Tesla announces new entry-level Model S alongside battery and "Ludicrous Mode" updatesView gallery - 7 images
Tesla has announced a new entry-level Model S along with battery updates and the addition of what it's calling "Ludicrous Mode" on the Model S P85 D. Thanks to a redesigned fuse on the car’s battery, the Model S can now sprint to 100 km/h in just 2.8 seconds – similar to the times achieved by hypercars like the McLaren P1 or LaFerrari.
The new fuse design that allows the performance boost has its own electronics and a small lithium-ion battery. Instead of melting beyond a certain amperage as is the case with the standard fuse, the new fuse constantly monitors the current and is pyro-activated to cut power when necessary.
This has been coupled with an upgrade to the main battery pack contactor, which eschews steel for Inconel, an oxidation and corrosion resistant superalloy. Because Inconel stays springy under the heat of a heavy current, the car’s maximum pack amperage can be increased from 1,300 to 1,500 A.
Thanks to Tesla’s seemingly small tweaks, the upgraded P85 D will sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph) 10 percent faster than the standard car, with the quarter mile dispatched in just 10.9 seconds and the 0 to 155 mph (249 km/h) time cut by 20 percent.
For people who are worried about running out of charge on the go, Tesla is also offering a 90 kWh battery pack (up from 85 kWh), which it claims will offer almost 300 miles (483 km) of range at a 65 mph (105 km/h) cruise on the highway. The battery upgrade will cost US$3,000, but Elon Musk has advised owners to hold off upgrading unless they’re already on the edge of the range envelope.
As well as its range-topping upgrades, Tesla announced a new entry-level Model S with the new single-motor, rear-drive 70 kWh car to sit below the dual-motor version launched in April this year, undercutting its price by $5,000.
If you already own a Model S P85 D and fancy letting loose in Ludicrous Mode, the upgrades will set you back $5,000 plus installation labor for the next six months, while people buying their Model S new will have to fork out $10,000 for the option.