“Tesla product announcement at noon California time today”, read Elon Musk’s Twitter feed today. The announcement turned out to be a 100kWh battery for the Tesla Model S and X cars that gave them speed and mileage boosts. Earlier this year, Dutch blog Kenteken.tv had reported the approval of a 100 kWh for Tesla by Dutch authority RDW. Following the tease, stocks began to surge. The Tesla stock had risen by 2.50% before declining rapidly. By extension, SolarCity also received a stock boost today, rising by 0.43%, however that tumbled too. The company was bought by Tesla for $2.6 billion earlier this month in an attempt to build a truly carbon free energy company.
Thanks to the new 100kWh battery, the Model S and X have taken it up a notch. The Tesla Model S can now go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.5 seconds while in max power mode, making it the third fastest car in the world behind the LaFerrari and Porsche 918 Spyder (both million dollar hyper cars). The Model X also received a boost, going from 0 to 60 in 2.9 seconds (up from its previous 3.2 second timing).
As for mileage, the Model S now has a 315 mile (613 km) range as estimated by the EPA up from the 294 miles it gave with the 90 kWh battery (a 7% increase). That makes it “the longest range production electric vehicle by far” according to Tesla. The Model X now delivers 289 miles (542 km) up from its 250 mile limit.
Bear in mind that these boosts are available only in the P100D versions of both cars in “the performance, all wheel drive model with the Ludicrous Mode option”. Also, the initial production of new batteries will be limited to 200 packs a week, around 10% of Tesla’s total volume. Production will ramp up in the coming months.
Tesla’s Premium Seats have also been added to all Model S variants in the P-series; Model X vehicles already included them.
Of course there’ll be price boosts, you’re getting some of the best engineering ever done. The Model S with the new battery pack starts at $134,500 (a $9,500 increase over the P90D model). The Model X starts at $135,500.
Tesla buyers who haven’t taken delivery yet will be able to upgrade to the P100D battery pack for an extra $10,000 Those with a P90D can buy the new battery for $20,000. The old battery will of course be recycled.
Tesla admitted that their P100D models are expensive but each sale will contribute to the development of the much more affordable Model 3 down the line.
CTO of Tesla, JB Straubel, said that this new battery is “a complete redo on the cooling architecture” and a “pretty big change in the battery module an pack technology”. Adding 10kWh to a car battery is no small feat. Elon Musk mentioned that the 100 kWh battery has no new cells compared to the 90 kWh version and has fundamentally different architecture. He mentioned that it’s not the biggest pack the company can make. However, he also said Tesla was approaching the theoretical limit of this technology. Hopefully innovations with partner Panasonic will bear promising fruit.