Editor's Welcome 

Last night Tesla announced two huge announcements - a dual-motor Model S with supercar acceleration and Autopilot. I was on hand at the event last night and share highlights below.

DaveT, Editor

Model SModel S

Tesla's New Supercar

Last night Tesla announced a new version of the Model S with dual motors. The performance version dual-motor Model S achieves a 0-60mph in just 3.2 seconds.

It's difficult to explain in just words how fast 3.2 seconds is and I had a difficult time grasping it myself until I actually sat in a Tesla P85D and experienced it going from 0-60 in a blazing quick three seconds. It felt like a completely different (and much quicker) car than the previous single-motor P85. The car accelerates so quickly with so much force that I found myself in disbelief and awe. Tesla truly engineered an amazing new version of the Model S.

This new dual-motor version of the Model S is available to order in the performance version and will be available in the 60kwh and 85kwh version vehicles in February. Overall, having an AWD dual-motor version expands the appeal of the Model S to more market segments, especially those in colder areas. And the addition of a dual-motor performance version catapults the P85D into the realm of a true super car.

See my test ride in a P85D in this video.

Tesla's Autopilot Announced

In an unexpected and shocking move, Elon Musk announced Tesla's Autopilot hardware at last night's event. Most people were expecting some trivial driver assist features like lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control. Further, in previous interviews Elon had alluded to Autopilot being ready by the end of 2015. But in last night's announcement, Elon outlined a 4-part Autopilot system that would allow for driving to become increasingly autonomous over time.

The Autopilot system comprises of cameras, radar, sonar, and gps/navigation integration. At first, the system will allow for drivers to use Autopilot to keep in one's lane and to slow down or speed up depending on objects in front. Over time with software updates, Autopilot will allow for full autonomous driving from freeway on-ramp to freeway off-ramp. Autopilot will also allow for the car to be able to park itself or even for it to be summoned by the owner.

In my test ride last night in a P85D, there was a brief section where we were able to see the car drive itself autonomously. The car followed the roads as it curved and also adjusted for speed limits. It also managed to change lanes by the driver just turning the signal light on. It was quite impressive.

What's further impressive is that Autopilot is a feature that is now added on to the Tech Package at an additional minimal cost (new Tech package costs $4250 vs old Tech package costed $3750 iirc). This is a great deal and will make the car even more appealing to more people.

I recorded last night's presentation by Elon Musk, but the quality is somewhat poor. But here's the link if you're interested in listening/viewing it. If you're a livestream member, you can watch a better quality video from another source. And also for a brief video summary of the event, here's a good video by CNET.


Elon MuskElon Musk