Today Tesla announced the Model S with Ludicrous mode and new 100-kWh battery can provide either 315 miles EV range, or 0-60 times to rival 1000cc superbikes.
“The Model S P100D with Ludicrous mode is the third fastest accelerating production car ever produced,” said the company in its blog post of an upgrade also available for the slightly less brisk Model X P100D billed now at 2.9 seconds to 60.
And, says Tesla, the Model S is also the “quickest production car in the world.”
The Model S and X were already quite fleet-footed as upscale chic family sedans and grocery getters go. The re-engineering of the battery pack from 90 kWh introduced less than a year ago is the latest upgrade as Tesla has kept the car relevant by revising it on the go while the underlying Model S is the same as introduced in June 2012.
An asterisk with the claim of 0-60 times leads to a disclaimer that these times are the “Expected value using max power mode and Motor Trend benchmark.”
Motor Trend uses rolling starts that other publications have politely called bogus as the car already has a couple-few mph in hand at the start point, and is primed to launch.
The MT formula, for example, was good enough to get a 2016 Chevy Volt to 60 in 7.1 seconds when Car & Driver achieved 7.5 seconds, and GM claims only 8.4.
In any case, people will soon-enough be posting results of the new cars’ capabilities, and perhaps they too will eclipse the advertised times, as has been the case before. Certainly they will be blazing quick, but limited production for now, and initially the 100-kWh packs are limited to 200 units per week, or about 10-percent of Tesla’s total production.
On a conference call with journalists, Tesla CEO Elon Musk noted the technical challenges of what apper to be just one more uptick – as the present 90-kWh battery superseded an 85-kWh pack which has now been discontinued.
“Actually going from a roughly 90 to 100 [kWh] even though it seems like it might be an 11 or 12 percent increase in energy, it’s more like a 50 percent increase in difficulty. So it’s been really quite a challenging development,” said Musk, adding it would likely be “several months before we can offer the 100-kWh pack to non-Performance customers.”
Price for the Model S P100D with Ludicrous mode begins $9,500 over the P90D at $134,500 – a far cry from a once-widely billed sub “$50,000” starting point for a federally subsidized, rear-wheel-drive Model S with 40 kWh battery that was never produced. A 60-kWh model limited to 40 kWh was made available, but the actual 40-kWh battery model was cancelled, Tesla said, due to too few preorders.
Tesla chief Elon Musk did say while the new upgrade is “is obviously an expensive vehicle,” sales of the new top-of-the-range S and X would help finance its down-market Model 3. And, lessons learned in this latest upgrade will also be incorporated in the battery pack for the Model 3, said Tesla.
That could be good news for future customers, but as for buyers who’ve already ordered a P90D with Ludicrous mode, these will be able to upgrade to the P100D for $10,000, assuming they’ve not yet taken delivery. Current owners of a P90D with Ludicrous Mode can also upgrade for $20,000.
Tesla’s current model range now consists of variants with 60 kWh, 75 kWh, 90 kWh and 100 kWh batteries, and as noted the formula of staying fresh and stoking public passions has worked for Tesla.
The Model S is the U.S.’ best-selling plug-in electrified car, ahead of models costing half what it does, and the Model X also is the fourth best-selling, also outpacing much-more affordable plug-in vehicles.