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Tesla Battery Day: Model S Plaid, Autopilot updates, and all the big news

Ever the showman, Elon Musk never fails to surprise. Between Tuesday’s Battery Day event and a shareholder meeting, the CEO of Tesla unveiled new products, new features, and news galore, including an unbelievably fast new Model S car, revolutionary updates to electric battery technology, a better self-piloting system for the company’s cars, and more. Here’s a recap of all the highlights from the most interesting car company on the planet.

Model S Plaid

Tesla announced a new Model S Plaid car Tuesday that can go from 0 to 60 mph in under 2 seconds and has a range of more than 520 miles.

The vehicle — which is listed for $140,000 on Tesla’s website — is available to order now and will be shipped by the end of 2021.

According to a brief teaser video, the new model features some eye-popping specs for a production car. In addition to the speedy 0-60 time, the Model S Plaid has a top speed of 200 mph and over 1,100 horsepower. In a video from the event, Tesla showed the vehicle hitting 147 mph at the Laguna Seca Raceway in California.

Revolutionary new battery

Tesla also announced development of a new energy storage technology for its batteries during Tuesday’s Battery Day event. The tech can cut production costs by more than half, store more energy, and lead to a more affordable electric car.

Overall, the new battery would increase vehicle range by up to 54%, the company said. Musk touted the energy cell as “truly revolutionary,” adding it will push Tesla’s goal of making sustainable energy more efficient and widespread.

A $25,000 electric car?!?

Tesla will sell an affordable electric car for $25,000 within the next three years, Musk also announced Tuesday.

The new vehicle model has no name yet. Musk said an electric passenger vehicle with a more affordable price that could compete with fossil-fuel-powered cars has long been a goal. “This has always been our dream from the beginning of the company,” Musk said.

A ‘profound’ autopilot update

During Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting before its Battery Day event on Tuesday, Musk said the company’s cars would soon get a redesigned version of its Autopilot feature.

Teslas have had the Autopilot feature for a while, but improvements started to plateau a couple of years ago, Musk said. “We had to do a fundamental rewrite of the entire autopilot software stack and all of the labeling software as well,” he said. Instead of using still images from the cars’ eight cameras, Tesla is now labeling 3D video.

By pulling from all cameras simultaneously, the video captures how images change over time, making for more accurate labeling of objects. Musk called the difference “profound.”

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