Update: Tesla tells us that the slide in question was an error, likely a leftover from the Roadster spec sheet.

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I noticed an interesting slide in Tesla’s Director of Product Design and Project Management Javier Verdura‘s recent presentation (Above). Everything up there jibes with Tesla’s original Model S specs which can be seen on its front page (and below) except the 0-60 has moved from 4.2 seconds to 3.7 seconds. That’s a full half second faster and pushing the Model S way into Supercar territory. How did it get so much faster?

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At first glance, I wasn’t sure if this wasn’t a misprint or a preliminary speed test from a 4-wheel drive version (also would be cool!). It is hard to imagine how Tesla could get from 4.2 to 3.7 seconds with the same car.  However something said in the conference call yesterday might explain the extra speed, or at least some of it. The question was from Northland Capital Markets’ Colin Rush:

Colin Rush – Northland Capital Markets

Okay. That’s perfect. And then can you talk about the weight reduction efforts that you’ve got going on right now with the vehicles, and how should we think about the cadence of pulling weight out of the vehicle and potential translation of that into extended range?

Elon Musk – Chairman and CEO

Well, the puzzle [ph] on weight versus range is not super strong. There is an improvement but it’s not a huge improvement. The Model S has gotten steadily lighter over time. It’s really like, you know, it’s quarter a pound here, half pound there, but the Model S in production today is at least a few hundred pounds less than that in the start of production. And we’ll continue to see improvements over time.

So to get to a step change on — I mean, there are so many pieces in the car, like you have the battery pack, the motor — the transmission, or the gear box, the tires and wheels, the seats. I think if you’ve got like a big improvement any one of those items, maybe with the exception of the battery pack, it only changes the weight of the car by like 1%, 2% or something. These are all good things, but there’s not like one big block [indiscernible] sitting in the car that [indiscernible] more primitive. It requires whittling away at a whole bunch of things.

JB Straubel – Chief Technology Officer

And the range impact is, you know, weight is one fraction of impact on range, so, even smaller than the direct percentage of weight reduction.

Elon Musk – Chairman and CEO

Yeah. And it is getting slightly better over time. It’s hard for people to sort of perceive it from one month to the next, but if you look at it over the course of a year, you’d notice.

Colin Rush – Northland Capital Markets

Great. Thank you.

Weight reduction, even hundreds of pounds, wouldn’t likely shave a half second off the 0-60 time. But together with other improvements in tires, on board computers, engine  and powertrain could have a broad impact overall.

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