Range anxiety? What range anxiety? Just as traditional ICE (internal combustion engine) auto manufacturers are attempting to field their own entries into the luxury electric vehicle market, Tesla is moving the goal posts again. The company's EVs already have greater range their new competitors (by a fair margin), and now drivetrain updates are widening the gap even further.
Tesla announced this week that it is using a new permanent magnet synchronous reluctance motor -- which has previously seen duty in the Model 3 -- on its Model S sedan and Model X crossover. This could with improvements to its bearings, gear design, lubrication and cooling allow the company to achieve a stunning 93 percent efficiency from its drivetrain. The permanent magnet motor is mounted up front, while an induction motor is mounted in the rear of the vehicle.
According to the company, these changes make for a 10 percent improvement in driving range. The Model S and Model X Long Range could previously travel 335 miles and 295 miles respectively on a charge. With these updates, those figures climb to 370 miles and 325 miles respectively (based on EPA testing) while using the same 100 kWh battery pack.
Tesla also announced that it will reintroduce Standard Range versions of both the Model S (285-mile range) and the Model X (250-mile range) priced at $78,000 and $83,000 respectively.
The upgraded electric motors also mean even greater performance potential (Model S 0-60 times shown):
- Standard Range: 4.0 seconds
- Long Range: 3.7 seconds (down from 4.2 seconds)
- Performance: 3.0 seconds (down from 3.3 seconds)
- Performance Ludicrous: 2.4 seconds (unchanged)
In addition, Tesla says that these new upgraded Model S and Model X EVs support faster 200 kW charging with V3 Superchargers and 145 kW on V2 Superchargers. This is a big upgrade from the 120 kW charging that Model S and Model X owners have been accustomed to, but still less than the 250 kW charging supported by the Model 3 on V3 Superchargers.
Finally, Tesla revealed that the air suspension available on its Model S and Model X have been upgraded with adaptive dampening to provide an even more comfortable ride for passengers. All of the above-mentioned updates are available as of today for new orders. And for current Model S and Model X owners that upgrade to a new Performance version of either, Tesla will toss in a “free” Ludicrous Mode upgrade (currently priced as a $20,000 option).