Here’s how to watch the debut of Tesla Model S Plaid, the ‘fastest production car ever made’

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Tesla is holding a delivery event Thursday for its new high-performance “Plaid” version of the Model S. It’s an attempt by Elon Musk’s company to revive interest in its nearly decade-old electric sedan, which is also being launched. faced fierce competition from Porsche and Mercedes-Benz. When released, Musk claims the Plaid Model S will be the “fastest production car ever made.”

The event, which will be held at Tesla’s factory in Fremont, CA, will be livestreamed to the public from 7:00 PM PT / 10:00 PM ET. It was originally scheduled for June 3, but Musk pushed it to the 10th after tweeting that the vehicle needed “another week of tweaking”.

Delivery of the redesigned Model S has also been delayed, with the company originally stating it expected to begin shipping to customers in March. A refreshed version of the Model X SUV is also expected to ship in March, but has been pushed to an unspecified future date.

The Plaid Model S was not inevitable. Despite lingering rumors for years, Musk didn’t seem interested in the idea, tweet in 2019 that “[t]no ‘renewed’ Model X or Model S is coming here.” Tesla was instead constantly making small improvements to both vehicles, he said.

But less than two months later, a prototype version of the Plaid powertrain made its debut at the Laguna Seca racetrack, completing the famed California circuit in just one minute and 36 seconds. The company later showed another prototype as part of its Battery Day presentation in September 2020. Plaid, like the “ridiculous” acceleration mode in Tesla’s cars, is a reference to one of Musk’s favorite movies, space balls.

We already know most of the relevant specs: an estimated range of 390 miles, a top speed of 200 mph (with the “right tires”, Musk has said:), and a 0–60 mph sprint in 1.99 seconds (although there have been some questions on the validity of that last statement). The new model costs $129,990, compared to $79,990 for a long-range Model S. Plaid is “just so good”.

The new Model S will also have a simplified interior, with a landscape touchscreen similar to what’s found in the Model 3 and Model Y. There’s also a stemless U-shaped butterfly steering wheel, just as Tesla has said it will be in the upcoming second. appear-generation Roadster. And there is an additional screen behind the center console for rear seat passengers. Unlike the Model 3 and Model Y, the new Model S still has a cockpit screen behind the wheel.

Tesla says the Plaid Model S, thanks to the new powertrain and the new heat pump developed for the Model Y, should be able to cover five times as many quarter-mile trips as previous Model S sedans. infotainment system powered by a chip with a processing power of 10 teraflops, allowing passengers to play games such as The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 (with wireless controller support).

When it was first launched in 2012, the Tesla Model S redefined electric luxury, with a sleek design and long driving range. But the company is facing a new wave of competition, with the release in recent years of the Porsche Taycan, Audi E-tron GT, Lucid Air and Mercedes EQS. If Tesla wants to stay in the luxury EV game, it had to make some changes to its flagship.

However, the abrupt cancellation of Plaid Plus raises questions about the carmaker’s battery plans. Plaid Plus would contain Tesla’s new tables 4680 battery cells. These cells, which should allow for an extended range of 500 miles or more, are larger than the company’s current cells and measure 46 millimeters by 80 millimeters (hence the name). In addition to more energy and power, the new cells are expected to lead to a 14 percent reduction in cost per kilowatt hour (kWh), just at the cell form factor level.

Plaid Plus would get a range of 520 miles. While Musk was able to shock everyone Thursday night with a Plaid with a longer range than originally advertised, he also recently threw cold water on the idea of ​​needing a range of more than 400 miles. In a statement to ElectrekMusk said, “More range doesn’t really matter. There are essentially zero trips over 400 miles where the driver doesn’t have to stop for toilet, food, coffee, etc. anyway.”

Ignoring for a moment that most toilet breaks are shorter than the time it takes to recharge an electric vehicle, Musk’s reversal on Plaid Plus could mean a delay in production of Tesla’s 4680 battery cells. In addition to Plaid, the new cells would be used in Tesla’s Cybertruck and Semi vehicles, which are expected later this year.

In an April earnings call, Musk said Tesla was still “12… to 18 months away from volume production of 4680.” It remains to be seen if we’ll get an update on that estimate at Thursday night’s event. But with Musk, you never know for sure.