Elon Musk is having a chatty day on Twitter again. In between talking SpaceX and drone rockets, he shared a video of a Tesla Motors Model S showing off a pretty impressive feat — but it's not a feat of speed or of electric range.
In pretty chilly, snowy weather conditions and an outside temperature of -7 degrees Celsius, this Model S P85D breezes past stranded four-wheel-drive SUVs on a 14-degree incline (about a 25 per cent slope), on a road that looks like it's claimed more than its fair share of overconfident drivers, Granted, it's rolling on some apparently pretty capable Michelin XICE Xi3 snow tyres, but those SUVs would be on similarly winter-rated rubber too.
The secret to the Model S P85D's snow performance is its dual electric motors' instantaneous, constant torque from zero RPM and the incremental nature of the power delivery — you're able to dial in acceleration very carefully, and the onboard computers detect any minute amount of wheelspin and keep it in check. It's like the crawl control system on a Land Cruiser, but on steroids. Add on that the fact that all four wheels are driven in the P85D, with torque vectoring to share the power from wheel to wheel when needed — almost mandatory on icy and slippery surfaces — and you have a supercar that can also serve as a snowplough.
And yes, the P85D is a supercar. 0 to 100km/h is dispatched in 3.4 seconds, although Musk also just said on Twitter that an over-the-air software update would drop that by 0.1 seconds. Software. That makes your car go faster. And it can do this:
I've done a little bit of snow driving on cars that were totally unintended for that purpose, and I'm already sold on the value of an electric car from that harrowing experience. Sign me up for a $200,000 Model S.