Tesla: The "D" Stands For Dual-Motor

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon

You’ve waited for this, now here it comes: Tesla is dropping in a second electric motor up front for more power and better weight distribution in the Model S.

Its name? D.

Road & Track reports all three dual-motor models of the S — 60D, 85D and P85D — will have a 118-horsepower mid-size electric motor powering the front wheels. The same motor will also move the rear pair in the 60D and 85D, while customers who opt for the raw power of the P85D will have the same 470-horsepower motor in the back as the original P85.

The power duo under the P85D will deliver a combined 690 horsepower and 687 lb-ft of torque when the hammer is dropped, moving from nil to 60 in 3.2 seconds — spanking Charger Hellcats and Panameras off the line — with the quarter disappearing in 11.8 seconds. CEO Elon Musk stated his team benchmarked the McLaren F1 for the top-end model’s acceleration performance.

As for range, the 85D will pull into the Supercharger after 295 miles, five short of the magical 300-mile barrier. The 60D will do the same after 225 miles, and the P85D arrives after 275 miles.

Aside from the new models — all of which are available for order at this moment, with delivery set for December for P85D models, February for the others — the Model S and future vehicles will have Autopilot, a semi-autonomous drive system that will take over from the driver when needed, doing everything from speeding up and slowing down in heavy traffic, to switching lanes after the driver signals where they wish to go. The system — which is in every Model S assembled from two weeks ago forward, and will be enabled via software update in the next few months — uses a forward-facing camera and an array of 12 sensors, providing a 360-degree view of the world up to 16 feet away.

Finally, stopping all of this new power comes from an electromechanical braking setup — the Porsche 918 is the only other vehicle to use the technology — which Autopilot can engage in whatever manner is most appropriate in a given situation, from hard panic stops to red-carpet style gentle braking. Tesla can fine-tune the system for desired brake feel, as well.

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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  • RedStapler RedStapler on Oct 10, 2014

    I wonder if the 118HP Front Motor will also appear in the "Model 3" mass market car?

    • Wumpus Wumpus on Oct 12, 2014

      An interesting thing would be to see the 118hp front motor in the front of the "3" (or any other Telsa for that matter) and a brushless [read DC] motor in the back. Brushless types tend to be cheaper, but aren't [usually] capable of regenerative braking. I'm assuming that regenerative braking is light enough you can put it all on the front wheels (or at least light RW braking when getting closer to 118 "braking hp"). Everything I've seen implies that they aren't changing the rear motor (why would they), but once you have an inductive front motor, the inductive rear motor becomes fairly extravagant and heavy (I'm pretty sure the front motor is inductive, although it would also make sense for it to be brushless as well and just regenerate the way non-D Telsas do).

  • Dr. Kenneth Noisewater Dr. Kenneth Noisewater on Oct 12, 2014

    BTW, the 'Insane' tier Model S in 2018-2019 will have dual 500kW motors (or 4 250kW) and 120kWh of battery, discharging up to 800kW (7C) at once, for a bit more than 1100hp. It'll likely weigh in the neighborhood of 2200-2300kg. With wider and grippier tires, sub-3s 0-60 is pretty likely, maybe even on the low end of that. Even so, it'll likely get about 2-2.5mi per kWh on an average daily driver cycle. Hell, with 2 or 4 motors, at a drag strip, add a mode where the front and rear motors spin in different directions in order to heat up the tires while staying in place.

  • Wjtinfwb I'd like to see a Ford/Mazda relationship restarted. Both companies have some car guys keeping the flame alive and could develop a sports car slightly bigger than a Miata and pick and choose from each other's parts bin to put together some attractive powertrain combo's. Even a Mazda 3 AWD with the 300HP EcoBoost 2.3L, manual and AWD from the Focus RS would be welcome. Even better, a factory Miata V8 with the 480 HP Coyote (i know it wont fit...) and a manual gearbox. And how about a CX-5 with a 2.7L EcoBoost V6 with AWD and an chassis tuned for sport. Lots of possibilities.
  • Blueice Patient 28, sorry, but it is Oktoberfest. Bring a kegof Kraut beer and we will 50% you.
  • Bd2 Probably Toyota, Hyundai is killing them these days.
  • Bd2 Japan is evil, stop buying their vehicles. I hope TTAC has a holiday for PEARL HARBOR.
  • Wolfwagen If Isuzu could update this truck and keep the cost between $25K - $30K they would sell like ice pops on dollar day in a heat wave.