Elon Musk: 70% Of Incoming Tesla Model S Orders Are For Dual Motor


Cutaway Of The Dual Motor System

Cutaway Of The Dual Motor System

Apparently Americans Love The P85D Model S As "Extraordinary" Demand For It Is Currently The Norm

Apparently Americans Love The P85D Model S As “Extraordinary” Demand For It Is Currently The Norm

GQ magazine posted a rather interesting interview segment with Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk.

The interview focuses solely on Tesla, not on Musk’s sleeping habits or SpaceX or any off topic discussions like we’ve seen in recent Musk interviews.

Two topics of discussion in the interview caught our attention: dual-motor orders and Model 3 details.

First up is dual-motor orders.  Elon Musk stated:

“The P85D is a precursor to the Model X, which will use the same chassis and drive train architecture. Demand for the P85D is off the charts. We’re seeing a very high proportion of orders for all-wheel drive, either P85D or 85D (which has smaller, equal sized electric motors front and rear), so 70% plus of our cars will be dual motor. With deliveries of the X due to start next summer, the biggest problem we have at Tesla now is meeting production demands.”

That 70% figure is shocking.  We wouldn’t have expected it be over 50%, but apparently the world lusts for all-wheel-drive.

Turning his attention to the Model 3, Musk commented:

“We need the Gigafactory because there currently isn’t enough battery cell capacity for a high-volume, pure electric car at any price.  The Model 3 is 20% smaller than the Model S, so the battery pack can be just 80% of the size, but we’re aiming for a 50% price reduction from the S, so we need the factory to make it affordable.”

Notice Musk isn’t stating the previous price target of $35,000.  Instead, he’s now saying 50% price reduction from the Model S, which gives a lot of leeway in terms of pricing.  Currently, Model S prices range from $74,570 to $105,670 base MSRP.  50% of those figures would give us a range of $37,285 to $52,835.

Note: 60 kWh Model S Not Offered In Dual-Motor

Note: 60 kWh Model S Not Offered In Dual-Motor

Check out the rest of the GQ interview with Musk here.

Category: Tesla

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61 responses to "Elon Musk: 70% Of Incoming Tesla Model S Orders Are For Dual Motor"
  1. AddLightness says:

    70% is about what I expected. There has got to be a backlog of people waiting for the dual motor to come out, plus the kind of people that can afford a Model S have the money to spend on a very worthwhile and affordable upgrade to dual motor. This is great news but I am curious if the higher than expected dual motor demand is going to be a significant production constraint for Tesla.

    1. See Through says:

      These are his usual rhetorics when the absolute numbers are too bad to utter. It’s exactly like when he said “UK will be among the top 3 markets”, when he knew Norway has sunk.
      So, D orders are 70% because S orders have sunk. It’s not because D orders are stellar.

      1. bRad says:

        First of all D orders are orders for S’s.

        With a higher specification. At worst, he’s saying that 70% of new orders are ordering a higher priced Model S than the were before the D option was introduced.

        Every company would love to have that kind of “too bad to utter” problem… 🙂

        1. Big Solar says:

          the biggest problem any EV has is people like ST. These types are paid to lie on sites like this one and they don’t feel bad about it because of selfishness among other things that I wont mention.

  2. ggpa says:

    Does anybody know is the dual motor cars lose frunk space because of the front motor?

    1. pjwood says:

      Yes, the “microwave” box, more deep into the frunk, goes away.

    2. Tesla Fan says:

      this is the frunk in the P85D

      frunk on the non D


      1. Spec9 says:

        Cool! Thanks for the photos!

      2. scottf200 says:

        So it is more than the microwave box it is another ~5″ infront of that area.

  3. Ocean Railroader says:

    I have seen some cases where some companies have it mandatory that all their company cars must have all wheel drive.

    At the same time you have this you also have some companies wanting to build a fleet of green electric cars.

  4. pjwood says:

    No shock, here. I guessed 85%. You have the normal rate AWD is purchased among co’s like Audi and BMW, and then you have a pent-up demand factor. Tesla made it known this was coming. So, add the two.

