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New models - Tesla - Model S - P85D

Tesla doubles Model S motor

Electric performance: With an extra drive motor, Tesla's all-electric Model S now has supercar performance and four-wheel drive traction.

Dual motor Tesla Model S cracks 100km/h in 3.4 seconds, goes further on a charge

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Tesla logo13 Oct 2014

By DANIEL GARDNER

TESLA has added another drive motor to its Model S electric sedan slashing zero to 100km/h acceleration of the P85 to 3.4 seconds and extending the pure electric EV's range by 16 kilometres.

Like the standard Model S, the Model S P85D has one electric motor driving the rear wheels but gains an additional drive unit on the front axle, resulting in four-wheel drive and the world's fastest accelerating four-door , according to Tesla.

Similar performance improvements to internal combustion-engined vehicles would likely increase transmission losses and fuel consumption, but the American car-maker says the extra motor increases efficiency, allowing the double-motor Model S to go further on a charge.

The existing top-performing two-wheel drive Model S P85 does the zero to 100km/h dash in 4.4 seconds and has a range of 502km, but dual-motor versions of the full range will be available starting at $96,300 before on-road costs.

Adding a second motor to the top-performing P85 costs $17,900 taking the price to $137,800 but requires the fitment of Tesla's tech-package, air suspension and 21-inch wheels, which blows the price out to $151,300.

A middle of the range dual motor version is also available with zero to 100km/h performance of 5.4 seconds priced from $108,300, while entry-level 60D variants start at $96,300 and do the 100km/h dash in 6.0 seconds.

Low speed range has been increased with the addition of a second motor but freeway cruising range suffers with the 502km capability falling to 440km at 100km/h for the top of the range Model S P85D.

Despite its potent performance, Tesla says you don't need to be a professional racing driver to get the most out of the flagship Model S P85D, with independent digital torque control and low centre of gravity ensuring everything stays pointing in the right direction.

At the same time Tesla's standard Model S range has had a safety gear enhancement, with forward facing radar, camera, brake assist and Tesla's Autopilot technology now standard across the range.

Using a combination of information from the various sensors, vehicles with Autopilot can keep themselves within a lane, change lanes, alter cruising speed according to road signs and even steer to avoid hazards and collisions.

Tesla says the collision avoidance technology will not result in an autonomous vehicle, but is intended to increase comfort and safety in the same way pilots benefit from aeronautical autopilot technology.

The system is in the final stages of completion but will be available to upload to vehicles with the correct hardware within the next few months.

After its introduction, Tesla says the Autopilot technology will continue to evolve, allowing extra functions such as real-time journey calculation, self-parking and maneuvering and pre-drive cabin conditioning.

Volvo is in the process of completing a collision avoidance project named No-Hit, which has developed escape-corridor finding technology, but the Chinese-owned Swedish car-maker is yet to announce a production version of the system.

Other refinements have also been made to the Model S range with more supportive seats, a quieter cabin, wider rear door openings, parcel shelf and a cabin air-ioniser/carbon filter now standard across the Model S range.

A test drive program is underway in Melbourne's CBD, allowing members of the public to try a rear-drive Model S for themselves with orders being taken now.

Flagship Model S P85D versions are also available to order now with deliveries expected in June next year, while lesser 60D and 85D variants will arrive later in August.

The Tesla website provides driveaway pricing that varies by state and territory, with the Australian Capital Territory the cheapest and Western Australia the dearest. For example, the driveaway price for the base Model S 60 in the ACT is $122,985, while in WA it is $130,547.

The company is also planning an SUV, called Model X, for launch next year.

Tesla Model S pricing*
60$91,400
60D$96,300
85$103,400
85D$108,300
P85$119,900
P85D$151,300
*Excludes on-road costs.

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