Tesla’s ‘Plaid Powertrain’ could be game over for the Taycan before it’s begun

Now that Tesla CEO Elon Musk and the company’s research and development team have revealed the existence of upcoming ‘Plaid Powertrain’ …

Now that Tesla CEO Elon Musk and the company’s research and development team have revealed the existence of upcoming ‘Plaid Powertrain’ variants, a few more questions about their recently-announced competition come to mind. Will the Porsche Taycan’s engineering achievements be overshadowed before they’ve even been enjoyed by future customers? Will Taycan reservation holders decide to wait for Tesla’s newest Model S to come out before making their Porsche purchase?

Musk’s latest play to stop the competition looks like it may just be as effective as he’s hoping it will be. Brian from the YouTube channel i1Tesla summed the move up nicely in a message to Porsche: “Your car’s not even out yet, and Tesla’s diminishing what you’re going to be doing…With powertrain technology and battery technology…Tesla is so superior.” Brian further opined that what the Taycan has ultimately achieved is along the lines of what Tesla did with the Model S in 2012, or perhaps a step above it. The Plaid system then becomes an achievement that renders the question of whether the Taycan is a ‘Tesla killer’ completely moot.

Tesla Model S with development ‘Plaid’ powertrain sets Laguna Seca track record for 4-door sedan (Credit: Tesla)

As its flagship electric car, Porsche considers the Taycan is one of its most important vehicles since the 911. It’s priced in the same bracket as the iconic sports car, around $150,000, and claims a battery range in the neighborhood of 240 miles per charge with a 100 kWh battery pack. A current Model S Performance, which now includes Ludicrous Mode and Autopilot as a standard offering, has about 100 additional miles of range than the Taycan’s ratings and has a price tag around $50,000 less. Perhaps there are significant differences in the driving experience of both cars and the customers they are designed to appeal to have differences as well, but on paper there’s definitely a nod to Tesla’s current Model S. Once the new Roadster is on the market, of course, an entirely different comparison will be on the table.

Although the upcoming “refreshed” Model S and X are arguably exciting enough to depress future Taycan sales, there’s the other question of whether or not the latest plaid-centered announcement will impact Tesla’s sales as well. Musk has said that the newer versions will be more expensive than current offerings, but it’s not clear that the additional cost would deter buyers from investing in the superior battery and powertrains that would come with them. New Model S and X sales could suffer as a result if customers take the ‘wait and see’ approach.

Musk cited this particular concern when it came to the Model Y. If customers stopped purchasing the Model 3 in favor of waiting for the Model Y, Tesla would majorly suffer as a result, especially considering the annual sales expectations for the all-electric crossover are estimated to be around 1 million units per year. This was probably why the Model Y unveiling event was notably subdued compared to other unveilings. However, it was likely important for Tesla’s long-term investment worth to show the progress being made towards a vehicle that is hoped to be a game changer in the electric vehicle market (and greater auto market overall) despite this risk.

Obviously, the results of the so-called battle between the Porsche Taycan and Tesla’s current and future Model S offerings remains to be seen. The first front looks like it will take place on the Nürburgring racetrack in Western Germany as Tesla attempts to beat the Taycan’s 7 minutes and 42 seconds track time using a Plaid prototype Model S (or other variants) with a roll cage and 7 seats. For the record, Brian at i1Tesla has put his bets on a Tesla time of 7 minutes and 38 seconds. Stay tuned!

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Tesla Model S P100D+ On Nürburgring Industry-Pool Prototype

While many companies pay for ad space on their products, Elon Musk simply sends a few tweets and the media does it for him. Tesla is already …
Cars

Published on September 14th, 2019 | by Johnna Crider

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September 14th, 2019 by Johnna Crider


In a video uploaded by TALEA Media, several high-performance vehicles are seen running laps on the Nürburgring, a 13-mile long German track, including both the Porsche Taycan and the Tesla Model S P100D+.