    Tesla just jumped delivery of RWD orders (60 and 85) all the way out to March, from December. They made this change within the span of ~48hours. About a week ago, P85D orders started in Europe. I think that came from the Berlin piece. So, what Musk is saying adds up.

    Tesla bags the 28% margin target, if it gets enough P85D in Q4. We also don’t know how much they may need to backfill for RWD orders, that switched. If the new order rate is 70%, what do we think the switch rate was?

  5. Open-Mind says:

    “We wouldn’t have expected it be over 50%, but apparently the world lusts for all-wheel-drive.”

    If that were the main driver, then they would buy a Subaru.

    Instead, I think the lust has something to do with 200 more horsepower up front that delivers insane acceleration. The AWD is just frosting on the cake. And the improved range is colored sprinkles.

    1. Marshal G says:

      Nobody said the main driver, just an important one. On the TMC forums there were a LOT of people in snowy/icy climates holding out for the X due to them needing AWD. I think a lot of those folks are opting for the AWD S.

    2. JRMW says:

      Forget Subaru. (On a side note Subaru is VERY popular in MN)

      AWD is extremely popular for ALL cars, especially the premium segment

      34% of ALL cars sold in the US are AWD.
      that number surpasses 75% in some northern states
      Despite the fact that buyers must pay a premium for AWD

      RWD a is unpopular.
      Only 12% of cars sold in the US are RWD, almost all of them in the South.

      The primary reason is that RWD sucks in winter, even with traction control. Many claim RWD Teslas are fine. But the argument falls on deaf ears

      With the Dual motors Tesla opened up millions of prospective buyers who will not consider RWD

      It is no surprise that an AWD Tesla will be in high demand given those facts.

      IMO It only surprises people who have limited experience with snow.

      The fact that it boosted performance was icing on the cake.

      This after the very same people who said RWD was good in winter also said RWD awould rule performance in summer.

      Wrong on all fronts.

      1. Lustuccc says:

        Because of the traction control all digital instantaneous response, the Model S RWD is more effective than many 4×4 on ice and snow.

        I look forward to see the real winter weather tests of the Model SD

        1. JRMW says:

          My work partner has a Tesla RWD. It’s nowhere near an AWD

          Not. Even. Close.

  6. George Parrott says:


    I think you hit it exactly.

    Most people who can afford a Tesla can also accept the extra $$ for the jump to AWD with ALL the extras that includes.

    More power to the ground without ANY actual debit to operating cost/range. What ICE vehicle model, transitioning from a base engine configuration to their highest performance drive train actually gets LESS operating energy cost?

    With a Tesla one can easily have “insane power” anytime one wants to experience it with ZIP daily operating cost when that power is dormant and even minimal cost for those brief “rushes of joy” when that power is used.

    The extra traction, for winter and snowy conditions, which permits use of the vehicle without chains is another huge positive for the family trips to the mountains or simply safer driving on wet roads.

    And the Tesla price sheet for this extra “fun/safety” is pretty reasonable against the alternatives from Mercedes, BMW, Audi, etc.

    IMHO, of course….

  7. Rob Stark says:

    The base price for a Model S is $69.9K.

    Half would be $34.95K.

    Destination and Regulatory Doc Fee adds $1170.

    1. David Murray says:

      Yeah, but I think that $69K includes the federal tax credit.

      1. Tech01x says:

        How hard is it to check Tesla’s website?

        It’s $71,070 including destination and doc fees, or $69,900 without those fees. That does not include the $7,500 federal tax credit nor any state incentives.

        How does InsideEV’s gets it so wrong?

        1. Bonaire says:

          When you configure, they slip in Leather interior upgrade as a default. You have to change it out to get the real default price. However, there is the destination charge to add on, sales tax and options you wish to add. Who wants a $71K car with cloth seats and base options? But if you look over the options prices, they are somewhat rich in cost for what you actually get. It is the perfect mid-life crisis car. “Throw it all in, you can’t take it with you.”

    2. Tesla Fan says:

      very few people buy a base price tesla, that is with no options

      1. Anthony says:

        This. If I were going to spend 70K on a Tesla, I wouldn’t not choose the tech/autopilot package, supercharging, etc. Thats another 6K there.

