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A deep dive inside the Tesla Model S Plaid (UI, Yoke, interior, ANC, more)

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As he lives in California, Tesla Raj seems to have found one of the early delivered Tesla Model S Plaid for a detailed overview of the car’s interior features and driving experience with the new Yoke steering wheel.

Overall, Tesla seems to have worked hard and smart to give the new Model S and Model X interior design a premium look, the look of a flagship car that a company can boast about.

I will only mention the newly explored options in the Plaid Model S in this post, for a detailed overview of the Model S Plaid interior features you can check the older article here.

Jump to the desired section:

The new Model S and X center touchscreen interface

Since Raj was invited to the Model S Plaid delivery event, he has the confirmation from Tesla officials that this new UI and software branch is specific to the Tesla Model S and Model X. Tesla now will be pushing two different software versions for the Model 3/Y and Model S/X separately.

Although the base firmware version on the new Model S Plaid is still v10.2 as the V11 software update is under development for a long time now.

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Gear Selection

Select gears via the 2021 Tesla Model S and Model X center touchscreen UI. Credits: @TeslaRaj / Illustrated by Iqtidar Ali (TeslaOracle.com).

With the introduction of the new 2021 Tesla Model S and Model X both Long Range and Plaid versions, Tesla has gotten rid of any stalks, including the gear selection ones. The Silicon Valley-based automaker has introduced a new innovative way of selecting Drive, Reverse, and Park from the center touchscreen as we can see in the illustrated tutorial above.

Tap the Car/Home icon in the bottom-left corner of the screen to open the main controls UI and the dotted strip with the aerial car icon on the far left of the screen > now press the brake pedal (two circles will start blinking on the vertical dotted strip) > slide the car icon upwards to put the car in DRIVE. Similarly, slide the car icon downwards to put the in REVERSE. To put the car in PARK, tap the button with the letter P above the vertical dotted strip (see visual instructions above or in the video).

Gear selection on the center console of the new Model S or Model X.

Auto-Shift

Auto-Shift out of Park option on the Model S Plaid center touchscreen. Credits: Tesla Raj / YouTube.

According to Elon Musk, we don’t even need those controls to put the car in drive or reverse, the car can decide itself if it needs to Reverse or Drive. Currently, this option is in beta and is called Auto-Shift out of Park (Beta), “When parked, automatically shifts to D or R when doors are closed, driver’s seatbelt is buckled, and brake is pressed,” the description on the center touchscreen (see the screenshot above).

Raj gave the Auto Shift option a few tests at the end of his review video above, worth watching.

However, Auto-Shift is currently optional and can be turned on or off by tapping the Car icon (home) > Pedals & Steering > Auto Shift out of Park (Beta).

Tilt-able center screen

According to Raj’s sources, the center touchscreen will be tilt-able only after a software update in the near future. At the moment, however, the center screen cannot be tilted manually or with a touch control on the screen itself.

Ventilated seat controls

In addition to the existing HVAC options, the 2021 Tesla Model S and X have the ventilated front seats. The heating or cooling of the ventilated seats can be controlled via the center touchscreen options by tapping the climate control icon (the temperature number on either side of the screen).

Ventilated seat controls in the Tesla Model S Plaid HVAC UI. Credits: Tesla Raj / YouTube (full video above).

As we can see in the screenshot below, the seat ventilation heating or cooling can be individually controlled via this interface. The seat icon can be tapped three times to increase or decrease the intensity of heating and cooling.

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The Yoke steering wheel

No, you can’t endlessly spin the Tesla Yoke steering wheel as Raj is seen doing in the above video on a demo Yoke at the delivery event. However, the Yoke steering is super soft and you can turn it easily with the palm of your hand.

On the right side, there are 4 buttons, horn, speed control, windshield wiper, and the mic for voice commands. On the left, there is high-beam, left, and right turn signals. Both sides have the ball rollers to rotate through certain options on the center screen while driving.

It takes one full rotation and a half to fully turn the new Model S or X left or right using the Yoke steering wheel.

Tesla Yoke steering specifications

SteeringSpecifications
TypeVariable ratio rack and pinion with electronic power steering, speed-sensitive.
Number of turns lock to lock2.33
Turning circle (curb to curb)40.3 ft/12.3 m
Source: Tesla Model S owner’s manual (2021 / North America, en-US).

