Is the Model S finally being redesigned?
Tesla has never stopped developing new technologies related to its all-electric vehicle lineup, and now that the mainstream competition has woken up to the reality that EVs are the future, it needs to update its two oldest models. The Tesla Model S dates back to 2012 while the Model X was revealed in 2015 and despite regular over-the-air software updates, both continue to age gracefully. But eventually, replacements will arrive.
Electrek claims it has uncovered a secret Tesla project called "Palladium" that's focused on both vehicles. Don't mistake it with the Roadrunner project whose aim is to produce better batteries at a lower price. Clearly, that's a huge goal for Tesla but so is a Model S redesign and a Model X update. According to the report, project Palladium is currently being deployed at both the Fremont and Gigafactory Nevada facilities as it involves the construction of new production lines for both vehicles.
Precise details about these updates remain highly guarded secrets, but sources familiar with aspects of the plan are claiming the Palladium update includes new battery modules and drive units that will serve as the basis for the upcoming Plaid variants. This new and improved powertrain features a tri-motor for better speed and efficiency. Another source had an even more interesting piece of information to share: the new Palladium body. If this is true, then both vehicles will finally be receiving the most significant exterior styling updates to date.
Last September, we caught a modified Model S performing test laps around the Nurburgring. Its wider fender flares, larger wheels sporting Michelin Cup 2 R tires, enlarged lower grille opening, and a trunk lip spoiler are clear indicators something regarding exterior enhancements is planned. Could this have been an early Palladium body test mule?
Whether it is or not, there was a good chance it had the new Plaid powertrain installed. Another question that remains unanswered is why Tesla chose the name Palladium in the first place? Palladium is a rare metal that's one of six platinum-group metals. Ironically, a majority of the world's mined palladium is used for catalytic converters that clean up exhaust fumes.
It's unknown whether palladium is even being used for the Model S and Model X updates, or if this is just Elon Musk's sense of humor at play again. We'll hopefully have more answers in the near future, but it's quite possible both project Roadrunner and Palladium are related.