The Tesla, which can be seen at 2:28 into the video, speeds along the track almost quietly. The wheels are the loudest thing there, and this simply reflects just how quiet Tesla are in general. This scarlet beauty zooms along the track, twisting and turning from left turns into right turns, then gliding effortlessly down a straight path before easing into another left and eventually disappearing from the angle of the camera with barely a whisper of sound from the tires.

⚡️⚡️⚡️Attention⚡️⚡️⚡️

Tesla Model S P100D+ on Nürburgring Industry-Pool Prototype

September 12th 2019

via : https://t.co/itYxoL2WBp$TSLA#Tesla#ModelSpic.twitter.com/vrNATxJ3bQ

— Vincent (@vincent13031925) September 13, 2019

The Tesla seems to be preparing for its ultimate race against the Porsche Taycan, which made its appearance at 5 minutes into the video. The American Tesla and German Porsche weren’t the only electric vehicles representing on the track at that time. A Mercedes EQC was also on the track at just over a minute into the video.

It’s great to have more electric vehicles on the track. Many people perceive electric cars as cute little things that don’t go fast (unless they’re from Tesla), so the idea of racing them is oddly refreshing and revives the auto industry as well as the market. It’s like bringing new life to an old room, so to speak.

While many people are hyped up about the coming race, let’s take a quick moment and reflect on why Tesla doesn’t need to buy ad space. This upcoming race on the Nürburgring track is highly publicized and provides the perfect opportunity to talk about future upgrade package options. While many companies pay for ad space on their products, Elon Musk simply sends a few tweets and the media does it for him.

Tesla is already winning. In challenging Tesla, both Audi and Porsche are actively promoting Tesla while referencing Tesla because the media is eating up the competition like it’s hot, fresh bread pudding with a side of homemade vanilla ice cream. (And when I say the media, I am using this term to include small blogs as well as car review sites such as Edmunds, which, in the tweet below, you can see is actually buying Twitter ads to promote Porsche while also mentioning — or taking shots at — Tesla.)

pic.twitter.com/F4CuXSTFQY

— Neil Dunn (@NeilRDunn) September 10, 2019

The Upgrades

The upgrades mentioned in Elon’s tweets include the fact that the Model S on the Nürburgring track has 3 motors and Plaid Mode, which will soon be applied to the Model S and Model X, and will also reach the coming Roadster, but not the 3 or the Y.

Yes. To be clear, Plaid powertrain is about a year away from production & applies to S,X & Roadster, but not 3 or Y. Will cost more than our current offerings, but less than competitors.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 12, 2019

I think this is a brilliant marketing move — take on Porsche at Nürburgring and see how many more people discover Tesla.


Tags:Germany, Nurburgring, racing, Tesla, Tesla Model S, Tesla Model S P100D, Tesla Model S racing, Tesla Racing

About the Author

Johnna Crider Johnna Crider is a Baton Rouge artist, gem and mineral collector, and Tesla shareholder who believes in Elon Musk and Tesla. Elon Musk advised her in 2018 to “Believe in Good.” Tesla is one of many good things to believe in. You can find Johnna on Twitter

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The Land Of Fire & Ice Is Now Open For Tesla Vehicle Orders

Icelanders tweeted Elon Musk over the next 2 years, asking, in what the Reykjavík Grapevine calls “direct Icelandic fashion,” what the problem was …
Cars

Published on September 13th, 2019 | by Carolyn Fortuna

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September 13th, 2019 by Carolyn Fortuna


No, Tesla isn’t coming to Westeros, oh, Game of Thrones fans. Instead, a real-life land with a history of violent tales of blood feuds, traditions, family, and character is the newest site for Tesla onsite purchases. Iceland, a land of fire and ice with a primary focus on information technology and environmentally friendly energy industries, is now is open for Tesla vehicle orders.

Tesla’s first branch in Iceland opened September 9, 2019, in Reykjavik. Tesla Model S, Model X, and Model 3 orders can now be purchased via the site.

Iceland is a small country by measures like population and population density. But such indicators do not always tell the entire story. Policymakers, researchers, and everyone interested in the future of clean transportation — all are keeping their eyes on Iceland’s vehicle market, because the small island nation is in a leading position on electric mobility.

