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Published on July 17th, 2015 | by Zachary Shahan


Elon Musk Makes 3 Huge Tesla Announcements

July 17th, 2015 by  

Tesla Green 4Or you can use the word “big” instead of “huge” if you’re not as enthusiastic as I am. First of all, starting with the biggie, due to the use of some fancy space technology mumbo jumbo, the Tesla Model S (with the proper tech) can now accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds (that’s up from its previously insane 3.2 seconds). It was already the quickest electric car on the planet — er, the quickest mass-market car of any type on the planet. But now it is literally a monster. (Literally.).

If you want to have “Ludicrous Mode” in your arsenal, it’ll cost you an extra $10,000 — or $5,000 (plus installation labor) for a limited time for existing P85D customers (as a thanks from Tesla).

–>Recommended: Ludicrous Tesla Is Quickest Production Car In History (By Some Standards)

For a smaller fee ($3,000), you can upgrade your battery pack to 90 kWh in order to boost its range. Though, with plans to improve battery pack range ~5% a year (the bigger announcement), Elon recommends that most current owners hold their horses and have an upgrade when it makes a bit more sense.

Thirdly, you can now get a 70 kWh rear-motor Tesla Model S for $70,000 — $5,000 less than the dual-motor 70 kWh Model S.

Elon made a lot of other interesting points in his blog post on the Tesla Motors site. I especially liked the comments about financial savings of driving an electric car. There’s not much point in rewriting or enhancing them right now, so below is Elon’s full blog post.


Three Dog Day

Elon Musk, CEO
July 17, 2015

— 70 kWh rear drive Model S for $70k
— 90 kWh battery pack option for $3k
— 2.8 sec 0 to 60 mph upgrade to “Ludicrous Mode”

First, I should address something that might be on your mind, like: “Where the heck is the Model X and the Model 3!? You should really get on that.” Don’t worry, those remain our focus and good progress is being made on both. X is on track for first deliveries in two months and Model 3 in just over two years.

70 kWh for $70k
Now, on to the awesome news of today. The 70 kWh version of the Model S in the single motor version at $70k costs $5k less than the dual motor version, consistent with the price differential for the single and dual motor 85 kWh car. Importantly, enough options are now standard that you will have bought a great car even if you pick the base version.

In many countries, national and state/province purchase incentives for clean energy vehicles improve the price to some degree. In the US, for example, the price after incentives is usually around $60k. Also, not having to buy gasoline and needing less service for an electric car typically saves around $2k per year, which accumulates to $10k over the national average car ownership period of five years. This economic advantage is often overlooked when evaluating gasoline vs electric cars. Moreover, these savings are experienced immediately in your monthly cost of transportation if you lease or finance an electric car.

90 kWh Pack
New buyers now have the option of upgrading the pack energy from 85 to 90 kWh for $3k, which provides about 6% increased range. For example, this takes our current longest range model, the 85D, to almost 300 miles of highway range at 65mph.

Existing owners can also purchase the pack upgrade, but I wouldn’t recommend doing so unless usage is on the edge of current range. On average, we expect to increase pack capacity by roughly 5% per year. Better to wait until you have more time on your existing pack and there is a larger accumulated pack energy difference.

Luuudicrous Mode
While working on our goal of making the power train last a million miles, we came up with the idea for an advanced smart fuse for the battery. Instead of a standard fuse that just melts past a certain amperage, requiring a big gap between the normal operating current and max current, we developed a fuse with its own electronics and a tiny lithium-ion battery. It constantly monitors current at the millisecond level and is pyro-actuated to cut power with extreme precision and certainty.

That was combined with upgrading the main pack contactor to use inconel (a high temperature space-grade superalloy) instead of steel, so that it remains springy under the heat of heavy current. The net result is that we can safely increase the max pack output from 1300 to 1500 Amps.

What this results in is a 10% improvement in the 0 to 60 mph time to 2.8 secs and a quarter mile time of 10.9 secs. Time to 155 mph is improved even more, resulting in a 20% reduction.

This option will cost $10k for new buyers. In appreciation of our existing P85D owners, the pack electronics upgrade needed for Ludicrous Mode will be offered for the next six months at only $5k plus installation labor.

It is important to note that the battery pack size upgrade and the pack electronics upgrade are almost entirely independent. The first is about energy, which affects range, and the second is about power, which affects acceleration.

There is of course only one thing beyond ludicrous, but that speed is reserved for the next generation Roadster in 4 years: maximum plaid.

— Elon

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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

  • Of course the faster and faster acceleration capabilities are not “needed”. The point is marketing, breaking records, making EVs “sexy”, showing the performance capability of a new paradigm, gaining acceptance, etc. It’s a good thing overall if more people pause to consider an EV. The deaths linked to fossil fuel emissions are very significant. I doubt increased traffic risk from fast EVs will amount to much statistically.

  • preali

    I don’t understand the technical description of the motor. KW refers to power, KWhr is energy. The power of the motor is rightly expressed as 70KW the energy storage capacity of a battery would be 70KWhr. Is he describing a new battery or a new motor.? Is the author confused?

    • Joseph Dubeau

      The kilowatt-hour (symbolized kWh) is a unit of energy equivalent to one kilowatt (1 kW) of power expended for one hour.

      70 kWh and 90 kWh mention in the article refers the storage capacity of the battery pack. The Model S can be equip with either a rear wheel drive or all wheel drive. There is no trans-axle or transmission as there is in a conventional car. The all wheel drive option requires a motor in front and second motor in the rear.

      • ttman

        How do electric cars get away with not having a transmission?

        • Keanwood

          Well I’m not a car guy so I’d say magic.

          Actually its a pretty interesting question. It has to do with a fundamental difference between an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. An ice has to operate in a certain range to create usable torque. Above or below that range and there is no torque. Because you have to stay in this range gears are necessary. An EV by contrast has 100% of its torque at a full stop and its torque falls as it goes faster.

          This explains it pretty well.

  • just_jim

    The part of Musk’s announcement I latched onto was X is on track for first deliveries in two months and Model 3 in just over two years.

