Tesla adds ‘Ludicrous Mode’ for drivers with need for speed

18 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Elon Musk Unveils Changes to Make Tesla Model S Go Faster and Farther.

ELON Musk and Tesla announced some major upgrades for the Model S overnight, including bigger batteries and a “ludicrous” mode that makes the already insanely quick electric car even faster. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said Tesla Motors Inc. is offering a “Ludicrous Mode” option on its Model S sedan for drivers who think “insane” is too tame, as well as cheaper and longer-range versions.Elon Musk has made it official: his electric car company, Tesla Motors, is planning to debut an unnamed new Roadster in four years, and it won’t be based on the Lotus like the last one. Tesla CEO Elon Musk also said the Model X SUV will go on sale “in a few months.” Dubbed Ludicrous, the upgrade is a 10 percent improvement over Insane, the current Model S high-performance driving mode, and will be available as a $10,000 upgrade for new Model S buyers and $5,000 for current owners, Musk told reporters in a conference call Friday morning.

The electric tech mogul held a press conference on Friday to tell reporters how fast his old car goes with its new upgrade: zero to 60 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds, which would put the four-door sedan in a league with high-end sports cars like the most recent Lamborghini Murciélago. Musk told media this morning that the advancements come as a result of being able to increase that maximum amp throughput to 1500 Amps from the car’s batteries, up from 1300 Amps. “We came up with the idea for an advanced smart fuse for the battery. Those who already own an S can also make the upgrade, which increases the car’s range by about 15 miles, Musk said, but he advised current owners against that during the call. Instead of a standard fuse that just melts past a certain amperage, which means you aren’t exactly sure when it will or won’t melt or if it will arc when it does, we developed a fuse with its own electronics and a tiny lithium-ion battery.

It constantly monitors current at the millisecond level and is pyro-actuated to cut power with extreme precision and certainty. “That was combined with upgrading the main pack contractor to use inconel (a high temperature space-grade superalloy) instead of steel, so that it remains springy under the heat of heavy current.” On top of that, a new base model Model S 70 RWD makes the entry into Model S ownership $US5000 cheaper, with prices now starting at $70,000 in the United States. Musk also revealed that Tesla was close to releasing a Beta version of its Autopilot self-driving software and is making the final adjustments by road testing the technology on “one of the world’s worst freeways,” L.A.’s notorious 405.

It’s like having your own private rollercoaster.” Tesla customers weren’t asking to go faster, he added, but the company wanted to see if they could do it. “We figured out from an engineering standpoint how to go beyond and then we thought, we should release that.” Musk said that the acceleration was officially 1.1 G’s, making it “faster than falling”. Other changes included a price cut on the company’s rear wheel drive 70 kWh version of Model S, and the new offer of a “Ludicrous Speed Upgrade” for the 85 kWh, all-wheel drive Model S called the “P85D”–the company’s most expensive model at $105,000 before tax incentives and gas savings as estimated by Tesla. The 405, Musk pointed out, is particularly challenging because of “light concrete surfaces with faded white lines and black skid marks that are not easy for the computer to figure out. The upgrade, offered at a cost of $10,000 to new buyers, “results in is a 10% improvement in the 0 to 60 mph time to 2.8 secs and a quarter mile time of 10.9 secs.

Musk said the software was progressing, but that he had run into difficulties on the road in California. “Right now [the auto-driving software] works incredibly well if the highway markings are clear,” he said, but less so if lane lines are hard to see. According to data from IHS Automotive, 1,242 Model S cars were registered in Los Angeles during the first quarter of 2015, representing nearly half of all Tesla sales in California.

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