“The public tends to respond to precedents and superlatives,” Musk once said back in 2012, the year the original Tesla Model S was introduced. A decade later, Musk unveiled the first major overhaul of Tesla’s premium sedan and he was full of superlatives. This beast will be the world’s fastest, (likely) safest, and be equipped with the most powerful computing prowess of any vehicle … ever.
Why make a car so damn fast? Musk explained, “We’ve got to show that an electric car is the best car, hands down,” Musk said last night at the Model S Plaid launch event. “It’s got to be clear sustainable energy cars can be the fastest cars, the safest cars, [and] can be the most kick-ass cars in every way.”
“This car crushes,” Musk emphasized as he alluded to the dominance it will soon showcase on the Autobahn in Germany. The Model S Plaid is powered by three motors that deliver (gulp) over 1,000 horsepower rocketing to 60 mph in under two seconds — a first for any production car. Oh, and it also races all the way up to 200 mph.
In addition, the car’s technology also appears to be best-in-class. Musk claimed that the new Model S is “practically alien” compared to what’s out there from other automakers.
Above: A 5-minute supercut of Elon Musk’s Model S Plaid reveal at the launch event last night (YouTube: The Verge)
According to Sean O’Kane at The Verge, “The Model S Plaid has extremely powerful processing that can run AAA games [like Cyberpunk 2077] on the car’s screens at 60 frames per second, in addition to powering all of the other services Tesla allows, such as Netflix, Spotify. “Really, it’s like a home theater experience,” Musk said.
And there’s more to the tech than just playing really cool video games. O’Kane reports, “the [new heat] pump improves cold-weather range by 30 percent and reduces the energy consumption of running the HVAC system by 50 percent. The radiator is also much bigger in order to help cool the battery pack during demanding drives. Tesla even developed new carbon-wrapped rotors in the electric motors that power the Plaid system in order to keep them from breaking apart at high RPM.”
Inside, “the Model S now has a horizontal touchscreen like the one found in the Model 3 and Model Y, but with a bigger 17-inch version with smaller bezels. Unlike the Model 3 and Model Y, there’s a digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel. A third screen is found behind the center console for rear passengers. Tesla showed off a new UI for the screens on Thursday night, which features drag-and-drop elements and other refinements.”
And, of course, there’s that Formula One style “yoke” steering wheel. Combine the speed, best-ever aerodynamics (with a drag coefficient of 0.208), alien technology, and an expected 5-star safety rating and it looks like the new Model S Plaid could be a seriously fierce competitor. Life just got a whole lot harder for the engineers at companies like Lucid and Porsche.
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