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Tesla ‘Plaid’ 3-motor powertrain coming to Model S in ‘about a year’

Autocar Thursday, 12 September 2019
Three-motor electric powertrain will be used in Tesla's Nurburgring record run, and offered in Model X and Roadster, Musk claims

A series of tweets by Tesla CEO Elon Musk have confirmed that the Model S will adopt a new, ultra high-performance three-motor powertrain configuration coined ‘Plaid’.

In the tweets, Musk claims that the new powertrain is “about a year away” and will also feature in the X and Roadster models, but not the upcoming Model Y or recently released Model 3 saloon.

The Tesla boss also confirmed that the uprated powertrain will cost more than any of its current offerings, but will still cost “less than competitors”, perhaps hinting at the recently unveiled Porsche Taycan which costs £138,000 in flagship Turbo S form.

The news comes after a beefed-up Model S P100D+ featuring wider wheel arches, a rear spoiler and aggressive grille was spotted testing at the Nürburgring earlier this week, with the intention of beating the Taycan’s lap time of seven minutes and 42 seconds.

Though Musk originally tweeted that the EV would go for the laptime record this week, it is now understood that the German circuit has been able to offer him a 30-minute window in a couple of weeks due to their tightly packed schedule. 

The Model S is already claimed to be a lap record holder at Laguna Seca Raceway, one of the most famous tracks in North America, and in order to tackle the 12.9 undulating miles of the Nürburgring, it appears that Tesla are seeking to recruit the talents of ex-Formula One champion Nico Rosberg, with the German claiming that he is “still in discussions” about piloting the upgraded Model S on its final run.

Also claimed by Musk is that the Model S currently being tested at the ‘Ring is equipped with seven seats. This is perhaps the first indication of how powerful Tesla are hoping the ‘Plaid’ powertrain will be, as two extra seats over the Model S’s standard five will result in considerable additional weight - but would allow them to loosely claim the "fastest seven-seater" lap record. 

*Read more:*

*Elon Musk claims Tesla will have robotaxis on roads by 2020*

*Vollswagen boss rules out investment in Tesla*

*Tesla Model S versus Jaguar I-Pace: EV twin test*

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