With 691 horsepower and all-wheel drive, the Tesla Model S P85D is already one of the most formidable performance cars available, but Tesla just turned things up a notch.
During a conference call today, CEO Elon Musk announced that the car’s existing “Insane Mode” will be surpassed by a new “Ludicrous Mode” that will make the Model S even quicker than before. The car will also get a new optional 90kWh battery pack, up from the current 85kWh.
In “Ludicrous Mode,” Musk said the Model S will go from zero to 60 mph in just 2.8 seconds (down from 3.2 seconds), and run the quarter mile in 10.9 seconds. That’s right, Fast and Furious fans, this a genuine 10-second car.
Musk said the improved performance comes from changes to the car’s electronics. Tesla added a new “smart fuse” with its own electronics and lithium-ion battery that can monitor current, allowing for cuts in power to be made more precisely. That, along with other improvements, allows the battery’s top end to be increased from 1,300 amps to 1,500 amps.
Allowing more current to flow from the battery pack to the motors cuts acceleration times. Musk said that at maximum acceleration, the enhanced Model S will generate 1.1 g of force, and claims the car can accelerate “faster than falling.”
Rearranging passengers’ organs isn’t the only area where the Model S has become more adept. With the 90kWh battery pack, the new Model S 90D will have a range very close to 300 miles if driven at a steady 65 mph Musk said. That’s an improvement of about 30 miles over the current 85D.
Cars with the larger battery pack will represent a $3,000 upgrade over comparable 85kWh models. For the next six months, Tesla will also let current owners buy the new pack for $5,000, plus labor and installation costs.
Regarding ongoing Tesla projects, Musk also said that he’s been testing the autonomous-driving system for the Model S during his Los Angeles commutes on the 405 freeway. He said the system should be ready for public beta testing in the next two to three weeks.
Described as an “autopilot” system, this tech was announced alongside the all-wheel drive Model S “D” variants last fall. Tesla has been building cars equipped with the hardware for the system since then, but hasn’t released the software to customers. It’s expected to roll out with a feature that lets a car autonomously complete a pass when the driver flicks a turn signal.
Musk also said that Tesla is working on a second generation of its Roadster sports car. Unlike the original, which was based on the Lotus Elise, Musk said the new car will be designed entirely in-house.
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