Looks like the “D” that billionaire, lord of all things cool, Elon Musk tweeted last week does in fact stand for dual motors. The new Tesla Model S “D” is basically a regular Model S, however with 2 motors. With this dual electric motor configuration, the Tesla Model S is now AWD. This means that you can actually use it in inclement weather, and keep up with your friends driving Bimmers, Audi’s, and Benz’s.
The Model S P85D-S is what really got my attention. The old P85-S packed around 450hp from it’s single motor. The new P85D-S packs not 500, not 600, but close to 700hp and 700lb/ft of torque! To put that in perspective, that’s more than the Porsche 911 Turbo S (560HP), the Ferrari 458 (560hp), and the Lamborghini Huracán (602hp). This ludicrous amount of power is directed to all 4 wheels, propelling the P85D-S to 60 in ~3.2s, with a top speed of 155mph! And the range is still 265miles on a charge. Finally, a Tesla that can keep up with my Audi.
It should be noted that the performance of these motors is dependent on the “flavor” of the Model S. All Model S’s now have a 50/50 weight distribution, which means the already awesome handling will not be affected by the added weight, instead improved upon. The P60D and the P85D (non S), the base and mid-tier model, pack a combined output of 375hp and 362lb/ft of torque, with ranges of 225 miles and 295 miles. Believe it or not, Tesla actually managed to increase the range of the Model S, even though now there is an extra motor and more weight. This was achieved because an electric motor can also be an electric generator. So the spare motor, when not in use, can provide a little bit of charge. Pretty neat stuff when you really think about it.
All models have an increased top speed of 155, as well as new “Auto Pilot” like system (this was the something else that Elon talked about last week). This system, which is still very limited, can basically control the car without much effort from the driver. Much like the Distronic+ offered by Mercedes Benz, Auto Pilot will maintain speed, keep the car in the lane, and shift speed with traffic. However, the Auto Pilot system takes things one step further with automated lane switching, traffic sign detection, auto park WITHOUT the driver, and it will automatically come to you when you need it (kind of like a dog except cooler). And Mr. Musk assured everyone that more features would be made public via software updates.
The AWD versions of the Model-S all carry are $4,000 premium over their RWD counterparts, with the price range being from $65,000-$145,000. Orders are being taken right now (so get on that) with deliveries starting at the end of the year for the P85D-S and early next year for the P60D and P85D (non S). Expect a hands-on review in the near future.