Tesla's Model S and Model X get new motors with more range

Daniel Fowler
April 24, 2019

Beginning today, Model S and Model X now come with an all-new drivetrain design that increases each vehicle's range substantially, achieving a landmark 370 miles and 325 miles on the EPA cycle for Model S and Model X Long Range, respectively.

Electric carmaker Tesla announced on Wednesday (Australian time) that it has worked out how to extend the range of its Model S and X electric vehicles well over 500km on a single charge - without using a larger battery. The end result is improved range from the same 18650 cells being used in the Model S and Model X 100 kWh battery pack. (Should you doubt that claim, our colleagues at MotorTrend verified the range by driving from the Bay Area to L.A. -359 miles-without charging, and with miles to spare.) The Model S was already the longest-range series-production EV now on the market, but with companies like Rivian aiming to hit the 400-mile mark, it was clear Tesla needed to act.

We're also introducing a brand-new adaptive suspension system for Model S and Model X, along with a few other improvements for the best range, acceleration, and ride comfort ever, plus a Ludicrous Mode upgrade for our most loyal customers. The setup is more efficient in terms of energy generation and power production, and the inherent deficiency in a permanent-magnet motor-namely that it produces drag when not needed-isn't much of an issue on the Model S, as, well, it's needed pretty much all of the time.

By improving drivetrain efficiency, Tesla has been able to effectively increase range by more than 10%. Tesla also notes that 0-60 miles per hour times are faster for the standard and long-range models.

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The new cars won't quite match the Model 3 for speedy charging, but updates there allow for up to 200 kW charging on its new V3 Superchargers, and 145 kW on older V2 ones, enough to claim that recharging is up to 50 percent faster. There's also now automatically adaptive air suspension available that will adjust based on driving style and road conditions. This, according to Tesla, has had multiple beneficial effects on each auto. All these, Tesla, says, is thanks to its in-house dynamic software.

And don't just take Tesla's word for it - Motor Trend just proved that the Model S can drive from Fremont in California's Bay Area to San Francisco - 365 miles, or 587 kilometres. Those are unchanged. Instead, the headline update is the adoption of the Model 3's permanent-magnet electric motor to the Model S's front axle in place of the induction motor that was there before; the inverter and gearbox are also new. While these changes may seem minor, together they have a meaningful impact when it comes to EV design.

The Model S and Model X Standard Range models are also back.

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