Earlier we have discussed the power, performance and range upgrades for Tesla Model S and additionally, Tesla Motors have revealed some more interesting updates. They call this the ‘Three Dog Day’. It brings three things: 70 kWh rear drive Model S for a measly $70,000 starting price, followed by an interesting 90 kWh battery pack option costing $3,000 to own, and finally, finished off by the nice, albeit already thoroughly discussed Tesla Model S upgrade, which they call Ludicrous Mode for current, but also future, Tesla Model S customers.
But that’s not where the fun ends and reality begins! Tesla Motors, or to be fully correct Elon Musk, Tesla Motors CEO, have revealed further tidbits and other clues about the Tesla Model X followed by Tesla Model 3, and the forthcoming (albeit in a few years), Tesla Roadster of the new generation. For the Tesla Model X, Elon Musk told the press it is on track for first deliveries in two months and Model 3 in just over two years.
Here is the full blog post made by Elon Musk and his team describing the changes, additions, upgrades, new information and upcoming models:
70 kWh for $70k
Now, on to the awesome news of today. The 70 kWh version of the Model S in the single motor version at $70k costs $5k less than the dual motor version, consistent with the price differential for the single and dual motor 85 kWh car. Importantly, enough options are now standard that you will have bought a great car even if you pick the base version.
In many countries, national and state/province purchase incentives for clean energy vehicles improve the price to some degree. In the US, for example, the price after incentives is usually around $60k. Also, not having to buy gasoline and needing less service for an electric car typically saves around $2k per year, which accumulates to $10k over the national average car ownership period of five years. This economic advantage is often overlooked when evaluating gasoline vs electric cars. Moreover, these savings are experienced immediately in your monthly cost of transportation if you lease or finance an electric car.
90 kWh Pack
New buyers now have the option of upgrading the pack energy from 85 to 90 kWh for $3k, which provides about 6% increased range. For example, this takes our current longest range model, the 85D, to almost 300 miles of highway range at 65mph.
Existing owners can also purchase the pack upgrade, but I wouldn’t recommend doing so unless usage is on the edge of current range. On average, we expect to increase pack capacity by roughly 5% per year. Better to wait until you have more time on your existing pack and there is a larger accumulated pack energy difference.
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, requiring a big gap between the normal operating current and max current, 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 contactor 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 the max pack output from 1300 to 1500 Amps.
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.
This option will cost $10k for new buyers. In appreciation of our existing P85D owners, the pack electronics upgrade needed for Ludicrous Mode will be offered for the next six months at only $5k plus installation labor.
It is important to note that the battery pack size upgrade and the pack electronics upgrade are almost entirely independent. The first is about energy, which affects range, and the second is about power, which affects acceleration.
What is most expected is how the Model X and Model 3 develop over the course of the next few weeks and months. Tesla Motors has a lot of potential and great ideas, we just need to see how well it gets translated into mass produced, mass market oriented and cheaper versions of fully electric sedans, SUVs and other vehicles later. It is however fun to see a luxury sedan that has a strong set of advantages, compete with the likes of a Lamborghini Aventador, Koenigsegg Agera and Porsche Turbo S in terms of sheer straight line speed and acceleration. It will be fun to watch all the biggest car makers duke it out with this newcomer in the automotive world in the next chapter of motoring.