Tesla S Goes AWD, Comes With Cheaper Batteries, Upgraded Firmware

TTAC Staff
by TTAC Staff
tesla s goes awd comes with cheaper batteries upgraded firmware

During a Tesla townhall meeting at the automaker’s European headquarters in Amsterdam, CEO Elon Musk announced to owners that an all-wheel drive version of the vaunted S would arrive in showrooms by the early months of 2015 at the latest.

The arrival comes on the heels of the Model X SUV, which will come standard with the AWD system when it makes its showroom debut in 2015. The system utilizes two electric motors, each driving the front or rear wheels while pushing the electric SUV from 0 to 60 in under 5 seconds for the Performance option. Power for both the X and S models will come from higher-capacity battery options, eventually including those made with cheaper batteries from Tesla’s “giga factory.”

Planned to be the largest battery plant in the world, the factory will be built in the United States sometime soon, and will be able to recycle older battery units in-house with refitting visiting Teslas with newer packs. The eventual goal is to drive battery costs down by as much as 30 percent to 40 percent while pushing 30 gigawatt-hours of production capacity, just in time for Tesla’s $30,000/200-mile EV debut in the near future. More information will be announced in March, when Musk will also divulge the location of the new factory.

For current owners, a firmware upgrade will be available in a few weeks: Version 6.0 adds real-time traffic data, more control over ride height and suspension settings, and other improvements. Down the road, owners can also upgrade their seats for greater comfort, while future owners of S and X models will have those seats as standard equipment.

Finally, owners will be able to go coast-to-coast thanks to Tesla’s Supercharger stations, whose transcontinental network was completed recently — with a transcontinental road trip to celebrate the occasion — and is now adding capacity at a rate of five of the charging stations coming online per week. The chargers are expected to recharge batteries at a max of 135 kW current.

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  • Redliner Redliner on Feb 10, 2014

    Perhaps the Model E will use recycled Model S batteries instead of brand new batteries. That could be one way they bring the cost down.

  • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Feb 10, 2014

    I've only driven a Tesla Model S P85 for a very brief stint, and have to say I was very impressed. Now, if only I could come up with the $80,000 to buy one, well lease... I think I want my next car to be AWD just so I can see what all the hype is about. I've only ever had FWD and my Blazer that's 4x4 with selectable 4x2 HI, 4x4 HI, and 4x4 LO (which I generally keep in 4x2 HI). I'd be curious to know what the difference is.

    • Rpn453 Rpn453 on Feb 12, 2014

      "I think I want my next car to be AWD just so I can see what all the hype is about . . ." Be careful, there are a lot of AWD systems out there and most are far more complex and less functional in bad conditions than your simple 4WD system. The only advantage any have over yours is that they can be used full-time in any road conditions. The disadvantages will vary dramatically from one system to the next. Do your research and decide what you want out of the system. The closest to yours in functionality would be manual transmission Subarus, which use a center differential with a viscous coupling limited slip. The coupling mechanically only allows a small amount of relative slip before effectively locking, and functions as an open differential the rest of the time. No electronics involved. The hype is about having a 0-60 of ten seconds rather than twenty seconds in winter conditions. Far more useful for those who regularly drive in winter conditions than the difference between a V6 model that does 0-60 in six seconds on dry pavement compared to its I4 base model that can only do it in eight. Yet somehow choosing AWD receives more criticism than choosing an unnecessarily powerful engine.

  • Dusterdude The suppliers can ask for concessions, but I wouldn’t hold my breath . With the UAW they are ultimately bound to negotiate with them. However, with suppliers , they could always find another supplier ( which in some cases would be difficult, but not impossible)
  • AMcA Phoenix. Awful. The roads are huge and wide, with dedicated lanes for turning, always. Requires no attention to what you're doing. The roads are idiot proofed, so all the idiots drive - they have no choice, because everything is so spread out.
  • Leonard Ostrander Pet peeve: Drivers who swerve to the left to make a right turn and vice versa. They take up as much space as possible for as long as possible as though they're driving trailer trucks or school busses. It's a Kia people, not a Kenworth! Oh, and use your turn signals if you ever figure out where you're going.
  • Master Baiter This is horrible. Delaying this ban will raise the Earth's temperature by 0.00000001°C in the year 2100.
  • Alan Buy a Skoda Superb.