Tesla starts delivering Model X with airbag horn, but older cars looks like they will miss out

Tesla has finally started delivering the Model X with an airbag horn on the steering wheel and yoke, delivering on a more than two-year old promise from Elon Musk. However it looks like only part of that promise will be kept, as it looks like owners of older refresh versions of the Model S and Model X will not get a software update to enable the feature.

In early 2022 Musk said Tesla would soon be releasing a software update to activate the airbag horn for owners of the refresh Model S and Model X. The new addition was promised after the company received feedback from owners that trying to use the horn, now activated by a touch button on the steering wheel/yoke, was a difficult and dangerous task in situations where every millisecond counts.

At the time Musk said that all Model S/X built after November 2021 had the airbag horn, and that all that was needed to activate it was a software update.

As we reported last week, the source code of the latest software update suggested the airbag horn was about to arrive, and right on cue the first Model X equipped with this feature was delivered this past weekend, as shared by X user Brandon (@brandontsla). With the addition of the horn, Tesla has replaced the former horn button with a button to bring up the camera views on the center display.

As we noted above there were two parts to Musk’s promise, and the other was that older cars would also get the feature with a software update. However, that seems unlikely to happen.

In a conversation with Drive Tesla, hacker @greentheonly told us that what he uncovered in the source code last week was only for a hardware change, suggesting this will only be added on built vehicles as of some point this month.

Further supporting the notion that older cars won’t be getting the software is that owners of post-Nov 21 builds have taken apart their steering wheels and found no evidence of an airbag horn, including the teardown titan Sandy Munro, who took apart a Model S Plaid in mid-2022.

That then leaves one possible option for these owners – a retrofit. We have no idea if this will be offered, but for now it seems like the only way refresh Model S/X owners will be able to get an airbag horn.

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