The speed comes from a new 100-kilowatt-hour battery pack that also makes the Model S the first all-electric sedan with a range of more than 300 miles.
Tesla’s Model S was already the fastest four-door sedan in the world. In “Ludicrous Mode,” it had the speediest zero-to 60 jump of any car under $200,000. But this, apparently, wasn’t ludicrous enough.
On Tuesday, Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk released a new, 100-kilowatt-hour battery pack for the dual-motor versions of the Model S and Model X.
The upgrade makes the Model S the first all-electric sedan with a range of more than 300 miles, and it cuts the zero-to-60 miles per hour interval to just 2.5 seconds from the current 2.8 seconds of the P90D Ludicrous.
Only a few cars can compete with that, including the LaFerrari and Porsche’s 918 Spyder. Those cars, however, are limited-run supercars that cost $1.4 million and $845,000, respectively.
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For the first time, Musk said, “the fastest car in the world, of any kind, is electric. In the future, people are really going to look at gasoline cars in the same way we look at steam engines today: They’re quaint, but it’s not really how you get around.”
The new Model S — the P100D — seats five, will go 315 miles on a single charge and starts at $134,500. The P100D Ludicrous upgrade costs $10,000 for customers who have ordered the P90D Ludicrous but haven’t taken delivery, or $20,000 for owners who already have that vehicle type.
What may be even more impressive is the upgrade for the Model X SUV. The Model X seats seven people, has two trunks and can now get to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds, faster than a Lamborghini. The new P100D Model X, with a range of 289 miles on a single charge, starts at $135,500.
Squeezing an additional 10 kilowatt-hours out of what was already the world’s largest car battery has posed a difficult challenge, Musk said. The new battery packs use the same Panasonic cells as previous Teslas but require new wiring and changes to the seats to ensure safety, given the additional weight. Production will initially be limited to about 200 packs a week and will be available only to the performance models equipped with Ludicrous Mode, at least for the first few months.
Musk said the battery packs are reaching performance and capacity limits for the current round of battery cells. The company will be shifting to a new, larger cell with the launch of the Model 3, enabling additional gains for the entire Tesla lineup in the future, he said.
Although Tesla’s announcement of the fastest car in the world might impress sports-car buffs, investors shrugged when they saw the details. Tesla shares rose as much as 2.5 percent Tuesday after Musk said on Twitter that he had product news coming. After the announcement, however, the stock receded and finished up $1.91, or 0.9 percent, at $224.84.
“It’s amazing how much attention Elon gets by tweeting,” said Ben Kallo, an analyst with R.W. Baird & Co. “This is really an incremental advancement in technology and cost.”