The news of the new sports car came alongside announcements that the flagship Model S will become even faster with its latest power upgrade, and that the Model X will become comfortably the fastest SUV on the market.
Currently, the Model S P85D is capable of a 3.1-second 0-60mph time – a tenth quicker than the McLaren F1-rivaling time it launched with, thanks to a software upgrade that liberated extra performance.
The latest changes will drop that to 2.8 seconds. P85D owners won’t need to purchase another car to see the benefit, but they will need to fork out £3200 plus fitting within the next six months. Musk calls it ‘Ludicrous’ mode (one level above the current ‘Insane’), and claims the rate of acceleration is ‘faster than falling’.
Additionally, Tesla will offer a slightly larger, 90 kWh battery pack, above the current 85 kWh. It’ll bump the Tesla’s range by 15 miles, up to 300 miles at a constant 65mph. The larger-battery car will top the current model by £2000, with Ludicrous mode a further £6000.
The Model X won’t be quite as fast, but with a 0-60 time of 3.3 seconds it’ll bring new levels of performance to the SUV and crossover market. Unsurprisingly, it’ll also benefit from the 90kWh battery pack, though Musk says its range will be 4-5 per cent short of the lighter, more aerodynamic Model S.
The American market will get the X within the next few months, though just as the UK saw delayed deliveries with the Model S, the X will take another year to arrive on our shores.
And the Roadster? That was the surprise of the night. Tesla’s first vehicle was a Roadster, loosely based on the chassis of a Lotus Elise. This time around, Musk says the Roadster will be an all-new car – so don’t expect to find Lotus genes in the new model.
Editor: Elon Musk was born in Pretoria in 1971 and educated at Pretoria Boys High. Left South Africa to Canada aged 18. Developed PayPal that he sold to Compaq for $1.5 billion. A millionaire by age 23 he co-founded Tesla Motor Corporation as well as Space X. Apart from other electric battery and solar energy projects, the 43-year old has a ten year contract with NASA to deliver consumables and parts to NASA space stations.