Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has been expected to reveal the details of some new vehicles for quite some time. Top of the priority list from the electric car manufacturer is the almost mythical Tesla Model D. No-one was quite certain what the D even stood for, we now know a great deal more about this important electric vehicle.
The CEO of Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), Elon Musk, appeared at a special event on Thursday, at Hawthorne Airport in Los Angeles, and Musk put an end to the mystery of the D by confirming that it stands for ‘dual’, as in dual-motor. This particular feature of the vehicle will enable it to reach pretty impressive speeds, but there was a large amount of other information disseminated during the LA event.
Tesla Model D
Musk is known to be one of the more charismatic and extroverted CEOs out there, and he certainly wasn’t pulling any punches when describing the capabilities of the vehicle. Musk was quoted as stating at the announcement event that “this car is nuts. It’s like taking off from a carrier deck. It’s just bananas.” He also likened the Model D to a “personal roller coaster”, indicating that the acceleration it produces is “intense”. Can the vehicle live up to such hyperbole?
Well, what can be said objectively for starters is that the Tesla Model D has been fitted with an extremely powerful engine. The appearance of the vehicle is strikingly similar to the previously released Model S, but this particular electric car certainly packs punch in the power department. The powerful dual-motor engine included in the vehicle enables the Model D to accelerate from 0-60 mph in a mere 3.2 seconds. This is significantly faster than its cousin the Model S. It can also reach speeds of around 155 mph (250 kmh), an increase of 25 mph (40 kmh) from previous vehicles.
In short, this is the fastest car that Tesla has ever produced, and in fact one of the fastest sedan vehicles that has ever been manufactured. To put its acceleration incapabilities into perspective, it has been asserted that it is superior to a Lamborghini Murcielago LP640 in this department; a very impressive technical achievement.
Tesla has also ensured that the Model D is loaded with safety features as well as power. There are a raft of innovative features included in the vehicle intended to ensure that all drivers and passengers have added protection while riding in it.
Thus, the Tesla Model D will include a radar which enables the vehicle to see through fog and snow, an image recognition camera which is capable of seeing and understanding traffic signs, lights and pedestrians, and a full 360-degree ultrasonic sonar system. Additionally, the Tesla Model D is an extremely intelligent vehicle, and incorporates a smart system which is able to combine all information is received from sensors with real-time GPS, navigation and traffic systems. This makes the Tesla Model be a particularly safe car to drive, but also an intuitive one.
However, impressive though the safety features are, unquestionably the standout function of the car is its autopilot capability. According to Musk, this feature will also be included in future Model S vehicles from Tesla, but the Model D is effectively the prototype for this revolutionary function.
The car is, of course, not yet ready to pilot itself on open roads. Not only is the system included in the vehicle unable to do that at present, but also regulations will not allow this. However, the autopilot does do some pretty impressive things. Tesla themselves have dubbed this feature the Model ’s brain, and it is not too fanciful to suggest this.
Radar and Sensors
The autopilot system utilizes a forward-mounted radar, along with a camera and system of twelve sensors. This gives the vehicle a sight range of 16 feet, and the overarching autopilot system is connected to steering, brakes and GPS. The intention is to improve safety, but also to enhance driver experience.
As a result of all this impressive technology, the car is able to detect and avoid pedestrians and will also brake the vehicle in order to avoid collisions with vehicles in front of you. According to Musk, the Model D is capable of sensing small children or dogs even when driven at its fastest speed.
Additionally, when the driver initiates a turn signal, the car is capable of changing lanes of its own volition, while if the driver is drifting outside of his or her lane of traffic, the Model D autopilot will automatically steer the vehicle back to the straight and narrow. Finally, the sensors in the Model D are capable of reading speed limit signs, and adjusting the vehicle accordingly.
The Model D possesses an extremely impressive skill set, even if for the old-fashioned among us it may seem slightly surreal!
Aside from the autopilot features, Model D drivers who don’t relish parallel parking and the three-point turn can confine parking to the past. If you get out of the Model D car in front of your own home, the vehicle will automatically pull in all on its own.
Aside from all of the impressive features already discussed, the Model D also boasts a longer battery life. The vehicle will go ten miles further on a single charge than previous vehicles, owing its four-wheel drive setup.
Price and Release Date
The Tesla Model D will go on sale in December, with the most expensive P85D Model casting just over $120,000. More affordable 60kWh and 85kWh battery models will follow in February next year, with prices starting at $75,070 for the 60D and $85,070 for the 85D. If the vehicle is as good as it sounds and receives good reviews then Tesla may be well on its way to releasing the most successful vehicle in its history.