At a press conference in San Francisco today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that a new feature will let the electric car maker’s Model S P85D accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in a mere 2.8 seconds. Dubbed “Ludicrous Mode” in an apparent nod to Mel Brooks film Spaceballs, the new functionality yields one of the fastest car acceleration times seen yet.
Tesla, one of Fast Company‘s Most Innovative Companies this year, also announced a new, upgraded 19-hour battery pack for its Model S–which will debut later this year for $3,000–as well as a price drop: The car will now run $70,000 instead of $75,000.
According to Musk:
While working on our goal of making the power train last a million miles, we came up with the idea for an advanced smart fuse for the battery. Instead of a standard fuse that just melts past a certain amperage, which means you aren’t exactly sure when it will or won’t melt or if it will arc when it does, we developed a fuse with its own electronics and a tiny lithium-ion battery. It constantly monitors current at the millisecond level and is pyro-actuated to cut power with extreme precision and certainty.
That was combined with upgrading the main pack contractor to use inconel (a high temperature space-grade superalloy) instead of steel, so that it remains springy under the heat of heavy current.
The net result is that we can safely increase max amp throughout from 1300 to 1500 Amps. If you don’t know much about Amps, trust me this is a silly big number of Amps to be going through something the size of your little fingernail.
With the battery upgrade, the Model S will be able to travel up to 290 miles on a single charge.