  • vensonata

    Commenters are wondering about the acceleration obsession. The reason for this is to make a statement: the internal combustion engine is obsolete…period. The range increase is fine, this issue, for those in the know, has gone away, but for the masses it is still a question. So incremental increases are part of the selling points. Rolls Royce really needs to come out with a 500 mile range Electric Silver Cloud to end the discussion.

    • Thanks. I think you explained this better than I would have.

  • Deep Time

    Sounds like Elon has Dark Helmet onboard as a consultant 🙂

    • mike_dyke

      Especially if you match a Tesla Model S against a Winabago! 🙂

  • onesecond

    I especially like their stated goal to make the electrive drivetrain last 1 million miles! It is whole step away from this consuming and throw away society which I find despicable given the environmental impact! Tesla wants its car to last forever and offers upgrades to achieve just that. That’s a total change in philosphy from other car makers who want you to buy a new car asap and therefore always roll out minor cosmetic changes to make your car look old. Instead Tesla is improving the actual car on the way! This should get a lot more coverage! <3

    • Thanks. Yeah, I think it deserves a whole article.

    • vensonata

      I did not know that! Where and when did Tesla say that? 1 million miles…now you’re talking!

      • I think just in the press conference.

        • onesecond

          “While working on our goal of making the power train last a million miles, we came up with the idea for an advanced smart fuse for the battery.”

          That’s from Elon’s blog post. Or did I misunderstand something?

          • Whoops, I should have checked again before typing. Indeed. May write up a piece tonight… or tomorrow.

    • nakedChimp

      All power to them, but with the current economic boundary conditions I doubt this will be possible at all. For some years probably, but not 10-15 years into the future – especially not once the bean-counters take over.

      • “especially not once the bean-counters take over.”

        haha. am genuinely afraid we will see a lot less fun and disruption once that happens. i think Elon needs to drop his Mars goals. 😀

        • Offgridman

          “I think Elon needs to drop his mars goals”
          Oh come on now, everyone needs a hobby. After a hard day at the office saving us from the devastation of fossil fuels he tries to work out how to retire someplace where the gravity isn’t such a strain on the the old bones. I can definitely sympathize with that, and kind of hope he figures it out soon enough that it’s possible to try myself,even if it is a one way trip.

          • Ha, I didn’t even think about gravity on Mars. Fine, he can try to go.

        • Bob_Wallace

          I suspect there’s a point, not far in the future, at which running Tesla becomes more about running a very large manufacturing company than about building a company that changes the way the world drives.

          Innovators are often not good “maintainers”. It’s often best for people like Elon to take their special skills and move on to another project and let some people who enjoy the daily routine of running a large company step in.

          I suspect most of the EV innovation in the future will come from better batteries. Not from car manufacturing companies. Car bodies are a fairly mature industry.

    • ttman

      For people in the 20-54 year age group, 1 million miles – for the average US driver – 74.2 years of usage. I have a feeling that not to many Tesla’s will get to 1 million miles usage. But a great car for Taxi companies. Sounds like they need to do a delivery truck.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Think about those used Teslas moving on to countries with less money to spend on cars. If you’ve got cheap labor then bodies can be repaired and made to look good. Interiors can be replaced.

        Use them for 15 – 20 years in more affluent countries and then ship them out.

  • Peter Waegemans

    Cars like these should be illegal outside the race track. 0 to 60 in 2.8 seconds makes this a murder machine towards pedestrians crossing the road.

    EV’s should focus on optimal battery use. This means building up slowly , automatically adjusting rude behavior of the driver , turning off the battery at traffic lights and such .
    Focusing on this would make the EV the car we actually need right now.
    That is until cars drive themselves so that we no longer need to be worried about drunks, maniacs and soccer moms.

    • mike_dyke

      Cars are just tools It’s the drivers that matter.

      What I would like to see is the “insane”, “ultimate” etc modes blocked off from a specific driver unless they’ve passed a high-speed driving training course.

      • Peter Waegemans

        These courses you mention already exist, and you need them in order to get a driver’s license.
        Yet there are deadly accidents on a daily basis.

        There are billions of people out there, and many share the same streets. These “insane” modes you mention don’t belong there.

        • mike_dyke

          That’s what I meant.
          Here in the UK, you get a basic driver’s test which everyone has to take to get a driver’s license. Afterwards, you can take an Advanced Driver’s test which effectively checks that you are a very good driver – It’s tougher than the basic test. At the next level is the “instructor” (required for running a driving school) .After that you get to police/emergency drivers and at the top is the police instructors.

          At about the same level as the “instructor” is the High speed driving test where you are taught how to safely handle a car at speed and with lots of power. I’ve seen courses for these as a requirement to drive the “super car” type of car.

          I’d block the insane etc modes until you’ve passed the high speed test and hace proved that you can handle the speed/acceleration safely.

          • Peter Waegemans

            Oh I see. Yes I can imagine that would rule out quite a lot of drivers. Unfortunately, at the moment, that is not the case.

      • Burnerjack

        Has this been a problem?

        • mike_dyke

          The 10 Worst High Speed crashes from 2008.


          • Mike Fleagle

            The #1 in your link should read the driver miraculously survived and was driven away from the scene in the back of a cop car. Says he was drunk. He only figuratively “walked away”… lol

          • mike_dyke

            Still caused him a problem. 🙂

    • joe kidd

      typical dumbocrat whhhiiimmmpppp, always worried about/trying to dampen other peoples fun. Big govt. loosseers, just worry about yourself. You can luv your prius all you want,BUT while you’re at it explain why the autobahn is safer per mile driven than US highways? ——– ANSWER US highways are cluttered with obese, undisciplined, dullards who always vote dumbocrat.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Express your opinion without calling other posters names.

        • joe kidd

          if the shoe fits ……………………….

    • Andre Needham

      Can you clarify your statement “turning off the battery at traffic lights and such”? Not sure what you’re saying. Is the Model S battery somehow wasting lots of energy when the car is stopped?

    • Benjamin Nead

      Thanks you. I’ve expressed this same opinion many times here, but typically get shouted down. While Tesla is certainly a force of good and we wouldn’t have modern electric cars coming from a variety of other manufacturers if they hadn’t stepped in, there is far too much emphasis put on blistering acceleration statistics that could never be legally accessed in most jurisdictions and are just plain dangerous to both inexperienced drivers and the innocent motorist/pedestrian/bicyclist/animal who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. In short: there is absolutely no logical reason in a civilized society in having a street legal vehicle that can go from 0 to 60 in less than 3 seconds, battery-powered or otherwise.

