Without increasing the capacity of its batteries, Tesla has increased the range and power of the Model X luxury SUV and Model S flagship sedan by giving them a more powerful and efficient front electric motor. Starting this week, buyers of new Model S Long Range and Performance editions will get 370 miles of range (EPA cycle), up from 335. Tesla says that makes the Model S the longest range production electric vehicle in the world.
Now Elon Musk can drive his personal Model S (or be driven in it) non-stop to Los Angeles from the Tesla factory in Fremont. Depending on the trim level, the upgraded Model X can travel up to 325 miles between charges. Charging times for the 100kWh battery are also improved.
Standard Range models also benefit from the new motor. Acceleration is improved, although power and performance figures were not released in the company's statement on its website. Power and torque are merely said to be “significantly” increased.
Tesla is achieving the power and efficiency benefits by replacing the front induction motor with a permanent magnet synchronous reluctance motor that has silicon carbide power electronics, improved lubrication and bearings, better cooling, and an improved gear design. The company claims the motor is more than 93 percent efficient at converting energy to motive power. The back axle's induction motor remains the same. The new setup allows for better management of energy flow out of the battery pack during acceleration and into the cells when the front motor is regenerating under braking.
Improvements in charging will let Model S and Model X owners cut their time at the charging station in half, providing the station has advanced enough chargers. On Tesla's own V2 Superchargers they charge at 145 kW, and will be able to charge at 200 kW on the upcoming V3 Superchargers.
The Model X and Model S now also come with fully-adaptive air suspensions using software developed in-house, not by a vendor. The system doesn't just analyze road conditions to soften or stiffen the suspension as needed, it also adjusts according to driver behavior. The adaptive suspension also lowers the vehicles at speed for better aerodynamics and range, the opposite of what Tesla did five years ago to alleviate concerns over fires caused by road debris puncturing the battery pack.
The EV maker is also bringing back Standard Range versions of the X and S, reversing its decision to drop the lower range edition of the S and restoring consumers with a lower entry price the company took away in January. Before tax incentives, the Standard Range Model X will be $83,000, the Long Range $93,000, and the Performance $104,000, while the equivalent trim levels on the Model S price out at $78,000, $88,000, and $99,000 respectively. To show appreciation to its loyal customers, all the folks who already own a Model S or Model X and want to buy a new Model S or Model X in Performance trim will get the $20,000 Ludicrous Mode package (with 20 percent faster acceleration) at no extra charge.
Tesla's Fremont, California will make the production changes this week, and the upgraded models can be ordered immediately at Tesla’s website.