We’ve known about the Tesla Model S Plaid since January, but last night it was revealed in its final form with orders shipping immediately. What nobody expected was the extent of the update this new version brings to the Model S.
As Electrek reports, the Plaid uses the first production electric motors with carbon-sleeved rotors, which required Tesla to develop a new manufacturing machine to achieve. As Musk explains, “This is a super hard thing to do because carbon and copper have very different rates of thermal expansion. In order to have a carbon over-wrapped rotor, you have to wind it with extremely high tension and that’s an extremely hard thing to do.”
The end result is worth it, though, with the Plaid able to maintain 1,000 horsepower right up to 200mph in a motor small and light enough for a person to pick up. For comparison, the Model S 2019 Performance model peaks at roughly 700 horsepower at around 40mph and then tails off progressively as the speed increases.
The Plaid also delivers on that promised 0-60mph time of 1.99 seconds and it can do a quarter mile in 9.23 seconds. The tri-motor model range is rated at 390 miles, but the cheaper dual motor version pushes that up slightly to 412 miles. Recharging times have improved, with 187 miles of range available from a 15 minute Supercharger charge. The cherry on top is the drag coefficient of 0.208, which Tesla claims is the lowest of any production car. And as for that prototype spoiler? There wa sno mention of it.
If you live in one of the colder areas of the world, you’ll be pleased to hear Tesla designed a new heat pump and thermal system for the Plaid. Musk claims it requires “50% less energy for cabin heating in freezing conditions” and is generally “30% better in cold weather range.” A new radiator design also means the high performance of the car can be utilized for longer and repeatedly. Such high performance needs to be matched with safety features, and Tesla says the Plaid has the lowest overall probability of injury in crash tests compared to the top 50 vehicles tested by the NHSTA since 2011.
Then we have the interior, which has been redesigned. The second row enjoys more space, new acoustic glass means improved cabin noise, and Tesla developed a new sound system in-house and combined it with a new audio codec to offer a much-improved experience. Starting to drive also requires less input, with the Plaid automatically unlocking the door as you approach and then “you just drive” once sat down. There are no buttons to press. Overall, Musk said the new interior design and features makes other cars feel “very last century.”
The first 25 Model S Plaid deliveries were made at the end of the presentation and “a few hundred” are being produced every week which will increase to 1,000 per week by next quarter. Prices start at $129,990.