      The contrary argument is that electric vehicles have been perceived for too many years by too many in the general public as weird-looking micro cars with hideous performance (ie: the “they’re all glorified golf carts” argument) Those of us who have actually peeked out of our rabbit holes over the past five year know this to be untrue, of course. But proponents of this acceleration mantra will tell us that we will have to fight this perception until every last man, woman and child is convinced otherwise. In an age where we still have people who think the Earth is flat or that we didn’t actually land on the Moon, this could take an eternity. But the over-compensation movement has appeared and, yes, it takes all the oxygen out of the room for those of us who got the hot rodding aesthetic out of our systems in our early 20s and simply want to see reasonably good looking/performing electric vehicles that have decent range and don’t cost a fortune to purchase.

      It’s also an environmental mess, in that wasted electrons discarded in driving this way have to come from somewhere. Even in the most optimistic of scenarios, a good portion of the electricity used to charge an EV is still coming from fossil fuel sources. Most of us would like to see a continued push towards the concept of truly “driving on sunshine.” But drive like a leadfoot in your EV and you simply end up burning more coal or natural gas. If such wastefulness on he road is encouraged, you might as well also unscrew all the the CFL and LED lightbulbs in your house and go back to incandescents.

      Finally, the hold-no-bars acceleration performance that most applaud
      here is a direct contradiction to the concept of the self-driving car. No autonomous automobile is EVER going to let you burn out at the stoplight in the way these late model Teslas will. You’re either going to get one or the other, but you’re never going to have the option of getting both.

      • Greg Hudson

        You blab on like a FF proponent. Not everyone in the world thinks like you (Norwegians, and over 1m Australians) when it comes to running on sunshine. I’m already doing it, and have been for the last 3 years.

        • Benjamin Nead

          You obviously didn’t really read my post very carefully. I said nothing in favor of gasoline cars over electric. Texting while driving to fast, perhaps?

          • Greg Hudson

            I did read your msg carefully, and no, not driving… sitting here at my PC, which is 100% solar powered. Not one watt is supplied by FF sources. I export more to the grid than I use, and when the sun is not shining, all the power comes from 100% hydro (Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Authority)

            Quote “Even in the most optimistic of scenarios, a good portion of the electricity used to charge an EV is still coming from fossil fuel sources.”

            Absolute 100% BS in my case.


          • Benjamin Nead

            Bully for you. Your case is exceptional and not something that applies to most, even if most of us would wish we could do otherwise. It’s naive of you to think we’re all capable of instantly going off the grid, like you.

            Do you also use your your off grid solar to charge an EV with an 85kWh battery? Do you regularly break the speed limit and violate any number of other sane driving practices in your EV when heading out to the grocery store, simply because you can?

          • Greg Hudson

            Bully for me? I am simply refuting your claim about FF sources. Your other comments make no sense – just like the original comment, unless maybe you work for the FF industry in some way maybe… You are not the first person to claim FF BS on this forum, and no doubt you won’t be the last.

            As for telling me I have off grid solar charging, you obviously did not read MY comment carefully (i.e. doing exactly what you claimed I was doing). I’ll repeat it for you… ‘I export more to the grid than I use’ fairly well sates that I am GRID CONNECTED.

            As for my case being exceptional, that may be the case in Arizona, but not here in Australia where over 1m houses have solar on their roofs. I wonder what % have them in your State ? (Just curious) You get lots of sun, just like we do, so theoretically you should have lots of solar generation. On the other hand, I hear Arizona WIND POWER is way ahead of our meagre output 🙁

          • Benjamin Nead

            I could write a book about clueless Arizona politicians and greedy utilities that are against residential solar PV net metering and want to retain idiotic coal fire power plants that provides far too much of my state’s current energy portfolio. I’m one of the people advocating for change down here and also actively promoting greater EV adoption locally. So it’s rather insulting that you haven’t been able to figure out what I’m saying, much less now baldly accusing me of being some sort of fossil fuel industry troll. Enough!

            The original subject (which you chose to immediately deviate from in your first reply) was very expensive EVs with acceleration specifications so outlandish that I and others here are questioning their overall usefulness in regards to sanely proportioned street travel . . . and if driving one of these cars is really all that green, especially if continually operated in the fashion encouraged in the article.

            My position is that I would rather see a much greater number of more modest and affordable EV on local streets. That would make the air cleaner than putting an emphasis on a far smaller number of out-priced ones. I bicycle most places and I resent tailpipe exhaust almost as much as I resent reckless drivers whizzing by me at twice the posted speed limit, just because they’re immature dicks who are showing off in their hot cars.

            It will make little difference to me on my death bed if the speed demon who slammed into my bike was driving an EV or not. Sadly we’ve already had a cyclist killed locally by a (elderly, distracted) EV driver . . .


            We don’t really need the next bike-killing perpetrator to

            be drag racing an EV, simply because Clean Technica
            is telling him it’s OK to drive that way.

            My claim regarding fossil fuel sources that you find so wickedly baffling is backed up by a well know study published by the Union of Concerned Scientists, where they break down the amount and types of fossil fuels used – state by state – and analyze how cleanly an electric car can be operated in any given part of the country. The original 2012 study, linked via a 48 page PDF, can be found here . . .


            The good news shown in the study – and further reinforced in a 2014 UCC update to the original
            document – is that, even in states where there is a less-than-ideal grid mix of renewable energy vs.fossil fuel, electric cars are cleaner than gasoline cars. I often cite this study when I encounter cynical and ill-informed anti-EV people who claim that electrics are “nothing but coal powered vehicles.”

            Now, getting back to your house (which you’re obviously very proud of, perhaps justifiably) . . . is every last house on your street, in your town and in your entire state, for that matter, producing most/all of it’s power via rooftop PV and feeding it back to the grid, like yours? No, I didn’t think so.

            The point I was making that unfortunately eluded you is that you need to factor the TOTAL grid mix of your state and not simply assume that everyone is doing exactly the same as you. You haven’t told me which state you live in, but I don’t know of a single one that has 100% of its energy produced renewably.

