Green Car Reports contacted Tesla after a reader tipped them off to the removal of the rear-wheel drive option for the Tesla Model X SUV. Tesla confirmed that the Model X would be AWD only, which goes along with the slightly-higher price tag Elon Musk has mentioned before. Production of the Model X is slated to begin later this year.
Around the same time the AWD Tesla Model X begins production, AWD should become an option for the Model S as well. That’s the word according to Elon Musk, who spoke at a recent town hall meeting with European fans and press. With electric motors mounted at each of the four wheels, the Model S can better navigate slippery conditions via easily-controllable torque vectoring. Since each motor can operate independently, it offers an even greater advantage to the Tesla’s AWD potential.
There’s also the hope that more electric motors = more power, and thus more performance, but I’m getting ahead of myself again.
Elon Musk also announced that Model S owners can expect new seat options (that’ll eventually come standard), as well as a higher-capacity battery pack option. Speaking of batteries, Musk once again talked up his planned “Giga Factory” that will allow Tesla to build its own batteries. Eventually this could drive Tesla’s battery costs down as much as 30% in just a couple of years time, making the feasibility of a $30,000, 200-mile Tesla Model E much more viable.
Other highlights include a new firmware update that adds, among other things, real-time traffic updates, and the announcement that five new Tesla Superchargers come online every week. It won’t be long before most of American and Europe is fully Supercharged, though connecting China may prove a bit more difficult.
Will 2014 prove to be an even bigger year for America’s premier electric automaker?