Iceland’s Leap into the EV Market

Iceland quietly became one of the leading EV markets worldwide in the past 5 years, but the foundation for low-carbon transportation was paved there decades ago. Renewable power, low electricity prices paired with high fossil fuel prices, and a high urbanization rate have made Iceland an ideal market for EVs. In Europe, only Norway has the same ability to provide electric vehicles with 100% renewable electricity.

Low-carbon electricity is available to Iceland’s consumers at comparatively low cost — 20% lower than the average electricity price in the EU — while prices of conventional automotive fuels in Iceland are among the highest worldwide. Consumers in Iceland can significantly reduce fuel costs by switching from conventional vehicles to EVs. In fact, Iceland exempts vehicles emitting up to 80 g CO2/km from import excise duties, which can reach 65% of the vehicle’s customs value if emissions exceed 250 g CO2/km.

Consumers in the northern island country can significantly reduce fuel costs by switching from conventional vehicles to EVs. Right now, EVs comprise 15% of Iceland’s total population of motor vehicles. With Tesla’s entry into the Icelandic auto marketplace, that percentage is certain to climb exponentially.

Iceland & Renewable Energy: A Good Match for Tesla

Iceland’s development from one of the poorest nations in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century to enjoying one of the highest standards of living in the world is intrinsically linked to the development of sustainable energy. Iceland is a highly volcanic island with 26 high temperature geothermal fields and over 250 low temperature areas. In total, over 600 natural hot springs have been found in Iceland.

Today, Iceland is the only country in Europe that derives nearly all of its energy from renewable sources. On a per capita basis, Iceland is ahead of any other nation in geothermal generating capacity and is a world leader in sustainable energy development.

87% of Iceland’s electricity comes from hydropower and the remaining 13% is derived from geothermal power. Almost 100% of Iceland’s space heating and water heating is obtained from geothermal sources. Iceland only uses a fraction of its economically and environmentally viable potential for electrical production from renewable resources. Oil-powered fossil fuel power stations are only used as backups to the renewable sources.

That makes Iceland and Tesla a good match, as many current and potential Icelandic Tesla aficionados attest.

Aurora Borealis ✅

Blue Lagoon ✅

Sustainable energy ✅

Reykjavík service center ✅

Tesla vehicle orders open for Iceland NOW 🙌

— Tesla (@Tesla) September 9, 2019

The Way We Were: Tesla & Iceland

The first Tesla Model S arrived in Reykjavik in late 2013 and was delivered to Gisli Gislason of Northern Lights Energy — an entrepreneur whose personal quest has been to install charging stations around Iceland, open an EV dealership network, and more. To inspire curiosity about EVs, Gislason gave 60 test rides before the year was out. The result? Icelanders started buying Teslas sight unseen.

Image retrieved from YouTuber A Tesla In ICEland.

Icelanders had inquired frequently about whether the day that Tesla would open a sales venue would ever come.

“The supply of electric cars is not satisfying demand at the moment,” Johann Olafsson, who heads Iceland’s Electric Vehicle Association, toldFortune in a 2018 interview which took place in Reykjavik. If it did catch up with demand, he forecast, Tesla sales would probably “more than double each year for the next few years,” he declared.

Johann Olafsson, from Iceland’s #ElectricVehicle Association, says he’s “thrilled” to receive @elonmusk‘s positive response to his request via Twitter for @Tesla service center to open in #Iceland. “I hope it will happen before the release of the Model 3” https://t.co/WlO3uj81gz

— Anthropology of Iceland (@Mannfraedi) May 9, 2018

Icelanders tweeted Elon Musk over the next 2 years, asking, in what the Reykjavík Grapevinecalls “direct Icelandic fashion,” what the problem was with setting up a Service Center. Already, there were more electric vehicles sold in Iceland than in Denmark and Finland during the previous year, where Tesla had already set up operations. Icelandic buyers interested in electric vehicles (EVs) had to face waiting times of up to 9 months.

