Watch the debut of Tesla Model S Plaid, the ‘quickest production car ever made’

Watch the debut of Tesla Model S Plaid, the ‘quickest production car ever made’

On Thursday, Tesla will hold a delivery celebration for its new, high-performance “Plaid” Model S. Elon Musk’s business is attempting to rekindle interest in its nearly decade-old electric sedan, which is up against fierce competition from Porsche and Mercedes-Benz. Musk believes that when the Plaid Model S is produced, it will be the “fastest production car ever made.”

The ceremony, which will take place in Tesla’s Fremont facility, will be live-streamed for the general public beginning at 7 p.m. PT / 10 p.m. ET (though the event may not actually begin until closer to 8:30 PM PT). It was supposed to happen on June 3rd, but Musk postponed it until June 10th after tweeting that the car needed “one more week of tweaking.”

The arrival of the redesigned Model S has also been delayed; the business had previously stated that deliveries would begin in March. A redesigned Model X SUV was also supposed to start shipping in March, but that date has been moved out to an undefined period in the future.

The Plaid Model S wasn’t a certain conclusion. Despite years of speculation, Musk appeared uninterested in the notion, writing in 2019 that “no refreshed Model X or Model S coming.” Tesla, on the other hand, was continually improving both vehicles, he added.

Watch the debut of Tesla Model S Plaid, the ‘quickest production car ever made’

A prototype version of the Plaid powertrain made its premiere at the Laguna Seca racetrack less than two months later, lapping the legendary California circuit in just one minute and 36 seconds. In September 2020, the business unveiled a new prototype as part of its Battery Day presentation. Plaid is a reference to one of Musk’s favorite movies, Spaceballs, just like Tesla’s “Ludicrous” acceleration mode.

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Most of the important characteristics are already known: a range of 390 miles, a max speed of 200 mph (with the “proper tires,” as Musk has stated), and a 0–60 mph sprint time of 1.99 seconds (though the authenticity of that last claim has been questioned). A long-range Model S costs $79,990, whereas the latest model costs $129,990. After Musk tweeted that basic Plaid is “simply so good,” a “Plaid Plus” version of the Model S, with a range of more than 520 miles, was shelved.

The interior of the new Model S will be simpler, with a landscape touchscreen similar to that of the Model 3 and Model Y. There’s also a stalkless U-shaped butterfly steering wheel, similar to what Tesla has promised for the second-generation Roadster. There’s also a second screen for rear-seat passengers behind the center console. The new Model S, unlike the Model 3 and Model Y, still has a cockpit screen behind the steering wheel.

Thanks to the upgraded powertrain and the new heat pump developed for the Model Y, Tesla claims that the Plaid Model S will be able to make five times as many quarter-mile runs as previous Model S sedans. It will also include an entertainment system driven by a microprocessor with a computing capability of 10 teraflops, allowing passengers to play games such as The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077. (with wireless controller support).

The Tesla Model S redefined electric luxury when it debuted in 2012, with its elegant form and extensive range. With the release of the Porsche Taycan, Audi E-tron GT, Lucid Air, and Mercedes EQS in recent years, the company is facing a new wave of competition. Tesla needed to make some changes to its flagship vehicle if it wanted to stay competitive in the premium electric vehicle market.

However, the abrupt cancellation of Plaid Plus raises concerns about the automaker’s battery plans. Tesla’s latest tabless 4680 battery cells were going to be included in Plaid Plus. These cells are larger than the company’s current cells, measuring 46 millimeters by 80 millimeters, and are expected to offer extended ranges of 500 miles or more (thus the name). The new cells are predicted to result in a 14 percent reduction in cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) at the cell form factor level only, in addition to more energy and power.

Plaid Plus was meant to have a 520-mile range. While Musk could surprise everyone on Thursday night by delivering a Plaid with a longer range than expected, he recently slammed the idea of needing ranges greater than 400 miles. “More range doesn’t really matter,” Musk said in a statement to Electrek. There are virtually no travels longer than 400 miles in which the driver does not need to stop for restroom, food, coffee, or other necessities.”

Leaving aside the fact that most lavatory stops are shorter than the time it takes to charge an electric vehicle, Musk’s reversal on Plaid Plus could mean a delay in Tesla’s 4680 battery cell output. The new cells are also planned to be utilized in Tesla’s Cybertruck and Semi vehicles, which will be released later this year.

Tesla is still “12… to 18 months away from volume production of 4680,” Musk stated in an April earnings call. It’s unclear whether that estimate will be updated at the presentation on Thursday evening. But with Musk, nothing is ever certain.

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