Tesla Inc.’s long-awaited Battery Day was supposed to unveil some stunning news, and it did, but not necessarily about the company’s battery technologies.
Instead it’s product news that nearly stole headlines, starting with the company’s new Model S offering: Plaid. CEO Elon Musk showed he wasn’t content to sit on the sidelines after the recent of introduction of the Lucid Air essentially put “Baby in the corner” with a 500-mile-plus range and stunning track times.
The new Plaid version of the sedan races from 0 to 60 mph in less than 2 seconds while sprinting the quarter mile in just 9 seconds — both besting Lucid’s public times for the Air – and with a range of at least 520 miles. Yup. It’s pricey, starting at $134,000, and it can be ordered now with delivery, according to the website in “late 2021.”
Musk also noted the Plaid’s performance at Laguna Seca, which it scorched in a time of 1:30.3 and it could be about “3 seconds lower,” he noted.
“We’re confident the Model S Plaid will achieve the best track time of any production vehicle ever, of any kind — two door or otherwise,” Musk bragged.
In addition to the omygoshitsfast new Model S, he revealed that the company is moving toward an as-yet-named $25,000 car. He noted that the company is “confident” it can design and manufacture a “compelling $25,000 electric vehicle so, you know, this has always been my dream from the beginning of the company.”
He also added that the new $25K EV would be autonomous and it would cost less to operate and maintain tha a gas- or diesel-powered for the same price. “So actually, it becomes even more affordable at that $25,000 price point,” pointed out Drew Baglino, senior vice president, Powertrain and Energy Engineering.
Additionally, Musk revealed that the company will build two version of the Cybertruck. He said the company had at least 600,000 pre-orders for the uniquely designed pickup truck, which is slated to be built at its future Gigafactory Texas, just outside of Austin, Texas.
“The orders are gigantic,” he said. “Basically we’ve stopped counting.”
He said the company could produce between 250,000 and 300,000 annually to meet demand. He also noted that while the company wanted to try to build one version that could be sold globally, but the specs for the U.S. truck and mandates for global requirements “basically you can’t make this truck, it’s impossible.” The U.S version will be slightly larger than its international counterpart, which he described as a “tight Wolverine package.”
He also noted that the company will begin rolling out the full version Autopilot within the next two months, noting that the technology has improved dramatically. Musk said he’d been testing the “leading edge Alpha version” of the technology for months, and he realized that it needed to be completely “rewritten.” The new version uses 3D video to help with its labeling, making it 10 times more accurate than previous versions.
“It took us quite a while,” he said, adding later that “you can think about cars as laptops on wheels,” in the sense that they are more technology than the machines of the past.