Tesla Speeds Up Model S, Tests Model X

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Someone managed to catch Tesla in the act of trying out what could be the Model X on a test racetrack

What does it take to make Tesla Motors’ Model S sedan even zippier than it already was? Just a software update. That’s right. The automaker was able to trim 0.1 of a second off the time it takes for the P85D version of the car to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour.

The update is certainly fitting, as Tesla is all about fast cars, even going so far as to embed a new “insane mode” button into the new Model S.

Speeding up Tesla’s Model S

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted the announcement about the over-the-air update:

As Business Insider‘s Dave Smith notes, a tenth of a second doesn’t sound like very much, but for gearheads, it is a big deal. The P85D version of the Model S, which is the top of the line model, already can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.2 seconds.

This means that after the software update, the care will be about 3% faster. It also puts the P85D Model S in the same class as Lamborghini’s and Ferrari’s fastest sports cars. It even puts Tesla’s sedan in the same league as the McLaren F1 supercar, according to Smith.

The P85 Model S will also get a bit of an improvement in its acceleration, but according to Musk, “not quite as much.”

Model X spotted on the test track?

Tesla is also hard at work on its Model X, and apparently the automaker uses the same test track as the Mythbusters TV show. Seth Weinbraub of Electrek posted a video someone captured of what he said was a new Tesla vehicle on the test track at the Alameda Airport. Darrell Etherington of TechCrunch compares the look of the vehicle to a Toyota Prius, and he’s absolutely right.

Personally, it looks a little too Priusy to me, but maybe other soccer moms will love it (speaking as a former Prius owner and current soccer mom). Tesla has said it’s targeting women with the design of the Model X. It’s a bit difficult to gauge the size of the vehicle because the video is shot from so far away.

The person who posted the video claims it shows the Model X, but there’s a possibility that the vehicle isn’t the Model X at all. It could be an early version of Tesla’s planned Model 3 mass market car, which would make more sense from looking at the Prius-like design. Also it doesn’t look like the vehicle has the gull-wing doors, although again, the video is shot from so far away it’s hard to tell.

On the other hand though, the timing of this test makes it more likely that it is the Model X, which is set to go into production in the second half of this year. It would probably be a bit early to see the Model 3 on a test track.

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