Faster, all-wheel drive Tesla Model S P85D launched, company says it’ll have a fully autonomous car within six years.

TESLA MOTORS has unveiled its all-wheel drive all-electric Model S a week after company founder and CEO, Elon Musk, tweeted he would “unveil the D”.

The all-wheel drive powertrain (the D stands for dual motor) in the Model S offers a glimpse at what to expect from Tesla’s Model X when it arrives next year (2015).

Buyers will have the option of selecting one of three output levels: 60D, 85D and P85D which describe whether the Model S chosen has either a 60- or 80-kilowatt battery pack, the P85D describes a model equipped with a Performance pack.

Tesla said the second motor will be tuned in the P85D for faster acceleration, helping the car race from 0 to 96km/h in 3.2 seconds, compared with 4.2 seconds for the current P85. That will make it one of the fastest four-door sedans ever produced; and a blink quicker than the recently released Dodge Charger Hellcat (3.7secs to 96km/h).

Tesla promises the 60D will get 360 kilometres on a charge, while the 85D will offer 472km.

Tesla’s new all-wheel drive system sees a second electric motor mounted above the front axle driving the front wheels in unison with the electric motor driving the rear wheels. According to Elon Musk, the all-wheel drive Model S is a much better vehicle than its two-wheel drive sibling; faster, more grip and, according to him, more fuel efficient too.

“I think there will be a whole class of new buyers for whom all-wheel drive is extremely important,” Musk said. “They don’t really care that much about performance, but they really want the all-wheel drive.”

But that’s not all Tesla has announced. Musk revealed Tesla’s driver-assistance systems that use a combination of radar and cameras to prevent drivers from wandering out of their lane, and more.

“Once we upload the software over the next two or three months,” Musk told reporters, “the Model S will have the most sophisticated driver assistance or autonomous functions of any (production) car on the road.”

Musk added, that if the driver pushed the indicator wand, the vehicle would be able to change lanes safely on its own. The company plans to have a full autonomous car within five or six years.


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