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Tesla updates Model S and X with longer range and new tech

Autocar logo Autocar 24/04/2019 Autocar
a car parked on the side of a road: Tesla updates Model S and X with longer range and new tech © Autocar Tesla updates Model S and X with longer range and new tech

Tesla has announced a series of upgrades for its Model S saloon and Model X SUV, including a range improvement of more than 10% for Long Range models. 

The Californian EV maker claims to have substantial upgraded the drive unit fitted to both cars, introducing the “optimised permanent magnet synchronous reluctance motor” from the Model 3, and using silicon carbide in the unit’s electronics. Redesigned gearing, new bearings and improved cooling and lubrication boost all-round motor efficiency. 

The net result is a claimed EPA cycle range of 370 miles for the top-spec Model S and 325 miles for the equivalent Model X.  This is apparently achieved without any changes to the 100kWh battery pack in both cars. 

At the same time Tesla claims to have improved power and torque “significantly” without quoting specific figures in its blog post. Charging times have come down, too, with both cars capable of achieving 200kW on the latest ‘V3’ Superchargers and 145kW on the more common ‘V2’ Superchargers. 

a car parked on the side of a road © Provided by Haymarket Media Group

The upgrades extend beyond the powertrain, however, with both cars receiving a fully adaptive damping system for the air suspension. Developed in-house, it’s claimed to constantly adapt to the road surface and driver behaviour, while bringing the cars lower to the ground when cruising to optimise aerodynamics. 

More minor changes include new wheel bearings and new tire designs for certain variants claims to boost steering feel, ride quality and range. By way of recompense to those who purchased a Model S or X prior to the updates, the firm is offering a free Ludicrous Mode upgrade to existing owners buying a new Performance model. 

In an unusual move, the company has backtracked on its relatively recent decision to axe Standard Range variants by re-introducing them on both models. 

The updated Teslas are entering production at the firm’s factory in Fremont, California, this week, with online ordering open now. It’s not clear yet when deliveries to Europe are scheduled, and Autocar is awaiting comment from a UK spokesperson.

In pictures: How Jaguar's electric I-Pace SUV compares to Tesla's Model X [Business Insider]



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