Sat, Oct 11, 2014 - Page 13 News List

Tesla unveils new electric car, ideal for bad weather

AFP, LOS ANGELES

Tesla chief executive officer Elon Musk unveils the dual-engine chassis of the new “D” version of the new Model S electric sedan at the Hawthorne Airport in Hawthorne, California, on Thursday.

Photo: AFP

Electric car giant Tesla Motors Inc on Thursday unveiled a new two-engine vehicle designed to perform in bad weather, featuring four-wheel drive and anti-collision technology.

Tesla Founder Elon Musk said the new version of the Model S will feature the letter D for dual motor, one of which will be in the front and one in the back of the vehicle.

Musk unveiled the new car at an event at Hawthorne airport in Los Angeles, where Tesla has a design studio and engineering lab.

Musk said the new car is scheduled to come in three versions: 60D, 85D and the top of the line P85D, with progressively higher engine power and speed.

The car’s anti-collision features include a forward-looking radar, he said.

“It scans the car in front of you in the fog, snow or sand,” Musk said.

The car can also read speed-limit signs and adjust the car’s speed to comply.

The top-of-the-line model can reach 250kph, with acceleration that Musk described as “insane.”

It can go from zero to 100kph in 3.2 seconds, he said.

The top-line new version is set to increase in range by about 16km over the current version, to about 470km.

The price will start at about US$120,000.

Musk said having two engines would not slow the car down.

“You can dynamically shift the power from rear to front and constantly be at the optimal efficiency of both motors, so we actually overcome the penalty of the increased mass,” Musk said.

While Tesla produces relatively few vehicles, it has become considered a star in the sector due to keen demand and a reputation for high quality.

A surge in its share price over the past year has pushed its value up to more than US$30 billion.

Tesla’s Model S, which came out in 2012, sells for about US$75,000.

The company is working on a 4x4 crossover model that is supposed to come out next year.

It is also working on a less expensive Model 3 that is expected to cost between US$35,000 and US$40,000.

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