The Tesla Model S has been universally lauded by critics and magazines, but Elon Musk isn’t resting on his laurels. From a new performance handling package to the promise of a valet mode, Tesla has added new features to the Model S to make it more appealing to more buyers. Rumor has it that next year, all-wheel drive Model S may debut.
An all-wheel drive Tesla Model S certainly makes sense, as rear-wheel drive is far from ideal in slippery or snowy conditions. Tesla has already said that the Model X SUV will be available from the get-go with all-wheel drive, and considering that the Model S and Model X will share many components (and even the same chassis).
That brings up the question, is Tesla really planning to launch two all-wheel drive models in the same year? Sure, the Model X is aimed more at families than business executive types, and an all-wheel drive option would certainly help drive sales in colder climates. But launching an all-wheel drive Model S could cannibalize sales from the newly-launched Model X if this rumor proves true. Could this have anything to do with the proposed Tesla crossover?
On the other hand, launching two all-wheel drive options side-by-side will show the a widening arc of potential customers. Living in New England, I know plenty of people who just HAVE to have either a 4×4 or all-wheel drive vehicle. It’s not the snow that makes driving a pain in the Northeast; it’s the snow, the hills, and other people who can’t drive that make all-wheel drive a must for many buyers. While we’ve already seen that the Model S can handle the snow fairly well, the addition of a new cold weather package will be a boon for buyers as well.
All-wheel drive will improve handling on the Model S, but it could also improve acceleration and overall performance as well. That said, a coupe version of the Model S would be a welcome addition, along with a shooting brake/station wagon. With the Model S sedan capturing an estimated 8% of the luxury car market, once more variants and models roll out of the Fremont factory, the whole car market seems wide open to a Tesla takeover.
Source: The Verge