A Model S with a factory-fitted motorized pivoting center screen has been spotted in the wild thanks to a video posted to Twitter by Larry Li† In it, Li can be seen tilting the screen from the center, to the left and then to the right, with the tap of a button on the screen. Note that the motorized front case (aka the “frunk”) seen in the video is an aftermarket modification.
A pivoting center screen represents a small improvement in quality of life for Tesla owners. Instead of the display being static and positioned so that both the driver and passengers can see it, it can be moved for optimal visibility by the driver while operating the vehicle or by a passenger when parked, for example.
Tesla’s rotating screens have a bit of a weird history. While the feature has long been available in the form of aftermarket mods, Tesla’s website said last year that a “left-right tilt” center display would be coming for its redesigned Model S and Model X cars. However, a few months later, the product pages were updated to remove references to the feature, such as: Drive in Tesla Canada reported at the time (although noting that the feature had already been spotted a few times in the wild at the time).
Even more baffling, a recent teardown showed that the Model S already has most of the hardware needed to provide a rotating screen, but without the motor to actually move it. It has sparked speculation that a parts shortage has so far prevented Tesla from offering the feature in its cars.
Replying to his original tweet, Li confirmed that the swivel display is not an aftermarket mod, but “by [the] Tesla factoryand that the Model S shown in the video was delivered on April 29† Host of the Tesla podcast Ride the lightning Ryan McCaffrey recently tweeted that the latest Model S and Model X cars rolling off Tesla’s factory lines are equipped with the hardware to support the feature. With any luck, that should mean pivoting screens are about to become standard on future Model S and X Teslas.