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Elon Musk promises to take Tesla Model S to ‘Plaid’ with new powertrain

Tesla CEO Elon Musk promised a more powerful powertrain option in future Model S, Model X and the next-generation Roadster sports car that will push acceleration and speed beyond the current high bar known as Ludicrous mode.

Musk tweeted Wednesday evening “the only thing beyond Ludicrous is Plaid,” a teaser to a higher performing vehicle and a nod to the movie Spaceballs.

The only thing beyond Ludicrous is Plaid

Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 12, 2019

 

These new higher performing versions of the Model S, Model X, and Roadster will contain what Musk describes as a Plaid powertrain and is still about a year away from production. This new powertrain will have three motors, one more than the dual motor system found in today’s Model S and X.

Yes. To be clear, Plaid powertrain is about a year away from production & applies to S,X & Roadster, but not 3 or Y. Will cost more than our current offerings, but less than competitors.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 12, 2019

This Plaid powertrain has already seen some action. Tesla revealed Wednesday that a Model S equipped with a Plaid powertrain and chassis prototype had lapped Laguna Seca racetrack in 1:36:555, a second faster than the record for a four-door sedan.

*~ Some personal news ~*

We lapped Laguna Seca @WeatherTechRcwy in 1:36.555 during advanced R&D testing of our Model S Plaid powertrain and chassis prototype

(That’s a second faster than the record for a four-door sedan) pic.twitter.com/OriccK4KCZ

— Tesla (@Tesla) September 12, 2019

 

The “Plaid” powertrain will not be offered in the lower cost Model 3 or Model Y, which isn’t expected to go into production until late 2020. Musk also promised that this plaid powertrain will cost more than “current offerings, but will be less than competitors” without explaining what that means.

Close followers of the automaker might recall hints of a three motor powertrain in the past.

When Tesla unveiled a new Roadster prototype in November 2017, Musk said it would have three motors and be able to travel a whopping 0 to 60 miles per hour in 1.9 seconds and a top speed of 250 mph or even more. The Roadster isn’t expected to go into production until 2020.

What is new are Tesla’s plans to make this more powerful three-motor powertrain available in the Model S and Model X. And it stands to be an important option, if it does in fact materialize. The Model S has been around since 2012 and since the introduction the cheaper Model 3, sales have dipped.

And yet, Musk has said the X and S won’t be getting a major refresh. If Tesla hopes to maintain demand for either of its higher margin luxury vehicles, new trims like this plaid powertrain will be essential.

Tesla first announced Ludicrous mode in its Model S vehicles way back in July 2015. As shareholders and customers awaited the Model X to arrive, Musk unveiled several options for the company’s Model S sedan, including a lower priced version, longer battery range and “Ludicrous mode” for even faster acceleration.

Ludicrous mode, which improved acceleration by 10% to let drivers go from 0 to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds, came about as a result of an improved battery fuse. This new fuse, Musk explained in a blog post at the time, has its own electronics and a tiny lithium-ion battery that monitors current and protects against excessive current.

Tesla also upgraded the main pack contactor with a high-temperature space-grade superalloy instead of steel. This enabled the battery pack to remain “springy” under the heat of heavy current. In the end, the max pack output increased from 1300 to 1500 Amps.

Ludicrous was a $10,000 add on for new buyers. Tesla did reduce the price for existing Model S P85 owners for the first six months following the announcement and sold them the pack electronics upgrade needed for Ludicrous Mode for $5,000.

Musk joked in this 2015 blog post that there is “one speed faster than ludicrous, but that is reserved for the next generation Roadster in 4 years: maximum plaid.”

Faraday Future is the ultimate CES cautionary tale

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It was the “first of a new species.” It was going to change the game. It both was, and maybe was not, a car. It was the talk of CES. But that was then. 

Now, almost a year after Faraday Future unveiled the FF 91 at CES in January 2017, the would-be electric car manufacturer that sought to challenge Tesla has come close to crashing and burning. And while much has been written about the unfulfilled promises and stumbles of the company, its frothy CES showcase speaks to a much larger truth about the biggest consumer tech show in the world: Don’t believe the hype. 

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The beloved VW Beetle is about to go electric

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The timeless VW Beetle is about to step into the future.

Volkswagen is considering plans for an electric Beetle, according to VW’s chairman Herbert Diess.

Speaking to Autocar, Diess said that the company was “actively considering” plans for an electric Beetle as part of a range of zero-emissions cars.

He also added that if an electric successor would be made, it would actually be a throwback to the original rear-wheel drive Beetle.

“If we wanted to do a Beetle, electrically it would be much better than today’s model, much closer to history, because it could be rear-wheel drive,” said Diess. Read more…

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Elon Musk just gave us our first real look at the Tesla Model 3

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The Tesla Model 3 is finally here. 

After months of hype, a bonkers production plan, and multiple prototypes spotted zooming around California, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed the first production Model 3. 

Production unit 1 of Model 3 is now built and going through final checkout. Pics soon.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 9, 2017

First Production Model 3 pic.twitter.com/TCa2NSUNI3

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 9, 2017

pic.twitter.com/is6Hthjjoj

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 9, 2017

The first Model 3 was slated to be finished to cap off the first week of the month, but the early July start is still about two weeks ahead of Tesla’s adjusted schedule. That’s great news for the hundreds of thousands of Tesla fans who have placed a reservation since March 2016, when pre-order totals reached over 134,000 in just over 24 hours.     Read more…

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China's capital is replacing tens of thousands of taxis with electric cars to fight pollution

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China’s capital city is doing something huge about its perennial pollution issue.

Almost 70,000 petrol powered taxis in Beijing will gradually be replaced with electric vehicles, and any new taxis on the road must be electric, according to a report by the National Business Daily.

The project to replace all the current petrol powered cars is estimated to cost taxi operators $1.3 billion (9 billion yuan).

Some 67,000 of Beijing’s 71,000 taxis currently run on petrol. 

A conventional car is estimated to cost around $10,000, with an electric vehicle double that amount, at $20,000. Read more…

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