Tesla Adds 100 kWh Battery For Regular Buyers, Claims 335 Mile Range

Last fall, Tesla introduced its Model S P100D with Ludicrous Mode — the fastest electric production car in history. Since then, the company has tweaked the software to the point where the car now storms to 60 mph in just 2.34 seconds. That, friends, is some serious quickness.

Tesla Model S 100D

But being able to impress your friends at the country club and dust off Ferraris at the drag strip came with a serious price tag — $137,800, to be exact, including air suspension. At first, the largest battery Tesla ever offered was reserved for performance models of the Model S sedan and the Model X SUV. The company made no secret of the fact that it was making fat profits on each car sold, which did not deter wealthy buyers from ordering one at all. For a while, almost 10% of Model S orders were for the P100D, a model that has come to be known to insiders as the “plood.”

Apparently demand for the P100D has cooled, if only slightly, and Tesla now offers the 100 kWh battery in its regular Model S and Model X offerings. Both cars are still plenty quick but now come with noticeably more range. The Model S 100D is rated at 335 miles of range — 20 more than the P100D and 41 more than the 90D. Can you tolerate a car that is a half second slower to 60? If so, the new model will save you a whopping $42,000.

The Model X 100D has 6 more miles of range than the P100D variant of the same car and a total of 40 miles more than the 90D version. That makes the X very nearly a 300 mile range vehicle. The 100D sells for $37,000 less than the performance version of the same car.

In Paris last winter, Elon Musk told an audience that Tesla “will probably stop” at a 100 kWh battery. Anything larger would add too much weight and too much money to the cost of a car. 100 kWh seems to be the point of diminishing returns.

But that doesn’t mean the new Model S 100D is the longest range Tesla the company will ever produce. It has now begun manufacturing its new 2170 battery cells at the Gigafactory in Nevada. They are slightly larger in diameter and slightly longer than the 18690 battery cells that have been the standard of the industry for a decade or more. They pack more power into a given volume. For instance, the original Tesla Powerwall used 18690 cells. The new Powerwall 2 uses 2170 cells. It has double the capacity of the original yet costs less.

The upcoming Model 3 will use 2170 cells. Think about that for a moment. Is there a possibility a future Tesla Model S could have a battery pack made up of 2170 cells with double the energy and power of today’s battery? What an intriguing thought.

Source and photo credit: Tesla Motors

Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.