Tesla Motors is notoriously stingy with information about its cars and future plans, to the great frustration of news-hungry Model S owners and fans.
But in a Q & A session in Norway on February 1, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and the company's CTO JB Straubel revealed several intriguing tidbits about the Model S, the upcoming Model X electric SUVand the company's planned mass-market Model E sedan.
Among the Model X highlights:
- The Model X will have the same wheelbase as the Model S, and its length will be within 5 cm (about 2 inches). Width will be the same too. The Model X, of course, will be considerably taller than the Model S.
- The Model X will actually have a lower drag coefficient than the super-slick Model S. But because of its increased frontal area, the total drag will be higher. Combined with a slightly heavier weight, the Model X will have an energy consumption about 10 percent higher than the Model S. (Musk did not say whether the Model X battery size would be increased in order to maintain the same range as the Model S.)
- The production Model X will definitely have the eye-catching "falcon doors." The double-hinged doors will be equipped with sensors that will adjust the opening sequence to avoid hitting any nearby objects. "If you can fit your Model X between two other cars, the doors will open," said Musk.
- All-wheel drive, using a separate electric drive motor for the front wheels, will be standard on the Model X.
The duo also discussed future upgrades to the current Model S sedan:
- AWD will be an option on the Model S, but not until the Model X is in production in early 2015. According to JB Straubel, the AWD system in the Model S will be "an efficiency-neutral option." In other words, it won't reduce the car's rated electric penalty. That's never happened in a gas-powered car.
- Upcoming software updates for the Model S will include a hill-hold function, as well as manual setting of the ride height over a much wider speed range. Farther down the road, Musk said the Model S would be equipped with guidance lines on the back-up camera and an adaptive cruise control.
...You can watch the full video of the Q+A in Oslo above. Tesla Motors Club also published a full transcript of the Oslo session.
Musk and Straubel held a similar "town hall" session in Amsterdam the following night; that video can be viewed here.
...MORE, including video.