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Tesla goes 0 to 100 (kWh) real quick

Say hello to what's allegedly the quickest production car in the world.

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Tesla's generally very incremental with updates, which is why each new battery doesn't also include a whole raft of changes to other parts of the car.


Battery technology is improving every day, so what could have been top dog last year is already overdue for a replacement. Tesla's 90-kWh battery has lived atop the automaker's lineup for about a year now, which means something is due to dethrone it. That's happening today, with the announcement of a 100-kWh battery option.

Starting today, Tesla will be adding the 100-kWh battery to the top of its lineup for both the Model S and Model X, but deliveries won't start until next month at the earliest. The EPA-estimated range is 315 miles for the Model S P100D, and 289 miles for the Model X P100D. That's a range bump of 45 miles and 39 miles over the P90D variant, respectively.

For the time being, it will come in P100D form only, meaning all-wheel drive and the performance options (including Ludicrous Mode) are standard. The only other major change is the addition of Tesla's Premium Seats to all Model S variants that start with a P. The seats are already standard in Model X.

Of course, with that additional battery capacity comes a little extra hustle. Tesla claims the Model S P100D will be the quickest production car in the world, with an estimated 0-to-60 time of 2.5 seconds. The Model X P100D will reach 60 mph in 2.9 seconds, which is also disturbingly quick, just slightly less so. On a conference call, Tesla CEO Elon Musk did note that the LaFerrari and Porsche 918 Spyder are quicker, but you can't buy them new anymore.

While adding 10 kWh to the battery might sound easy peasy, it's not. Musk said it was quite difficult to create. Compared with the 90-kWh battery, there are no extra cells in the pack -- rather, the module and pack architecture have changed significantly, and the cooling technology's been revamped. He also pointed out that this is not the biggest pack the company could or will make. It's approaching the theoretical limits of current technology, but Tesla is working hard on new battery innovations with its partner, Panasonic.

Even better, current P90D owners can upgrade, although it's not cheap. If you've ordered a P90D with Ludicrous Mode but have not taken delivery, you can move on up to the P100D for just $10,000. If you already own a P90D with Ludicrous Mode, you can upgrade for $20,000. The cost is higher in the second case, because the 90-kWh battery will need to be recycled. This isn't a simple software upgrade.

If you're buying new with straight cash, a Model S P100D will run you $134,500, or $15,000 more than a Model S P90D with Ludicrous Mode. The Model X P100D starts at $135,500, or $10,000 more than the equivalent Model X P90D. Supplies are limited by the ability to crank out these new battery packs, though, and right now Musk believes manufacturing can produce about 200 of these new battery packs each week.