      2. Rob Stark says:

        But you can order and buy a base price Tesla with no options.

        Elon promised,for the price conscious consumer, a base 200 mile BEV for $35k. AC,”auto” no manual shift transmission, power windows, power locks,keyless entry, stereo infotainment system, textile manually adjusted seats for that base price. And that is what Tesla is on track to deliver.

        If you want leather,100 way power adjustable seats,fancy stereo, adjustable suspension, fancy wheels/performance tires,special paint,wood trim etc it is your choice to pay extra.

  8. ffbj says:

    It’s interesting that Musk has moved up the delivery time of the Model X to the coming Summer. Where it had recently been moved further into the future, quarter 3 or was it the 4th quarter of 2015?
    Anyway Tesla delivery times are a bit squishy.
    Good to see they are doing well.

    1. Tech01x says:

      Q3 starts July 1. That’s still summer in the northern hemisphere.

      1. ffbj says:

        Or as late September 30th, which is not in the Summer. It is true though that that is not much off from what was said previously.
        I stand corrected.

  9. Spec9 says:

    That is probably good in the short term since the D probably has a bigger profit margin. But for the long term, that is kinda sad because it points out how the Tesla Model S still remains a car for the very rich.

    They need to start working down the price scale. I don’t expect $35K any time soon (possibly never) but then at least need to move down into $50Ks and $40Ks regions.

  10. Spec9 says:

    They had BETTER make sure that their motor failure problem has been completely fixed. You don’t want cars out there with TWO motors that might both experience failures over time. Those warranty repairs will kill you.

    1. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

      Well, at least you have a certain amount of redundancy in case of a motor failing while traveling.

      I can imagine AWD being standard across the board in a few years though, there is pretty much no downside in getting it, apart from the cost, and lots of upsides.

  11. Anthony says:

    “The Model 3 is 20% smaller than the Model S, so the battery pack can be just 80% of the size”

    So that means a 200 mile range car is 48kWh, and the longer range pack is around 70kWh. Sounds about right. 48kWh would put the battery pack at $10K using Tesla’s estimated 2014 pack $/kWh price and the 30% reduction. With a 25% GM, that means they have about $16,250 to spend on the rest of the car. Which to me, doesn’t seem like a lot to use to build the rest of the car with.

    I expect it to have a lot of options to drive the price up to 40K+.

    1. Bonaire says:

      Base over $40k is what I expect. $30k competitor 200 mile range EVs by then. Either Tesla throws in Supercharging as a default for Model 3 at $42K or offers a base at $40K with 2500 add on option. I think they build it into the price. Many people buying Model S have no need for supercharging yet pay the implicit premium. I don’t see how Tesla can build and sell Model 3 without that. They need the cash flow and many will be leasing and not care about that cost.

  12. JRMW says:

    its frustrating that the EV, PHEV, and Rex market is so skewed towards California to the exclusion of everybody else.

    It’s just unbelievable that the OEMs need to be told that AWD will sell more than RWD; that window defoggers really are essential; that winter range does need to be considered; and my favorite- yes it is nice to have a car that can heat up when it’s -10F

    At least they’re getting there.

    1. Spec9 says:

      Well, we have the California Air Resources Board (CARB) that mandates ZEV vehicles sales. Everyone else should do the same and the EVs will spread further. And be thankful that we have the CARB system because without it, there might not yet be ANY EVs available.

      1. JRMW says:

        Don’t get me wrong… I’m SUPER thankful that CARB exists. Without it there would be ONLY the Prius.

        It’s just been hard these last three years watching car after car come out made for SoCal, and only for SoCal.

        And beyond annoying when people later act surprised that there really are buyers outside of California and that a car will sell elsewhere if the manufacturer adds a few tiny winter accoutrements and puts it on lots outside of CA.

        Imagine if Tesla was a Minnesotan company and decided not to offer air conditioning since it’s not needed 70% of the time. And then tried to convince Death Valley residents that really they can just roll down the windows. And that for decades cars didn’t have AC and just quit whining.

