From The Editors Technology

Elon Musk Reveals Tesla Model 3 Variants, Including the $78,000 “Performance”

In a series of tweets, Tesla supremo Elon Musk yesterday announced two new variants of the Model 3 – the dual-motor, all-wheel drive (AWD) Model 3 as well as the Performance version, which Musk said is capable of zero to 60mph in just 3.5 seconds.

While the single motor rear-wheel-drive base model option remains, you can opt for an upgraded version at an additional $5,000, which will not only give you AWD, but also an improved range of 310 miles and a zero to 60mph time of 4.5 seconds, with a top speed of 140mph.

To put that in perspective, the base Model 3 has a maximum range of 220 miles and its stationary to sixty miles per hour time is 5.6 seconds.

The $78,000 Performance version of the Model 3 is not only set to give the BMW M3 a run for its money – in terms of speed and handling – but is good enough to “beat anything in its class on the track,” claims Musk, which is, indeed, a tall claim to make, considering the fact that the M3 is quite a gladiator in the sports sedan arena.

And, as mentioned at the outset, the Performance Model 3 is capable of zero to sixty in a mere 3.5 seconds, in addition to having a top speed of 155 mph, with a maximum range of 310 miles on a fully juiced-up battery.

Now, the two-motor configuration in the AWD Model 3, including Performance, is conceptualized along the lines of the Model S, with the front motor optimized for range and the one on the back built for power.

Musk says that the car is capable of safely taking you to your destination on any one engine, should the other break down.

If you don’t already know, the all-wheel-drive system in an electric vehicle works differently from that of a petrol or a diesel car where the front and back axles are mechanically connected via a driveshaft so that power is transferred from a single source to all four wheels.

Tesla makes the Model 3 an all-wheel drive by putting another motor up front to power the front wheels, which in effect means that the only connection between the two axles is the surface it drives on, which is known as a “through-the-road” system.

Addressing a doubt about the front and back motor types used on the Performance Model 3, the Tesla boss clarified that the front motor is an AC induction version while the one at the back is a “switched reluctance, partial permanent magnet” motor.

Apparently, what Musk is saying is that the Performance variant will likely have the same rear motor as the one on the current single-motor rear-wheel-drive model.

He also confirmed that both motors will get Silicon Carbide inverters and that the Performance version will have carbon fiber spoiler, 20” Performance wheels, and black & white interior.

One thing is for sure, though; the Model 3 is not going to be the fastest car out of the Tesla stable, as the Model S P100D can do zero to sixty miles per hour in a snappy 2.5 seconds, while the $200,000 Tesla Roadster promises the same acceleration in a snappier 1.9 seconds, but we’ll have to wait for that, as production is yet to start.

Talking about production, well, that’s where Tesla has had some major issues in recent times, failing to meet deadlines time and again, managing to produce only 3,600 cars a week, on average, for a total of under 30,000 Model 3 cars, per Bloomberg estimates.

Musk attributed the Model 3 production hiccups to overdependence on automation, last month, admitting that humans were the answer to Tesla’s production woes.

When asked if robots were the reason behind the slowing down of production, Musk said, “ Yes, they did … We had this crazy, complex network of conveyor belts … And it was not working, so we got rid of that whole thing.”

The very next day, Tesla temporarily halted the Model 3 production in a bid to improve its production performance by enhancing automation and removing bottlenecks – a move which was in stark contrast to what Musk had said a day earlier about humans being the answer to production issues.

“These periods are used to improve automation and systematically address bottlenecks in order to increase production rates,” a Tesla spokesperson said about the temporary suspension of work.

Before that, in February, there was a similar four-day stoppage in production, with the same reason given for the temporary suspension.

However, in spite of the oft-written-about production problems, Tesla is “quite likely” to roll out more than 500 Model 3s every day of this week, according to a leaked Musk email to Tesla employees, reports Electrek – the electric car blog.

At that rate, the company would be hitting a healthy production rate of 3,500 Model 3s every week, but still quite some distance away from its original target production rate of 5,000 cars a week by the quarter.

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