Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Prepare for Ludicrous Speed!

Elon Musk made three important announcements during the Tesla investor conference call on July 17th:

  • A new Model S version - the Model S 70 - will sell for $70,000 and will feature at 70 kWh battery back.
  • 90 kWh battery pack upgrade for 85 kWh Model S owners costing $3,000, which will give the car another 15 miles of range. Musk recommends holding off on this unless it's really needed as he says the range will only improve over time.
  • New Model S vehicles will now feature ludicrous mode - one step beyond insane mode. Ludicrous mode will launch a Model S from 0 to 6 in 2.8 seconds, a 10% improvement over insane mode.
Ludicrous mode will not be a software only upgrade. It requires new hardware - specifically fuses the won't melt as the car draws 1,500 amps from the battery pack.

I like what Musk said in response to an analyst's question about how many more sales he thinks these tweaks would generate: “I have no idea. We are just trying to make awesome cars.”

Other good news is that the Model X should be available in 2 months and the model 3 in just over two years.

Musk did mention there is still room to improve, acceleration-wise:
“There is of course one speed faster than ludicrous, but that is reserved for the next generation Roadster in 4 years: maximum plaid.”

While this is crazy, I have to think we are quickly approaching the limits of what is possible in an automobile. At some point, the tires won't be able to maintain enough traction with the road to accelerate faster, even with computers monitoring for slippage and adjusting torque amongst the various wheels. It would be interesting to see what the theoretical limit is - what is the fastest speed tires can rotate and still maintain sufficient traction to move a car.


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