Tesla vehicles at that time were imported by citizens in Iceland. This is, of course, the case in markets where Tesla does not sell vehicles directly. The only recourse for individuals in non-Tesla supported countries is to buy and import the car from another country. In addition, while Tesla began to send mobile technicians to Iceland on occasion, this was far from the ideal solution.

Fast forward 18 months and the local Icelanders are quite excited.

For a country that starts with “Ice” we had a very warm welcome. Geothermal-powered cars! #Tesla#Icelandpic.twitter.com/PIiy5zA71s

— Jorge Milburn (@jorgemilburn) September 9, 2019

Tesla’s arrival in Iceland will undoubtedly help accelerate the adoption of high-potential electric vehicles in Iceland. Tesla’s next likely steps in Iceland seem to be to open a service center in Reykjavík along with a few Supercharger stations that will enable Tesla owners to travel around their small island, savoring the quiet high-tech Tesla ride that Icelanders savor.

Looking to Charging for Teslas & All EVs on Iceland

The fast rollout of public charging infrastructure, including fast charging stations, is a top priority for the Icelandic government, according to the International Council of Clean Transportation. National grants amounting to about 200 million Icelandic krónur (about €1.63 million or $1.61 million) over a three-year period (2016–2018) could more than triple the number of fast-charging stations on the island.

Iceland’s size is ideal for electric vehicles: 500 km from west to east, and about 350 km from north to south. This means that most trips are well within EV range: Icelandic car owners, on average, drive approximately 38 km per day.

Electric vehicles are for the most part exempt from VAT in Iceland (an exemption that will end when more than 10,000 EVs are sold) and are free of import duty. The government, headed by environmentalist Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir of the Left-Green Movement, says improving the network of charging stations plays a key role in supporting the transition away from dirty fossil fuels.


Tags:Elon Musk, iceland, Tesla, Tesla Iceland

About the Author

Carolyn Fortuna Carolyn Fortuna, Ph.D. is a writer, researcher, and educator with a lifelong dedication to ecojustice. She’s won awards from the Anti-Defamation League, The International Literacy Association, and The Leavy Foundation. As part of her portfolio divestment, she purchased 5 shares of Tesla stock. Please follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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Tesla claims Laguna Seca lap record and has eyes on the ‘Ring, but what’s under the hood?

When that car set a new Nurburgring Nordschleife EV lap record of 7:42, Tesla’s Elon Musk was quick to respond that its own ‘Ring attempt was …
tesla-lap

Quick? Yes. Record-setting? No.

Tesla

We may never know for sure exactly what started the EV performance wars of 2019, but the arrival of the Porsche Taycan on the scene really stirred things up. When that car set a new Nurburgring Nordschleife EV lap record of 7:42, Tesla’sElon Musk was quick to respond that its own ‘Ring attempt was coming (an attempt that Porsche eagerly welcomes). But Musk is now claiming that his company has secured the sedan lap record at California’s Laguna Seca Raceway.

I’m not so sure.

After many tweets surrounding a Nurburgring run for the Model S, on Wednesday Musk claimed the record in the tweet below, promising a video was coming in the next day.

Model S just set record for fastest 4 door ever at Laguna Seca, video tmrw

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 11, 2019

Today, Tesla dropped the promised video of a 1:36.555 lap time around Laguna Seca, indicating that time is a full second faster than “the record for a four-door sedan.”

*~ Some personal news ~*

We lapped Laguna Seca @WeatherTechRcwy in 1:36.555 during advanced R&D testing of our Model S Plaid powertrain and chassis prototype

(That’s a second faster than the record for a four-door sedan) pic.twitter.com/OriccK4KCZ

— Tesla (@Tesla) September 12, 2019

That appears to reference to the 1:37.54 lap time set by the Jaguar XE SV Project 8 almost exactly a year ago. On the surface, Tesla has indeed set a faster time — but dig a little deeper and it’s clear that Jaguar still holds the record for a sedan.

Bozi Tatarevic on Twitter was quick to point out that the car appears to have significant modifications, including a Model 3 steering wheel. Exactly what other modifications the car is running remain to be seen. (We’ve reached out to Tesla for clarification and will update this if any further details are provided.)

