While the world waits for electric car maker Tesla to deliver its next car, the Model X, CEO Elon Musk on Friday announced three new options for the company’s Model S electric car.
They include a longer battery range, a lower priced car, and “Ludicrous mode” for faster acceleration.
Drivers will be able to upgrade their Model S from a 85 kilowatt-hour battery pack to a 90 kilowatt-hour battery. The new extended range will increase the pack energy by 5%, and add about 15 miles of range.
The battery upgrade, which will cost $3,000, will be available on new cars and as an upgrade for existing owners. Musk said on the call that he doesn’t recommend that customers who already own a Model S buy the upgrade.
Musk told reporters that the increased battery is from improved battery chemistry, and not from a bigger battery. Tesla’s tweaks include more silicon in the anode part of the battery, said Musk. A battery is made up of two electrodes—a cathode (positive) and an anode (negative)—and a medium, called the electrolyte, through which the electric charge flows.
Tesla will also sell a lower priced, $70,000 Model S, with a 70 kilowatt-hour battery and a single motor. Musk wrote in a release that the price is about “$50,000 after incentives & gas savings.”
This option is Tesla’s lowest-priced car to date. In a couple of years, Tesla plans to launch the Model 3, which is supposed to cost around $35,000.
Finally, Tesla is offering a performance upgrade on the Model S to what it calls “Ludicrous mode,” which lets drivers accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds. That added juice, which costs $10,000 extra, is a 10% improvement in acceleration over the standard, which is 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.1 seconds.
Tesla says the tech behind the faster acceleration speed is a new and better battery fuse, which has a smarter way to protect against excessive current. Tesla says its new fuse has its own electronics and a tiny lithium-ion battery, and the system constantly monitors the current and can cut the power with precision.
In a blog post Musk joked: “There is of course one speed faster than ludicrous, but that is reserved for the next generation Roadster in 4 years: maximum plaid.” I’m pretty sure that reference is to the comedy movie Spaceballs.
Tesla is looking to deliver 55,000 cars this year, two-thirds more than it did in 2014. As of the beginning of July, Tesla had moved 21,537 of its Model S cars, less than half of its annual goal.
Despite these new features for the Model S, all eyes are on whether or not Tesla can deliver its Model X, a crossover SUV, on time in the next couple of months. Tesla (TSLA) needs to launch the Model X before the end of the year in order to meet that goal of delivering 55,000 cars this year.