            It’s also a given that not every current EV owner is able to produce enough of their own power via their residential PV (if they, indeed, even have it . . . such as in the real world situation renters or apartment dwellers typically face.) We’ll get to the ideal “driving on sunshine” scenario for EVERYONE some day. We’re not there yet. But we’ll certainly get there sooner if most EV have, say 30kWh batteries and are designed to be driven the speed limits sooner than if they all have 90kWh ones and are constantly operated in “insane mode” or whatever.

            Arizona wind power might be ahead of your state, but it’s not a big part of the overall portfolio here. Solar is the obvious choice in this part of the world. But the politicians/utilities are either moving too slow towards adopting it or opposing it outright . . .


          • Knetter

            are you seriously complaining about the acceleration? Cry me a river.

          • Benjamin Nead

            I like my cheese nachos as much as the next guy. I just
            don’t think it’s wise to eat 50 pounds of them at a time after smoking a pack of those things you got between your fingers. ¿Entiendes señor? 🙂

          • Keanwood

            Yeah. I moved to AZ about a year and a half ago from CA. I’m so disappointed by how little rooftop PV I see. The problem is perception. Everyone I’ve talked to here has this idea that solar is expensive. They will say thing like “20 year payback” “10year lifespan” “only exists with gov subsidies”

            It doesn’t help that SRP (utility) is very against solar.

          • Benjamin Nead

            This is putting it mildly, especially in regards to Salt River Project’s and Arizona Public Service’s war on residential rooftop solar.

            The sort of FUD you describe with end users in your area, though, doesn’t translate to what I see happening with consumer attitude with solar in Tucson. We’re actually going to witness people picketing in front of Tucson Electric Power on Monday morning!

          • Keanwood

            I drove past some solar installer company and the had a great sign.

            “The lord giveth and the SRP taketh away”
            Made my day seeing that.

            What sort of polices is Tucson Electric doing that warranted picking? Good luck though. I hope you get a good sized crowd.

          • Benjamin Nead

            Two things that the local Sierra Club and associated organizations will be picketing . . .

            1) TEP is attempting to impose a retroactive rate increase on their net metering customers. Those who purchased their own grid-tied solar PV after June, 2015, would be conceivably selling their PV-generated electricity to TEP for roughly half the current rate. The proposal is tied in with a general rate increase and is to be submitted to the Arizona Corporation Commission later this year. Frustratingly, a decision is not expected to be made before the end of 2016! Local solar installers are generally frozen in place. They really can’t give customers accurate bids because they can’t predict the outcome of a proposal that’s a year and a half off. Hence, the local PV installer industry is beginning to bleed by a thousand cuts.

            2) While TEP will put a positive spin on large fields of PV panel they own, they are still hopelessly addicted to coal.
            They attempted to purchase (for something like a billion dollars) the on-site coal mine associated with the San Juan generation station in Farmington, New Mexico, where some of TEP’s power is currently coming from. A protest earlier this year embarrassed TEP enough to change their minds on that purchase. But the plant is among one of the top 5 polluting plants in the U-S and is destined to be shut down by the EPA by 2022. The other part of the protest is to encourage TEP to divest now in San Juan and not 7 years later.

            Much more here, if you don’t mind watching a 37+
            minute video . . .


        • Mike Fleagle

          I’ll join you eventually! I’ve already considered solar panels on my roof but I get baseball sized hail so often, I don’t think it’s practical for me.

          • The panels should hold up fine. I’ve heard first-hand of such hail not doing any damage.

          • Mike Fleagle

            That would be amazing because it would actually protect roof! Maybe won’t have to replace it every 5 years. I’ll look more into it now. Thanks.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Call some installers and insurance companies in your area. Panels may or may not be a good idea where you are. I’ll bet the insurance companies have an opinion.

            And take a look at the video on this page…


          • I should qualify that I was told this at a large (100 MW) solar farm by one of the head guys there. These panels were installed in 2008 or 2009, iirc, and they are typical ones from China, I believe. No special protection or such beyond what rooftop solar panels would have. And apparently none of the thousands there were damaged. I was pretty shocked. I assumed huge hail like that (which I didn’t even realize existed) would bust up the panels. Apparently not….

      • Peter Waegemans

        I couldn’t agree with you more Benjamin. Very well put statement. I wonder if the Cleantechnica staff has ever wondered they’re promoting a car that is far from the green revolution they themselves are promoting.
        More so, is a tax reduction for a car like this even advised?

        • Benjamin Nead

          I think Zach and Bob know my opinions quite well on this issue. And I wouldn’t necessary characterize what Tesla is doing is universally bad on all fronts, anymore than a Rock musician isn’t directly responsible for wanton destruction that some of their rowdier fans might indulge in after attending one of their concerts.

          But what frightens me whenever I see gleeful pieces written on sites like this that extolls the grunt factor of EVs (could be any of them, not just Tesla products) without so much as a mention on why we should be embracing EVs in the first place is that it plays into the cynicism that green detractors so often make towards us: namely, that clean technology doesn’t really do all that much to make us more efficient.

          Returning to the light bulb analogy, we no longer burn the single 40 watt incandescent. We now burn 4 of the 10 watt LED variety instead and celebrate the fact that the house is now 4 times brighter, not that the single 10 watt
          LED bulb provides as much (and what was a perfectly adequate amount of) light than the old 40 watt one, but at
          one quarter the power.

          • Greg Hudson

            I’ve replaced 40+ Halogen globes in my house with 15w LED’s and the light output difference is barely noticeable.

          • jeffhre

            “We now burn 4 of the 10 watt LED variety instead and celebrate the fact that the house is now 4 times brighter, not that the single 10 watt LED bulb provides as much (and what was a perfectly adequate amount of) light than the old 40 watt one, but at one quarter the power.”

            If that is what you truly believe happens, then I understand your trepidation. Though I am in the camp that includes one of your other statements. “While Tesla is certainly a force of good and we wouldn’t have modern electric cars coming from a variety of other manufacturers if they hadn’t stepped in…” Or by extension IMO, be anywhere near looking at replacing FF burning ICEs with a nascent EV revolution.

