Tesla Releases More Details On Dual Motor, Autopilot & Additional Model S Updates

3 years ago by Eric Loveday 24

Tesla Model S P85D

Tesla Model S P85D

Tesla Model S P85D Panorama

Tesla Model S P85D Panorama

Tesla Motors has finally put together a blog post that highlights most of what was unveiled Thursday night.

In addition, Tesla describes some running changes being made on the Model S, including the much-asked for seat comfort improvements, a quieter cabin and oddly even wider rear door openings.  Not sure how Tesla accomplishes that last update without changing the stamping for the Model S.  Maybe the door opens further courtesy of new hinges?

Read on to learn what Tesla says of the dual motor Model S, autopilot and those aforementioned running changes on the electric sedan.

Dual Motor Model S and Autopilot

By The Tesla Motors Team

Yesterday, we unveiled the world’s first dual electric motor production car and announced that new safety and autopilot hardware is standard on every new Model S.

Conventional all wheel drive vehicles distribute power to the wheels from a single engine driving a complex mechanical transmission system. By contrast, Dual Motor Model S, which comes with either the 60 kWh or 85 kWh battery, has a motor on each axle, digitally and independently controlling torque to the front and rear wheels. The result is unparalleled control of traction, with instantaneous response to the motors giving drivers precisely controlled performance in all conditions. With its digital torque controls and low center of gravity, Dual Motor Model S has the most capable road holding and handling of any vehicle ever produced.

Where gasoline-powered all wheel drive cars sacrifice efficiency in return for all weather traction, Tesla’s Dual Motor propulsion system actually increases efficiency while delivering exceptional traction and control in slippery conditions. By precisely splitting the delivery of current from the battery to each motor, the Model S 85D and 60D actually gain an additional 10 miles of highway driving range compared to their rear motor Model S counterparts.

Consistent with our mission, we also wanted to demonstrate that an electric car can soundly beat gasoline cars on efficiency and pure performance. The Model S P85 already outperforms gasoline-powered cars in the same class with its ability to deliver 100 percent of peak torque from a standing start. We combined our new front drive unit and our P85 rear motor with the objective of outperforming one of the greatest supercars of all time, the McLaren F1. With P85D’s 0 to 60 mph performance of 3.2 seconds, we have succeeded.

The P85D combines the performance of the P85 rear motor with an additional 50 percent of torque available from our new front drive unit. The result is the fastest accelerating four-door production car of all time – while remaining one of the most efficient cars on the road. That’s a combination that can only be achieved by an electric car. Not only is the P85D a match for the McLaren F1, but it also doesn’t need a professional driver to achieve optimum performance. Just plant your foot and go.

Customers can order a Dual Motor Model S today. Deliveries of P85D begin in December for North America, to be followed 85D and 60D in February. Deliveries to Europe and Asia will follow in the months afterwards.

Autopilot Functionality Now On Model S

Autopilot Functionality Now On Model S

New Safety Features and Autopilot

The launch of Dual Motor Model S coincides with the introduction of a standard hardware package that will enable autopilot functionality. Every single Model S now rolling out of the factory includes a forward radar, 12 long range ultrasonic sensors positioned to sense 16 feet around the car in every direction at all speeds, a forward looking camera, and a high precision, digitally controlled electric assist braking system.

Building on this hardware with future software releases, we will deliver a range of active safety features, using digital control of motors, brakes, and steering to avoid collisions from the front, sides, or from leaving the road.

Model S will be able to steer to stay within a lane, change lanes with the simple tap of a turn signal, and manage speed by reading road signs and using active, traffic aware cruise control. It will take several months for all Autopilot features to be completed and uploaded to the cars.

Our goal with the introduction of this new hardware and software is not to enable driverless cars, which are still years away from becoming a reality. Our system is called Autopilot because it’s similar to systems that pilots use to increase comfort and safety when conditions are clear. Tesla’s Autopilot is a way to relieve drivers of the most boring and potentially dangerous aspects of road travel – but the driver is still responsible for, and ultimately in control of, the car.

The Autopilot hardware opens up some exciting long term possibilities. Imagine having your car check your calendar in the morning (a feature introduced in Software v6.0), calculate travel time to your first appointment based on real time traffic data, automatically open the garage door with Homelink, carefully back out of a tight garage, and pull up to your door ready for your commute. Of course, it could also warm or cool your car to your preferences and select your favorite morning news stream.

The introduction of this hardware is just the first step for Autopilot in Model S. We will continue to develop new capabilities and deliver them through over-the-air software updates, keeping our customers at the forefront of driving technology.

Other Product Updates

Our commitment to continuous improvement extends to other features of Model S, and we have recently made several updates to the car. The following features are either in production or will be delivered with Dual Motor Model S (as indicated).

Seat comfort improvements and taller headrests for whiplash protection
Improvements for a quieter cabin
Wider rear door opening
Electrically opening, self-closing charge port door on Dual Motor Model S (delivered with Dual Motor Model S)
Increased visor size and larger vanity mirror
Parcel shelf and front trunk cargo net now standard
Air ionizer and carbon filter for cabin air purity
Updated steering column control module
Updates to Alcantara interior trim, such as wrapped roof bow and top pad

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24 responses to "Tesla Releases More Details On Dual Motor, Autopilot & Additional Model S Updates"

  1. Mike says:

    Wow. Looks like the longest lease you want for a Tesla is 2 years.

