Tesla Offers New ‘Ludicrous Mode’: Zero to 60 in 2.8 Seconds

Plus other Model S upgrades

'Ludicrous Mode': Is Tesla's Model S Upgrade a Big Deal?

Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk introduced a new “Ludicrous Mode” for the dual-motor version of the Model S during a call on Friday, allowing the all-electric sedan to go from zero to 60 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds.

The upgrade costs an additional $10,000 for new buyers and results in a 10 percent acceleration improvement. The hold music before the conference call began was a loop of the rap song Beast Mode by Ludacris.

Ludicrous Mode “is an extension of Insane Mode,” Musk explained. With acceleration of 1.1 Gs, “it’s faster than falling.”

Tesla will also offer Ludicrous Mode for its coming Model X SUV, which will probably clock in at zero to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds, according to Musk. “We haven’t tested it yet, so that’s just a guess,” he said. “That’s mad for an SUV, obviously.”

Here’s how Tesla squeezed out the extra juice to go from insane to ludicrous. The limiting factor for acceleration during the first 30 mph is traction—basically getting the wheels to stay connected to earth. Tesla had already solved that engineering roadblock. The limiting factor when accelerating from 30 mph to 60 mph, on the other hand, is pulling enough current from the battery pack.

Ludicrous Mode lets the car pull 1,500 amps instead of 1,300 amps all the way past 60 mph, which previously it couldn’t do.

In other updates, Musk offered an improved battery pack with 15 miles of additional range. He announced that the cheapest version of the Model S will decline in price by $5,000, while the high-end version will jump $10,000.

The company was cagey about what it would announce prior to the conference call. Reporters were e-mailed a heads-up yesterday, and today Musk said on Twitter that the announcement would be about the Model S:

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/622065785268088834

Musk favors tweets and secretive press conferences for product announcements, big and small. Tesla watchers are eagerly awaiting news on two upcoming vehicles: the Model X SUV, which Musk today said is on track to roll out in the coming months, and the Model 3 mass-production vehicle, slated for 2017.