By on July 18, 2015

Tesla Model S In Hero Blue

Tesla is yet again updating its Model S range with interesting options on each end of the price scale before the release of the Tesla Model X.

Elon Musk, in a blog post yesterday, announced a new single-motor version of the base model Model S 70 priced at $70,000 — or $52,500 after maximum incentives available in certain states — which is $5,000 less than the all-wheel drive Model S with the same 70 kWh battery pack.

On the other end of the spectrum is a $13,000 (!!!) upgrade to the P85D, pushing Tesla Motors’ top performer to a 0-60 mph time of 2.8 seconds.

With the new Model S 70 rear-wheel drive model, the main change is the removal of the front-wheel motor, effectively turning the car into a rear-wheel drive model and reducing cost. The new option will make the Model S a more palatable option for those looking for budget luxury, especially once state and federal incentives are woven into the final price.

However, upgrades to the top-range 85 kWh models are more involved. For starters, there’s a new 90 kWh battery option for those willing to part with an extra $3,000 on top of the asking price of 85 kWh models. The new pack increases range by a mere 6 percent, extending drivable distance to almost 300 miles on a charge, says Musk.

Before you rush out to upgrade your pack, Musk offers some guidance:

“Existing owners can also purchase the pack upgrade, but I wouldn’t recommend doing so unless usage is on the edge of current range. On average, we expect to increase pack capacity by roughly 5% per year. Better to wait until you have more time on your existing pack and there is a larger accumulated pack energy difference.”

In addition to the pack upgrade, owners and buyers can now upgrade to the new Ludicrous Mode on the Model S P85D. This upgrade is quite involved, requiring a new, advanced “smart fuse” and upgraded main pack contacter. Together, the upgrades result in a 2.8 second sprint to 60 mph — an improvement of 10 percent — and a quarter-mile time of 10.9 seconds, states Musk. Car & Driver says the upgrade gives the Model S 762 horsepower.

If you are ordering a new P85D and want the Ludicrous Model update, prepare to shell out $10,000 plus another $3,000 for the required range update. Even though Musk says “the battery pack size upgrade and the pack electronics upgrade are almost entirely independent,” when ordering the Ludicrous Mode option, you must also select the new, larger battery pack. If you already own a P85D, you can upgrade to Ludicrous Mode for $5,000 (plus labor) sometime in the next six months. There was no word on pricing beyond the six-month window.

Just to add a teaser, Musk says there will be another mode added — beyond Ludicrous — in the future, but it is reserved for a second-generation Roadster in four-years time.

Musk also states Model X production will begin in two months, but we will believe it when we see it.

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45 Comments on “Tesla Prices 70 kWh RWD at $52,500*, Adds Ludicrous Mode to P85D...”

  • avatar

    “On the other end of the spectrum is a $13,000 (!!!) upgrade to the P85D, pushing Tesla Motors’ top performer to a 0-60 mph time of 2.8 seconds.”

    I don’t see the point. If you drive the car for 60 mph for any length of time and then report in the New York Times that the car ran out of juice, then you’ll be scolded by Elon Musk for driving too fast.

    • 0 avatar

      This has about as much relevance as the Hellcat. Even though it’s completely pointless, it’s still amazing we can have such things.

      • 0 avatar

        I was commenting on the John Broder article in the NYT, in which he attempted and failed to drive a Model S using only the Supercharger network. If you take Elon Musk’s side, then Broder committed the cardinal sin of driving on the interstate at over 50 mph or so, so running out of current was supposedly his fault. (Oh, and apparently one isn’t allowed to stop in Manhattan, either.)

        The full torque from 0 rpm is a nice plus for electric motors. Shame about the big chemical vat that provides the power.

        • 0 avatar

          Kind of clever ignoring that Broder drove around in circles in a parking lot just shy of a supercharger for the sole purpose of running out of juice to make a headline. He was clearly unaware that the press car loaned to him was tracking his driving just in case he tried some nonsense to discredit the car’s abilities. Whoops.

          • 0 avatar

            Driving around a parking lot in my car doesn’t cause my car to run out of gas. Then again, it isn’t necessary to drive around parking lots to look for fuel for my car.

            (Musk apologists simply baffle me.)

          • 0 avatar

            “Driving around a parking lot in my car doesn’t cause my car to run out of gas.”

            Of course it does! It just takes longer.

          • 0 avatar

            “Driving around a parking lot in my car doesn’t cause my car to run out of gas. Then again, it isn’t necessary to drive around parking lots to look for fuel for my car.

            (Musk apologists simply baffle me.)”

            Facts are facts.

            Why did Broder state he drove at 54 MPH when the car was going over 60? Isn’t the speedometer digital??

            Why did Broder on each charge pull the plug at less than 100%? It’s no different than a gas station—want the max range? Then fill the tank until it is full.

            Why did Broder drive past a charging station when the car was low on energy?

            This isn’t even being an apologist, as I’m not a fan of Musk himself but driving in circles in a parking lot to get it to run out of energy shows that he had something else up his sleeve.

            Go ahead and blame Tesla here; you and the NYT don’t have a leg to stand on.

          • 0 avatar

            I don’t know why Broder should have bothered moderating his speed at all. He should have driven the car like he stole it and with the heater on, then allowed the chips to fall where they did.

            Musk is the one who keeps claiming that this is a compromise-free purchase. Yet he publicly freaks out because this guy spends most of his time at or under the limit. What a joke.

