Model S

Tesla Model S, X to get bigger battery pack capacity in Plaid variant

A Tesla Model S prototype on the Nurburgring. (Photo: Auto Motor Uund Sport)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has confirmed plans for an increase in battery pack capacity for the future Plaid variant of the Model S and Model X. Boasting an EPA-rate range of 373 miles for the Model S and 328 miles for the Model X, the future version of Tesla’s flagship vehicles is expected to exceed a range of 400 miles per single charge.

It’s been long expected that Tesla would switch Model S and Model X battery packs from the 18650 form factor cells to the newer, and larger, 2170 cells with a higher energy density that’s Tesla is using in the Model 3. The long-range variants of the Model S and Model X SUV are outfitted with a 100 kWh battery pack. Although Musk has not discussed the specifics on the increase in battery capacity to come, one can presume it would fall within the range of 110 kWh to 120 kWh to support well north of 400 miles of range.

Higher capacity battery packs would not only improve range in everyday driving but also support higher power output from Tesla’s future Plaid Mode powertrain with three electric motors.

Plaid Mode gained traction after Tesla released footage of a Model S setting the single-lap record at the Laguna Seca Raceway in September. What followed was a series of sightings of a pair of widebody Model S, each with an aggressive front spoiler and massive rear diffuser. Tesla brought two different P100D+ Plaid Model S vehicles to the famed Nürburgring circuit in Western Germany, both with different aerodynamic packages, aimed at improving the handling of the car. When Tesla left the Nürburgring and packed up its vehicles for the year on November 4, they reportedly set a frighteningly quick 7:13 lap time on two separate occasions.

The car already has a sparkling reputation, as MotorTrend has recognized it as the best car ever created, and the Tesla CEO highlighted this during the Q3 earnings call. “The Model S literally won Motor Trend‘s best car ever in history by the way,” he said. Battery improvements will only increase the popularity of the car, and increase its overall performance as a vehicle that continues to set records at the most famous testing track for performance cars in the world.

While Musk stated the current long-running Model S design and Model X are still in production for “sentimental reasons”, he notes it is expensive to build and made in low volume. “They’re really of minor importance to the future,” noted Musk.

The Plaid Mode Model S will begin production in 2020 in Q4 according to Musk. It will utilize three motors and will feature a seven-seat interior. A price point for the vehicle has not yet been released by Tesla, but Musk has specified it “will cost more than our current offerings, but less than competitors.”

Tesla Model S, X to get bigger battery pack capacity in Plaid variant
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