In a press conference today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced two performance upgrades and a new version of the Model S. Tesla amps up the P85D's acceleration from Insane to Ludicrous mode, offers a battery pack upgrade from 85 kilowatt-hours to 90 kilowatt-hours, and makes a rear-wheel-drive Model S 70 available for $70,000.
One of Tesla's original promised virtues for the Model S was that existing models could be upgraded, partially eliminating the need for owners to buy whole, new cars. Tesla previously demonstrated this point with over-the-air software upgrades to the car. The newly announced electronics and battery pack upgrades show that Tesla extends this idea to hardware, although at a cost to the owner.
The increased acceleration comes courtesy of a change to the electronics linking the battery pack and motor. Tesla managed to increase the power from 1,300 amps to a maximum of 1,500 amps. Designed for P85D models, which have an Insane acceleration mode selectable from the car's control panel, this upgrade changes that acceleration to what Tesla calls Ludicrous. That means an improvement from the original 3.1 seconds to 60 mph to a new 2.8 seconds to 60 mph.
Musk admitted that customers haven't been asking for more acceleration, but that the new Ludicrous mode was a way for Tesla to demonstrate its engineering expertise.
Owners of the Model S P85D can opt for the upgrade at a cost of $5,000, plus labor, for the next six months. Buyers of a new P85D will need to pay an extra $10,000 to get the Ludicrous option.
Wayne Cunningham, CNET