At a much-promoted press conference last night, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the addition of D-suffix models to the brand's Model S line. The D stands for Dual-motor, which translates to all-wheel-drive.
The same AWD system is expected to be used in the Tesla Model X crossover when it comes to market.
Following the lead of Toyota's and Lexus's hybrid AWD vehicles, the Tesla AWD system uses a second electric motor to drive the second set of wheels – in this case at the front.
Three AWD models will be offered in the Model S: the 60D, 85D, and the high-performance P85D.
The 60D will have a 60 kWh battery that is said to provide an increased range of 362 km at 105 km/h. The 85D and P85D will get 85 kWh batteries with a nominal range of 475 and 443 km per charge, respectively.
The 60D and 85D are rated at 376 horsepower – 188 from each motor. The P85D is said to produce 691horsepower in total – 470 at the rear and 221 up front.
Tesla claims the P85 D will accelerate from 0-to-97 km/h (0-to-60 mph) in just 3.2 seconds, which would make it one of the quickest sedans in the world.
In addition to AWD, the Model S will also offer a suite of new 'Autopilot' driver-assistance technologies that include features such as lane-keeping and collision-prevention braking, which are already offered on many other premium cars.
But it will also include an automatic lane-change feature that is triggered by the turn-signal as well as a speed-control function based on reading speed-limit signs. Plus, it well self-park in a garage – with the driver outside the vehicle.
Production of the P85D is expected to begin in December with the other two models following later.