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Tesla Model S Plaid: “Faster than any Porsche, safer than any Volvo”

(Pocket-lint) – With the sun setting across the Californian sky, Elon Musk took to the stage to announce the Tesla Model S Plaid at an event at Tesla’s Fremont factory.

“We’ve got to show that an electric car is the best car – hands down,” said Musk, introducing the new model in his personable and relaxed style, and justifying why Tesla has such a focus on speed.

And speed is something that the Tesla Model S Plaid doesn’t lack: it’s will do 0-60mph in 1.99 seconds, making it the fastest production car ever.

That’s thanks to a tri-motor arrangement, with two motors driving the rear wheels and a third motor for the front wheels.

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It’s a completely new motor too, with Musk explaining that it has carbon-sleeved rotors, while joking that they also had to design the machine to build the rotors because it had never been done before. Those motors will spin at up to 20,000rpm.

The range is cited at 390 miles, while it also supports faster charging, allowing 187 miles of range to be added in 15 minutes. The battery pack is all-new, but thought to be a 95kWh capacity.

There’s 1020hp peak power from the tri-motor system with a top speed of 200mph.

“I think we’ve gotta take this back to the Nürburgring,” joked Musk “to see what happens.”

In terms of design, the new Model S was previously showcased, with a new interior featuring a yolk steering wheel and a move to a 17-inch landscape display rather than the large vertical display that’s characterised the Model S over the last decade.

Musk was also keen to highlight the 0.208 drag coefficient of the Model S, claiming that it’s the lowest of any production car and that helps bring efficiencies to make sure you get the most from the power and battery.

There’s more space given to the rear seats, with a display and its own set of controls, there’s wireless chargers in both the front and the back of the car, with a 36W USB-C system so you can charge other larger items.

There’s also been a reduction in unnecessary items to streamline the experience: the car will unlock as you approach it, triggered by your phone, the handles popping out. You then don’t have to press buttons to get going – the car knows you want to drive, so you just start driving. It will also be able to sense that if there’s an obstacle behind you, you don’t want to reverse, and vice versa, with Musk joking that the car will eventually just read your mind.

There are updates to the new user interface within the car, with Musk boasting PS5 level performance, with entertainment being a big part of what it will offer, with a demo of someone playing Cyberpunk in the car on the car’s display.

“With the Plaid Model S what you have is a car that is … faster than any Porsche, safer than any Volvo – in the same car,” said Musk.

The new Model S is in production, with deliveries starting right away in the US – but not expected in other regions until 2022. It will cost from $122,980 in the US and £118,980 in the UK.

Writing by Chris Hall.

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