    ( Says the guy who wants to buy a used Tesla. ) ;^)

  2. Mark says:

    So…if you don’t get tech, does cruise control keep you a safe distance from the car in front of you? I would think that would be an included safety feature, but I could also see them classifying that as a non-included convenience feature.

  3. Anon says:

    So, this is the mid-production mini-refresh, before Model S gets a full design refresh after Model X and Model III are out?

    1. Richard says:

      I believe so.

  4. Does dual motor cause more or less tire wear?

    1. Dan says:

      Tire wear is likely more even. Normally the drive tires wear out quicker.

  5. Jim Bo says:

    World’s fitst? Isn’t Outlander PHEV a dual electric motor production car?

    1. Jouni Valkonen says:

      Outlander Hybrid is not an electric car but a fuel efficient internal combustion engine car.

      1. mustang_sallad says:

        I assume you’re mistakenly thinking that the Outlander is a regular HEV, like the Lexus RX400h or Highlander, which both have front and rear motors but that both source all of their energy from the gas tank. The Outlander is a PHEV, meaning it can be driven entirely on electricity from the grid if you want.

    2. Rob Stark says:

      Mitsubishi sure does.

      And they can run adds or issue a press release to compare and contrast their drivetrain with Tesla’s

      2.0 120 hp ICE plus two 40 hp electric motors.

      Vs

      Two 188 hp electric motors in the standard AWD Model S.

      Or 221 hp electric front motor plus rear 471 hp electric motor in the Performance version.

      1. ggpa says:

        … actually the Outlander has 2 x 80hp motors, for 160hp total

    3. ggpa says:

      Jim … regarding “world’s first” statement … most folks will think you are right, but I guess Tesla will parse words and claim Mitsu is an SUV, not a car

      But it will be interesting next year when many folks will cross shop the Outlander and Model X. They are both very competent vehicles, but the Tesla will offer several extras and I guess start its pricing at 2x Outlander.

  6. sven says:

    “. . . wider rear door openings. . .”

    Is Tesla putting falcon-wing doors on the Model S?

    /s

  7. RDOCA says:

    Dual Motor Model S has the most capable road holding and handling of any vehicle ever produced.

    When they have such a good car just why do they have to say something like this that is obviously not true. Ruins credibility on all else.

    1. Foo says:

      Yup, clearly can’t believe *anything* they say now. The car probably doesn’t even exist.

      [sarcasm off]

    2. Mark says:

      I just got the drift of meaning and then I lost you.
      what do you mean “something” there which means to loose there credibility?

  8. GeorgeS says:

    I went to Tesla’s site to see if I could justify a 60kwh dual motor since I certainly can’t afford a P85D.

    Looks like 1000$/mo.

    0-60 is only 5.7 secs

    too rich for my blood.

  9. Ocean Railroader says:

    Tesla releases details that their car is now 30% more unaffordable for people like Ocean Railroader. In that we knew Ocean Railroader will not be driving.

    The reality is a lot of these new gizmos they added to the model S or D really don’t do anything for me or help me in away. In that I already know how to drive and my car already has cruise control. Also I do like the Tesla now being able to go 150 miles on hour. But the reality is that there is no real place I know of where I can drive over 80 or 90 miles on hour. Also a lot of this stuff adds to the price of the over all car. Not to mention it would be a real bluegill to fix when these things break down.

    Also there is a major habit to compare Tesla to Apple. Apple right now is pretty big but the reality is I don’t think Apple will get bigger then 30% bigger in fact it might start declining. The reason why is we are at a point where everyone has a i-phone or i whatever Apple has at this point taken up as much market share as it can in it’s current set up.

    What I would have viewed as more of a major break though that would have had me wowing about Tesla is if Tesla would have announced a $50,000 or $55,000 dollar model S. Or a 400 mile range electric car battery upgrade. Or Tesla could have shown the production model X.

    The stuff they showed in reality isn’t really any major break thoughts but more clicky i-phone stuff.

    1. Priusmaniac says:

      I partially agree on i stuff indigestion, especially when it is not an option but an obligation, but the 85D now has 295 miles, which make it an inch closer to the 400 miles. For an actual 400 miles range we will have to wait for the 115 KWh battery, which could come together with the start of the new Gigafactory.

  10. ModernMarvelFan says:

    “objective of outperforming one of the greatest supercars of all time, the McLaren F1. With P85D’s 0 to 60 mph performance of 3.2 seconds, we have succeeded.”

    As much as I like the Model S and fully agree the superiority of Electric AWD (2 motors system), this is just another marketing hype coming out of Tesla.

    Performance of McLaren F1 is NOT just about 0-60mph. It is about handling, cornering balance, top speed and braking.

    Tesla Model P85D would have been spanked by the F1 in a racing course. Even in high speed track or tight cornering course, it would have lost.

    This is Such as classic American engineering thing. Always fast in 0-60mph, but can’t keep up the cornering… Why? B/c it weights too much.

    That is why Tesla needs to work on the upcoming Model R which will competes against the F1 directly.

    1. GSP says:

      Not a very compelling reason to get working on the “Model R.” Tesla can let McLaren, Porsche, etc have that market.

      Instead Tesla is working on the much, much, more important Model III for a much larger addressable market (perhaps including Ocean Railroader). This will be much healthier for Tesla’s finances, and healthier for humanity in general.

      GSP

  11. CanH says:

    Does anyone know frunk volume loss due to the motor in the front? It can’t have the same capacity

    1. Grendal says:

      We don’t know the details of the frunk. I’m certain it didn’t go away but it might be smaller.