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Franz Von Holzhausen, Chief Designer at Tesla, walked out onto stage on Thursday carrying a sledgehammer, in reference to the sledgehammer beating that was given at the unveiling of the Cybertruck prototype. This sent a roar of laughter through the audience but there was to be no breaking of windows, but rather records. Franz opened the launch of the Model S Plaid at the Fremont factory test track.
It was on June 2, 2012, that Tesla made the first delivery of the first Model S but told the audience they were about to see the next best version of the Model S. In 2012, the Tesla Model S defined electric vehicle luxury. But nine years later, Tesla is facing new wave of competition with other luxury EVs coming to market such as the Ford Mach-E, Audi E-Tron GT, Lucid Air, and Mercedes EQS. So, now was the time for Tesla to get one up on its rivals by redefining its flagship electric vehicle.
Franz then said that the Tesla Technoking, Elon Musk would come out to explain how Tesla made the best car in the world. Elon made a grand entrance by taking the new Model S Plaid for a fast lap around the track, before driving onto stage.
Here are excerpts on what Elon had to say about Tesla’s journey to the Model S Plaid.
FASTEST, SAFEST CAR
"Nine years since we delivered the first Model S, the first car produced here in Fremont, so almost a decade and I think we've really taken it to a whole new level with the with Plaid. Why make this really fast car, that's crazy fast and everything? And I think there is something that's quite important to the future of sustainable energy, which is that we've got to show that an electric car is the best car. Hands down. Cars can be the fastest cars to be the safest. Cars can be the most kick a$$ cars in every way. But now with the Plaid, we've managed to break the two second barrier, if you will, but no production car has ever done zero to 60 in under two seconds.
So, and this is a four door car seats, five adults, it’s like, single movement. This is what would I call a limit of physics engineering. It's not a relativity is like what does physics say we could do? Because physics is the law and everything else is a recommendation. So, in addition to a crazy performance, it's also got a longer range, almost a 400 mile range. And in the dual motor configuration, it's got a 412 mile range. So maybe 420, give or take.
We've also improved the supercharging speed so you can get 187 miles of range in 15 minutes. It's got a 200 mile an hour top speed, over 1000 horsepower, almost 400 mile range, charges so fast, so, it'll be probably done by the time you have a coffee.
And talking about some of the sort of details behind it, so we have an all new battery pack and then something we're really proud of is the new carbon sleeved rotors for the motor. So, this is the first time that there's a test of our knowledge that's been a production electric motor that had that has a carbon overwrap rotor. This is a super hard thing to do because carbon and copper have very different rates of thermal expansion. So, in order to do a carbon overwrap rotor, you've got to wind it at extremely high tension. We actually had to design the machine that makes the rotor. It also means that we can make the electromagnetic field be super-efficient and have a tight cap, even a super high r.p.m. and a single speed from zero to 200 miles an hour. So, it's just the RPN is so crazy that just the centrifugal force wants to expand the rotor. So, the carbon wrap actually holds the rotor together.
I mean, this is really an amazing work of engineering. Yeah, there's just never been an electric motor like this. I mean, you could pick this motor up with your hands and it can accelerate a two ton car to 60 miles an hour in two seconds. I mean, that kind of power, the weight is insane.
We also were able to achieve the lowest drag coefficient of any car ever made, so really Tesla engineering has outdone itself here. This is a car that looks good, but also gets an incredible drag coefficient. And this is the true drag coefficient of the car, including with wheels in motion.
It's 30% better cold weather range and requires 50% less energy for cabin heating and freezing conditions. You'll see very little degradation in cold weather. And the radiator is twice as big for heat rejection.
With the design, there were a lot of refinements to the exterior. And we've completely redone the interior. So, with the interior, we changed the orientation of the main screen, so it's easier to watch movies and that kind of thing in landscape. We have ventilated front seats, we have this yoke steering wheel, which is a little different. But I think once you try it, you'll think it's great. The visibility of the main screen is super clear, especially for Autopilot. So, you can see the entire panoramic view, basically see the mind's eye of the car.
It senses that you're approaching, unlocks the car based on your phone. It just basically pairs with the phone, knows that you're coming to the car, opens the door, extends the handle. You sit down and you just drive. You don't have to press the drive or anything like that. The car knows you want to drive. It figures like, yeah, good guess. And then it's using the Autopilot system to know where the obstacles are. It will just keep minimizing the amount of input that you need to do until the car can just about read your mind.
It's got inductor dual inductive charges for your phones in the back and in the front. And it's a 36 watt power supply. So, you can actually charge like your laptop or anything. It can also pair with multiple Bluetooth devices simultaneously. So multiple people could be controlling music, or somebody could be playing a video game. The air conditioning system is a tri-zone. So, there's a zone for the rear and a front and left front, right front zone.
The sound is incredible. It's like a home theater experience. We have an all new sound system designed and we have acoustic labs throughout the car. So, the car is very quiet when going down the highway, even at very high speeds. It will keep uploading improved versions of the sound system. Keep tweaking it and dynamically adjusting to whether you're using it for streaming or whether it's coming via Bluetooth from your phone or different streaming services."
Tesla’s car of the future has state of the art computing technology, state of the art infotainment, and performance that wraps up into the Model S Plaid. An EV that is sure to give competitors a run for their money.