The car is obviously extensively modified even down to the steering wheel which appears to be from the Model 3. pic.twitter.com/pP1J31YpL7

— Bozi Tatarevic (@hoonable) September 12, 2019

Tesla itself said that the car is running a new drivetrain dubbed Plaid (“The only thing beyond Ludicrous is Plaid,” per Musk). This three-motor configuration was first announced to be part of the new Roadster, due next year, but Musk recently clarified that Plaid will also appear on the Model S sedan and Model X SUV.

Given the Plaid drivetrain isn’t available to consumers, and given Tesla hasn’t clarified other details such as suspension and tires, it’s impossible to call this lap time any kind of record. But is it impressive? Absolutely. And though we’re on the edge of our seats waiting for the next assault’s results, we’ve got some video footage of this new Plaid-spec Model S on the Nurburgring courtesy of YouTuber Automotive Mike.

Does the modded Model S look like it’s fast? Absolutely, but it’s worth saying that it doesn’t exactly look graceful as it carves its way through the corners. What’s more, its tires sound like they’re also exceedingly unhappy with what’s being done to them thanks to the Model S’ certified Thicc-boi weight of nearly 5,000 pounds.

Much like with the Laguna Seca situation, the Nurburgring “record attempt” doesn’t seem to have a specific class in mind. Nor does it seem to be sanctioned by the ‘Ring itself, with Tesla again having ignored the process for setting a time that’s been adhered to by other manufacturers. Beyond that, our pal Bozi — the Encyclopedia Brown of car esoterica on the internet — points out that there is no official record for electric sedans at the ‘Ring so the Tesla would have to gun for one of three records, two of which are possible and one which is seriously never going to happen.

Those records are for “midrange cars,” which is held by the Jaguar XE SV Project 8 with a time of 7:23.164; “executive cars,” which is held by Mercedes-AMG’s GT 63 S 4Matic+ with a time of 7:30.11; and the “electric (sports) cars” record which Volkswagen set at 6:05.336 with its ID.R and is currently the second-fastest time ever set there. We’ll leave it to you to figure out where Tesla might try and slot itself in.

Now playing:Watch this: Tesla Model S Long Range pulls further ahead of the EV…
8:35

Originally published Sept. 12, 12:09 a.m. PT.

Update, 2:01 p.m.: Adds video and more detail on Tesla’s plans for the Nurburgring.

More about 2019 Tesla Model S Long Range

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Prototype Tesla Model S ‘Plaid’ (Available 2020) Breaks 4-Door Sedan Lap Record At Laguna …

Elon Musk has confirmed that this version of the Model S will go into series production around a year from now, and the same powertrain option will …
CarsModel S Plaid at Laguna Seca

Published on September 12th, 2019 | by Dr. Maximilian Holland

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September 12th, 2019 by Dr. Maximilian Holland


Proving the superior performance of electric vehicles, a prototype Tesla Model S with “Plaid powertrain and chassis” has broken the outright 4-door sedan lap record at the famous Laguna Seca Raceway, in a time of 1:36.555. Elon Musk has confirmed that this version of the Model S will go into series production around a year from now, and the same powertrain option will also be made available for the Tesla Model X.

*~ Some personal news ~*

We lapped Laguna Seca @WeatherTechRcwy in 1:36.555 during advanced R&D testing of our Model S Plaid powertrain and chassis prototype

(That’s a second faster than the record for a four-door sedan) pic.twitter.com/OriccK4KCZ

— Tesla (@Tesla) September 12, 2019

There’s potential for this Tesla Model S to put in an even faster lap time, since the 1:36.555 lap was driven by what Tesla refers to as “a member of the Tesla development team (amateur driver).” The previous lap records for 4-door sedans were held by the limited production (300 unit) Jaguar XE SE Project 8 (1:37.54 — video), at an MSRP of $187,500, and the slower Cadillac CTS-V (1:38.52 — video), at MSRP $89,000. Both were driven by pro racing driver Randy Pobst. In the hands of such a pro, shaving another second or so off the Model S lap time may be possible.

