As is fast becoming tradition for the Californian start-up electric car manufacturer, Tesla’s latest incremental battery upgrade option for the Model S and Model X further improves the existing cars’ range and acceleration — now to frankly ridiculous levels. The Tesla Model S P100D’s new 100kWh battery pack, says Tesla, makes it the fastest accelerating production car… in the world. Well, the fastest car that you can buy right now, at least.
2.5 seconds. That’s all it takes for the P100D to hit 60mph from a standstill. 0-100km/h, those critical extra three kilometres per hour takes 2.7 seconds. That addendum in the paragraph above, though, is a knowing nod to the LaFerrari and Porsche’s 918 Spyder, both of which can complete the 0-60mph sprint in 2.4 and 2.2 seconds respectively — but which Tesla notes can’t be bought new any more, that were never actually available at all in Australia, and that were also significantly more expensive than the already wallet-emptying Tesla.
Announced in typically low-key fashion on the company’s blog, the P100D is a new battery option for both the Model S and Model X — with 100kWh of capacity from its novel lithium-ion chemistry — that promises 613km of all-electric range on Model S and 542km on the larger, heavier X.
The battery pack is the only difference between the P100D and its (slightly) lesser P90D sibling — both cars share the same dual electric motor drivetrain and the high-amperage Inconel battery fuse that makes such a high rate of acceleration possible through increased current draw. Standing acceleration and range figures are improved, but top speed — 250km/h — remains the same.
A larger battery pack allows for faster acceleration — and not just range — because the design supports a higher sustained current draw. Electric cars only perform at their peak with fully charged batteries, although manufacturers build tolerances into their systems that shares battery load and draw across cells throughout usage to offer largely consistent performance over almost the entire charge and over the life of the pack itself.
Offered only as an option alongside the Ludicrous speed upgrade on Model S and Model X, the P100D specification will cost an additional $10,000 on the circa-$250,000 price of a Model S P90D in Australia. Existing P90D owners will be able to upgrade their cars with the 100kWh pack for a $20,000 cost, which covers the new battery and the cost of recycling the old one.
And yes, don’t worry — Tesla knows it’s expensive. In its statement: “While the P100D Ludicrous is obviously an expensive vehicle, we want to emphasize that every sale helps pay for the smaller and much more affordable Tesla Model 3 that is in development. Without customers willing to buy the expensive Model S and X, we would be unable to fund the smaller, more affordable Model 3 development.”