Tesla Binds 90 kWh Model S Option With All-Wheel-Drive

FEB 3 2016 BY MARK KANE 57

Tesla Model S 90 no more (only 90D or P90D)

Tesla Model S 90 no more (only 90D or P90D)

Software To Idle 2nd Motor Will Maximize Efficiency

Double motor Tesla Model S

For 2016, Tesla has applied changes to the 90 kWh battery option in the Model S, requiring now that the buyer chooses both the 85 kWh base and All-Wheel Drive.

In other words, the Model S 90 (single rear motor, 90 kWh battery) is not available.

The only way one can get a 90 kWh pack (for additional $3,000 in U.S.) instead of 85 kWh is to choose 90D or P90D.

The elimination of the S 90 is probably related to need for reducing the number of versions on the production line and the choice to ax it could’ve been triggered by a low number of orders for the single-motor 90 kWh version.

If the 70 kWh and 90 kWh become popular enough in relation to 85 kWh, then Tesla could remove 85 kWh base option (as it has in other countries).

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57 Comments on "Tesla Binds 90 kWh Model S Option With All-Wheel-Drive"

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Again betting that the base Model 3 will be an AWD car. This is what will make it the killer against the competition.

Would not at all be surprised if Tesla phases out 2WD altogether.

I would not apply the rules for a larger, premium Tesla, to a much lower priced, mainstream offering…

Does seem redundant as the AWD gets better range, so some of the extra cost can be offset by a slightly smaller battery, and a better performing and safer car.

A second motor, a second transmission and a second set of power electronics, all with cooling installed, will still add a significant chunk of change.

Tesla does not install any transmissions.

A simple reduction gear is all.

X2 is not expensive at all.

A small front motor and inverter is a significant sum.

All together, I think that all adds up to about tree-fiddy.


*bad meme reviver strikes again*

Robb Stark said:

“Tesla does not install any transmissions.

“A simple reduction gear is all.”

Confusingly, the meanings of the terms “transmission” and “gearbox” are reversed in British vs. American English.

British English:
“transmission” means fixed-ratio gear set
“gearbox” means multiple gears

American English:
“transmission” means multiple gears
“gearbox” means fixed-ratio gear set

“The United States and Great Britain are two countries separated by a common language.” — George Bernard Shaw

In british english “transmission” means all parts that transmit power from the motor to the wheels (a.k.a drivetrain). It may contain single-speed or multi-speed gearbox, differential, clutch etc.

Tesla motors, controllers, reduction cost less than gas motors/transmissions.
That said the base 3 should have 1 motor because 1 costs less than 2.
Tesla’s say 200hp motor/controller probably cost them $1k-1.2k or so.

I don’t think so.

Best case seems to be the S70 vs. the S70D. The range is improved by less than 5%.

If you can save 5% of 70kWh to accieve the same range you save less than 3.5kWh. Tesla is claiming a price way below 200$/kWh. I assume the pack remains roughly the same. Resulting in saved cost of 700$ or below.

Only the gearbox and cables to the inverter will cost you 600$. The motor is another 1.500$, and the inverter is not cheaper than 500$.

Result is you save 700$, but increase cost by 2.600$. Means the price actual increases by 1.900$.

For $35 Grand? That sounds Very impossible , But I hope you’re right!

All wheel drive Model 3 For $35 Grand? That sounds Very impossible , But I hope you’re right!

Model 3 could easily be FWD, with some high price AWD option. You can almost bank on it.

For a single motor EV, so long as the motor is in the rear, front wheel drive makes no sense. Why would Tesla shift from RWD in the Model S to FWD in the Model ≡?

Uh . . . it makes total sense to me.

Instead of a big frunk, stick the motor & electronics up front. And this leaves more space for rear passengers & trunk space in the back.

That way you can make the car much smaller without sacrificing as much cabin space.

They are not making a sub compact nor do they want to. Tesla is making a 3 Series size car.

Completely stupid to make it a FWD car.

