During a recent Tesla design presentation, Tesla’s Director of Product Design and Project Management Javier Verdura stood in front of a slide (above) showing the Tesla Model S with a 0 to 60 MPH time of 3.7 seconds. That's officially 0.5 seconds quicker than the 4.2-second time Tesla lists on its website for the Model S P85.
So, where did this extra acceleration come from? Our guess is that the slide shows a time that's consistent with instrumented test results published by the various automotive magazines. (or someone put up Roadster data in error)
We all know that the P85 Model S hits 60 MPH in less than 4 seconds and that Tesla's 4.2-second time is just Tesla being pessimistic so as to not disappoint, but Electrek thinks some of the extra quickness comes from reduced weight.
On the recent Tesla conference call Colin Rush of Northland Capital Markets asked this question:
"...you talk about the weight reduction efforts that you’ve got going on right now with the vehicles, and how should we think about the cadence of pulling weight out of the vehicle and potential translation of that into extended range?"
Elon Musk responded with this:
"Well, the puzzle on weight versus range is not super strong. There is an improvement but it’s not a huge improvement. The Model S has gotten steadily lighter over time. It’s really like, you know, it’s quarter a pound here, half pound there, but the Model S in production today is at least a few hundred pounds less than that in the start of production. And we’ll continue to see improvements over time."
So, today's Model S is a few hundred pounds lighter than when the S entered production in 2012.
Both Musk and JB Straubel (Tesla's chief technology officer) say that this weight reduction has negligible impact on range, but neither commented on the performance boost, as linked to reduced weight.
A few hundred pounds of less weight likely wouldn't improve the 0 to 60 MPH time by a full half second, so we still believe that the 3.7-second time is more or less lifted from instrumented tests or is in error, but still this is the first time we've heard that the porky Model S has gotten lighter and lighter (still officially listed at 4,647 lbs 85 kWh, 4,464 lbs 60 kWh) as the years go by.
Hopefully, Tesla will now update its site to reflect both the quicker 0 to 60 MPH time and the reduced curb weight.
UPDATE (Aug 29 - 1:40pm EST): We spoke to Tesla spokesperson Liz Jarvis-Shean about this report, and she confirms (unfortunately) that Tesla messed up the slide presentation:
"It was a typo. Data about Roadster was copied and pasted from a template slide, hence the 3.7 number. Unfortunately this was not caught before the presentation."
In other news, Tesla Motors has an opening in the presentation and graphics department...