Tesla motors boss, Elon Musk, says weight reduction and other advancements are a constant work-in-progress for the Model S sedan, as the company works to continue unlocking improvements well into the car’s life-cycle.
The current Model S, which has been around since 2012, has seen consistent change – yet the weight of the car remains a sore point, focused largely on the hefty battery pack that powers the world’s best-selling electric car.
Talking to CarAdvice during a press conference for the Model S sedan’s new Ludicrous mode (0-100km/h in under three seconds), he noted that Tesla engineers are always tinkering with the car, and weight-saving is on the agenda.
“In an average week for the model S, there are 20 engineering changes.” Musk told CarAdvice.
“We make 20 small changes in a week; they are mass savings, interior trim improvements, just little improvements all over the car.”
As an example, Musk said the weight of a rear casting part of the car had been reduced by 10kg during the course of the Model S’ life, while the battery pack’s energy density has also improved.
Perhaps the biggest weight saving will come from the batteries themselves. Musk believes battery technology will see around five percent improvement every year – so, in around 15 years time, the current battery capacity of the Model S should at least double without additional weight gain.
This essentially means the roughly 400km range of the Model S available today could be had with half the battery weight. Mix that in with the use of lighter compounds for the body and the Model S’s weight issue may soon be negligible.
Even so, Musk says he doesn’t believe the car is dynamically compromised, pointing out that it can pull 1G in the corners and it offers further benefits with the right wheel choice (bigger in the rear) and right tyre choice (Michelin Pilot Sport).
Unlike most manufacturers, Tesla offers upgrades for both software (over the air via WiFi) and hardware (via battery pack upgrades or new driving modes) for existing Model S customers, but Musk told CarAdvice that, given the rate of improvement and change to the existing car, there’s no perfect time to buy a Model S.
“My friends ask me, should I wait to buy a Model S? Would there be a better one in the future? Of course there will be a better one in the future! If you want to wait for a car so there won’t be a better one in the future, you’ll be waiting forever.”
The Tesla Model S is on sale in Australia from $120,648. The Model X SUV will join the Tesla range from the third quarter of 2016.