Tesla D: Speedy AWD Model S with second motor and limited autopilot
Tesla’s “D” unveiling hasn’t quite started yet, but USA Today has taken the wraps off for Elon Musk & Co (update: the article has been removed). Fitting into some of the rumors, speculation and a car spotted a few days ago, Tesla is rolling out new all-wheel drive equipped versions of its Model S (check out our review of the original here). The top of the line dual-motor equipped P85D has a measured 0 – 60 time of 3.2 seconds, which should put it among the fastest sedans ever when it starts shipping in December. According to Musk, the system is a “huge improvement” that actually adds efficiency over a single motor — about 10 miles in range per charge. That’s apparently because there’s no shaft between the front and rear axles, and the motors constantly adjust output so well that it overcomes the weight of the second engine.
Update: And it’s (finally) started! Elon Musk is on stage revealing all the details right now, check after the break to find out what Tesla has in store.
Aside from the performance and handling upgrade of AWD (two other models with the tech will roll out early next year, dubbed 60D and 75D) Tesla is also introducing new driver assist features to match and surpass what others like Mercedes and Lexus are doing, like lane keeping and self-adjusting cruise control. Its new cars can read speed limit signs and adjust accordingly, and even change lanes by themselves when the driver activates the turn signal, all powered by a system of 12 sensors that see around the car. There’s no word yet on how much the additions will cost. We’re at the event in LA now, and will have more details for you as they’re announced.
Elon Musk is on stage right now, and according to him the additions are a bit more than assists (oh, and D stands for dual motor). Tesla is going to “push the limit” on what’s legally allowed for self-driving cars. These new models can park themselves, and even (while on private property) summon the car, and it will slowly drive to where you are, or park itself in the garage! As Elon promised yesterday, this is already out there — every car built in the last two weeks is already packing the sensors, and the autopilot features will be delivered in an OTA software update. To get the highest performance out of the P85D, owners will opt for “insane” mode.
This is all driven by the ultrasonic sensors on the new cars, although he’s not ready to call the autopilot features autonomous just yet. A new electromechanical braking system can bring things to a stop very quickly, and the cars will feature electrical power steering. Our own Nicole Lee is on site and is about to take a test drive, we’ll have more impressions for you shortly.