Last fall, Tesla CEO Elon Musk promised to unveil "the D". After the grammar-school chuckles died down, Musk lifted the sheet, and everyone was duly awed: the P85D sport package, also known as "the D", offered Model S customers a host of new goodies, including an insane 0-to-60 mph time of 3.2 seconds.
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But apparently, 3.2 seconds isn't fast enough for some. And so, on Friday, Tesla announced an upgrade that will cut 0-to-60 time to a mere 2.8 seconds and give the Model S P85D a quarter-mile time of just 10.9 seconds.
How did Tesla do that? By merging forward-thinking battery technology with some space-ready materials:
Instead of a standard fuse that just melts past a certain amperage, requiring a big gap between the normal operating current and max current, 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 contactor to use inconel (a high temperature space-grade superalloy) instead of steel, so that it remains springy under the heat of heavy current. The net result is that we can safely increase the max pack output from 1300 to 1500 Amps.
In Tesla lingo, it's called "Ludicrous Speed".
Of course, ludicrous things rarely come cheap, and this is no exception. If you want Ludicrous Speed on your new Tesla Model S P85D, it'll set you back $10,000 on top of the $3,000 cost of the 90-kWh battery upgrade. (If you've already purchased the P85D sport package, you'll have a six-month window to upgrade to the whole shebang for $5,000 plus labor.)
In addition to the electronics upgrade, Tesla also rolled out two battery pack upgrades on Friday:
- The 70kWh, single-motor Model S is now $70,000 (dual-motor is $75,000); and,
- Folks interested in the 85 kWh Model S can upgrade to a 90 kWh version that's just $3,000 more (total price: $83,000 plus destination).
The latter upgrade boosts range by about six percent.
All these options are currently active on the Tesla website.