In typical Elon Musk fashion, the brand-new Tesla Model S Plaid was unveiled at an event hosted in Fremont, California. This redesigned Model S gets the moniker ‘Plaid’, from the comedy classic Spaceballs, which means speed beyond ludicrous.
The Plaid doesn’t only look futuristic, but is also packed to the gills with features and technology that blows your mind. You would think it is a car from the virtual world of Cyberpunk 2077, but it is very much a reality. In fact, Musk announced deliveries of the first 25 cars at the event itself. So what makes this $130,000 (approximately ₹1 crore), the car from the future? Read on to find out.
Quick as Flash
Calling the Plaid fast is a huge understatement. Boasting of a tri-motor setup, the car is able to deliver a whopping 1,020hp of peak power across the entire rev range — right up to the top speed of 321kph. But what really catches your attention is the phenomenal acceleration.
Hitting 0-100kph in just 1.99 seconds makes this less of a car and more a spaceship. Little wonder then Musk couldn’t help but show off a bit by saying, “It’ll hit you right in the limbic system. We wanted to make a spaceship out of a car.” And the team has achieved just that, making Plaid the fastest production car of any kind. These numbers were achieved thanks to the designers at Tesla, who have given it the lowest drag coefficient of any car on the planet.
Under the proverbial hood is a small-ish engine that can be picked up in your hands, but is powerful enough to push a 2-ton car from 0-100kph in under two seconds. Staying true to its futuristic theme is how it is the first of its kind to come with carbon sleeved rotors. Wrapping the motor in carbon isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially since carbon and copper have different rates of thermal expansion. But the engineers at Tesla figured it out, and Musk hints at how the carbon sleeve has been put on copper rotors under compression.
This is said to help the engine continuously hit higher RPMs, while the carbon sleeve will stop the copper rotors from expanding due to radial acceleration. In simpler words, the engine should be able to withstand frequent surges that enthusiasts will no doubt be putting it through.
Yes, the Plaid comes with ventilated seats, which is a great feature when driving in cold or very hot weather conditions. But, it is not just the seats, and Tesla has used what Musk claims is the “latest and greatest” HVAC system.
Heating efficiency has been improved for cold weather drives, with the car now consuming up to 50% less energy to heat the cabin in freezing conditions. This is said to result in 30% improvement in range. Even the radiator is two times bigger on the Plaid, which is key in helping keep the battery pack cool when the car is being pushed to its limits.
All-new UI and PS5-level power
There is now a 17in infotainment system onboard, placed horizontally for better visibility and viewing experience. Musk gave a glimpse at the system, and the new UI it comes with. Tesla says there are refinements to the overall UI, with a lot of drag-and drop elements added. Even the navigation has been improved to automatically point out superchargers along your route.
But what brought the loudest cheer from the audience was the sudden interruption and showing someone playing Cyberpunk 2077 on the car’s infotainment system. Musk couldn’t help but gush at the system’s graphical capabilities, which will let you play games like Cyberpunk at PlayStation 5-level settings.
The Plaid also comes with next-generation “Tesla Acoustic Glass”, which is said to do a great job at keeping things quiet in the cabin even when driving on the highways at high speeds.
Moreover, there are now 22 speakers onboard, and Tesla even developed a new audio codec to go with its superior sound system to offer what Musk calls a “theater-like experience”.