Tesla unveils all-weather supercar with autopilot
After several tantalizing teases, Elon Musk finally unveiled Tesla’s next big thing, an electric, all-wheel drive sedan featuring two motors, along with a new performance model that pushes the car from 0 to 60 in 3.2 seconds, according to NBC News. Tesla also unveiled new “autopilot” functions that will be available for the new D model cars, as well as the flagship S models.
The Tesla D is designed in part for drivers in areas that feature bad weather, where the current Tesla S’s rear wheel drive might present a problem. Unlike the Tesla S, which features a single motor in the back, the Tesla Ds will feature two motors, one for each set of wheels. In the 60D and the 85D versions, a second motor will simply be added, upping the price of their S model counterparts by $4,000. The performance model, however, is a different beast altogether and features two, high-performance motors that increase the overall horsepower from 376 to 691.
Regardless of model, despite the addition of an energy sucking second motor, Musk promises that the range of the car has actually been increased. The current Tesla S with an 85-kWh battery is rated for 265 miles according to the EPA. The new 85D, however, will run for 295 miles at 65 mph, according to Tesla’s numbers. The P85D drops that number a bit, but it will still have a range of 275 miles.
Of course, that range is reliant on how you drive the car. The P85D will offer three driving modes: “normal,” “insane,” and “sport.” The new P85D will hit 0 to 60 in 3.2 seconds, a full second faster than its rear-wheel counterpart, and offers a top speed of 155 mph. Getting anywhere near those speeds will put a sizable dent in the range, of course, but those speeds put the new P85D firmly in “supercar” territory, right along with several Ferrari models.
Both the forthcoming D models, and all the S models built within the last two weeks, will also feature a new suite of “autopilot,” driver-assistance features. The new Tesla models aren’t quite at the point where you can hop in, tell the car to take you home, then lean back for a quick nap as the car does the work, but that is the eventual goal though. Musk recently told CNN that he hopes to have all Tesla cars to be 90-percent self-driving by the end of 2015.
While not quite completely autonomous, the new cars offer a host of options to make driving easier. Among these is the ability to read speed limit signs and adjust the speed accordingly, and a “lane-departure-warning system,” which allows the driver to switch lanes simply by turning on the blinker. Multiple cameras also help keep an eye on the nearby traffic to help avoid collisions.
The new system will also actively resist you if you tried to drive it toward another, solid object like a wall or another car. This can be overcome, but you’d have to actively try to crash the car. Furthermore, the new models will come with the ability to park themselves, parallel park, and even automatically park in a garage.
The autopilot features, or the “A” package as Tesla calls it, are an upgrade. All newly produced Tesla models will feature the hardware, but you’ll need to purchase the software package to enable them.
Tesla is currently accepting pre-orders now, with the 85D model expected to hit the market in December; the 60D and P85D will both begin delivery in February. If you are hoping for the top, fully loaded model, you may want to start saving your pennies now. The top P85D with every option (except winter tires) will cost you a cool $137,720.
If the price tag is a bit steep for you, Tesla is currently working on the $35,000 Model 3, which is due in 2017. A crossover SUV is also on the way, although no word on when we might see those hit the road.