Some industry auto experts were disappointed Thursday when Elon Musk, Tesla Motors CEO, announced that the new Model S was not a self-driving version of the popular all-electric car, but instead a super car with some staggering performance numbers. According to USAToday, the Model S P85D has a rapid acceleration that is delivered from a new all-wheel drive system that will rival competitors in the luxury vehicle market.
The new “tuned” P85D version of the Model S can reach a top speed of 155 mph, up 25 mph from the maximum speed of a standard Model S and take only 3.2 seconds to travel 0-60 mph. The quick acceleration of the new model is expected to please consumers and pull new customers over to Tesla.
Musk indicated that the acceleration is like launching off of an aircraft carrier. Musk addressed reporters at the Hawthorne Airport in Los Angeles, where SpaceX is located. SpaceX, another of Musk’s company, is currently preparing to begin shuttling NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station. It was a possibility that Musk was going to make a larger announcement about the new Model S, possibly including a SpaceX announcement. However, this seemed to just be a day for Tesla.
The new Model S D series cars will also include a package of safety features that do explain some of the thoughts that the revamped Tesla could have been a self-driving car. The newest variation of the Model S will include a feature to read speed-limit signs and adjust the car’s velocity accordingly. So, the idea is setting a cruise control on the car when entering a lower speed zone, the Model S D will read the signs and slow the car down to the posted speed limit automatically.
There will be three different variations of the D designated Model S cars from Tesla. An all-wheel drive version will be a $4,000 option the 60D entry-level and 85D mid-level cars that start at $71,000. The top of the line Model S P85D will include the all-wheel drive and add a special boosted acceleration package will start at $120,000. This P85D is expected to go on sale in December of this year, where the other two variations will debut in February 2015.
A tweet by Musk had the automotive tech world buzzing leading up to the Los Angeles announcement. The head of Tesla tweeted that the company would reveal something he called the D, referring to the Model S D, plus something else. The P85D was the big announcement, however, the addition of the D option package to the basic and mid-range model was likely the “something else” Musk indicated.
While the release of the new Model S from Tesla Motors was not the auto-drive vehicle fans had hoped for, the all-wheel drive electric road rocket is expected to impress. However, Musk did indicate that the cars being built today are capable of having software and hardware added to allow for the anticipated auto drive car they hoped to see today.
By Carl Auer