Aware that a grille on an electric vehicle is about as useful as air conditioning in the Arctic, Tesla Motors has scrapped the blacked-out nose cone on the Model S and given the car a smooth, grille-free look.
The long-planned makeover -- a first for the Model S since its 2012 launch -- was meant to align the look of the sedan with that of the Model X crossover, which went on sale last fall. The new front-end treatment also signals a change in styling direction for electric cars, which do not need a grille because there is no engine under the hood to cool. (They often have smaller air vents for other purposes.)
Tesla started building the updated Model S last week in Fremont, Calif.
Pricing for the sedan, which starts at $71,500, with a 70-kilowatt-hour battery pack and a rear-wheel-drive configuration, remains unchanged after the update. The price includes shipping.
In other changes, Tesla upgraded the standard charger in the Model S from 40 amps to 48 amps for quicker recharging. Added as an option is a HEPA-rated air filter already available on the Model X crossover. The filtration system, which features a setting called "bioweapon defense mode," is part of a $3,000 upgrade package.