Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced a new 200 mph version of the Model S sedan with a range of 520 miles per charge, along with plans to build a $25,000 autonomous car within three years during the company’s Battery Day meeting on Tuesday.
The drive-in event was held in a parking lot at Tesla’s Fremont, Calif., factory and focused on Tesla’s next-generation battery technology generation battery technology. The new battery uses larger cells with a simplified design and lower cost materials that can be manufactured faster and 56 percent cheaper than the current technology.
Musk said the $139,990 Model S Plaid will have three electric motors producing a combined 1,100 hp and will be capable of reaching 60 mph in less than two seconds and covering a quarter-mile in under nine seconds.
A prototype of the sedan has already completed a lap of California’s 2.2-mile long Laguna Seca racetrack in 1:30.3 seconds and Musk said they are aiming to reduce that time by three seconds, which would give it the record for production vehicles, currently held by the McLaren Senna supercar at 1:27.62.
The name and design of the inexpensive model were not revealed, but Musk suggested it would use the new batteries and an architecture that incorporates the cells into the car’s structure, rather than installing them as a separate pack. He likened it to turning the wings of an airplane into fuel tanks and said it reduces weight while increases the strength of the vehicle. In 2018, Musk also predicted that Tesla would be able to build a $25,000 car within three years.
Tesla’s current entry-level car is the Model 3 Standard Range Plus, which is listed at $37,990.
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