Speaking to the media from California early this morning Australian time, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk announced the company’s battery pack advancement, which allows buyers the option of upgrading the pack energy from 85kWh to 90kWh.
In real world terms, that will bring about an additional 24 kilometres of range and takes the Model S’ highway range to nearly 480km when travelling at about 105km/h.
The battery pack will cost $3000 USD. Tesla Australia will charge $4100 for the upgrade locally.
Musk said that whilst current owners can upgrade their car, that would seem unnecessary unless the additional range is absolute required.
“Existing owners can also purchase the pack upgrade, but I wouldn't recommend doing so unless your usage is on the edge of current range. On average, we expect to increase pack capacity by roughly 5% per year. Better to wait until you have more time on your existing pack and there is a larger accumulated pack energy difference,” Musk said.
Meanwhile, and perhaps far more exciting, is the advancements to Tesla’s fast accelerating ‘Ludicrous’ mode to the top-spec Tesla Model S, which now sees the seven-seater family sedan go from 0-96km/h (0-60mph) in a supercar crushing 2.8 seconds. It also means it will do 0-100km/h in less than 3.0 seconds.
The advancements come as a result of being able to accommodate 1500 Amps throughput from the car’s batteries, up from 1300 Amps.
“We came up with the idea for an advanced smart fuse for the battery. Instead of a standard fuse that just melts past a certain amperage, which means you aren't exactly sure when it will or won't melt or if it will arc when it does, we developed a fuse with its own electronics and a tiny lithium-ion battery. It constantly monitors current at the millisecond level and is pyro-actuated to cut power with extreme precision and certainty.
“That was combined with upgrading the main pack contractor to use inconel (a high temperature space-grade superalloy) instead of steel, so that it remains springy under the heat of heavy current.”
The upgrades mean a 10 per cent improvement in straight-line acceleration times, allowing the Model S to accelerate from 0-100km/h faster than the recently released turbocharged Ferrari 488.
The Model S with the new Ludicrous mode option pack costs $13,500 and will set a quarter mile time of just 10.9sec.
Musk hinted that despite a 0-60mph time of just 2.8sec, the Model S will be superseded in straight-line performance by the new Tesla Roadster, expected in 2019.
Last but not least, Tesla announced a new price leader with the Model S 70 RWD, retailing in the U.S., $5000 less than the current lowest priced Model S with the same standard equipment. Model S 70 RWD starts at $70,000 in the United States.
Update: Australian pricing of the Model S 70 RWD is $100,100.
In Australia the Tesla range now starts at $100,100 for the Model S 70 RWD, $114,200 for the Model S P85 RWD, while the top-spec high performance and high range P85D AWD retails for $148,000. All prices do not include luxury car tax or stamp duty. For a driveaway price check out Tesla Australia's website here.
Local pricing and Australian specific information is expected from Tesla Australia later today, story will be updated to reflect the information.