2015 Tesla Model S: More range, Ludicrous mode

By Bob Nagy on July 23, 2015 8:10 AM

Tesla has released a series of mid-season updates for the 2015 Model S that expands both the scope and the performance capabilities of its EV sedan. The firm is introducing a new Model S 70, a single-motor variant with a 70kWh battery pack as the new entry model beneath the recently launched dual-motor P70D. Fitted with a rear-mounted 315-horsepower electric motor, it will open at $70,000 before incentives -- $5,000 less than the P70D - and travel an EPA-estimated 230 miles on a single charge. 

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk also announced the availability of a new 90kWh battery pack upgrade option that will cost $3,000 and offer roughly a six percent bump in range, allowing a Model S P85D to travel nearly 300 miles at 65 mph. While aimed at new purchasers, current 85D/P85D owners also can have the pack retrofitted to their cars. Musk also noted the company anticipates upping maximum capacity of its battery packs by about 5 percent annually.

Let's get Ludicrous

For Model S 85D/P85D buyers who need more than the currently available "Insane" mode that propels their cars from 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds, Tesla is introducing a new "Ludicrous" mode option that will cut that time to a blistering 2.8 ticks, an interval on par with vehicles like the Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 and Porsche 911 Turbo S. The leap to Ludicrous -- which allows the maximum output of the battery pack to be cranked up from 1,300 to 1,500 amps -- was made possible by fitting a new smart fuse that constantly monitors current flow and can instantaneously and precisely cut power as necessary to protect the system and by replacing the pack's conventional steel main contactor element with a high-tech Iconel alternative. 

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This $10,000 upgrade will be offered to current P85D owners for half that amount during the next six months. In addition to faster accleration, Ludicrous mode also promises to reduce the time to top speed - electronically limited at 155 mph -- by 20 percent.

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