Tesla has officially launched the tri-motor Model S Plaid with 1,020 horsepower in a flashy live-streamed event from its Fremont factory, although not before raising the price prior to delivering the first 25 vehicles at the event.
After listening to the specifications and work that has gone into the vehicle, however, it’s likely that potential customers will forgive Tesla for the extra $A12,000.
Head designer Franz von Holzhausen kicked off the event, walking onto the stage with his now-legendary sledgehammer that accidentally smashed the window of the Cybertruck at its launch in 2019.
“We set out to design engineer and manufacture the best car on the planet,” said von Holzhausen referring to the company’s first 2012 Model S.
“Tonight we’re going to show you the next best version of model S …. and I brought this along because we might be breaking a few records,” he said shaking the sledgehammer.
Musk – naturally – entered the arena driving the new Tesla Model S Plaid but only after doing a couple of accelerations up and down a track next to the stage.
“Why did we make this car that goes crazy fast?” he said, quickly answering his own question.
“We have to show that an electric car is the best car hands down – that sustainable energy cars can be the most kick-ass cars in every way.”
The main improvement on all other generations of Model S, said Musk, is the acceleration.
“We’ve beaten the 2-second barrier,” he said. “No production car has ever done 0-60 miles an hour in under two seconds.”
The tri-motor Model S also features an all-new battery pack, and the supercharging rate has been bumped up so that it can gain 187 miles – 300 kilometres – in 15 minutes.
The record-breaking specs are thanks to what Musk believes is the “first production electric motor with a carbon over-wrapper motor”.
“This is super hard to do because carbon and copper have different rates of thermal expansion,” he said, adding that to make the motor, Tesla had to design the machine to wind the carbon at extremely high tension.
As a result, the electromagnetic field super-efficient: “The centrifugal force wants to expand the rotor, so the carbon wrap holds the motor together,” said Musk.
In the Model S, Tesla has also the lowest drag coefficient of any car ever made, said Musk. Including everything, even “wheels in motion”, the Model S Plaid gets a drag coefficient of 0.208.
Add to that a heat pump for very little degradation in cold weather, and Musk believes that, “it really feels like driving the future.”
“Even other Tesla cars will feel very last century.”
A confirmed delivery event date on Monday was followed by news that Tesla would be cutting the 1,100 horsepower Plaid Plus from its line-u – apparently because the Plaid is “just so good” according to Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk.
Original pricing for the Plaid with 19″ wheels in Australia was $A174,990 while the Plaid Plus sat at $A199,900.
Pricing for the Plaid is now $A186,990 before on-roads and other options like premium paint and 21″ arachnid wheels, with the price rise likely due to “major supply chain price pressures”, as noted by Musk in response to a Tweet about rising prices in early June.
In other news, it would appear that Tesla has also started lining up exports of the refreshed Model S and Model X, which features a newly designed dashboard and “yoke” steering wheel option, as well as minor exterior updates, for Europe.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.
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