          • Benjamin Nead

            The light bulb analogy is, perhaps, imperfect. I probably should have simply said that we often celebrate a more efficient technology by using it more wastefully than the old one and, as a result, end up consuming as much energy than

            if we were still tied to the old technology. No net gain in efficiency, even if we delude ourselves into thinking we’re obtaining one.

            Regarding Tesla: I’m simply not sold on the idea that these incremental acceleration advances are important strides in

            the development of further EV adoption or meaningful

            advances in the technology. It’s simply consumerism

            bullshit at this point for the consumption of obsessed

            fanboys. The cars are already quick enough.

          • Bob_Wallace

            ” I’m simply not sold on the idea that these incremental acceleration advances are important strides in the development of further EV adoption or meaningful
            advances in the technology.”

            Moving from 3.2 to 2.8 seconds for the 0-60 run is not an important stride for EVs.

            But that 0.4 second interval creates a lot of buzz and makes a lot more people dream of owning a Tesla.

            If you now look at the ~12 fastest 0-60 production cars in the world there’s one that is cheaper than the others by tens/hundreds of thousands of dollars and is also a luxury sedan as opposed to a fairly impractical one- or two-seater.

            When Motor Trend places the Tesla S among the 10 greatest American cars of all times people who love cars are going to sit up and pay attention.


          • super390

            But speed demons really don’t drive fast very often unless they’re on the freeway, where ultimately state surveillance will make speeding very expensive. You may find their jackrabbit starts and obnoxious passing offensive, but that also represents a tiny amount of gasoline. What worries me is that imposing Green political correctness to crush the car-nut mentality plays into right-wing paranoia that’s ready to explode on any number of absurd causes, like the Charleston shooter. That feeds into irrational resistance to EVs; once it’s been labeled part of the Commie conspiracy, more and more people will become immune to actual facts and data.
            And that data is very encouraging. The average Tesla driven by the average Tesla nut is a huge improvement on a Mercedes as we close down the coal plants. This is a winnable battle we shouldn’t throw away over purity.

          • Benjamin Nead

            “But speed demons really don’t drive fast very often unless they’re on the freeway, where ultimately state surveillance will make speeding very expensive. You may find their jackrabbit starts and obnoxious passing offensive, but that also represents a tiny amount of gasoline”

            Well, this is just a more apologetic way of restating my main point: it’s simply a useless stunt to market a car that has that sort of performance potential if you can’t ever use it in real world situations. The original Model S was fast/quick enough. I tend to like the slogan I coined earlier here . . . we don’t need an EV that can go 0 to 60 in 2.8 seconds. Instead, we need 2.8 million EVs.


            “What worries me is that imposing Green political correctness to crush the car-nut mentality plays into right-wing paranoia that’s ready to explode on any number of absurd causes, like the Charleston shooter. That feeds into irrational resistance to EVs; once it’s been labeled part of the Commie conspiracy, more and more people will become immune to actual facts and data”

            If you attempt to restate the above in non-conspiratorial
            English, I’ll attempt to parse through it. Charleston?
            Communists? The analogies are a bit too far fetched


            “The average Tesla driven by the average Tesla nut is a huge improvement on a Mercedes as we close down the coal plants.”

            I agree with the first part of your statement, but you’ve lost me in the closing words. You don’t have to convince me that a Model S is a better choice than an ICE luxury sedan for all the obvious reasons. I’m already on the page and, for that matter, not questioning the viability of EVs in general. Where you lose me is the “as we close down the coal plants” part.

            Fact is, for as clean and marvelous as EVs are, they consume electricity. Until we really can get to the point where we can close down those coal plants and make the grid truly green, we’re actually going to be using more electricity than ever before as each year ticks by. We’re winning one battle (getting a cleaner grid) while also fighting another contrasting one (consuming more electric powered gadgets than ever before being powered by the grid.)

            With half a million or more EVs coming on line before the end of the decade, I’d hope that the majority of those are going to be proportioned a bit more realistically than what is extolled in this article. We’ll close those dirty coal plant that much sooner if the average EV owner isn’t topping off 85 or 90kWh batteries constantly and hammering the accelerator pedal with wild abandon whenever they think they can get away with it. At the risk of coining another slogan . . . don’t look just 2.8 seconds into the future, view ahead by 2.8 years.

        • People who want a car that can get to 60 mph faster than their neighbors’ cars will get one. If you go to the top of the list, the fuel economy of such cars is abysmal. People are going to buy them anyway. Now, the top of the list is many times more efficient. That has an impact. Yes, it’s a small market, but…

          As Keanwood explains very well, the auto industry is obsessed and guided by this top tier. The Roadster is what got the Chevy Volt designed and produced. It and the Model S have been responsible for much of the progress in the lower-tier EV market. It and the Model S are what helped a tiny startup to reach profitability and a scale where the company will soon be able to produce the Model X and Model 3. Without all of this, we’d be in a much worse place. Furthermore, along the way, the hype about Model S performance is what will make 500,000 or more “average Joe and Jills” want a Model 3, or want an electric car of any kind. People want fast cars. If they can’t get a Ludicrous, they at least know the company associated with it… and it sells 100% electric vehicles.

          • Mike Fleagle

            Good counterpoint. Between that and Elon’s thermal efficiency point, this conversation really should be over. A lot of these folks sounds like they’re looking for arguments or trying to make separate points. Thanks for article! Regards, all.

          • Thanks for chiming in. Fun to have another very active commenter. 😀

          • Bob_Wallace

            Yep, look at all the people who couldn’t play like Mike but bought Air Jordans….

          • Benjamin Nead

            The statement “People want fast cars” is conjecture . . . nice ad copy for the Mad Men era. Present day reality actually dictates that “people” (and we’ll limit it to Americans, who, for the sake of attempting to reinforcing your point, do have a larger than average carbon footprint than the rest of the
            world’s citizenry) primary end up buying – surprise! – rather pedestrian (yet affordable/reliable) compact or mid sized sedans or crossover SUVs) . . .


        • Bob_Wallace

          I see nothing at all non-green about the Tesla S. In fact, I think the ModS is super-green.

          Not only does it have a zero emission ‘tailpipe’, it also totally destroys the myth of EVs being golf carts with windows.

