Tesla CEO Elon Musk promised a more powerful powertrain alternative in the future Model S, Model X and next-generation Roadster sports car that will push acceleration and speed beyond the current high bar known as Ludicrous mode.
Musk tweeted Wednesday night "the only thing beyond Ludicrous is Plaid," a teaser for a higher-performance vehicle and a nod to the movie Spaceballs.
These new higher-performance versions of the Model S, Model X and Roadster will contain what Musk describes as a checkered powertrain and is still about a year away from production. This new powertrain will have three engines, one more than the dual engine system found in today's Model S and X.
This checkered driveline has already seen something. Tesla revealed Wednesday that a Model S equipped with a checkered powertrain and chassis prototype had captured the Laguna Seca racing track in 1: 36: 555, a second faster than the record for a four-door sedan.
"Plaid" driveline will not be offered at lower cost Model 3 or Model Y, which is not expected to go into production until late 2020. Musk also promised that this checkered driveline will cost more than "current deals, but will be less than competitors "without explaining what it means.
Cclose car manufacturer supporters may remember hints of a three motor drive in the past.
When Tesla unveiled a new Roadster prototype in November 2017, Musk said it would have three engines and could travel as much as 0 to 60 miles per hour in 1.9 seconds and a top speed of 250 km / h or more.The roadster is not expected to go into production until 2020.
What's new, is Tesla's plans to make this more powerful three-motor powertrain available in Model S and Model X. And it may be an important alternative, if it actually materializes, Model S has been around since 2012, and since the introduction of the cheaper Model 3 has sales and gone down.
And yet, Musk has said that X and S don't get a big update. If Tesla hopes to maintain demand for some of its higher-margin luxury cars, new trims like this checkered powertrain will be crucial.
Tesla first announced Ludicrous mode in its Model S vehicles back in July 2015. As shareholders and customers waited for the Model X to arrive, Musk unveiled several options for the company's Model S sedan, including a cheaper version, longer battery range and " Ludicrous mode "for even faster acceleration.
Ludicrous mode, which improved acceleration by 10% to allow drivers to go from 0 to 60 km / h in 2.8 seconds, arose as a result of improved battery protection. This new fuse, Musk explained in a blog post at the time, has its own electronics and a tiny lithium-ion battery that monitors power and protects against excessive current.
Tesla also upgraded the main gasket contactor with a high temperature space-graded super alloy instead of steel. This allowed the battery pack to remain "resilient" under heat from high current. Finally, the maximum packing power increased from 1300 to 1500 amps.
Ludicrous was $ 10,000 extra for new buyers. Tesla reduced the price of existing Model S P85 owners for the first six months after the announcement and sold them the package electronics upgrade needed for Ludicrous Mode for $ 5000.
In this 2015 blog post, Musk joked that it is "a speed faster than ridiculous, but it is reserved for the next generation Roadster in 4 years: maximum plaid. ”