Tesla chief Elon Musk has previously denied the need for an all-wheel-drive Model S, but according to “sources familiar with the situation,” Tesla is planning a top-shelf 85-kwh AWD version by as soon as early next year.

The pending Model X SUV is already due to get front plus rear wheel drive combined, so it may not be such a stretch to see it as advantageous for the sedans – especially since so many of their owners have shown they like to do speed contests against established gas cars, and that extra traction may add a couple of tenths.

Seriously, many customers in snow belt regions would likely welcome the extra traction for more ordinary uses such as driving on slippery surfaces.

Musk has generally alluded to an AWD configuration finding its way to future models other than the X, but unclear is whether this could point to the Model S.

Tesla is also aiming to trickle down tech to the $35,000 electric car it wishes to launch by 2016, and all-wheel-drive is considered a bonus worth paying for by many a driver.

Given the simplified layout of the Model S’ powertrain, adding a front motor might not be especially challenging from a packaging standpoint. Presently a front trunk takes advantage of space left from the absence of a gas engine.

A motor would be much smaller than a deleted V8, so whether its addition would impede at all on the “frunk” is also open to speculation.

The originator of this story, The Verge, says the all-wheel-drive model S wodl be a “premium” version above the present premium P85 which is rated at 4.2 seconds to 0-60.

The car has launch control software to maximize acceleration from a standstill up to the point of wheelspin to make drag racing for dummies a blessedly simple proposition.

With the front wheels also active, there would be that much more extra motive force, although most of the grip will come from the rear wheels regardless on takeoff.

Green Car Reports