What many anticipated to be the Tesla “Model D” was finally stripped of its cloak of mystery and revealed last night at the Hawthorne Airport in Los Angeles, where Elon Musk revealed to an invitation-only press conference just what Tesla had up their sleeve this time.
The hype had been set by Musk after his ‘Twitter teaser’ last week which simply read: “About time to unveil the D and something else”, which led to the anticipation of either a completely automated car, or an all-wheel drive car, which is what the D actually stands for: Dual motor all-wheel drive.
With an identical exterior to the Model S Sedan, the ‘D Series’ is more of an improvement on the S, which has impressed many since its introduction in 2012, rather than a new line of vehicle itself.
The biggest improvement in the Model S D series is the second motor that will sit in between the front two wheels. This will in turn help to give the additional power that the Model S had received a little criticism for in the past.
Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive
One of the main advantages of this though is the acceleration and top speed. How fast can an electric car accelerate? According to Musk, it can make 0-60 mph in just 3.2 seconds. That’s the same as the McLaren F1, and let’s not forget that the Bugatti Veyron only does 0-60 mph in 0.8 seconds less, and for around 2.4 million dollars more! Which is extremely impressive from Tesla. In addition to this, the top speed has now been topped up from 130 mph to an extraordinary 155 mph.
But wait, there’s more! The new motor which works within milliseconds of the existing one is able to add another 10 miles to the existing charge distance which is remarkable when you take in to account the added weight factor that comes with an additional motor.
“This car is nuts. It’s like taking off from a carrier deck”
Musk told the various press members that had been as on-edge and anxious as everybody else for the past week, waiting for what the industry leader’s next revolutionary step would be. Musk went on to add: “It’s bananas. It’s like having your own personal roller coaster that you can use at any time.”
As well as the power factors, the new Model S D Series has some impressive and largely anticipated new hi-tech features. As the race for the first fully autonomous vehicle starts to gather up speed it’s no surprise that the new D series shows many early signs of future autonomous features. Cameras and sensors allow the car to constantly be ahead of the traffic and even the driver, apparently even being able to override the driver if need be to avoid any accidents.
Musk explained how the driver would be unable to steer in to the direction of danger if the car believed that there was any risk being taken at all. Automatic parking and lane control are also part of the D’s package too as technology on board takes another step in the right direction.
We know Musk’s passion for a fully self-driving car is unrivaled. Though he accepts that this is still a vision that cannot be put in to place until laws and other restrictions, not to mention the actual technology within the cars, needs time and thought before any real advancements can be made, the D is able to drive itself on private driveways and places where DOT and other restrictions don’t apply.
There are going to be 3 versions of the Model S D Series made available. As far as prices go, the basic Model S 60D which features a 60 kWh battery will start at $75,070, compared to $71,070 for the rear wheel version; the 85D, the 85 kWh car will sell for $85,070; but the full version, the P85D will start at $120,170.
The P85D is set to hit the roads before the new year, while those looking to purchase either the P60D or P80D will have to wait until February for their release.
Tesla is still a long way from its goal of reaching out to the average consumer, with prices still no lower than $70,000. But what we can see from the D Series, especially the P85D, is that the technology is starting to come together now.
Tesla Motors has created an immense machine that will send all luxury car producers back to the drawing board. The innovative industry leaders have once again established themselves as just that.