The idea behind a halo car is to create a vehicle that gets people talking, and the 691 horsepower Tesla Model S P85D did just that. In an interview with GQ Magazine, Elon Musk says that demand for the top-of-the-line Model S is “off the charts,” but knocking off those last few 10ths of a second was hard, but necessary to change the perception of EVs.
According to Musk’s estimates, about 70% of the orders for the new Model S include the new Dual Motor Drive unveiled in October, and many of them are for the top-end, P85D version that will rocket from 0 to 60 MPH in just 3.2 seconds. That makes it the quickest four-door sedan in the world, and has served to stimulate Model S sales in the face of yet-another-delay for the Model X SUV. Even at $120,000, the Model S P85D represents an incredible performance bargain, and the electric automaker now has a car that can draw the interest of both electric car fans and those seeking insane levels of acceleration.
In the interview, Musk also discussed the reason behind open-sourcing Tesla’s patents, and reaffirming that the cheaper Model III will be 20% smaller than the Model S, and about half the price. Musk also let it slip that the battery pack will be about 20% smaller as well, which will help reduce costs but makes it more difficult to reach the promised 200 miles of driving range. Musk also rehashed his desire to force the rest of the auto industry to start making long-range electric cars, and say its “mind blowing” that Tesla is still the only automaker offering an EV with over 250 miles of range.
But that will soon change as numerous competitors are lining up to challenge the Tesla Model S. Audi confirmed it was working on an electric sedan with over 280 miles of driving range, and GM is rumored to be at work on a 200-mile Chevy Sonic EV of its own. Even Ford is saying it could build a Tesla for the masses, and they just might.
But it wouldn’t have happened were it not for Elon Musk.