          Tesla has moved the adoption of EVs forward by years, if not decades. Tesla has shown drivers that they don’t have to give up comfort, safety or performance in order to drive a green car.

          Is a tax reduction appropriate for a car like the Tesla S?

          Yes, a thousand times over.

          Compare what we spend on our military and “homeland security” because we need to keep the oil flowing. $750 million to subsidize Tesla and move us more quickly off petroleum is an incredibly wise investment.

      • rsexton

        Maybe you haven’t noticed but FF cars are cheaper and also getting faster all the time. And the speed is less controlled. So your comment is somewhat illogical. It does make elonmusk point about the future of self driving cars which it seems you would agree with.

        • Benjamin Nead

          What is illogical is a simultaneous love of cars with unrestricted acceleration (regardless of power source) and self-driving technology. Some here seem to be excited by both, but they’re incompatible goals.

          • rsexton

            Not really. The speed is more of a technology show. Safe passing for instance. It will play in other ways.

          • Benjamin Nead

            i simply don’t see a future where autonomous cars are going to be accelerating off the line in less than 3 seconds to get to the 60mph mark. Top speeds will be capped according to existing speed limits and the sort of mid range acceleration (ie: 45mph to 75mph, say) you need for passing at highway speeds is already there.

        • Bob_Wallace

          EVs are likely to become cheaper than ICEVs.

          The crossover point is commonly held to be around $240/kWh for the battery pack. That’s where Tesla seems to be right now.

          When the new Panasonic/Tesla battery factory is running the cell price is expected to drop to around $130/kWh and finished pack price to $170/kWh.

          That means that if a car company that makes both EVs and ICEVs had access to those battery prices they should be able to sell a same-model/feature EV for considerably less than an ICEV.

      • Mike Fleagle

        Def agree with you about “unscrew CFL’s” at the very least. They’re so wasteful. I know that wasn’t the context you used it in, sorry.

        In all seriousness, your concerns ultimately boil down into the power plant efficiency vs. power produced by the car efficiency.

        The fossil fuel power plant will generate less pollution per unit energy then an ICE. But yeah, you’re right, going full ludicrous in any car def causes less efficiency. But at least it’s still more efficient than an ICE in these conditions too.

        • Benjamin Nead

          Yes, I should state emphatically that I’m fully aware of the advantages of EVs over gasoline cars. What seems to be getting lost in the conversation is that an outsized and wasteful EV is going to consume more electricity than
          a more modest and realistically proportioned one.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Benjamin, your points are generally correct but I suspect you’re making far too much out of Tesla’s rapid acceleration capability. If you drive in today’s traffic you know that it will rarely be used.

            People will seek out a place where they can punch the accelerator and impress their friends a few times. Most of the time there won’t be enough space in front of their car to make use of that potential.

          • Benjamin Nead

            Fair enough, Bob. I hope you realize I’m not attempting to troll this thread just to pick fights. But when you say that I’m making far too much out of all this acceleration stuff, one could also say the same thing about Clean Technica,

            When articles are posted here on just about every other aspect of green technology – solar, building design, grid implementation, etc. – I don’t usually feel like I’m reading a commercial announcement or advertising copy. Other EV industry updates are also typically covered here with similar informative professionalism and a minimum of editorializing. It’s all very much appreciated by me.

            But the Tesla coverage has grown more over the top
            and sensationalistic in the past year or so and is, sadly, becoming more condescending of other manufacturer’s EV efforts. It;s also baffling to read an article about someone else’s product or invention and witness the copy being filled with more Tesla references than those of the supposed subject.

            Also missing is any sort of real Tesla news that doesn’t paint the company conflict free or lacking in the sort of growing pains we would expect any organization like this to go through.

            I’m thinking, in particular, of recent troubles regarding Supercharger access with Model S owners living near the locations, who are opportunity charging almost daily with the company (legitimately, I think) not being very pleased with some of this more aggressive customer behavior and revising Supercharger use policy.

            The above isn’t slanderous gossip in the Faux Newz style but legitimate Tesla news. It can be reported objectively and honestly here. It’s being reported elsewhere. Currently, though, it’s not being reported here at all and, as a result, we miss an honest discussion on the issue with commenters adding their thoughts . . . and that’s more troubling for Clean Technica than it is for Tesla.

            Someone else here stated that the Tesla’s press releases should be held to the same standards as those other auto manufacturers and I think this is good place to start . . .
            or restart. Thanks for listening.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’m as guilty as any in terms of being very excited by what Tesla is doing. So shoot me…. ;o)

            Look, we’ve been very excited in the past over the developments with wind and solar. It’s been clear to many of us for a long time that replacements for coal and natural gas are available and that prices would continue to fall.

            Now we’re seeing a legitimate end to oil use for personal transportation. A little bit of that development is coming from companies that are releasing limited range EVs, often only as compliance cars to get them past local regulations.

            It’s Tesla that is kicking butt and taking names. Look at the history.

            Very fast, long range Roadster.

            Extremely impressive (on multiple levels) ModS sedan. Long range, priced with other luxury cars, extremely safe, incredible customer service, ….

            Superchargers. No other manufacturer has anything like this. A few have slower chargers at dealerships….

            Huge battery factory. Massive.

            Semi-self-driving features.

            Constant updating of cars already sold.

            Electricity storage systems.

            The speed thing. World class quick in a sedan priced at a small fraction of most of the cars that only 0.2 to 0.3 seconds faster 0-60. That’s an “In your face, established fast car companies”.

            Just writing the list makes my leg tingle… ;o)

            Tell you what. If another company steps up and starts producing like Tesla then I’ll get excited about them as well.

            But I’m having trouble getting excited about the GM Bolt, for example. More expensive than the Mod3 and, I think, smaller. No rapid charging system so it’s not really a long distance EV. And GM, who produces zillions of cars per year is only planning to produce 30,000.

            VW is going to have a cracker jack EV in a few years. Throw my hat in the air!

            Sorry, I think Tesla deserves the attention it is getting. It’s being earned.


          • Bob_Wallace

            “I’m thinking, in particular, of recent troubles regarding Supercharger access with Model S owners living near the locations, who are opportunity charging almost daily with the company (legitimately, I think) not being very pleased with some of this more aggressive customer behavior and revising Supercharger use policy.”