There is more than enough room for RWD powertrain, rear seat passengers and trunk.

It is not an ICE powertrain.

FWD is more efficient in regen than RWD.

The problem with that scenario is that means the Model ≡ would be designed to have only one motor, like the GM Bolt. I think we can be pretty sure it will be designed to have at least the option for two motors, for all-wheel drive.

The BMW i3 has the electric motor in the rear. I expect to see the same in the single-motor version of the Tesla Model ≡.

Of course, that’s just an educated guess; we’ll have to wait to see what Tesla actually does.

Most of the braking happens with the front wheels. For maximum regeneration that is where the drive should be. I would bet the model will be rear wheel drive, but only because they are used to it and for the snob appeal.

I am still hoping for FWD, but I expect to be disappointed.

Ambulator said:

“Most of the braking happens with the front wheels. For maximum regeneration that is where the drive should be.”

That’s certainly true about regenerative braking. Nonetheless, Tesla put the main Model S motor in the rear, and BMW also put the motor in the rear of the BMW i3.

GM put the Bolt’s motor in front, but I don’t think the Bolt is designed to have an optional second motor in back. I don’t think there’s any question the Model ≡ will be designed to have motors both front and rear, at least in some versions.

“I don’t think there’s any question the Model ≡ will be designed to have motors both front and rear, at least in some versions.”

That’s something else Musk has already confirmed.

In Canada, RWD are fairly uncommon. With equivalent tires a FWD is much better then RWD on icy roads. Everyone I know has FWD or AWD.

A Model 3 FWD could be way for Tesla to make the car more appealing to northern countries (like Norway). For ICE vehicle FWD is a bit more expensive but if for EVs the cost the same for both AWD and RWD, as a winter driver to me FWD seems like a no brainer.

As a winter driver, snow tires are the only no-brainer.

The only reason FWD gets better traction on icy roads is the (heavy) engine is at the front. That is not the case with BEVs where the batteries evenly distribute the weight. There’s another (dangerous) reason why FWD EVs are a bad idea, when regen braking on icy roads the front wheels will dig in to slow down and the back wheels tend to slide out. In an instant you’re doing 360’s. I’ve seen FWD ICE cars with standard transmissions skid out when going down an icy hill, ending up in the ditch. The driver was using the engine to slow down.

In good BEVS, the regen and traction controls are both monitored by the car’s computer…

So, the case you described only happens with the car isn’t properly designed…

Since they are likely to produce an AWD anyway there is going to be a reservation for both a motor in the front and in the rear, so why not give it all, AWD, RWD and FWD. People can decide for themselves if they want mainly acceleration capacity with RWD, optimum regen and ice condition grip with FWD, or if they want the best of both and pay the premium for an AWD.

There is no way the Model ≡ will be FWD and you can take *that* to the bank.

Probably true due to performance reasons..

RWD is better in handling and cornering.

I seriously doubt it. No way. They will have to strip out as much as possible to come close to that $35K target price.

But, I do think AWD will be a very popular option that they will encourage people to buy in order to get better range, better performance, and better profits.

You’re not paying attention. Musk has already said that the base model will be two wheel drive.

Tesla may change their minds on this (it’s a production/sales matter, not a design issue), but Musk is on record that the standard model will be 2WD.
That seems reasonable to me — they do need to keep costs down as well as differentiate from the more expensive cars, and it’s not like everyone needs or wants 4wd.
An extra motor isn’t that cheap — IIUC, cost to manufacturer is well north of $1000.

wavelet said:

“An extra motor isn’t that cheap — IIUC, cost to manufacturer is well north of $1000.”

The inverter isn’t cheap, either.

Yeah, the base Model ≡ will almost certainly be two wheel drive.

In order to reach the $35k target they will need to save money on everything. That means the base model will only have one motor, controller and inverter.

Good choice.

It was probably a pretty rarely selected option.

Keep RWD 85KWH though.

Desperate act to cut costs. Running out of money.

