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by Tim Beissmann

An over-the-air software update is about to make the Tesla Model S even quicker off the mark than it already is.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted just a few hours ago that the 0-60mph (0-96.6km/h) acceleration of the flagship Model S P85D will “improve by ~0.1 second” thanks to an update to the inverter algorithm that is coming “soon”.

In a later tweet, Musk confirmed: “P85 acceleration will also improve, but not quite as much”.

Tesla’s over-the-air software updates work much like a software upgrade for a smartphone, allowing owners to download them over the cellular network without needing to head into a dealership.

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Wiping roughly one tenth of a second off the P85D’s 0-60mph sprint time would slice it to approximately 3.1sec, while the P85 will improve marginally on its existing 4.2sec benchmark.

The P85D’s current, supercar-humbling 3.2sec sprint is achievable when the car’s ‘Insane Mode’ is selected, which gives drivers access to the electric powertrain’s full 515kW of power, 931Nm of torque and all-wheel drive.

US site DragTimes recently posted the video above filming unsuspecting passenger’s reactions to the P85D’s blistering acceleration in Insane Mode.

The Tesla Model S P85D will go on sale in Australia in the third quarter of this year, priced from $133,500 plus on-road costs.

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Meanwhile, federal communications minister Malcolm Turnbull this week visited the Tesla factory in Fremont near San Francisco, where he paid tribute to the company’s innovative spirit and the excitement of driving the Model S.

“[Tesla’s] all-electric cars are being made in a huge factory that used to belong to GM and Toyota,” Turnbull posted to his Facebook page.

“It shut down and then four years ago Tesla took it over and it went from being an industrial relic to the home of what many regard as the world’s fastest and coolest electric car. And many of the workers at Tesla today are auto workers who had been laid off when the old GM/Toyota plant closed. Tesla has gone from employing 500 people to 11,000 in five years. A reminder of how innovation drives jobs.

“Walking through the highly automated assembly lines was inspiring, but nothing matched taking a test drive in the latest Tesla S model. This one has a range of 265 miles (about 480km) and accelerates to 100km/h in 3.5 seconds.

“The key of course is the battery technology, which is improving all the time both in terms of cost and energy density. Batteries have the potential to revolutionise the energy market, reducing peaking power requirements, optimising grid utilisation of renewables and in some cases enabling consumers to go off the grid altogether. The excitement of technology in the Bay Area is exhilarating… But not quite as palpable as the jolt you feel when you hit the accelerator!”




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