            I’ve looked for the basis for that ‘displeasure’. What I have found is one complaint about people plugging into SCs and leaving their cars parked there overnight.

            And complaints about a SC close to an airport which was frequently jammed with taxis recharging.

            I’ve yet to hear about anyone receiving a letter or email from Tesla asking them to dial back their usage.

      • Mike Fleagle

        Typical actual thermal efficiency of ICE’s in cars: 25-30%.

        Typical fossil fuel turbine efficiency: 40-45%.

      • ByronBradley

        The logic here should apply to ordinary gas and diesel cars too in this regard.

        It is needless, annoying, wasteful, and polluting to make us stop at all stop signs and stop lights WHEN THERE IS NO ONE THERE TO STOP FOR. We bring thousands of pounds of iron to a needless halt, pollute the worst at idle and acceleration, and waste our gas, money and time doing so whenever there is no one in the right of way.

        We can keep all the stop signs and stop lights in place, and obey them, but obey them differently when we change the law from “You Must Stop No Matter What” to “Stop When You Must.”

        • Bob_Wallace

          The problem would be the knuckleheads who decide that they don’t “Must”.

          Later on, when computers do the driving, cars will be able to communicate with each other and pass through intersections without needing to stop. Computers don’t get drunk, experience road rage or develop machismo issues.

    • Keanwood

      The EV the world needs is the EV that steals the hearts of the people.

      Your post describes an EV that drives like a Prius. And that would be an EV that can’t destroy the ICE.

      Sure there is a market for a modest EV but there has to be a flagship product that gets EVs in the news.

      If the Tesla Roadster would have been some sluggish 2 seater then Chevy would have never made the Volt and Nissan would have never made the leaf.

      Is 2.8 seconds dangerous? Yes. Unnecessary? Yes. Useful? Not really. Efficient? No. Practical? No.

      But does the world need an EV that can do 0-60 in 2.8? Yes. Yes the world absolutely needs a car like this. This car will win the hearts and minds of millions. This car will spur the other manufacturers to make EVs. This car will kill big oil not because it will sell in the millions but because it will sell other EVs by the millions.

      • Peter Waegemans

        The millions that want to take this thing to the race track, sure.
        Be my guest. But as I stated before, this should not be legal on a public road.

        • Keanwood

          If people wanted to live in a safe world then there are lots of things that should be illegal.

          But we live in a world where people just pretend that they want it to be safe.

        • Bob_Wallace

          If you want to make all cars ‘not-quick’ and limit the top speed of all cars, that’s understandable.

          But let’s not get all huffy with a quick EV and attempt to cripple EVs while letting ICEVs run wild.

      • Benjamin Nead

        No, the world doesn’t need a handful of very expensive EVs that can do the requisite redneck speed run in 2.8 seconds. The world, instead, needs 2.8 million EVs.

        If Tesla and others eventually builds that many, great. Till then, the acceleration histrionics are starting to get old. We’ve seen it. Now let’s move on to more substantial accomplishments.

        • Keanwood

          The point is that with Tesla making such a high performance car, the owners or lambos and Bugattis and Whatnots are going to say “Hey why isn’t my car that good?” Then those companies will move to electric. Then the next tier of car which is the BMWs and Audi’s and Benz, etc will say the same thing. And then the Honda’s, Toyota’s, Ford’s, Chevy’s, etc will move to electric.

          Yes it would be great if everyone started buying electric cars to save the world. But I live in the real world where things like “saving the earth” aren’t good enough of a reason to buy an electric car. The switch won’t take place until they are cheaper or more alluring than gas cars.

          And I stand by what I said. We wouldn’t have even half the EVs that are on the market if not for Tesla making a high performance car.

        • Greg Hudson

          Finally something we can agree on, however just because you CAN accelerate quickly does not mean you HAVE to do it often, or ever. Ask almost any V8 enthusiast and you will hear ‘you can never have too much power’. Quick acceleration can be beneficial in imminent crashes, where you can power out of a disaster (It has happened to me more than once).

      • Well said. Thanks.

    • Burnerjack

      Well, you don’t HAVE to drive irresponsibly. If you can afford it, you’re either a fairly intelligent person or have access to money that can buy other high performance cars. Far as I know, those that drive such cars have not been overly known to be maniacs. You sound jealous. Get over it. Other people have what you can’t. Oh well. Work harder and smarter…
      “Arbeit macht frei”!

      • Peter Waegemans

        Read it again. The only issue I raise is CONCERN!

        About those maniacs, I’m pretty sure one can find an extensive list of rich and smart people who crashed their super car on day one.

        • Burnerjack

          “Pretty sure” Sounds like a guess to me…
          Besides all that, the article discussed 0-60 times. 60 is not what one would term ‘high speed’. It just gets there in a hurry.
          For me, I find ‘quickness’ a safety factor, not a hindrance.
          The most common example is when merging at the top of a short on ramp when traffic is bearing down. No space to hold up, no room to gradually merge. A quick blast of acceleration to find that gap would be most beneficial. In short, when it comes to acceleration, I’d rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

          I do agree, however, that triple digit speeds do not belong on a public roadway. Again, the machine is only a machine. As is any other tool, it is an extension of the one who wields it.
          Yes, there are high speed ‘accidents’. The VAST majority of accidents are in fact caused be negligence and (not to be intentionally redundant here) substance impairment.
          ‘Supercar’ accidents are rare in comparison.
          Where or when can one reach ridiculous speeds? when the motorways are fairly empty. Late at night and early morning.
          Again, if someone is caught driving like that it ALWAYS makes it to the news. It happens, but not very often. I am an absolute newshound.

    • zylstra

      “Turning off the battery” Haha!!

    • ttman

      Really. Especially with the fact that they won’t be making the noise that a normal accelerating car does.

      • Bob_Wallace

        My guess is that we are going to see pedestrian warning systems build into EVs.

        Collision avoidance systems should stop cars from running into people. The same system can emit a sound to keep people from running into cars.