This would not cut costs that would really make a large impact, if anything it adds revenue from people who are on the fence for a 85D to a 90D since the 85 is no longer in the cards.

Counter-Strike Cat continued his Tesla bashing campaign:

“Desperate act to cut costs. Running out of money.”

Desperate act to spread FUD. Running out of ideas.

No, I don’t think so.

More like market leverage. Tesla’s high-end product is in high demand.

In a couple years the 90 will be the base model and 110 or 120 with be the high end. Tesla is really on the ball when it comes to positioning their battery capabilities in regards to competitors. Chevy seemed to get it by pushing a 60 kWh battery for the Bolt to get an edge while Nissan was so busy getting screwed by their own battery department and refusal to sell their soul to LG Chem they have mis managed their range increases to minor increases and got blindsided by the bolt. When Tesla changes something there is a good reason and their strategy with battery capacity has been outstanding.

The 85 came out Q4, ’12. The 90 in Q3 ’15, which means….95kwh car in 2018, 100kwh 2021 and your 120kwh sometime after 2030.

I’m not that sure that some massive battery capacity is always required, supercharging say a 150kWh battery will take at best an hour from flat to 80%, that’s an issue. It might make more sense if battery density doubles to stay under 100kWh in the vehicle and reduce weight by removing cells and keeping the price down.

I’m yet to be convinced battery density is going to skyrocket anyway, at least in the near term.

Adam said:

“…supercharging say a 150kWh battery will take at best an hour from flat to 80%, that’s an issue…”

Only if Supercharging remains limited to 90-120 kW. A bigger battery pack can accept charging at a higher kW rating.

It’s inevitable that as battery packs increase in capacity, fast chargers will increase the charging rate. Competition will drive that improvement.

Just by changing the anode composition with silicon Tesla increased 6% from 85 to 90 kWh. I didn’t hear about them changing the battery pack. Combine that with refined charging that was demonstrated with quantum dots, even though not perfected can charge a phone in 30 seconds. I get most of my information from the internet so most of it could be B.S, but if this trend continues charge times won’t be a big deal in 2-4 years.

Quantum dot tech would be a very significant revolution in battery tech, a far bigger quantum jump in ability to hold energy than merely switching from lead-acid to lithium-ion chemistry.

But there is no evidence that quantum dot energy storage tech is approaching commercial application. Let’s keep in mind that battery industry startups are marked by a very high amount of B.S. in their claims, even moreseo than most high-tech startups.

Bottom line: Don’t hold your breath about ever seeing quantum dot batteries on the market.

The thing that annoys me about this, is people go ‘oh but recharging a bigger battery takes even longer!’ like that means something. 1, your need for recharging when you are on a road trip will be reduced, and 2, you only need to recharge the battery as much as you need to complete your journey.

You’re still adding miles at at least the same rate.

In other words, on a worst case scenario (IE a coast to coast trip) you won’t be spending any longer at superchargers than you would in P70, but you’ll be able to plan your stops more conveniently.

And that’s ignoring that you’ll make way more road trips where you’ll either be spending less time, or don’t even need to stop than the P70 driver would.

That is too early because we still need more range before doing that. In Europe that means to be able to drive on the freeway at a standard speed of 80 mph for somewhere around 400 miles. I am not even speaking of Germany where the speed can be higher but even so 80 mph for 400 miles will require 150 KWh, so the Model S battery should still be allowed to grow before we start to cap the battery energy content and start to reduce the size of it. Beside we should keep in mind battery degradation over a ten year period, winter driving, towing and even some spare for a somewhat more sporty driving style. All in all the time you are talking about will be when a battery is between 150 KWh and 200 KWh which is still many years away.

I honestly think there are two types of EV buyers, those that need huge range and thos that don’t.
It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see a base model stay basically the same and get cheaper while the top models get greater and greater range.
This is even more true for markets outside the US, which lets face it is FREAKING MASSIVE! most other countries simply don’t have places that far apart to drive to.

