A design refresh 2021 Tesla Model S has been spotted at the Toledo, OH Tesla Service Center with a round steering wheel and buttons marked as gear selectors. The round steering wheel can be seen from the exterior shot as well as the interior photo (below).
Posted on the Tesla Motors subreddit by u/cjh6793, the photos were originally taken by a member of the Tesla Owners Club of Michigan Facebook Group. According to the service staff at the Tesla center, the Yoke steering wheel will be optional on the production versions, regular steering will be standard, says the original poster.
This Model S is a test vehicle as we can see in the above interior photo, if you click/tap the interior photo and zoom-in, the temporary gear selector buttons can be seen under the wireless charging dock. Tesla is committed to get rid of the drive stalks as seen in the initial interior photos that the automaker released upon launch.
The gear selector buttons are in the order of (from left to right): PARK, REVERSE, NEUTRAL, DRIVE. The mystery of gear selection is finally unfolding with this interior photo, Tesla Autopilot (FSD) is not currently at the level of always making the correct decision on when to put the car in Park or Reverse, so the driver should be in control at the moment.
There’s also no turn signal stalks attached to this new Model S steering wheel but this functionality can be handled by Autopilot efficiently as seen in the FSD Beta videos.
The paper cup-tied with duct tape above the center console is most probably covering the emergency shut down switch, usually seen on tesla mule cars. The kill switch allows for completely switching off the test vehicle’s electrical/electronic system if something goes wrong, this might also be a regulatory requirement for test cars.
Tesla online car configurator shows that the new design refresh Model S deliveries are estimated to start in 5-11 weeks. Hopefully, Tesla will be able to complete the entire testing process and we will be able to witness a new wave of review videos and drag races with a 0-60 time of under 2.0 seconds.