Posted on July 17, 2015 by Matt Pressman
Today, Tesla Motors (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk scheduled a last-minute conference call with press. Although we couldn't gain direct access to it, we were able to get the play-by-play from our friends at Transport Evolved*. And, although the conference call was initially shrouded in mystery, all was revealed over the course of an hour when Musk announced some significant (and exciting) changes related to the Tesla Model S.
The most exciting part -- Musk announced a new high-end performance mode, replacing the existing ‘Insane’ mode found in current cars with an updated ‘Ludicrous’ mode. This is accomplished by a new type of high-tech safety fuse and eight-lane, non-steel contactor that increases the amount of current that can safely be withdrawn from the battery pack from 1,300 amps to 1,500 amps. Model S vehicles fitted with these new electronics components will be able to do 0-60MPH in 2.8 seconds at an astounding 1.1g of acceleration. “It’s faster than falling,” joked Musk as he announced the upgrade. Ludicrous mode also boasts a new quarter mile time of 10.8 seconds and a 20% reduction in 0-155MPH acceleration time.
Perhaps "Ludicrous" mode is nod to the cult classic, Space Balls? You decide...
How does the new "Ludicrous" speed mode compare with other exotic supercars? Bloomberg published a piece that provides some comparisons: "The Tesla P85D with the complete 90kWh 'ludicrous' upgrade costs about $100,000. The upgrade gives it a 0 to 60 mph time of 2.8 seconds. To put that into context, to get that sort of acceleration from a car previously required a Porsche 918 Spyder (0 to 60 in 2.3 seconds) or a Bugatti Veyron (2.6 seconds) or a Koenigsegg One (2.5 seconds). They each cost $1.1 million, $2.9 million and $3.8 million, respectively." To drive this home, Bloomberg also published a graph comparing the supercars to the new ludicrous-equipped Tesla...
Also, Musk announced a new 90 kWh battery pack, costing an additional $3,000 more than the current 85 kWh battery pack to increase range to about 300 miles at 65 miles per hour. Customers wanting to upgrade their existing Model S to the 90 kWh pack will have to pay $5,000, with the $3,000 upgrade fee only applicable to new orders. Although prices go up for a top-end Model S, Musk also announced a new single motor 70kWh version starting at $70,000 that will be $5,000 less than the 70D.
Above: Tesla's updated Design Studio; Source: Tesla Motors
Musk also announced that the Tesla Model X is on still on track for launch this fall. And, although the Model S and X were supposed to have a lot in common, he noted that the Model X has only about 30% in common with the Model S. He commented a bit more on the Model X noting that it will be about 10% heavier than the Model X resulting in an (approximate) 0-60MPH time of 3.3 seconds. He also said the 90kWh battery was developed for the X -- 10% greater energy usage and 10% larger -- net impact on Model X 90 kWh range will be about 5%.
Musk said that Tesla Motors is a "continuous improvement" company and that owners should expect (at least) a 5% increase in range yearly. He also noted that the Tesla Model 3 is scheduled to launch in three years. Also, the Tesla Roadster upgrades should be available in about a month. And, Musk is testing (almost daily) the new autopilot features coming (via software update 7.0) this fall.
Source: Tesla Motors
Next up... Musk announced in a follow-up blog post that a new Roadster might actually rocket to "Maximum Plaid" mode.
Source: Transport Evolved