Friday, October 10, 2014

Tesla Unveils the D: Every Model S Now Offers AWD, Including Staggering 691-hp (!) P85D

2015 Tesla Model S P85D

Tesla’s Model S is certainly a unique product in the luxury-sedan space, but it still competes against like-sized four doors that offer four-wheel drive. With the new D option—which stands for Dual Motor—every Model S gets the option of all-wheel drive. The D system will also be on the upcoming Model X crossover that is promised for sale early next year.

Tesla Model S D dual-motor all-wheel drive system

Adding front-wheel traction requires adding an electric motor to the front axle. That motor sends power to the front wheels as needed and in concert with the rear-located motor. In the top-of-the-line P85D version, the Model S retains its 470-hp rear motor and adds a 221-horse front motor. Power goes from today’s 470 horsepower to a staggering 691 combined horsepower and 687 lb-ft of torque. With the additional traction, the P85D will whiz from 0 to 60 in 3.2 seconds and through the quarter-mile in 11.8 seconds. We rode along and found the acceleration positively shocking, even though we were expecting and ready for it. Top speed rises from a governed 130 mph to an equally governed 155 mph.

On the P85, getting D’d costs $14,600 and includes the Technology package, air suspension, and 21-inch wheels. Tesla’s claimed range at 65 mph is reduced by 10 miles, or 275 miles. The extra motor and equipment adds about 290 pounds, for a curb weight of 4936 pounds. Tesla claims that the extra mass is largely offset by being able to spread the power efficiency curve across the two motors.

2015 Tesla Model S P85D

The Model S 85 and 60 also get the option of four-wheel drive, but in those models the D version gets a different rear motor. The 85D and 60D both pack front motors and less powerful rear motors each good for 188 horsepower; combined output is then 376 horsepower. Rear-drive versions of the 60 and 85 have 370 horsepower for 2015. Tesla claims the 60D and the 85D will cut 0 to 60 times by 0.2 second, to 5.7 and 5.2. Top speed goes from 120 mph to 125 in the 60, while the 85 now tops out at 155 mph, up from 125. And despite the extra acceleration and a 176-pound weight gain, the dual-motor setup increases range in the 60D and 85D by 10 miles thanks to the aforementioned efficiency gains of the two motors. Selecting D will be a $4000 standalone option on the 60 and the 85.



Tesla also showed off its new Autopilot equipment, which is now part of the Technology bundle. Already part of the production process for cars built in the past two weeks, the system incorporates a collision-warning system, blind-spot and lane-departure warnings, and dynamic cruise control. Like many competitive systems, Autopilot can control the speed of the car and will even keep the car within the lane of traffic. Unlike some other systems, the Model S will be able to read speed-limit signs and adjust the set cruise speed accordingly, and it can also automatically change lanes without driver intervention if you signal with the cruise set. The system is a major step toward total vehicle autonomy, something that CEO Elon Musk now sees happening in the next five to six years.

Tesla Model S Autopilot drive-assistance technology

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