Tesla Model S P85 Sheds Hundreds Of Pounds – Now Zips From 0 To 60 MPH in 3.7 Seconds


Old Time Still Listed ON Tesla's Website - 4.2 Seconds

Old Time Still Listed ON Tesla’s Website – 4.2 Seconds

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…

Source: Electrek


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28 Comments on "Tesla Model S P85 Sheds Hundreds Of Pounds – Now Zips From 0 To 60 MPH in 3.7 Seconds"

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Glad to see Tesla making strides like this. Of course it, does suggest that Tesla first put out a car that hadn’t been optimized properly. A couple hundred pounds?

Hoepfully, Tesla is taking what they’ve learned with the Model S and is optimizing the Model X properly before release.

That’s a pretty silly statement. Nothing at all, ever in history, has been “fully optimized” when it was released. Every car company tries to strip weight off their cars with new versions, and they frequently don’t succeed.

Except Ford, CMAX, no improvement.

A couple hundred pounds is very substantial and getting to the bottom of it would be interesting snooping. Leave some batteries out and see if people notice? Use thinner, more pliable sheets of aluminum and at an aggregate, they add up? But a couple hundred pounds is enormous in terms of the same model over two years’ time. I think it is (like everything else he says) an exaggeration by Musk. Cars can be weighed and of course, this claim will get an older 2012 build owner and a fresh new owner driving to the scales.

All you need do is go to a weigh station outside of a metal reclaiming site. Most cities have them. They weigh your car when you enter, they weigh it when you leave, they pay you for the iron you drop off. Just ask those folks if you can have them weigh your cars.

The 0.5 sec change is 11% in power so an 11% lower weight vehicle would be required or around 500 lbs so I would say that this quicker accel time is not due purely to a wt reduction.

I mentioned that a while ago to Jay. I can’t believe that a few hundred pounds don’t make a difference in range. Should be 3 or 4 miles at least shouldn’t it?

A 3-4 mile improvement in range is insignificant when you already have 200+ miles of total range. I can see why they made the comment. It would have been out of place for all other EV manufacturers to say that. 🙂

Could this new number be due to AWD? Isn’t Tesla adding this as feature to the Model S?

Even the S85 has been tested to perform 4.9 seconds, S60 to 5.1. So the 0.5 improvement is across the board.

Properly optimized? – Really?
I just find it more interesting that they are willing to make continued improvements WITHIN a given model, without “transitions” occurring on model year boundaries – it’s more like a “continual” progression of small improvements – Personally, I like the approach as things can ALWAYS be improved, I’m just wondering the impact on service – specifics about the car are going to have to be sorted out on a per VIN basis – Seems like each one is slightly unique, and would definitely make servicing things a bit more complex..

But I really don’t think of it as “un-optimized” – As I see it, its being willing to continue to make improvements and add features – More of a software approach, than a typical HW mindset.


Tesla is well known for making continual running-change improvements on their cars with little to no fan-fare, there are lots of good examples of that.

One example of a change that definitely reduced weight is the fact that 3rd row seating is a factory only option and can’t be added after the fact. The reason for this is that extra trunk reinforcement is added during the build process to increase safety for children sitting in the trunk.

As far as tracking changes, that’s no big deal. Techs simply plug in the VIN (something that’s done at all dealerships) and look for any VIN-specific TSBs or notes for the vehicle. Running changes during model years happen at other manufacturers, too, it’s just that Tesla is more willing to push more substantial changes out and doesn’t wait for model years to introduce new features.

I thought Tesla doesn’t do model years.

I wonder how quick Model 3 AWD Performance+ will be? Will it go closer to three seconds? It will probably be significantly quicker than Tesla Roadster.

Why? The Roadster had at least as big battery, weighs less, better aero-dynamics.

I’m expecting the 0-100 to be slightly better than the S60. Maybe 4,8 seconds.

But still far from the 3,7 seconds of the Roadster.

Model 3 performance+ will have more power, AWD and better torque vectoring. This should explain the difference. If this article is correct, which I doubt, even Model S almost quicker than Roadster.

With AWD, it is possible to have significantly more torque at low speeds (and yet good top speed), therefore especially Model 3 should have better acceleration.

The Model S has a larger battery which it can take it’s power from. As far as I know the size of the battery is an important factor for getting enough power to be able to do a fast 0-100 km/h.

Only time will tell but I’m pretty sure the lighter and more aerodynamic roadster will not be beaten by the Model 3, not even with AWD.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

It would affect range a bit in urban cycles I presume, but have very little effect on highway range, where CdA plays a much bigger role.

Guys honestly. I was excited for one moment but i think this has to be a misunderstanding. Hundreds of pounds that would most definitly have an impact on city efficiency and they would have talked about that achievement more often.

Also when musk said the titan underbody enforcement only decreases efficiency by 0.1% he would have mentioned that its still way more efficient than the official specs suggest.

Dont agree?

They might not be undating official specs due to some stupid government regulation.

Isn’t there a way Tesla can get rid of the lead-acid starter battery? 12v should be doable with lithium too. Should improve weight by several pounds…

They could replace the LA battery with a lithium battery, but FMVSS regulations require that an EV be operable (steering / lights / brakes) for at least a short period with a complete failure of the traction pack.

In other Tesla news they inked a deal with a Chinese convenience store chain to install 100 superchargers across the country at the chains store location, pushing Tesla to all time highs. Stock is up 75% ytd, S&P up 8% ytd.

I think this is just a mistake in the presentation. 3.7s was the Roadster acceleration figure.

If Tesla doesn’t update the specs on their website shortly – where they’re trying to sell you the car and faster numbers are most important – then my suspicion is confirmed.

I too think that this is a mistake, people often do this kinds of mistakes with numbers. But on the other hand, Motor Trend claimed, when Car of The Year was awarded, that they measured 3.9 seconds and this was in late 2012 before performance+ was on markets.

Therefore increments after that seem plausible although 3.7 is already so quick that you could expect it from light weight roadster.

See: 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.”

So, if the 3.7 second Roadster Sport time (my Roadster is the plain cheap one at 3.9); then what are we to assume the Model S is? 4.2 seconds? Or is it some other number.

Remember Tesla at first said the 0 t0 60 time was 4.4—-
That was so ridiculous they soon changed their literature to read 4.2 seconds zero to sixty—
I think it is Motor Tread that has a 3.9 reading 0 to 60—-
I can attest to the fact I’ve raced many cars from red lights and no car has ever beaten my year old P85 including MZB AMG’s—–

Reaction time plays a huge role in who wins stoplight battles. Keep that in mind. Still, the Model S does usually reign supreme in such races.