The all-electric Tesla Model S will soon be joined by a scarier, cleverer variant known unofficially as the Model D. Elon Musk took to the stage to give us the 60D, 85D and P85D, which get their names from having a dual-motor setup. Here’s what you need to know about the all-electric machine.
It has more power than a Ferrari 458 Speciale A
A big electric motor at the back and a medium-sized motor at the front work together to create 691hp and 910Nm (687lb/ft) of torque in the Model D P85 performance model, putting a number of supercars to shame. All that torque is yours the moment you want it, such is the instant nature of electric motors. Top speed is now 155mph, up from 130mph in the Model S, making it one of the fastest saloons on the planet.
A McLaren F1 is slower (ish)
Remember the legendary McLaren F1 supercar that had the driver sitting in the middle? The Model D is just as fast to 60mph. Somehow 2.3-tonnes of saloon can blast to 60mph from standing in 3.2 seconds if you opt for the top-spec P85 model, with 1g of acceleration making your face look like as loose as a basset hound’s.
All-wheel drive is standard
The Tesla Model S is rear-wheel driven, which makes sense seeing as it has as much as 420hp on tap. Now, thanks to those two motors working together, every wheel gets a share of the 691hp. This means more traction, improved acceleration and potentially better handling. So no more leaving your Model S at home when it snows, then.
More range than a standard Model S
Even though the addition of the second electric motor adds 80kg to the 60 and 85kWh battery versions and 135kg to the insanely fast P85 performance version (kerb weight of 2,239kg), Tesla has eked out even more range. Supposedly it will travel an extra 10 miles per charge, thanks to a system that allows power to be sent where it needs to go within milliseconds. No wasted energy here – the car is constantly evaluating how it can be as efficient as possible.
Eco-people will want your babies
The Model D offers around 300 miles of driving per charge. That makes it about £5 to £10 to ‘fill up’ depending on your energy tariff, as opposed to the £60 plus needed for a petrol or diesel car. There are no CO2 emissions to ruin your lungs, no engine to create noise pollution and no need to drill into the planet. You could, in theory, recharge it using solar panels or other green sources for the ultimate in green motoring.
It can drive itself
The Model D has a clever system called Autopilot, comprising 12 long-range ultrasonic sensors, radar, forward-looking camera and automatic braking assist system that allows it to read road signs and adjust the speed accordingly, park itself in a space or your garage and, get this, actually pick you up from wherever you are. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Google. Tesla CEO Elon Musk says the Model S and D with Autopilot can handle 90 per cent of driving, rendering you almost useless. So far just the lane departure and speed limit warning systems are active. A date is yet to be confirmed for other features.
Just don’t expect a Model S sensor retrofit
Recently bought a Model S? Bad luck. Tesla has said it will NOT retrofit the sensors needed for the Autopilot system. But anyone who has ordered one recently may be lucky, as cars built within the last few weeks are equipped. Those looking to order will have the option of the £3,600 Tech Package with Autopilot, even if they only want the rear-wheel drive Model S.
It will turn heads
People bang on about the performance and eco-credentials a lot, but rarely the attention you’ll get while driving it. Few cars will be pointed at as much. Seriously, we saw a bus driver leaning out of the window to capture a few snaps of the Model S outside our house. One couple came over to ask what the hell it was. A Model D is likely to get the same attention so long as Teslas remain a rare sight on UK roads.
Tesla will probably buy it back after three years
Tesla recently announced the UK version of a scheme that sees it buy back the car after three years. The idea is to alleviate the concerns over resale value (the battery is expensive to replace) and depreciation. You can get 50 per cent of the base price and 43 per cent of the optional extras back after 36 months on the Model S. No doubt the Model D will have a similar scheme.
It costs a lot more than a standard Model S
The privilege of having a second motor will cost you a £14,000 premium on the rear-wheel drive car. A 60kWh Model D is £63,880, up from £49,900, while the 85kWh is £69,480 (up from £57,300). An 85kWh P85D is £79,630 before any optional extras, making it £10,930 more expensive. Expect an infinite mile / 8-year battery warranty on all but the entry-level 60kWh.