Tesla Reveals New ‘Plaid’ Powertrain For Its Electric Vehicles

A Tesla Model S wheel is on display at the Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto
A Tesla Model S wheel is on display at the Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, February 13, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Mark Blinch)

Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk has officially revealed the existence of its new "Plaid" powertrain driven by three motors instead of two. This, after a Model S equipped with Plaid, set a new record for a four-door sedan at the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca paved road racing track in California Wednesday.

Tesla's official Twitter account boasted: "We lapped Laguna Seca in 1:36.555 during advanced R&D testing of our Model S Plaid powertrain and chassis prototype." Tesla said this time is one second faster than the previous record for a four-door sedan at Laguna Seca.

It also posed a video on the same tweet that announced the feat.

Musk earlier hinted this prototype Plaid Model S can go faster than the "Ludicrous" speed Tesla's cars currently achieve. Ludicrous Mode gives a 20 percent acceleration boost, which means a Model S Ludicrous will jump from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.4 seconds, which is a lot faster than million-dollar gasoline-driven supercars. The Plaid Model S made its debut at the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

Musk tweeted Plaid is "about a year away from production."

Musk said the new Plaid powertrain will be available in the Model S, Model X, and the second-generation Roadster. It won't be available for the Model 3 or the Model Y.

Plaid will "cost more than our current offerings, but less than competitors," noted Musk.

Tesla has not released any data on the Plaid drive or the modifications to the Model S chassis it will require. Musk only said Tesla will publish more details "soon."

Musk might now announce a record run for the Plaid Model S at the famed Nürburgring race track in Germany. Last week, Musk had announced a Model S will arrive at the Nürburgring in Germany this week. This Model S is now in Germany and was spotted on the back of a trailer headed for Nürburgring.

Sources said there are now two slots for a possible record attempt at Nürburgring. The first is Sept. 21 when all tourist and track taxi rides will be canceled for two hours so Tesla has a clear run.

The second is Wednesday, Sept. 24, when the track will be reserved for Tesla between 5:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.

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