Spaceballs - An Inspiration

by Gill D on September 28, 2020

Tesla CEO, Elon Musk has often said he is a fan of Spaceballs, the movie during interviews and in his tweets, so it’s easy to see where he gets his inspiration from such as coming up with Ludicrous Mode and the name of the new Model S Plaid.

During last week’s Battery Day event, Musk launched the new Tesla model and while production will only start next year, Tesla has added the Model S Plaid to its website to start taking pre-orders. What we do know is that the new electric vehicle will have a range of 520 miles with an acceleration of 0-60 mph in under two seconds, and a top speed of 200 mph.

Pricing starts at US$ 134,490, which makes it the most expensive Model S to date. So, what else is included to make this car sit at the high-end range?

When the first Tesla Model S was available in 2012, it had a single motor powering the rear wheels. Then in 2014, an all-wheel drive version with a motor for each axle arrived and currently, it is the only configuration available for the Model S. The new Plaid model is taking things to a new level by adding a third motor – as stated on the website’s Design page of the Model S.

What’s the big deal about having a tri-motor all-wheel drive? Torque vectoring. The ability to control what wheels are doing on opposites sides of the car can offer some intriguing handling capabilities. If we take the Acura NSX as an example, it has a motor for each front wheel. When taking corners, the NSX will overdrive its outside front wheel and drag the inside front, helping the car turn more sharply. Both Rimac and Lotus are making electric cars to have a motor for each wheel, and last year, Ferrari unveiled the SF90 Stradale hybrid, which uses a similar front-axle setup as the NSX.

While it’s not yet clear whether the Tesla Model S Plaid will use two motors at the rear axle and one at the front, or vice versa, simply having the tri-motor configuration is a noteworthy observation. The three-motor setup will also be rolled out to the Model X crossover and the Roadster.

But that’s not all. The Model S Plaid will also have a bigger battery pack. At the moment, the biggest battery pack you will find is in the Model S and X, which is a 100 kWh unit. Last year November, the Tesla boss confirmed on Twitter that a higher capacity battery will be used for the Plaid model. The finer details of the battery are not released yet but we do know it gives the car a 520-mile range.

Tesla has created a mammoth family sedan vehicle in the new Model S Plaid. The vehicle will be able to comfortably seat five with ample space for loads of luggage taken on those long trips. Having a top sedan car with a tri-motor that produce 1,100 horsepower makes it stand out as a superior vehicle compared to most cars on the market today. But its predecessors, namely the Model S P100D with Ludicrous Mode and the Model S Performance were just the start in getting some serious speed under Tesla’s belt and the Model S Plaid will simply be a progression from that. Is there ever such a thing as “too fast”? Tesla certainly doesn’t think so.

However, having a car that can do a quarter-mile time in 9 seconds would need sharp braking power as well. We can only wonder what Musk has in store to deal with instant stopping. Would a trunk parachute be out of character?

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