Elon Musk has been busy. Over the weekend, the Tesla CEO announced a slew of upgrades and additions to its Tesla lineup of electric vehicles. New to the lineup is a performance edition of the Tesla Model 3 that hit the roads last July, an all-wheel-drive upgrade for other editions of the vehicle, a new set of floor mats, a white interior, and a new set of Superchargers.
It comes at a busy time for the company. Fresh from announcing its first-quarter 2018 results, Tesla is ramping up production of the Model 3 to reach a sustained production rate of at least 2,000 cars per year to fulfill the 400,000 or so orders placed prior to its release. The company is also planning an entry-level sports utility vehicle called the Model Y, an all-electric semi truck, and a second-generation Roadster, all set to hit the roads over the next few years. No pressure.
Here’s what Tesla has announced:
All-Weather Floor Mats
Musk confirmed to customer George Chang over Twitter that the company will roll out all-weather floor mats for the Tesla Model 3 before the snow hits this year. These mats, already sold for the Model S, will help keep the floor clean.
A New Fault Identification System
Tesla plans to roll out a new way to request service for repairs to its companies cars, with a new system rolling out at an as-yet-unspecified date.
“Will soon enable Tesla owners to request service from their phone with a few taps,” Musk wrote on his Twitter page. “Tesla Ranger will come to you to take care of your car. No need to bring the car in yourself & zero paperwork.”
It sounds like a standard service, but Musk also revealed the company is exploring a way to use the smartphone’s onboard hardware to assist with repair speed.
“We’re working on allowing you to use your phone in car when you hear a rattle/squeak & pinpoint origin by acoustic signature & triangulation,” Musk wrote on his Twitter page.
Tesla Model 3 Performance Edition
Musk announced a new version of the Tesla Model 3 on Saturday night. The vehicle will retail for $78,000, a figure that includes all options, wheels and paint changes except for Autopilot-related extras. Musk promises the vehicle will perform 15 percent faster than the BMW M3 with better handling.
The performance model uses two motors for all-wheel drive, with the company choosing the motors with the highest sigma output. This replaces the rear-wheel drive with a dual motor configuration, using an AC induction front motor optimized for power that complements the partial permanent, switched reluctance magnet rear motor optimized for range. That means the front motor will work similarly to the ones used in the Model S and X, switching between the two “so smoothly that you can’t tell.” Both motors use silicon carbide inverters. Musk also promises that the all-wheel-drive configuration will enable the car to work even if one motor breaks.
While the “performance” edition offers the same 310-mile range as the $44,000 long-range model, it has a 155 mph top speed compared to just 140 mph, and has an acceleration time of 0-60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds rather than 5.1 seconds.
Internally, the car will be the first Model 3 to offer both black and white interiors. Externally, the performance model will use a carbon fiber spoiler and 20-inch performance wheels instead of the “Aero” wheels offered on the base models.
Tesla Model 3 With All-Wheel Drive
Alongside the “performance” edition, Musk also announced that customers will be able to add the all-wheel drive setup to other editions of the Model 3 at a cost of $5,000. However, the company won’t sort for the highest sigma output when choosing motors as there’s a reduced need for performance, and the motors will receive half the burn-in in the production process. Otherwise, it offers the same benefits of guaranteed movement even if one motor breaks.
The all-wheel-drive model offers the same 310-mile range as the $44,000 long-range model, as well as the same 140 mph top speed, but the upgraded car has an acceleration time of 0-60 miles per hour in 4.5 seconds rather than 5.1 seconds.
While initially available in the performance edition of the Tesla Model 3, Musk said that the white interior will roll out to other models in three to four months’ time, with current capacity allowing for around 1,000 white interior Model 3s per week.
Musk also teased the unveiling of the next generation of ultra-powerful supercharging stations “late summer”:
While Musk teased a boost from its existing support for 120 kilowatt charge rates to a staggering 350 kilowatts in December 2016, Musk suggested during the quarter 2018 earnings call that a charge rate that doubles the existing rate was more likely, suggesting somewhere around the 240-kilowatt range. With the existing chargers able to bring a Model S battery up to 80 percent capacity in around half an hour, Tesla’s next set of superchargers could make charging the car more akin to filling up at a gas station.
However, don’t rule out a more powerful solution just yet. Musk may have dismissed the tradeoffs involved in supporting 350 kilowatts, but a report last month also claimed Tesla could join names like Fiat Chrysler, Volvo, PSA and Jaguar-Land Rover on the Ionity recharging network in Europe, which plans to offer 400 charging stations with 350 kilowatts of power by 2020.
Tesla also plans to build a network of “Megachargers,” but right now it is unclear whether they will share any compatibility with Superchargers. These powerful chargers, placed every 400 miles in the United States, are designed to charge the all-electric 500-mile Semi set to hit the roads next year in around half an hour, but wattage has yet to be announced. The new chargers will pair with solar panels to run the vehicles on sunlight energy.