A Tesla official has reportedly leaked the automaker's plans to overhaul its flagship Model S sedan and Model X crossover involving restyling and serious upgrades to the vehicles' batteries, offering around 400 miles of range EPA.
These claims come from Tesla fan vlog Like Tesla, which claims an "inside source" that has "worked closely with Tesla for the better half of a decade." This source allegedly told the YouTube channel that there are significant improvements to Tesla's first two mass-produced models, which could debut as soon as the third quarter of 2019, or within four months.
According to this source, these upgrades start with alterations to Tesla's lithium-ion battery packs which will reduce their weight, but also increase their energy storage capacity. The largest of these new batteries, reportedly suggested to be greater than 100 kilowatt-hours (kWh) in size, will allegedly be 350 pounds lighter than the current 100-kWh pack, offering greater efficiency, but also improved performance. These batteries will reportedly be capable of pushing the next-gen Model X to almost 400 miles of range on the conservative EPA range metric, and the Model S just beyond it.
Range and performance reportedly aren't the only areas in which these batteries will see improvement, as the source allegedly claimed that these batteries will be able to accept 250-kilowatt fast-charging, and will be compatible with Tesla's upcoming Supercharger V3. Its ability to accept this much current may be attributed to an alleged new motor and battery cooling system, which was claimed to be undergoing testing in Arizona and Death Valley, Nevada.
Other alterations to the battery have allegedly been made in the name of performance, supposedly one of the focal points of the Model S and X's redesigns. They will each reportedly adopt a tri-motor setup not unlike that of the upcoming second-gen Tesla Roadster, with one motor driving the front axle, and two, the rear.
Exterior and interior redesigns are said to be coming for both vehicles, the latter mimicking the design language found inside the Model 3.
Tesla, however, committed in April to a less-substantial Model S and X midlife refresh, one that boosted the models' respective ranges to 370 and 325 miles. Likewise, CEO Elon Musk stated on Twitter last year that comprehensive refreshes like the one outlined above aren't Tesla's modus operandi.
If the plans alleged above are indeed Tesla's, this may be its way of juicing its customer base for a second time as a way to address its uneasy financial situation, as well as the recent tailing-off of demand for its products in the U.S. CEO Elon Musk has stated that Tesla had an estimated ten months to achieve neutral cash flow, and if Tesla fails to achieve that, a buyout by a larger company is thought unlikely given Tesla's tremendous liabilities.