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Range and performance upgrades for Tesla Model S

The new 90kWh battery is a £2,500 upgrade on 85kWh vesions, and features improved cell chemistry with use of silicone in the anodes. This is said to offer a 6% increase in range – between 15 and 20 miles – at 310 miles on the new Model S 90 kWh, 330 on the 90D and 305 on the new P90D.

Existing owners can also purchase the pack upgrade, but Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company will be targeting an average 5% improvement in capacity each year, advising customers to wait for larger gains before swapping their battery pack. 

Offered on the dual-motor P85D performance car, a new ‘Ludicrous Mode’ reduces the sprint to 62mph from 3.1 seconds in the existing ‘Insane Mode’ to 3.0 seconds, covering a quarter mile in 10.9 seconds from standstill. Musk said this is the result of upgrading the 'smart fuse' in the battery, plus the use of Inconel super-alloy in the main contractor instead of steel, which can cope better with heavy current.

The outgoing unit had a wide safety gap to avoid unexpected melting, limiting amperage. Its replacement is a lithium-ion powered fuse unit with a lithium-ion battery which constantly monitors output. This lifts maximum output from 1,300 amps to 1,500 through a component the size of a fingernail.

Ludicrous Mode is offered as a £8,600 option for new cars, or an upgrade for existing owners. In both cases, it requires the upgrade to the 90kWh battery, which is available separately, making this new range-topping model the P90D. 

At the entry point of the range, the 70kWh Model S will be offered with a rear-wheel drive option having only been available with dual-motor four-wheel drive since it launched in April. priced at £50,800, £4,200 less than the 70D. As with other two-wheel drive models, the range drops slightly without the second motor – 260 miles, instead of 275 for the 70D.

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Alex Grant

Trained on Cardiff University’s renowned Postgraduate Diploma in Motor Magazine Journalism, Alex is an award-winning motoring journalist with ten years’ experience across B2B and consumer titles. A life-long car enthusiast with a fascination for new technology and future drivetrains, he joined Fleet World in April 2011, contributing across the magazine and website portfolio and editing the EV Fleet World Website.

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