Tesla’s upcoming “Plaid Powertrain” update for the Model S stands to widen the gap between the electric car maker and its competitors in the EV segment. And with the rollout of a faster, more track-capable flagship sedan that’s equipped with a new powertrain and triple motors, Tesla appears to be setting the stage for one of the Model 3’s biggest potential updates — the introduction of Ludicrous Mode.
While Tesla’s “Plaid Powertrain” is still about a year from production, a look at the behavior of Tesla’s Model S prototype at the Nürburgring shows that the electric car maker is tuning its flagship sedan for the track. Videos captured of the vehicle’s passes at certain segments of the nearly 13-mile circuit, for one, suggest that the Model S’ track performance is starting to look comparable to the Porsche Taycan, which was honed in the Nürburgring. This is something that past generations of the Model S were not able to do very well, including the drag racing monster that’s the P100D.
With the introduction of a “Plaid Powertrain,” Tesla could very well be ushering in a new generation of Model S and Model X that is faster, tighter around a racetrack’s corners, and more efficient. Musk’s statement about the upcoming “Plaid” vehicles being more expensive than Tesla’s current Model S and X variants suggests that this will be the case. In a year, it would not be surprising if Tesla would start equipping the Model S and X with “Plaid Mode” instead of Ludicrous Mode.
Fortunately, the beloved Ludicrous Mode will likely not be going away with the introduction of “Plaid Mode.” This is because there is a perfect vehicle that is pretty much tailor-fit and ready for it: the Model 3. The sedan, after all, already has an efficient powertrain, and its batteries are comprised of 2170 cells manufactured in Gigfactory 1 at Nevada. At least from the perspective of electric car batteries and powertrain, there does not seem to be anything that could get in the way of the Model 3 receiving a Ludicrous Mode update.
What is quite interesting is that CEO Elon Musk has actually confirmed this in the past. Just a few weeks after the initial unveiling of the Model 3, Elon Musk was asked on Twitter if Ludicrous Mode will be coming to the more affordable, midsize sedan. Musk’s answer only comprised two words, but they were direct: “Of course,” he wrote.
So far, the Tesla Model 3 has been causing a disruption of its own in the high-performance sedan market even without a dedicated launch mode for straight-line races. Track Mode is great for closed circuit driving, but it is difficult to argue against the idea of a Ludicrous Mode-equipped Model 3 dominating in the drag strip as well. Tesla could even get substantial revenue from introducing Ludicrous to the Model 3, as the feature mostly involves software optimizations.
Tesla’s “Plaid Powertrain” update for the Model S and Model X, together with a potential Ludicrous upgrade for the Model 3 (and likely the Model Y) stands to usher in a new era for the company’s electric cars. If Elon Musk’s recent Twitter announcements are any indication, it appears that Tesla is building up to a generation of vehicles that are both ludicrously quick on a straight line, and capable of performing excellently in a track. Such vehicles, if any, serve as perfect companions to the company’s halo car, the next-generation Tesla Roadster, which was designed to be a “hardcore smackdown” to gasoline-powered vehicles.