Tesla’s Model S was already the fastest four-door sedan in the world. In “Ludicrous Mode,” it had the speediest zero-to 60 jump of any car under $200,000. But this, apparently, wasn’t ludicrous enough.
On Tuesday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk released a new, 100-kilowatt-hour battery pack for the dual-motor versions of the Model S and Model X. The upgrade makes the Model S the first all-electric sedan with a range of more than 300 miles, and it cuts the zero-to-60 mph interval to just 2.5 seconds.
Only a few cars can compete with that, including the LaFerrari and Porsche’s 918 Spyder. Those cars, however, are limited-run supercars that cost $1.4 million and $845,000 respectively.
For the first time, Musk said, “the fastest car in the world, of any kind, is electric. In the future, people are really going to look at gasoline cars in the same way we look at steam engines today: They’re quaint, but it’s not really how you get around.”
What may be even more impressive is the upgrade for the Model X SUV. The Model X seats seven people, has two trunks, and can now get to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds, faster than a Lamborghini. The new P100D Model X starts at $135,500.
Squeezing another 10 kilowatt hours out of what was already the world's largest car battery has posed a difficult challenge, Musk said. The new battery packs use the same Panasonic cells as previous Teslas but require new wiring and changes to the seats to ensure safety, given the additional weight.
Production will initially be limited to about 200 packs a week and will only be available to the performance models equipped with Ludicrous Mode, at least for the first few months. Musk said the battery packs are reaching performance and capacity limits for the current round of battery cells. The company will be shifting to a new, larger cell with the launch of the Model 3, enabling additional gains for the entire Tesla lineup in the future, he said.
By Tom Randall