    • super390

      Here are a list of once-expensive technologies championed by performance nuts that have filtered down into ordinary-people cars and improved their fuel economy:
      1. fuel injection
      2. overhead cams
      3. 5+ speed transmissions
      4. aerodynamics
      5. aluminum & composite parts
      They also championed disc brakes, which help keep all of us alive.
      So why shouldn’t this positive evolution continue into the EV era?

  • eveee

    Plaid? I love it. It’s the new luxury.

  • Larmion

    “Or you can use the word “big” instead of “huge” if you’re not as enthusiastic as I am.”

    Personally, I find even that too strong a word for this rather minor (but still welcome) announcement.

    – Faster acceleration: so what? The Model S, and indeed most premium cars, are already able to accelerate much more quickly than is safe or even possible in real-world driving. If you intend on driving your Model S on a racing track, this might be good news. For the 99,9% that use the Model S simply as a (very good) car, it’s irrelevant.

    – Bigger battery pack: we’re constantly being told that range anxiety is a myth, an argument not without merit. Cheering an ever bigger battery pack while saying that current range is fine is a bit… odd. Especially if you consider the staggering embodied energy of batteries.

    – Cheaper base model: much appreciated, but let’s be honest here. If you are in the market for a Tesla, you’re not penny pinching anyway.

    • Neptune

      “Especially if you consider the staggering embodied energy of batteries.”

      Do you have any numbers on this?

      • vensonata

        Argonne Labs in the U.S. one of the biggest battery research and development centers in the world did a study released in 2012 where they compare energy storage types. Pumped hydro and cavern compressed air use 0.25% of their lifetime storage energy as embodied. Lithium was the next best with 10% embodied to lifetime storage. That includes everything from the mining to disposal. That figure may have gone down by now. Vanadium was horrific at 33% embodied to life. Lead Acid batteries were the worst 50%…yikes! Now the in and outs may be complex: Lead acid batteries are now 97% recycled, so that is something to consider, Lithium batteries will start to be recycled in large scale in a few years. Vanadium can also be accessed from mine waste processes etc. etc.

        • nakedChimp

          Hm.. I’d wager a guess that the expected lifetime of pumped hydro and pressure caverns goes into 100’s of years, no wonder they manage this.
          But with Li-Ion at 10% and we’re just starting to get the cycle times up I’d say we got a pretty good horse there, no?
          Also the data was from 2012..

        • That would be a great story.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Tell it…. ;o)

    • onesecond

      I think you and the article missed the really big news. Read my other comment about that. I think this change in philosophy in contrast to the old automotive industry is huge. Really huge and appreciated.

    • jeffhre

      – bet you’re the life of every party, ever.

      • Joseph Dubeau

        People often confuse acceleration with speed.
        Do you even notice 3 10th of a second?

        • jeffhre

          In that case your awareness becomes very focused, and consciousness itself seems to shift. The surroundings go by in a blur, elements in the distance suddenly appear to be right next to you, and attempts at recollections of events seem hazy…So actually I would guess, no! But your arse might notice.

      • Larmion

        Sure I am. Just not in traffic, where mistakes have that annoying tendency to, you know, kill people 😉

        I know Tesla adoration is all the rage at the moment. Forgive for not going along with it and holding Mr. Musk’s announcements to the same standard I hold those of any other carmaker.

        • super390

          Forgive fans of high performance from any carmaker for recognizing that going from 3.2 to 2.8 with a sedan is a fantastic technical achievement. Most of them would go just as nuts if Bentley or Porsche managed that. And those people, like them or not, are part of the prejudiced anti-EV culture who can easily be made to believe that EVs are a socialist plot against masculinity that have to be stopped with rigged legislation. They need to have their paranoia assuaged with proof that the future will not look like Rush’s “Red Barchetta”.

        • jeffhre

          Life of the party, just not in traffic, no adoration – not gong along with it, holding Mr. Musk’s announcements to my standards.

          OK got it, thanks!

  • Ross

    Hmm. My lease on my Audi A4 is near the end. I think I’ll just refinance and wait for the Tesla Model 3.

  • Jacob

    Is the 90kWh upgrade a hardware upgrade or a software upgrade.

    • Steve Grinwis

      It reads like a hardware upgrade to me.. Like they’re going to slowly increase pack sizes over time with chemistry upgrade, so it doesn’t make sense to upgrade the pack until it’s a large difference.

      Good on them for making it available though. Good to know that when your pack is 15 years old and worn to bits, you’ll be able to throw in a bigger pack.

      • Yeah, a few interesting things here. Looks like the initial stage of a new battery rollout. I imagine the 85 will be a relic shortly. By end of 2015?

        But seriously, with Tesla, if you want to upgrade your battery in a few or several years, sure thing. No need to get a whole new car. Another competitive advantage. Honestly, if other automakers don’t start copying Tesla much more, how many people are going to buy some other EV (or car of any type) over the Model 3, Model X, Model S, or Roadster in a few years? In 10 years?

        • NRG4All

          When I was talking with a Tesla rep at the Scottsdale Pavilion I asked about the backward compatibility guarantee. He said that that only applied as long as the battery chemistry remained the same, (I presume LI-ion). If that’s true then we may see future batteries that may not fit into the existing models. Having said that, I’m sure that that day will be significantly in the future and the older battery designs may still be produced for perhaps another 10 years beyond their obsolescence.

        • Greg Hudson

          I wonder if Bjorn Nyland was a beta tester for this ? 😉

          • Shane 2

            Nyland hasn’t mentioned anything about this in his videos.

          • He doesn’t seem to have any great connection to Tesla central. Obviously, he should. They must know and love him. Probably just needs the right introduction… or Tesla to reach out.

  • Steve Grinwis

    HOLY CRAP. 3.2 seconds is ridiculous. That already put the Model S in esteemed company, sitting along side the Mclaren F1, or the Ferrari Enzo, both ridiculously expensive supercars. At 2.8 seconds, that puts the car firmly into custom performance car territory.

    • Shiggity

      1.1G. More G force than jumping out of a plane for the first 60mph.

      • Steve Grinwis

        I can accelerate off this stoplight faster then you can fall off a cliff.

    • Completely ridiculous. I can’t even wrap my mind around it. The implications… Think of all the implications…

    • Ross

      And it seems like that isn’t the actual top speed, it is just what it is limited to by the max current they let flow to the electric motors.

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