        Then when they finally release AC they act surprised that it is popular.

        1. Spec9 says:

          Yeah, I can sympathize. Well, for some reason, Oregon seems to be getting some of the cars. I think the Spark EV and Fiat 500e are both available there. But I think Honda Fit EV and Toyota RAV4 EV are still both California only.

    2. Spec9 says:

      Oh . . . and to add to your list, I think all EVs should have electrical battery warmers that keep the batteries warm when coupled to AC (and perhaps with programmable timer). This would only use a little power and would provide a good range for your EV when you wake up on a cold morning but your batteries have been kept warm.

      I grew up in Minnesota . . . I’ve had to deal with -40 temps wherein it is crapshoot as to whether your gas car starts or not. And I can use jumper cables with my eyes closed. 😉

  13. CHAdeMO says:

    Yeah, since you can not purchase normal P85 anymore it’s all about D.
    D is the fix for constantly failing drive units on Ps all over the world. There is no fix, just a replacement for a part that will fail again.
    I personally love RWD – it’s a different kind of pleasure in a powerfull RWD confid. I’d propose for TM to fix mech problem with their poor design/quality of diff and reduction box in their DU and offer us a choice…I hope we will not end up with a single color/single spec P85D at the end. It’s premium guys…your powertrain choice is poor, color choice is awful, interior is crap, there is nothing even close to German 3 in terms of options especially for the back seat …damn there is not even and armrest at 100k car. Autopilot? It’s been standard in premium for 3-4 years already. New seats is a joke. Quality is at best moderate. Pano, body panels, sealings, failing HV and LV components, door handles, fans, suspension…it’s hard to make cars, yes.
    We love you TM, but you can do better than this. Once BMW makes their MS you will loose.
    Trash MX if you are not ready (obviously are are not) make fixes to MS first. All IMHO.
    And this D story is 80% bullshit to cover huge problem with delayed MX project and fundamental quality problems with MS.

    1. Spec9 says:

      There had BETTER be a fix for the motor issue or else they’ll be fixing motors from the D too!

    2. Jouni Valkonen says:

      Indeed, although Tesla did not have any experience and only some bought expertees on car manufacturing and engineering, it managed to put together the best car ever produced with practically zero R&D budged. Despite the apparent flaws that you listed above AND into premium category where it should be the most difficult to design compelling cars, because there customers do not care how much the car costs, but only the quality matters.

      Now, imagine what German 3 could have done with electric cars if they had not refused to produce electric cars to the bitter end.

      When Model 3 comes, Tesla may not be that newbie anymore in car desing, engineering and manufacturing…

      1. Spec9 says:

        Well . . . we are starting to see what the Germans come up with and it is a bit underwhelming:
        i8 – Beautiful but extremely high-priced niche car with ZERO all-electric range.
        e-Up – bare bones short range econobox not coming to the USA
        eGolf – Basically a Leaf clone delivered 4 years later and costs more.
        i3 – Weird looking BMW City car but does have cool light-weight CFRP and interesting REx system
        Smart ED – Competent 2-seater City car. Range a bit short

        I look forward to better cars from them in the future.

        1. Mercedes can’t get any love with the B-Class ED?

          Solid 100+ mile car with “extended” range, heat pump, Tesla power, Mercedes interior.

          1. JRMW says:

            And where can one find this marvelous car?

            Oh yeah. Compliance car.

            Hard to laud a car that you can’t buy.

            1. GSP says:

              Mercedes plans to sell the electric B-class nationwide.

              I do wish they would add DC fast charging sooner rather than later.


  14. CherylG'sDirtyLittleSecret says:

    All we need now is the Outlander in the States!

  15. ModernMarvelFan says:

    I wonder how many of those buyers will trade in their current Model S…

    1. Spec says:

      I’m hoping many thousands so that the market is flooded with them and I can get one cheap. 😀

      1. ffbj says:

        Test models are going for as low as 56k, before tax credits.

  16. Jouni Valkonen says:

    Like I have said several times, it just makes absolutely no sense to offer non-AWD electric cars in any price category. That is because the marginal cost of AWD is probably negative due to improved range, performance and robustness of dual motor drivetrain.

