The latest version of the Tesla Model S “doubles” the family lineup, in more ways than one!
Currently, the Tesla Model S lineup includes the Tesla Model S 60, the 60 kWh version, the Tesla Model S 85, the 85 kWh version, and the Tesla Model S P85, the 85 kWh performance version. Starting with the 2015 model year, the new Tesla Model S “D” will start rolling in, and out, of Tesla Stores, including the Tesla Model S 60D, 85D, and P85D. We are told that “D” stands for “Dual Motor,” which means that the new “D” models will be equipped with two electric motors, one per axle, for pure electric AWD performance and all-weather traction.
Regarding performance, for example, the new Tesla Model S 60D and 85D are tuned for range, 225 miles and 295 miles respectively. The performance-tuned P85D, however, has a range of 275 miles, and can sprint from zero to sixty miles per hour in just 3.2 seconds. Considering the AWD performance and traction benefits of adding a second electric watermelon to the front axle, sacrificing a few miles of range is a small price to pay. Speaking of price, however, do not forget the $4,000, $14,600 in the case of the P85D, premium of adding that one letter to the model name.
What we really think, however, is that “D” stands for “development,” because the new Tesla Model S “D” series is a whole lot more than just electric AWD. Starting with all Tesla Model S now rolling off the production line, a whole new technology package is available, to enhance safety and versatility. The new sensor package, with the current software, introduces adaptive cruise control. With future OTA (over the air) software updates, new Tesla Model S will be able to autonomously change lanes, manage speed by reading speed limit signs, park and unpark itself, and calculate travel time based on traffic data, to name a few.
Future Tesla Autopilot software updates, because they depend on the installation of a new sensor package, will not enhance Tesla Model S vehicles currently on the road (read: be prepared to see lots of trade-ins?). Tesla Autopilot, however, is not designed to enable autonomous drive, but “to relieve drivers of the most boring and potentially dangerous aspects of road travel – but the driver is still responsible for, and ultimately in control of, the car,” as Tesla Motors Blog mentions.
UPDATE: Forgot to mention that Tesla Autopilot is part of the “Tech Package,” an additional $4,250 premium, which has nothing to do with the AWD version. So you can get a Tesla Model S 60D without the Tech Package for just $71,070, or you can spring for the mother of all electric vehicles, the Tesla Model S P85D with all the options ticked, for $139,170. Interestingly, to get the same kind of performance from a “supercar,” you’d have to spend another $300,000 to $400,000.