Tesla Model S Plaid Announcement: How To Look At The Debut Of The “Fastest Production Car Ever Made”


Tesla will host a delivery event for its new high-performance “Plaid” version of the Model S on Thursday. It’s an effort by Elon Musk’s company to rekindle interest in its nearly ten-year-old electric sedan, which also faces fierce competition from Porsche and Mercedes-Benz. Upon release, Musk claims the Plaid Model S will be the “fastest production car ever made.”

The event, which will be held at the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif., Will be broadcast live to the public starting at 7:00 p.m. PT / 10:00 p.m. ET (although the event may not actually begin until 8:00 p.m. ET). h 30 HP). It was originally scheduled for June 3, but Musk pushed it back to June 10 after tweeting that the vehicle needed “another week of tweaking.”

Delivery of the refreshed Model S has also been delayed, with the company initially saying it plans to start shipping to customers in March. A revamped version of the Model X SUV was also due to start deliveries in March, but was pushed back to an unspecified future date.

The Plaid Model S was not inevitable. Despite rumors lingering for years, Musk seemed indifferent to the idea, Tweeter in 2019 that “[t]there is no “refreshed” Model X or Model S to come. Instead, Tesla was constantly making minor improvements to both vehicles, he said.

But less than two months later, a prototype version of the Plaid powertrain made its debut at the Laguna Seca circuit, traveling the famous California circuit in just one minute and 36 seconds. The company then presented another prototype as part of its Battery Day presentation in September 2020. Plaid, much like the “Ludicrous” acceleration mode in Tesla cars, is a reference to one of Musk’s favorite movies, Space balls.

We already know most of the relevant specifications: an estimated range of 390 miles, a top speed of 200 mph (with the “right tires”, Musk said), and a 0-60 mph sprint in 1.99 seconds (although there were questions on the validity of the latter claim). The new model is priced at $ 129,990, compared to $ 79,990 for a long-range S model. A “Plaid Plus” version of the Model S, which was said to have a range of over 520 miles, was canceled after Musk tweeted that the base Plaid is “so good.”

The new Model S will also feature a streamlined interior, with a landscaped touchscreen similar to what is found in the Model 3 and Model Y. There is also a stemless U-shaped butterfly steering wheel, much like what Tesla said will appear in the next second. -Generation Roadster. And there is an additional screen behind the center console for the rear passengers. Unlike the Model 3 and Model Y, the new Model S still has a cockpit display behind the steering wheel.

Tesla says the Plaid Model S should be able to do five times more quarter-mile runs than previous Model S sedans, thanks to the new powertrain and new heat pump that was developed for the Model Y .Chip-powered infotainment system capable of 10 teraflops of processing power, allowing passengers to play games like The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 (with wireless controller support).

When it launched in 2012, the Tesla Model S redefined electric luxury, with a sleek design and long battery life. But the company faces a new wave of competition, with the release in recent years of the Porsche Taycan, Audi E-tron GT, Lucid Air and Mercedes EQS. If Tesla was to stay in the luxury electric vehicle game, it needed to make some changes to its flagship vehicle.

The abrupt cancellation of Plaid Plus, however, raises questions about the automaker’s battery plans. Plaid Plus was supposed to feature Tesla’s new 4680 battery cells. These cells, which are said to allow longer ranges of 500 miles or more, are larger than the company’s current cells, measuring 46 millimeters by 80 millimeters (hence the name). In addition to more energy and power, the new cells are expected to result in a 14% reduction in cost per kilowatt hour (kWh) at cell form factor alone.

Plaid Plus was supposed to have a range of 520 miles. While Musk could shock anyone Thursday night with a longer range throw than originally advertised, he also recently threw cold water on the idea of ​​needing ranges over 400 miles. In one statement to Electrek, Musk said that “more reach doesn’t really matter. There is hardly any trip above 400 miles where the driver does not need to stop for restrooms, food, coffee, etc. anyway.

Ignoring for a moment that most bathroom breaks last less than the time it takes to charge an electric vehicle, Musk’s reversal on Plaid Plus could signal a delay in production of Tesla’s 4,680 battery cells. In addition to Plaid, the new cells are said to be used in Tesla’s Cybertruck and Semi vehicles, which are still expected later this year.

In an April earnings call, Musk said Tesla was still “12 … 18 months away from volume production of 4,680.” It remains to be seen if we will have an update on this estimate during the Thursday night event. But with Musk, you never know for sure.

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