Tesla S Improved With Added All-Wheel-Drive, Electronics
|   Wednesday, October 22, 2014
A week after an interview in which company founder and owner Elon Musk set off speculation that the electric automaker's next vehicle would likely be self-driving, the firm unveiled its new Model S P85D.

Many had speculated that the P85D would be equipped with autonomous driving technology (self-drive) after Musk indicated there would be some major changes in the new model. And, while there have been major changes in the Tesla S P85D, self-drive is not one of them.
Instead, the P85D's electronics package is now standard on many other makes.

Called Autopilot, the electronics package includes:

A forward-looking collision detection/auto-braking system that controls not only the front braking but also adds stability and steering control so the Tesla will stay in lane.
Lane change technology that is activated at the touch of the turn signal.
A rearview-mounted forward-looking video camera.
The ability to read and understand and act on speed limit signs.

The heart of the Autopilot system includes not only radar detection, optical detection and recognition and sonar detection (six front-mounted and six more rear-mounted ultrasonic detectors) and the software that enables the system to work. Perhaps the most interesting piece of this package is the Tesla 's ability to read and respond to speed limit signs without driver intervention. It shows the direction Tesla is taking in its quest for a self-driving vehicle.

While the technology piece of the Tesla S 85D is very illuminating, the 85D's feature list is also quite impressive. For example, the use of dual electric motors that deliver 470 horsepower and 443 pounds foot of torque to the rear and 221 horsepower and 244 pounds feet of torque to the front wheels for a total of 691 horsepower and 664 pounds feet of torque. It means that the 85D has huge performance power available. The torque figure alone indicates that one will be mashed into the front bucket when the go switch is depressed.

Tesla claims the 85D will turn a 3-second 0 to 60 run. This figure stands to reason given the power available to the front and rear wheels. More importantly, though, handling is improved drastically by the addition of the front motor because the Tesla now offers all-wheel-drive. All-wheel-drive makes the 85D a stable package that will hold the road like someone placed wheels on the tire. It also will help in the snow and mud. (The 85D replaces the 85+, a rear-drive version. All-wheel-drive is a necessity in a performance machine like the 85D as a rear-drive version with this type of power would flail helplessly in the snow.)

The reason the range is better in the 85D is because the front electric motor has been added. A variable power source, the front motor, which also adds a second source of regenerative battery charging, comes on only when it is needed and traction increases or decreases proportionally.

Your might think that this type of horsepower and torque would drain the battery of this all-electric vehicle quickly, but it does not. The Tesla S 85D has a range of 295 miles (a slight detuned version of the Tesla S 60D delivers 225 miles).

The 85D will go into production in December.
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