No ultra long range, high-performance version of the Tesla Model S coming anytime soon.
The Tesla Model S Plaid+ saloon has been cancelled by Elon Musk, but the firm still plans to launch a high-performance version of its large all-electric sedan.
As usual, Musk used his large twitter following to deliver the news that the Model S Plaid line-up would be cut in half, with the longer range Plaid+ now no longer a part of the carmaker’s plans.
The Tesla Model S Plaid is powered by the company’s newly developed three-motor Plaid powertrain, which generates 750kW. The system gives the saloon a 0–100kph time of 1.9 seconds (which is quicker than any road car on sale today) and a top speed of 320kph. The car will also dispatch the quarter mile in less than nine seconds, while range stands tentatively at 630km.
It’s available to order in Australia now for $174,990 plus on-road costs, but while Musk has reiterated that first deliveries will take place later this month, Australian buyers will have to wait until the end of 2022 for their cars according to Tesla’s Australian configurator.
The Plaid+ variant would have lined up as a long-range version of the car, with the same performance specs, but with up to 836km of running on a full battery.
Like most car manufacturers, Tesla is being affected by the global semiconductor shortage. In an earnings call on 26 April, Musk called the shortage “a huge problem.”
Tesla has said the Plaid system features a new battery module and “updated thermal architecture.” The unit is also compatible with the company’s latest 250kW charging infrastructure.
As part of the Plaid upgrade, the Model S gets chassis and aerodynamic tweaks, too. These changes include a deeper front splitter, wider side skirts, an enormous rear diffuser and a ducktail spoiler – all of which will supposedly keep the car on the ground. It also features larger brakes, lower suspension, a wider track and new dampers.
Model S Plaid record attempts
Before the car’s official launch, Tesla whet our appetite by lapping a Model S Plaid prototype at Laguna Seca raceway in California. The car set a time of 1:30.30 minutes, while Musk has said his ultimate goal is to make the Model S “achieve the best track time of any production vehicle ever.”
Tesla is also gearing up for a shot at the Nurburgring record. Last year, the firm claimed that a Model S Plaid prototype had lapped the Nordschleife circuit in around seven minutes and 20 seconds. An official lap time has yet to be released, but this preliminary time would make the Tesla more than 20 seconds faster than the Porsche Taycan.
New Tesla battery technology
During the same shareholder meeting in which the Model S Plaid project was originally announced, Tesla released some information on its next-generation batteries. At the time, Elon said the company was working on a more efficient shingle-lattice load-bearing battery pack, which would soon replace Tesla’s traditional cylindrical cells.
Although this jargon sounds bewildering, the outcome of the new technology is a battery pack which occupies the same space as the old unit, but can store far greater reserves of electricity. Tesla also said the cells should be cheaper to make, thanks to the use of a new silicon anode rather than a traditional graphite anode.