Tesla does PR like no other company does PR.
That’s only fitting; it builds products like no other company, and sells them like no other automaker. But Tesla’s cryptic, sporadic flirting with its announcements and public relations exchanges — supplemented by the abstruse Tweets from CEO Elon Musk — have a certain way of generating buzz all on their own, and the actual news itself may or may not justify the intensity that the company’s strategy creates.
Earlier this week, Tesla sent out invites for an event on Friday, July 17th. As is Tesla’s custom, no further details were shed, and many speculated that it had something to do with the rollout or production reveal of the forthcoming Model X SUV (it later turned out that the meeting applied to the Model S sedan). The post date on those invites? July 16th.
Tesla didn’t disappoint. At the meeting, Tesla revealed that for an additional $3,000, customers could upgrade to a larger 90 kWh battery pack for their Model S. That’s a five kilowatt advantage over the current range-topping 85 kWh model, and if that doesn’t sound like a lot, listen to this.
The 90D — that is, dual motor — now brings range to an even 300 miles. In what has been dubbed (appropriately) Ludicrous Mode, the Tesla Model S — a nearly 5,000 pound sedan that can seat seven — will do zero to 60 in 2.8 seconds. As in, it’s-now-faster-than-a-McLaren-F1 2.8 seconds. That’s insanity. That’s completely berserk. It’s… well, it’s f-cking ludicrous, really.
The G-force produced — in Ludicrous Mode — equals 1.1 Gs when gunning it on full throttle, creating more G-force than actually falling out of the sky. The P90D, as Jalopnik was quick to point out, is just a tenth of a second slower than the multi-million dollar Koenigsegg Agera R. It runs a quarter-mile in 10.9 seconds, because it has 762 horsepower. One can almost hear the sound of new Dodge Hellcat owners sobbing quietly.
Tesla was able to extract the extra power by developing its own proprietary fuse for the batteries, resulting in a more reliable mechanism with which to pass power through. This allowed Tesla’s engineers to up the amperage flow to the motors, resulting in the extra boost. Notably, the Ludicrous-equipped P90D isn’t a standalone model, but rather an option that can be added to the P85D.
Tesla “can safely increase max amp throughout from 1300 to 1500 Amps. If you don’t know much about Amps, trust me this is a silly big number of Amps to be going through something the size of your little fingernail,” Musk said at the event (per Jalopnik). But get this — the system will be optional on Tesla’s Model X as well.
The early Christmas for car geeks didn’t stop there. Tesla also announced that it was introducing a new model of the Model S — a single motor version of the 70D which will undercut it by about $5,000, to start at a nice and round $70,000.
If you’re confused, the lineup now looks like this:
- Model S P85D $105,000
- Model S 85D $85,000
- Model S 85 $80,000
- Model S 70D $75,000
- Model S 70 $70,000
Green Car Reports notes that for “the next six months, existing P85D owners can buy the new pack for just $5,000 plus labor costs for the installation (which vary from location to location).”
During the event, Musk commented that the Model X is still on schedule for release in about two months, and the Model 3 is on track for production in about two years. But more excitingly, the second generation of the Roadster — the car that kicked off Tesla as a company — is destined to arrive in about four years, Musk said.
So there you have it. Short notice or otherwise, Tesla is proving that it’s not a one-trick pony. By the end of the decade, Tesla will be fielding a competitive lineup of cars — the Model S, the Model X, the Roadster, and the Model 3, which is expected to come in both crossover and sedan flavors. BMW and Co., the ball’s in your court.