Tesla introduces longest-range EV in production

Not content with already producing the longest-range electric vehicle, Tesla have upped their game further still by upgrading their Model S and Model X cars to run even further on a single charge. Even more impressive is that they’ve increased the range without increasing the size of the 100kW battery pack.

Engineers have designed an all-new drivetrain for both the Model S and X, which allows them to travel 370 miles on the EPA cycle and 325 miles on the Long Range respectively. Both also receive a brand-new adaptive suspension.

Efficiency has always been a hallmark of Tesla, and the permanent magnet synchronous reluctance motor, silicon-carbide power electronics, and improved lubrication, cooling, bearings, and gear designs in the Model S and X all combine to achieve greater than 93 per cent efficiency. This has resulted in more than a 10 per cent improvement in range. But that’s not all – power and torque is up significantly across all Model S and Model X variants, improving 0-60 mph times for the Long Range and Standard Range models.

Perhaps the most eye-catching figures concern the decrease in charge times. Both Models are now capable of achieving 200kW on V3 Superchargers and 145kW on V2 Superchargers, allowing customers to recharge an impressive 50 per cent faster.

Increased performance figures facilitate the need for an upgraded suspension, and Tesla’s air suspension now has fully adaptive damping, which makes a big difference during motorway driving and when Autopilot is used. The system constantly adapts by monitoring road conditions and adjusting for driver behaviour, softening or firming up as necessary. There are also new wheel bearings and new tyre designs for some variants to complement the new longer ranges.

But how much will all these upgrades affect the price? The answer is not a great deal as Tesla are re-introducing a lower entry price for the Model S and Model X by bringing back its Standard Range – prices start from £58,360 for the S and £72,700 for the X. And considering that option comes with the new drivetrain and suspension updates, it represents pretty good value.

But there’s an even bigger incentive: for all existing Model S and Model X owners who want to buy the new Model S and X vehicles, Tesla will bestow the cars with a Ludicrous Mode upgrade – apparently worth around £15,350 – at no extra charge. The Ludicrous mode means the Model S, for example, can go from 0-60mph in 2.4 seconds as it accelerates 20 per cent faster. They’re calling it a thank you to all early believers of the Tesla vision. Production is already well underway in California and the cars can be ordered now.

There’s also more big news from Tesla – their vehicles can now diagnose themselves with repair and maintenance issues and even automatically pre-order parts for repairs. It comes as part of an effort to improve service within the company and is addressing the problem they have with the availability of parts. “One of our major priorities this quarter is improving service operations,” said CEO Elon Musk. A spokesperson confirmed that: “Our cars can keep tabs on certain components to let you know if they need replacing and order parts ahead of your next service visit.” It’s like “skipping the doctor and going right to the pharmacy.”

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