            As for topping off the battery, that is not good for the battery. It is not like filling a tank of gasoline, which is one of the issues with battery-powered vehicles. And unlike a battery-powered car, the size of your gas tank doesn’t shrink over time.

          • 0 avatar

            >> As for topping off the battery, that is not good for the battery.

            Depends on on the battery. I have a newer chemistry battery (a 2015 Nissan “lizard” battery) and haven’t had an issue with topping up. It’s also close to it’s 100th quick charge and nearly 15k miles. No problems yet and it’s still healthy according to the CAN data.

            Some people argue that waiting until the car is low is rougher on the anode because of the greater current draw when the charge is really low.

            Don’t know about Tesla’s current chemistry. BTW, the Broder article was 2.5 years ago. I was in the same area he was in (he detoured to Stonington CT) with a Leaf last week and didn’t have a problem. More CHAdeMO and Tesla Superchargers in the area so the same problem wouldn’t happen now.

            I took my Leaf from the Boston area to Vermont, drove around there for a week, then went to the RI southern coast via Newport. The infrastructure is getting better on the East Coast. Plenty of CHAdeMO charging and Level 2’s are very common. If I can do it with a 26 kWh Leaf (not a typo), a Tesla should be a piece of cake.

        • 0 avatar
          Lack Thereof

          I think the cardinal sin wasn’t his freeway speed, but the simple fact that he

          **unplugged from a charging port, with the display reading 28% and estimating 32 miles of range, then immediately left on a 61 mile trip**

          Allegedly, someone at Tesla told him to do that. Maybe it was the same person who told him he could save energy and extend his range by repeatedly & aggressively accelerating and decelerating between 55 and 80, rather than using the cruise control. I’m not sure.

          I’m just saying, there’s room for more than one idiot in this story.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s because in 10 years internet commentators will be claiming that it’s unsafe to merge onto a freeway with any that takes longer than 3 seconds 0-60.

    • 0 avatar


      I’m more impressed by 0-30 in Hellcat than 0-80 in P85D.
      Roaring Whining engines make all the difference in speed.

      How would you guys feel about SILENT Ferraris and Lamborghinis?

      • 0 avatar

        Silent would be just fine with me. I care about the performance

      • 0 avatar

        Electric motors at full power aren’t silent and I like the sound. A 1,000+ HP Rimac can add tire smoking sounds to the mix. I like the idea being able accelerate fast without attracting attention.

        However, I do understand your point. I kind-of like the sound of flat plane crank V8s too.

        • 0 avatar


          Believe me: I could lease a P85D. I’d just trade in my JeepSRT since it holds the most value and then pay $700 a month.

          But the SOUND of HELLCAT… Everything from starting it up and hearing it come to life, to sitting in traffic and hearing its angry idle is the reason why the 300 HELLCAT will be my next car in 2017.

          Muricans spend good money to make their cars louder.

          Cams and headers, CAI…

          People have asked me: is there something wrong with your car?

          Some of these poor noobs have no idea what burnouts are.

          • 0 avatar

            The horsepower wars are on. Maybe you could pick up a Hellcat X:


          • 0 avatar

            Calling them noobs doesn’t make you right. If they think it sounds broken, then it does… to them. Aural pleasure is subjective.

          • 0 avatar

            If it’s not broken, they’re still wrong.

            But he didn’t claim they said his car sounded broken, he claimed they thought there was something wrong with his car, and there might be. That description is more open to interpretation.

      • 0 avatar

        How do you feel about the Hellcat X one off (supercharger PLUS TWIN TURBOS).

      • 0 avatar

        It’s silly to care about the sound. Silence is fine with me.

  • avatar

    Umm, it’s not $52K for the 70 S, that’s Elon’s fuzzy math at work, it is $70K before Elon’s fuzzy math, you might want to edit the article.

  • avatar

    30K crossover or they’re a footnote.

    • 0 avatar

      They claim to be working on it, and the rumor is that they will reveal it early this fall.

      Getting the Model X in to production is the first priority.

      Also, the $30k-sowething crossoverzand sedan aren’t feasible until the economies of scale from the gigafactory start to happen, so the delivery date of the 1Modol 3 wins not be before they start producing batteries there.

    • 0 avatar
      Splorg McGillicuddy

      I don’t think they need to make anything under $45,000 USD. $30k is below average pricing nowadays. As long as they keep some performance in the can then they’ll be good on the 3.

  • avatar

    This car seems like the physical embodiment of DLC.

  • avatar

    “In addition to the pack upgrade, owners and buyers can now upgrade to the new Ludicrous Mode on the Model S P85D.”

    Does everything in the world outside around you turn to plaid?

  • avatar

    I’ve seen it… it’s rubbish.

  • avatar

    The headline is misleading. The $52,500* is with the federal $7,500 tax credit and Tesla’s estimated fuel savings…which continue to estimate gasoline at $3.90 per gallon.

    The lowest cost Model S costs $70,000 USD if buying.

    You never see any other auto manufacturer advertise their vehicles this way. Honda doesn’t guesstimate the fuel savings you would derive by operating their vehicle as compared to one of their competitors vehicles and subtract it from the price.

    I get why they are doing it but it’s a terribly misleading process. What about all of the time I might spend sitting at a Supercharger when I drive the vehicle on a long distance road trip? Should I add that on top of the cost of the car? Absurd.

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