For context, the BMW M4 GTS, BMW M5, Alfa Romeo Giulia QV, and other renowned sports sedans are all a good bit slower to lap the Laguna Seca circuit. Beyond the sedan category, the only faster “4-seat” cars around the circuit are 2-door “coupes” — a couple of Porsche 911 variants, a couple of Nissan GTR variants, and the Camaro ZL1 1LE. Calling these “4-seaters” is a stretch — we’re talking about very cramped jump seats in the back, with almost no head or leg room — only really suitable for small children. In terms of practicality, these are obviously a far cry from a spacious and comfortable sedan like the Model S.

Aside from the above, only 2-seat performance cars and exotic supercars (e.g. McLarens, Ferraris, and Lamborghinis) can lap this circuit faster than the Model S (here’s a decent list of Laguna Seca lap times).

The “Plaid” powertrain goes beyond “Ludicrous” (and former “Insane”) modes (a nomenclature of scale derived from the classic Spaceballs movie), and was previously only known to be planned for the upcoming Tesla Roadster. Unlike previous Tesla Performance powertrains, Elon Musk confirmed that “Plaid” uses 3 electric motors, and that this configuration will be available in both the S and X (as an option) as well as in the Roadster (as standard).

In the case of Model S (and likely Model X), the new variant also features chassis changes, and probably also includes more overall power, likely a track mode, and almost certainly advanced cooling design for the battery, power electronics and motors (among other changes). Musk also made clear that there are no plans to feature this Plaid powertrain setup in the Model 3 or Model Y.

Finally, Musk clarified that the pricing for this powertrain option will be above the current Performance variants, yet more affordable than competitors:

Yes. To be clear, Plaid powertrain is about a year away from production & applies to S,X & Roadster, but not 3 or Y. Will cost more than our current offerings, but less than competitors.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 12, 2019

The Tesla Model S — presumably in a similar Plaid prototype form — is currently in tuning for performance and safety on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, in preparation for setting a competitive lap time. Musk has indicated that it will be another week or two before everything is ready for a safe attempt at the actual timed lap. For example, the Flugplatz area, around 50 seconds into the circuit, involves a high speed jump just before a fast corner, which requires detailed suspension work to be undertaken for safety, especially in heavier EV vehicles.

But we probably won’t try for best lap time this week, as we need to review & tune Model S thoroughly for safety on Nürburgring, especially Flugplatz section

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 11, 2019

The Laguna Seca lap time result, combined with all we now know (and can reasonably estimate) about the new powertrain, suggests that the Model S Plaid prototype should handily beat the recent 7:42 Nordschleife lap time set by the Porsche Taycan Prototype. It will probably also beat the lap times of the Porsche Panamera Turbo and BMW M5, even though these have a considerable top speed advantage down the long back straight. Unless the Plaid powertrain has boosted the Model S’s top speed … ?

Musk has also stated that the upcoming Tesla Roadster will tackle the Nürburgring Nordschleife next year (likely still in pre-production prototype form):

Next year

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 11, 2019

We earlier speculated that a new Tesla Model S powertrain would likely be used to set the Nürburgring Nordschleife lap time. We now have some of the details (Musk says more will be revealed soon). What’s your guess as to some of the other specs of this upcoming “Plaid” Model S? What kind of lap time do you think it will achieve at the Nordschleife? Please let us know in the comments.

Images courtesy of Tesla


Tags:2020 Tesla Roadster, Elon Musk, Laguna Seca lap record, Nurburgring Nordschleife, Tesla Model S, Tesla Model S Plaid, Tesla Model X, Tesla Model X Plaid, Tesla Roadster

About the Author

Dr. Maximilian Holland Max is an anthropologist, social theorist and international political economist, trying to ask questions and encourage critical thinking about social and environmental justice, sustainability and the human condition. He has lived and worked in Europe and Asia, and is currently based in Barcelona. Follow Max on twitter @Dr_Maximilian and at MaximilianHolland.com, or contact him via LinkedIn.

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