    Electric motors and inverters have the curious feature that the the cost scales roughly linearly. Therefore there is not significant cost difference between 1×200 kW single motor drivetrain versus 2×100 kW dual motor drive train.

    Mechanical parts and increased complexity of assembly are not that expensive. And that $4000 added cost for AWD is mostly just Tesla’s approach to milk larger profit margins from their customers.

    Therefore Tesla will discontinue RWD Model S in 2015 and Tesla Model 3 will be offered as AWD only.

    1. Grendal says:

      Tesla is NOT milking larger profit margins since their profit margins are clearly out there for everyone to see in their quarterly reports. Tesla is after 25% to 30% gross profit margins. That is it. If they suddenly jumped to 40% everyone would know it and while you’d see a big jump on the stock it would be bad for their reputation. Elon is very clear about how much profit he expects to see from the cars. It’s also why the expense changes pretty frequently, such as the fact that adding the dual motor to an 85 is now $5000, not $4000.

      1. Jouni Valkonen says:

        Tesla is offering basic model with low gross margins. Then it is possible to add high gross margin options. This is how Tesla can keep the price of base model affordable, but have simultaneously high gross margins because rich people will pay a lot extra from options.

        This is quite common practice in industry. And not just in car industry.

    2. Spec says:

      I disagree. A second motor, controller, and the rest is not free.

      For people that don’t need it and don’t want it, why make them pay more?

      1. Jouni Valkonen says:

        added battery capacity for RWD is not free either. AWD needs up to 5 to 10 % less batteries. For 100 kWh battery this means 1000-2000 dollar savings batteries alone. And if we assume that car needs one replacement battery, then direct savings due to AWD are 2000-4000 dollars + 5-10 % savings in charging bills.

        Tesla is probably having about 50-60 % profit margins in their dual motor, therefore we can safely say that dual motor is just cheaper.

        Then there are indirect savings dual motor cars are safer, so less insurance costs and probability of drivetrain failure is probably significantly lower so less maintenance costs.

        And as a bonus of course one receives much improved handling, better acceleration and higher top speed and more efficient motor cooling.

        1. Jouni Valkonen says:

          Efficiency savings are something more like 3-5 % rather than 5-10 %. Tesla had previously somewhat misleading information. But anyway, cost savings due to AWD are significant and for Model S, they are close to about 2000 dollars that is about as much as AWD adds costs.

  17. koz says:

    Pent up demand and Tesla pushing the D with priority production is skewing the numbers for now. Around 50/50 seems more reasonable in the long run.

  18. Foo says:

    Tesla is having a lot of motor failures. Will a big increase in dual-motor cars mean twice the motor failures they have to deal with?

    1. Foo says:

      Hey, please stop impersonating me.

    2. Jouni Valkonen says:

      Tesla has had zero motor failures, because electric motors do not break even if you drive to Moon and back.

      But dual motor actually makes it easier to design more robust drivetrain, because stresses are distributed for four driving wheels equally. Therefore less strain for single drivetrain.

  19. Kirk says:

    I am the biggest fan of Elon musk. But it seems like his math is incorrect.

    It would seem that you would have to reduce all losses by an average of 20% in order to be able to use a battery size of only 80%. Reduced weight is only a part of the equation.

    Especially important would be aerodynamics for higher speeds. It seems like it will be harder to get the aerodynamics better for this car than the model S because it is shorter.

    1. Priusmaniac says:

      If the Model III is 80% the size it also has an 80% section so the SCx is reduced to 80% and the drag follows. The weight is also reduced. Those two effects feed back by requiring a smaller battery which reduces the weight. The reduced weight of the battery again increase the range, thus allow a further reduction of the battery, which further reduce weight. It goes on in an interative way several times. In the end the limit value stabilize at about 80% as well.

      Now of course 80% smaller is average because Elon also said BMW series 3 size so that is about 4,62 m long compared to 4,97 m for the Model S. So that would be 93 % the lenght. In the same time perhaps the weight can be 75% because the range is 200 miles which is less then the Model S. We will only know for sure in 2016.