Tesla Motors Inc.
said it would begin offering three new versions of its Model S, including an increase in its top-end electric range, a new, faster performance version and a lower-cost entry-level model.
New buyers will be able to purchase a 90 kilowatt-hour battery pack, which should add about 15 miles of range to the 85 kwh Model S that currently has a 265-mile range for an additional $3,000 option.
The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company also will begin selling a new “Ludicrous Mode” version of its “Performance” Model S that will be able to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 2.8 seconds, a rate that puts it alongside pricier performance cars in acceleration. That option would cost $10,000 to new buyers and existing owners who have the performance model can get the upgrade for $5,000. And finally, Tesla is offering a $70,000 Model S with a 70 kwh Model, which is $5,000 less than the all-wheel-drive version that had been its entry-level model.
“With the announcement today, we are improving both the low end and the high end,” said Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk in a call with reporters. “We will continue to make improvements.”
The new, more energy-dense battery pack is a result of the forthcoming Model X SUV, which is heavier and needs more energy to get about the same range as the Model S, Mr. Musk said. It is the same size and weight of the current pack, but uses a new chemistry.
The “Ludicrous Mode” could boost Tesla’s sales of its most expensive models, which already sell for more than $130,000. Using new circuitry, the battery can dump 1,500 amperes into the motors, driving blazing acceleration.
“It’s just like having your own roller coaster. It requires a fairly advanced and exotic electronics. But it’s still a great thing,” he said. “You can’t hide that light under a bushel.”
He said timing of the launch of the Model X SUV and lower-cost Model 3 are on track. While being vague, he said the hotly anticipated Model X will be available in a “few” months and the Model 3 lineup of $35,000 crossovers and sedans, is coming in “a few years.”
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