Yeah. My 2015 smart fortwo ev doesn’t exactly have a huge range, but then the number of times I’ve had to stop just to plug it in mid drive is exactly three in the year that I’ve had it. I’m hoping for more range in the 2018 model, but would I spend much more to avoid the three times I was waiting to top up enough charge to complete my journey (totaling about 3 hours of waiting)? Probably not. The wife has a 2016 Volt for longer drives… so basically I almost never need a car that can go more than 70 miles.

NB: I’ve plugged it in out and about a bunch of times, but I’m not counting times where the car was recharged more than enough by the time I wanted to leave, because those were at 0 inconvenience to me.

Logically the model 3 would now be positioned for a 60kwh battery or a 65 kWh battery to outpace the Bolt. 60 kWh should push 213 miles and 65 kWh should push about ~231 miles range.the next bump to 70 kWh would sit at 249 miles range. enough range to have long range access to the supercharger network.

60-65 kwh should be plenty for a base Model 3. And a legit 210 mile range is plenty to use the long-range Supercharger network.

Before the Bolt setting the 60kwh standard, Tesla might have even gone as low as 50kwh as a base. Might still.

Soon the S85 will be gone as well and when the next battery jump from 90->whatever the 70 will follow to 75 or even 85 being the lower number depending on the upgrade. Keep bringing out new systems and options that people want to trade old cars in for new ones is how they make money. If Tesla still only sold 60-85-P85 since 2012 the company would most likely be belly up from lack of customer turnover.

Rich people who got the P85D wanted the P90DL because you know, its new fancy status.

Maybe now they can focus on why the stock is at a 2year low?

Brian said:

“Maybe now they can focus on why the stock is at a 2year low?”

The entire market is down quite a bit since the beginning of the year. Why should Tesla executives waste their time worrying about market fluctuations unrelated to company performance? I hope they have better things to do.

Brian, you’ve gone and proven that a Volatile Startup stock is Volatile. Thank you Captain Obvious.

What part of the definition of Volatile don’t you get? The part where a volatile stock goes really high, or the part where the same stock reverses and goes really low, before reversing again, and reversing again, etc?

TSLA stocks have made no less than 8 major volatile moves since the Model S went into production, and is current roughly 500% higher than it was before the Model S went into production.

I guess a 500% return on a highly volatile startup company is bad in you eyes? You should stick to investing in S&P 500 index funds if massive profits on volatile stocks is too hard on your heart.

i mean awd is a $5000 option the the Model S. i’d expect it to be a similar cost on the Model 3. I would definitely play $40k for an AWD EV.

Really enjoying the discussion on AWD, FWD, RWD and the ensuing prices. Lots of great thoughts. General Motors has said they will sell the Volt-B (BEV Volt), or Bolt (I’m so confused) all over the US. I expect that means they are also going to sell it in all global markets (best of luck with China, sincerely). Let’s likewise assume this applies to the Tesla Model III. Here’s the pain point, though: for all the other BEVs, such as the Ford Focus Electric, the e-Golf, Leaf, and BMW i3, where will they be in the market? Without the ability to have competitive range upgrades, I think they will drastically slide back, either in price or in market share. I’m sure a lot of people will still prefer the Leaf over the Bolt because it is bigger. I think the e-Golf will survive in some markets because it’s familiar yet electric (plus there’s a lot of US vouchers for a new VW for all those diesel VW drivers). My guess is that the sales numbers will drive action. The part that remains to be seen, though, is whether a company like Ford will innovate, will catch up, or simply continue to… Read more »

This is weird since I would rather limit the number of colors rather than the number of battery sizes or motor options. I don’t quiet see what prevent from producing one type on one day and the others types on other days or even switching as often as once each 6 hours.

If possible I would even have kept the Model S 40 KWh available to have a lower entry price. That car would still better the Leaf and could now go for 50000 $. It would still be super excellent for all the Leaf drivers. That’s not too hard and it is not even asking for a rex option that would be placed in the frunk but just demand to remake something already produced before.