Innovation

Musk Reads: Tesla Model S just got even faster

Tesla Cybertruck gets some design tweaks and Autopilot reaches a big milestone. When will the Roadster start shipping?

Cybertruck gets some design tweaks and Autopilot reaches a big milestone. When will the Roadster start shipping? It’s Musk Reads: Tesla Edition #162.

A version of this article appeared in the “Musk Reads” newsletter. Sign up for free here.

Musk quote of the week

“Thanks everyone! Still can’t believe I was born 69 days after 4/20”

  • Read more about Musk’s comments and Elon Musk Day, which was celebrated this year by Tesla fans on April 20. And yes, Musk’s June 28 birthday is indeed 69 days after April 20.

Tesla

The Tesla Model S Performance, the company’s fastest-accelerating electric vehicle, just got even faster. Electrek noted the company updated its online order page this week to list a 0 to 60 mph acceleration time of just 2.3 seconds, a 0.2-second decrease from 2016 when it claimed the accolade of “quickest production car.” The new stat increases its lead over the Model 3 Performance that offers acceleration times of 3.2 seconds. This edges it even closer to the second-generation Roadster that’s expected to offer times of 1.9 seconds when it launches. It’s unclear whether the new figure comes from hardware or software changes, but Motor Trend did achieve below 2.3 seconds with a Model S P100D back in 2017 already. The Model S could reach even quicker times with the upcoming Plaid powertrain, due for release in late 2020.

The Cybertruck’s design has undergone some small changes, Musk revealed this week. The pickup truck is set to hit roads in late 2021. Musk claimed the truck has reduced in size by three percent when compared to the prototype unveiled in November 2019. Specifications provided by Tesla after the unveiling claimed it measures 79.8 inches wide, 75 inches tall, and 231.7 inches long. Read more.

The Cybertruck will also better support adventures into the wilderness. Musk this week promised the car would “float for a while” and offer a Model Y-like heat pump. Unfortunately, Musk didn’t offer figures for wading depth. Read more.

Tesla solar

Tesla-equipped homes will now work smarter together. Electrek reported last week that a new Tesla Powerwall update enables the solar energy-storing battery system to coordinate with Tesla vehicles. While the car will charge like normal most of the time, it will adapt the charging speed during a power outage. That means it will charge like normal when there’s surplus Powerwall energy during an outage and home electric usage is low; scale back charging when usage increases; and stop charging altogether when the Powerwall drops below a predefined energy threshold.

In other Tesla news…

Tesla has a slew of Autopilot updates planned for this year. The semi-autonomous driving system, designed as a precursor to full autonomy, is set to receive a “reverse summon” mode that drops off a driver and finds a parking space. Musk also claimed the team is “working super hard” to release the previously announced traffic light and stop sign support. Read more.

In other Autopilot news, a video presentation released this week shows the company’s cars have completed more than 3 billion miles in Autopilot mode. That’s about halfway to the 6 billion miles Musk claimed in 2016 would be necessary to achieve full autonomous driving.

What’s next for Tesla: Tesla will host two major events this year: one focused on battery technology and the other on the planned Plaid powertrain. The company originally planned to host one event covering both topics in the month of April, but Musk revealed last week that powertrain advancements will be discussed at a later date. Neither event has a fixed date yet. Read more.

Musk Reads mailroom

Bonnie Pernick writes:

A clock or a time stamp above the entertainment/arcade mode would be very helpful. It’s difficult to keep track of the time when watching entertainment or playing arcade games. I must keep looking at the time on my phone so I’m not late for appointments. A simple over-the-air update could add that, I believe.

This seems like a logical addition to Tesla’s Arcade mode. Dedicated gaming consoles like the PS4 and Xbox One offer a clock through the in-game system menus, so maybe Tesla could add one for Cuphead fans to keep an eye on the clock.

Craig Edgecumbe writes:

What is current approximate delivery date of the Roadsters (after the 1000 of the Founders models)?

The Roadster was originally announced in November 2017 with a shipping date of 2020. Tesla has not officially given an updated delivery date, but it’s unlikely to be this year any more. The Plaid powertrain that will power the Roadster is set to debut in the Model S first, and in September 2019, Musk claimed the Model S would enter production in October or November 2020. That means the car is more likely to hit roads in 2021. In the January 2020 earnings call, Musk listed the Roadster as a car that would start shipping in the “next couple of years” – so that narrows it down slightly.

As for when the non-Founders editions will start shipping? Musk said in June 2019 that he didn’t know how many Roadsters the firm would produce each year, but it’s unlikely to be more than 10,000. That’s a far cry from the nearly 5,000-per-week Model 3s that Tesla was building at that time, suggesting this will be a niche vehicle that takes a long time to ship in larger numbers.

Got any comments or queries? Don’t forget to send them over to muskreads@inverse.com.

Video of the week

Jay Leno looks back to 13 years ago, when Musk took a 2008 Roadster to Leno’s garage.

Got a photo or video you’d like to see featured? Send it over to muskreads@inverse.com!

The ultra-fine print

This has been Musk Reads: Tesla Edition #162, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Mike Brown, an innovation journalist for Inverse.

A version of this article appeared in the “Musk Reads” newsletter. Sign up for free here.

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