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Tesla details changes for Model S

Tesla Motors announced three offerings related to its Model S all-electric sedan on Friday, and updated progress on its next two cars. CEO Elon Musk said in a conference call that the company would offer an upgraded 90 kWh battery in the Model S for $3,000, drop the price for a single-motor Model S to $70,000, and upgrade the Model S to “ludicrous mode,” which allows for 0-to-60 acceleration in 2.8 seconds.

The new 90kWh battery pack will be offered as an upgrade for Model S 85 and P85D models, and promises to boost range by about 6%. This equates to a range of approximately 532km at 100km/h. The existing 540kg 85 kWh battery pack still manages a respectable 502km of range. Both batteries are guaranteed by Tesla for eight years and unlimited kilometres.


The aptly titled “Ludicrous Speed” software upgrade is also available for the Model S P85D / P90D vehicles. In P90D trim, the Model S will rocket from 0-100 in 2.8 seconds, making it just 0.1 of a second slower to highway speeds than Koenigsegg’s Agera R. It’ll now do the quarter mile in 10.9 seconds. These statistics also means the Tesla Model S will now accelerate with the force of 1.1G, which means it’ll actually feel faster than falling.

To me it boggles the mind how Musk & Co. at Tesla managed to squeeze another 10% out of the system in the Model S, so let Elon Musk explain how they did it:

“While working on our goal of making the power train last a million miles, we came up with the idea for an advanced smart fuse for the battery. Instead of a standard fuse that just melts past a certain amperage, which means you aren’t exactly sure when it will or won’t melt or if it will arc when it does, we developed a fuse with its own electronics and a tiny lithium-ion battery. It constantly monitors current at the millisecond level and is pyro-actuated to cut power with extreme precision and certainty.

That was combined with upgrading the main pack contractor to use inconel (a high temperature space-grade superalloy) instead of steel, so that it remains springy under the heat of heavy current.

The net result is that we 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.

What this results in is a 10% improvement in the 0 to 60 mph time to 2.8 secs and a quarter mile time of 10.9 secs. Time to 155 mph is improved even more, resulting in a 20% reduction.”

And Ludicrous Mode won’t be limited to the Model S, as it’ll debut on the new Model X as well. Though because it’s an SUV, it’ll do the 0-60 run in a positively sluggish 3.3 seconds, or just 0.1 seconds off an original McLaren F1.


The way it works, Elon says, is that the system basically works the way it would in the previous craziness, Insane Mode, up until 48km/h. After that, it steps up the game to Ludicrous Mode. It can’t really do Ludicrous all the way from zero, simply because there’s no way to surmount the laws of physics and traction.

If you want to upgrade your Model S to the new specification, it’ll cost you about $13,500.

Musk went on to say that the next-generation Tesla Roadster will debut in four years, with one speed even faster – maximum plaid. It sounds like a joke – do you think he’s kidding?

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