tesla Model S Efficiency

When it comes to efficiency it takes 38-kilowatt hours of power for the 2012 model S to go 100 miles, and it takes 8-kilowatt hours less for the 2020 model as long-range to go 100 miles.

Model SkWh Per 100 MilesMiles Per kWh
2012 P8538 kWh2.61 mi
2020 Per30 kWh3.33 mi

That is a 27 percent efficiency improvement between the two vehicles.

Model S Purchase Cost

The next important thing to talk about is the cost of these vehicles. With all of the features and improvements we’ve already discussed with more to come.

It would make sense if the 2020 Model S was quite a bit more expensive than a 2012 Model S, but as you’ll see in a minute this is not the case.

The non-performance single motor 2012 Model S was sold for $79,900 in 2012, in 2020 you can buy the 100-kilowatt hour Model S with a dual motor for s$79,900.

For the performance models, the 2012 85 kilowatts hour single motor performance model was sold for $94,900. The 2020 hundred kilowatts hour dual motor performance with Ludacris included is $99,990.

2012 VS 2020 Tesla Model S Purchase Cost Image

When you look at the difference between the prices and consider that over the years the improvements it’s incredible that Tesla has been able to keep the prices the same, especially when you consider inflation.

I think it’s kind of fun to see what kind of value these cars offered in 2012 and what kind of value these cars give in 2020.

Something I thought was interesting and helps to tell the picture here of how much the Model S has improved since 2012 is the value. Meaning how much are you paying per mile of range.

Cost Per Mile of Range

Costs per kWh based on purchase price of car.

The 2012 non-performance Model S, you would have paid $301 mile of range or $188 per kilometer of range or 2.61 miles per kWh. (Use our Miles Per kWh Calculator) to work out how much electricity you are using to run your EV) The 2020 non-performance Model S you would pay $214 per mile of range, or 133 per kilometer of range.

The 2020 performance Model S is $287 per mile of range, or a $179 per kilometer of range or 3.3 miles per kWh. Once again a large difference.

Model SCost Per MileMiles Per kWh
2012 P85$3012.61 mi
2020 Per$2873.33 mi

They’re making the 2020 model based on this fact alone a great deal, but of course, there are so many other added features.

Software and Hardware Updates

What about the software and hardware updates that have happened over the nine years? In 2012 autopilot did not yet exist on the Model S. Business Insider had an article and this is what it said about autopilot.

Autopilot became an add-on option in September of 2014, by the end of the year all-new Model S cars included the camera, radar and ultrasonic sensor Hardware necessary for the addition. The functionality could be activated at any time for an additional fee.

As I have already mentioned the 2012 Model S doesn’t have autopilot, and it didn’t have the sensors necessary for autopilot.

Yet the 2020 Model S includes the new Tesla designed hardware 3 full self-driving computer, which includes standard autopilot included in the price of the vehicle.

If you pay for the full self-driving you have features like navigate on autopilot that allows you car to change lanes and take exits for you when on the freeway.

It includes features like smart summon where you can summon your vehicle from a parking spot to the front of a store, for example, it also includes a very important feature called sentry mode.

Sentry mode allows you to have video footage recorded anytime anything is triggered around your car, or there’s an event where somebody hit your car and you’re not in it.

Dashcam automatically records both front, side and back views of your car, so if you do have an incident you’ll be able to show the video footage of that event.

They also recently added YouTube, Netflix, karaoke and video games to the cars. One of the newest updates that rolled out at the very end of 2019 included camper mode and the ability for it to read your text messages from your cell phone.

These are just a few of the updates over the last few years, not all of them, but these are just some of the ones that I thought it good to talk about.

Self Driving System

We learned about this in the autonomy day when Elon Musk and the autopilot team spent several hours going over all the details of the full self-driving computer.

I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this because you can go watch that on Tesla’s YouTube channel where they talk about all the different stats on that particular computer.

But just for the sake of this article, it’s quite a bit faster which allows Tesla to get closer to full self-driving, and should be able to be feature-complete with this particular hardware computer.

Future Development

The last thing I’d like to talk about is what will happen to the Tesla Model S in the future.

Earlier this year we heard about the Tesla Plad Model S, and Model X coming by the middle to end of 2020.

They talked about some of the features of that, but one of the most notable features was that it’s a three-motor design, similar to what is going to be in the Roadster.

We expected it to have a larger battery pack than 100-kilowatt hours, of course, the three motor design from the Roadster so that should give it increased range.

Increased performance, both on the quarter-mile and zero to 60, and interestingly enough it should be able to outpace the more expensive Porsche Taycon.

The Tesla Model S was very impressive in 2012, it’s even more impressive in 2020 and I can’t even imagine how much better it will be when the plaid Model S comes out at the end of the year.

Tesla is constantly improving its vehicles, its lead on technology, range and performance and grow more and more every year.

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