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Tesla Debuts "Ludicrous" Speed Update, 90-kWh Battery for Model S

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 7/17/2015 Kelly Pleskot

Move over, Insane mode. Tesla is introducing a new "Ludicrous" mode as a $10,000 option on the Tesla Model S P90D, allowing the full-size sedan to hit 60 mph in an estimated 2.8 seconds.

2015 Tesla Model S 70D© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Tesla Model S 70D

Two-point-eight seconds. That's faster than the previous range-topping 2015 Tesla Model S P85D, which we've confirmed does the 0-60 mph run in 3.1 seconds. The company claims a quarter-mile time of 10.9 seconds thanks to the new Ludicrous technology, which will also be available to P85D owners at a discount for the next six months. In a press conference today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that in Ludicrous mode, the car will accelerate in a straight line at 1.1 g, which is more force than you'd feel when falling.

Tesla Debuts "Ludicrous" Speed Update, 90-kWh Battery for Model S

Tesla also announced a new 90-kWh battery pack option that is independent of the electronics upgrade. New buyers can upgrade their 85-kWh battery Model S to a 90-kWh pack for an additional $3,000. Thanks to improved cell chemistry, this upgrade promises up to 15 miles of additional range, allowing the current 85D to achieve almost 300 miles of highway range at 65 mph. Existing owners can also purchase the pack upgrade, but Musk recommends waiting, since Tesla expects to increase pack capacity by about 5 percent per year.

Musk says he has "no clue" if these technology updates will boost sales. "We're just trying to make awesome cars," he says.

But something tells us that Tesla's third Model S announcement could make progress on that end. In addition to the 90-kWh pack, Tesla is also bringing out a cheaper Model S. The 70-kWh version of the Model S will now be available in a single-motor, rear-wheel-drive version for $5,000 less than the dual-motor, all-wheel-drive 70D, the previous base model. This puts the price at $70,000 before incentives, making it the lowest-priced Model S now available.

Now that Tesla has made its umpteenth improvement for the Model S, what can we expect on other cars? The Model X will also benefit from "Ludicrous" mode, and although Musk can't say for certain how fast it will go, it is estimated to hit 60 mph in about 3.3 seconds. Speaking of the Model X, Tesla's first SUV is on schedule to start deliveries in the next two months while the Model 3 will arrive in just over two years. Meanwhile, a next-generation Roadster is coming our way in the next four years, and it will be an entirely new car. Tesla says that model will get something even wilder than Ludicrous mode: Maximum Plaid mode. We're not sure what we like more, the idea of an extremely quick electric roadster or all these "Spaceballs" references Tesla keeps dishing out.

Source: Tesla

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