Insane is not good enough; now it’s Ludicrous

Tesla’s top-of-the-line P85D could go from zero-to-60 in just 3.1 seconds when in top performance mode, which the automaker officially du...

Tesla’s top-of-the-line P85D could go from zero-to-60 in just 3.1 seconds when in top performance mode, which the automaker officially dubbed “the insane mode”. But insane is not enough for CEO Elon Musk, who we think is a mix of a mad scientist, ingenious entrepreneur and a potential diabolical ruler of the world one day.

Last Friday, Musk announced that the P85D is getting an update, with options that would extend the electric car’s range and improve acceleration. “We’ve figured out, from an engineering mode, how to go beyond insane, and we thought, ‘We should release that,’ ” he said.

Musk is referring to the “ludicrous mode”, a new setting that improves the car’s acceleration and shaves 0.3 seconds from the zero-to-60 time. New buyers of the P85D will have to shell out an extra US$10,000 for that option, which makes the price for the “ludicrous mode” well, ludicrous. Current owners can integrate this option into their P85D’s by installing an upgrade to the battery’s electronics, at only 50% of that price, but within the next six months only.

Tesla car buyers also now have the option of getting a bigger battery, a 90kWh pack instead of the formerly biggest 85kWh version, which would bump up the car’s highway range another 15 miles to 300 miles per charge; that is, if the driver doesn’t go beyond 65mph. But even Musk advises Tesla car owners against rushing off to upgrade their batteries "unless your usage is on the edge of current range." According to him, the company intends to increase the battery capacity by "roughly 5 percent per year", so drivers would not experience a significant improvement for the small fortune spent, unless they upgrade their batteries every three to four years.

Tesla also announced a new version of the Model S, which will become the new entry-level car for the brand. The Model S70 RWD will have a 70kWh battery, a single electric motor and rear-wheel drive, and costs US$5,000 less than the Model S 70D, which has dual motors and AWD. Yawn. What we really want to see is the Model 3 that is supposed to sell for only US$35,000, but that won’t happen until 2017.

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