All the speculations about the Yoke steering not going to make it to production have died as the actual customers have received their cars with this contemporary steering wheel design. Let’s check out one of the first test drives on the Yoke steering wheel by OCDetailing in the following video, looks slick!

Rear Screen

2021 Tesla Model S/X rear screen airflow controls. Credits: Tesla Raj / YouTube.

The smaller touchscreen placed between the front seats facing towards the rear passengers is a handy feature for listening music, setting the climate for rear seat passengers, seat heating, and using media like YouTube, Netflix, Twitch, and Hulu.

The rear passengers can also set the speed and direction of the airflow by tapping the fan icon in the center (see above) and then using the slider for fan speed and dragging the airflow animation in different directions to set the airflow angle.

There are 2 USB-C ports under the rear touchscreen as well. There does not seem to be a way to play games on the rear screen at the moment but an over-the-air (OTA) software update in the future might enable this feature as Tesla has been showing it in promotions.

Separate audio in the front and back

It was an interesting test as Raj tried to play different music in the front and the rear screen but the audio split was not successful. The need for splitting audio in the front and the back would be a scarce one but still going to be a cool feature for some occupants as kids would enjoy their own music or YouTube in the back seat and parents would listen to radio in the front.

Maybe in a future update, Tesla might split the speakers between the front and rear screens, anything is possible with Tesla’s free OTA updates.

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)

The new Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles are equipped with Active Noise Cancellation. Although the feature is not unlocked yet, it will be in a soon-to-follow OTA software update. The owner’s manual describes the function as:

Model S/X is equipped with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC). Microphones located in the front seats detect the amount of external road noise that can be heard inside the cabin. The system then automatically generates noise-canceling sounds through the speakers, minimizing the amount of road noise that you can hear.

You can turn Active Noise Cancellation off, or you can choose to reduce the amount of noise heard only in the front of the rear of the cabin. Touch Controls > Safety > Active Noise Cancellation.

Source: Model S owner’s manual.

However, the early owners are reporting that the car is already quieter inside compared to older Tesla Model S or other cars in the lineup. Tesla has surely leveled up their game when it comes to quality this time.

2021 Tesla Model S: Active Noise Cancellation mics located on both sides of the front seat headrests. Source: Tesla Model S owner’s manual (2021 / North America, en-US).

Taking care of the ANC system

Tesla has provided specific instructions in the new Model S Owner’s Manual about taking care of the ANC mics as these can be damaged by getting wet or cleaned by a damp cloth etc. The seat covers designed for the new front Model S/X seats, the areas highlighted in the above diagram should not be covered to keep the ANC system functional.

Note:

To ensure noise cancellation operates effectively, avoid covering the microphones (seat covers, etc.).

Caution:

To prevent damage to these microphones when cleaning, do not over-saturate the area of the seats where the microphones are located.

Source: Model S owner’s manual.

Video Games

The AAA category games like the Cyberpunk and Witcher III we saw being displayed on the 2021 Model S/X promotions are not included in the customer cars. Tesla also demonstrated Cyberpunk gameplay inside the Plaid Model S at the delivery event last week, but it is not part of the games package in production cars.

Earlier this month, AMD CEO Lisa Su revealed that the PS5 level gaming capability behind the new Model S and Model X is powered by an AMD RDNA-2 based GPU. Perhaps a custom-made GPU for higher-end Tesla vehicles by AMD.

Raj tried to pair a PS5 controller to the Tesla Media Control Unit (MCU) but it failed to connect at this time.

Miscellaneous

  • There are actually no physical buttons in the interior of the new Model S/X. Even the door opening button is a capacitive touch button.
  • The new Model S Plaid comes with a paint protection film (PPF) right out of the factory. A nice perk for purchasing a premium vehicle. Factory PPF for Model S/X LR is not yet confirmed.

Stay tuned for more on Plaid, follow us on: Google News | Flipboard | RSS (Feedly).

By Iqtidar Ali

Iqtidar has been writing about Tesla, Elon Musk, and EVs for more than 3 years on XAutoWorld.com, many of his articles have been republished on CleanTechnica and InsideEVs, maintains a healthy relationship with the Tesla community across the Social Media sphere. You can reach him on Twitter @IqtidarAlii