A lot goes into launching a car perfectly to achieve its best possible acceleration run -- just ask anyone who drag races. EVs are already known to launch particularly well owing to their electric motors delivering maximum torque from zero RPMs, but that doesn't mean improvements can't be made. Tesla, which already builds some of the hardest-launching new cars in the business, is reportedly working on a performance improvement to its models known as "Cheetah Stance." The evocative, animal-inspired name presumably stems from how cheetahs coil their rear haunches higher in the air like taut springs before they pounce.
According to Tesla fan site Teslarati, Elon Musk and Co. are readying a setting in Launch Mode for Model S and Model X vehicles equipped with the company's Raven powertrain update and air suspension. Essentially, Cheetah Stance sounds like it lowers the front air suspension and optimizes damping to best manage weight transfer during a hard acceleration event. (Launch Mode presently already lowers Model S and Model X suspension at all four corners.)
Not incidentally, this strategy sounds an awful lot like a higher-tech version of the old hot-rod trick that involves jacked-up rear ends and modified spring rates. News of this update via Tesla hacker Green, who has reportedly seen a forthcoming software update for these models.
For the moment, there's no timeline for when Cheetah Stance will be made available. It seems like a safe bet to expect it to be available via over-the-air update, and not just on new Model S and Model X Raven models. At least for the moment, this bit of tech doesn't appear to be headed for the Model 3 or its new Model Y -- Performance versions or otherwise. For the moment, Tesla's entry-level model and its new crossover SUV remain unavailable with air suspension, although that may be about to change, at least for the sedan.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this story.
First published April 6.