Prototype Tesla Model S spotted in Palo Alto: Refresh or Plaid? [Update]

With rumours of a Model S refresh on the horizon and the Plaid powertrain expected to launch later this year, what appears to be a prototype of Tesla’s flagship vehicle was spotted today in California.

The vehicle was seen by The Kilowatts driving near Tesla’s headquarters around the streets of Palo Alto by The Kilowatts. Only visible from the rear, the blue Model S appeared to have a number of new features that lead us to believe it could be the impending refresh.

Model S refresh

Since the photos were taken from behind the vehicle, the biggest change visible is to the rear bumper/diffuser, which now has a bigger black section that resembles the Model Y rear bumper. The similarities and the shape of the bumper could also mean a trailer hitch is available behind a piece of removable trim.

As the vehicle makes a left turn we also get a glimpse of what appears to be new rims. It is tough to tell from the angle but they do look similar to the Arachnid wheels already available.

The angle could again be playing tricks on our eyes, but the flare of the fenders around the front wheel appears to be larger as well.

Model S comparison
Image via James Locke /Twitter

This Model S also has the black trim which is now standard on both the Model 3 and Model Y.

While we don’t know if this is the Plaid or the upcoming refresh Model S, we do know it is definitely different than the current generation of the electric sedan.

What do you think, is this the refresh or the Plaid? Or are they the same thing? Let us know in the comments below.

UPDATE: The Kilowatts have now released a new video where host Ryan Levenson discusses what he saw, and includes Dashcam footage showing a glimpse of the front of the prototype Model S. Check it out.

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