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Tesla P100D: How Elon Musk engineered the world's quickest production car
Posted on August 24, 2016 by Matt Pressman
Yesterday, Tesla Motors [NASDAQ: TSLA] announced that the Tesla Model S P100D is now the quickest production car in the world: "with a 0-60 mph time of 2.5 seconds... [and] estimated 315 miles on the EPA cycle and 613 km on the EU cycle, making it the first to go beyond 300 miles and the longest range production electric vehicle by far." In addition to its lightening-fast speed, breaking the 300 mile range mark represents a milestone in the electric vehicle industry.
Image: Auto Express UK
According to Tesla, P100D pricing starts at $134,000 and, "customers who have ordered a P90D Ludicrous, but not taken delivery, can upgrade to the 100 kWh pack for $10,000. Existing P90D Ludicrous owners can also upgrade to a 100 kWh pack, but for $20,000." That may seem like a lot of money. But, only two other production supercars (see below) have clocked 0-60 times that fast, the $1.4 million Ferrari LaFerrari and the $845,000 Porsche 918 Spyder. And those cars only had a limited production run and can't be purchased new any longer.
Above: The Ferrari LaFerrari and Porsche 918 Spyder supercars (Source: Auto Zeitung)
Furthermore, CleanTechnica reports: "The Tesla Model S is a big car. It’s in the 'large luxury sedan' or 'full-size luxury car' class (or, depending on your country and preferred classification, some similar variation that indicates to buyers it is big). It’s a completely unsurprising fact that the only two 'production cars' in history that are [equivalent] to 60 mph than the Model S are two-seat sports cars that cost way, way, way more than the Model S P100D. This is a landboat that seats up to 5 adults and 2 children, plus has a ton of storage space. It’s a bit absurd that it’s competing with 2-seat sports cars that cost [about] $1 million or more."
Image: Bloomberg via Car and Driver
How can the Model S be this heavy/big, yet be so quick: "maybe you’re still confused how a 5+2 large sedan can beat every McLaren, every Lamborghini, and all but one million-dollar+ Porsche and one million-dollar+ Ferrari off the line, so let’s keep talking. As you should well know by now, electric cars offer 'instant torque.' Whereas it takes a bit of time for a gasoline car to get to max power, fully electric cars do so almost immediately. (Note that the [former] world’s quickest 'production car' is a plug-in hybrid electric car, the out-of-production Porsche 918 Spyder, only 918 of which were produced.)"
Image: Bloomberg via Car and Driver
So how was Elon Musk and the Tesla team able to engineer a production vehicle to have this kind of ultra-ludicrous acceleration? According to Gizmodo*, "The Model S P100D with Ludicrous Mode features a slightly larger battery pack than previous models, and while it looks practically identical to previous iterations, the guts of the new 100 kWh battery have been completely retooled."
CEO Elon Musk said on a media conference call that Tesla is “very close to the theoretical limit” of what it can do with current battery technology. He said for future improvements, it will require a next-generation battery cell that the company is currently developing in partnership with Panasonic. Tesla CTO JB Straubel added, "It’s a complete re-do on the cooling architecture... It’s pretty amazing we can do that without changing the external size and shape of the battery pack."
If you’re eager to get your hands on one of these P100D Tesla vehicles, you’re not alone. The demand for these cars is high, and Musk emphasized how hard the company is working to meet interest from consumers. “We’re going to work very hard with each passing week to produce the highest number of 100 kWh packs we can make,” Musk explained. “It seems like it’s not that big of an increase in energy from 90 kWh, but it just gets exponentially harder to increase the energy density.” That said, Musk proudly stated that, “For the first time, the fastest accelerating production car in the world is an electric car. I think this sends a great message to the public about the future of transportation.”