Tesla Model S Plaid+ Axed Days Before Launch Because Regular One Is ‘Just So Good’

About that extra range…

byRob Stumpf| PUBLISHED Jun 7, 2021 1:49 PM
Tesla Model S Plaid+ Axed Days Before Launch Because Regular One Is ‘Just So Good’

Tesla is known for making unbelievably quick cars. Even in its most affordable form, the Model S sedan offers pretty impressive specs, and the Performance trim is the icing on the cake. The automaker recently refreshed the Model S and with that promised something even quicker than before: a Plaid model.

Well, that and Plaid+, which is even more impressive on paper. However, the Model S Plaid+ is now canceled according to Tesla's CEO Elon Musk. He broke the news himself—as he usually does—via Twitter over the weekend, stating that Plaid+ has been called off because the standard one "is just so good." The lesser (though still properly quick) Model S Plaid is set to launch on June 10, a week later than originally planned.

via Tesla

The Model S Plaid+ was made out to be a sedan with hypercar-level acceleration. Musk and Co. touted a "less than" 1.99-second zero to 60 time for the EV, while the regular Plaid is quoted at just 1.99 seconds, inclusive of a one-foot rollout, with a 200-mile-per-hour top speed. But more importantly, the Plaid+ was to offer more range. The Plaid trim is slated to offer 390 miles of range, whereas the Plaid+ was slated to provide 520 miles per Tesla.

Musk did not address the range, though several prominent influencers and Tesla fans like Marques Brownlee of MKBHD did point this out.

Unfortunately, Tesla dissolved its communications and public relations department some time ago, so this seems to be going unanswered, at least until the launch event on June 10. Musk did reportedly tell Electrek that the range upgrade of the Plaid+ was moot, hinting that we'll still see the Plaid's initially promised 390 miles of range—at least on paper.

“What we are seeing is that once you have a range above 400 miles, more range doesn’t really matter," Musk said to Electrek. "There are essentially zero trips above 400 miles where the driver doesn’t need to stop for restroom, food, coffee, etc. anyway.”

What the 390-mile figure may not account for is real-world driving conditions. Certain circumstances like highway driving, cold weather, and the use of air conditioning significantly cut down on the range of an electric car as the battery manages the increased load. Independent testing from Edmunds conducted earlier this year criticized Tesla vehicles for falling short of their claimed EPA range by as much as 54 miles.

Still, the Plaid is an impressive vehicle. Tesla says that its electric motors pump out 1,020 horsepower, enabling it to run the quarter-mile in 9.23 seconds with a trap speed of 155 mph. That drag-strip data is backed up by the one and only Jay Leno, too, just in case you don't trust Mr. Musk.

Despite the news, the Model S Plaid+ is still listed on Tesla's configurator, though grayed out with a note stating availability will begin in mid-2022. Some speculate that the range specs offered by the Model S Plaid+ may have been dependent on Tesla's upcoming power-dense 4680 cell, which Musk noted was between 12 and 18 months away from volume production during the company's first quarter earnings call of 2021. This would line up with the mid-2022 release noted on Tesla's configurator.

While the reason for this cancelation is still rather ambiguous, it seems Tesla has been waiting to reveal the news for some time. Several potential owners on Reddit reported that their orders for the Model S Plaid+ were canceled last week, instead rolling back the order to regular Plaid cars. More might come from the launch event on Thursday so stay tuned for our coverage there.

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