Tesla has officially launched the new Model S Plaid at a delivery event in Fremont today, and Elon Musk emphasized Tesla’s new electric motor technology, faster charging, and a ton of new entertainment features.
While the automaker had already unveiled the new version of the Model S in January, it didn’t go into details about many of the changes that they brought to the electric sedan.
Electrek had already revealed that Tesla was working on a new “Palladium” electric motor, but now CEO Elon Musk elaborated for the first time on the new technology.
The biggest innovation is a new carbon-sleeved rotor in the new electric motors.
The CEO commented during the presentation:
To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that there has been a production electric motor with a carbon over-wrapped rotor. This is a super hard thing to do because carbon and copper have very different rates of thermal expansion. In order to have a carbon over-wrapped rotor, you have to wind it with extremely high tension and that’s an extremely hard thing to do.
Tesla had to design a new manufacturing machine to wind it, and it results an in an extremely efficient motor that is small yet powerful.
Here’s the power curve of the new Model S Plaid:
As you can see, it is a massive improvement over not only the original Model S from 2012 but over the more recent Model S Performance from 2019, which was already beating supercars on the race track.
Here are a few images of the new motor in the Model S Plaid that Tesla released during the event:
As we previously reported, the Palladium program also included a new battery pack, which Musk confirmed during the presentation, but he didn’t release any further details about it.
Musk also confirmed that Tesla managed to achieve the lowest drag coefficient for any production car with a 0.208:
One of the biggest surprises of the presentation was the new heat pump and thermal system in the new Model S.
We know that Tesla has been focused on designing very efficient heat pumps to help with the efficiency of its electric cars in colder climates – starting with the Model Y and later the Model 3.
Now Tesla has designed a new one for the Model S, and Musk made some pretty insane claims about it:
It’s 30% better in cold weather range it requires 50% less energy for cabin heating in freezing conditions.
It remains to be tested, but if true, it would have massive impact on performance in cold climates.
Here’s a look at the new thermal system and heat pump in the Model S:
The bigger radiator in front will also reportedly allow for better repeatability of high performance and of course, the performance to repeat are quite incredible to start with.
Tesla is claiming 0-60 mph in 1.99 seconds, quarter-mile in 9.23 seconds, and a 200 mph top speed, though those specs were already known before the event.
Musk talked about bringing the car back to the Nürburgring race track to test it again.
The CEO also briefly mentioned the fast-charging capacity of the new Model S at 187 miles of range in 15 minutes.
If there’s somewhere where Tesla is lagging behind the competition, it’s fast-charging speeds, but the metric charged by Tesla is also not ideal.
The industry is starting to move to a more useful time from 10 to 80% state-of charge on 150 kW and 350 kW chargers.
Tesla’s new v3 Supercharger are limited to 250 kW, but Musk hinted at ramping up to “280 kW, 300 kW, and eventually 350 kW” without specifying a timeline.
As usual, Tesla is focused on safety first and the automaker has had a great track record in safety testing in crash test.
Musk announced that he expects Tesla to hit the lowest probability of injury in any car ever tested with the Model S Plaid, which would mean beating its own record.
The rest of the presentation focused on the interior of the new Model S, which was already unveiled but Musk explained some changes in more details.
For example, Musk tried to sell the “auto shift” feature, which uses Autopilot to predict what driving mode (Drive, Reverse, Neutral, or Park) the vehicle should use.
Surprisingly, the CEO only briefly discussed the yoke steering wheel – only saying that it is great for visibility and not mentioning that a normal round version would be available.
One of the biggest new details about the interior revealed during the event is that Tesla managed to squeeze some more space for the second row:
Musk also discussed the newly in-house design sound system that is using a new audio codec that the CEO claim will result in always the best sound possible.
Tesla has also design its own new acoustic glass, which the CEO claimed will greatly improve cabin noises – something that has been an issue in Tesla vehicles in the past.
The automaker also released a quick demo of its new user interface that is now more customizable and uses better gestures:
It was designed for the new screen in the Model S and Model X, but some changes are expected to make their way to the Model 3 and Model Y.
During the presentation, Musk also touted the gaming performance of the new Model S.
We already reported that Tesla is using the new AMD RDNA 2 GPU with the same computing performance as a Playstation 5.
Tesla showed a brief demo of the video game Cyberpunk running on Tesla’s new entertainment system.
Here’s the Tesla Model S Plaid presentation in full:
Tesla completed the presentation with the first 25 deliveries of the new Model S Plaid and Musk said that Tesla should be producing a few hundred units per week and ramp-up to 1,000 units per week next quarter.
The Model S Plaid starts at $130,000 after a recent $10,000 price increase this week and a cheaper $80,000 version without the tri-motor powertrain, but a longer 412 miles (versus 390 miles) is also available.
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