Tesla’s new battery, packed with 100kwh power that makes its Model S P100D with Ludicrous mode run at a mind-blowing speed of 60 mph in 2.5 seconds (never mind its Model X, which runs at the same speed in 2.9 seconds), is certainly something to deal with, at least for Porsche and Ferrari, if they want their gasoline-powered hypercars to keep their lead in the race.
When CEO Elon Musk showed up at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon to announce the secret behind his tie-breaker in the race, which is no other than Tesla’s new battery, he must have got something to brag about.
“It’s quite a historical milestone that the fastest car in the world of any kind is electric. I think that really says something about where the future is headed,” Musk said, addressing a group of journalists, as reported by Benjamin Zhang of Business Insider.
What he had to say further might have even sounded somewhat sarcastic and prophetic.
“In the future we are going to look at gasoline cars the same way we look a steam engine today. Like they are quaint, but it’s not really how you get around.”
A blog post on Tesla’s official website is more specific and straightforward, not mincing any words to make it clear, for its competitors to hear, that it’s all about Tesla’s new battery.
“The Model S P100D with Ludicrous mode is the third fastest accelerating production car ever produced, with a 0-60 mph time of 2.5 seconds. However, both the LaFerrari and the Porsche 918 Spyder were limited run, million dollar vehicles and cannot be bought new. While those cars are small two seaters with very little luggage space, the pure electric, all-wheel drive Model S P100D has four doors, seats up to 5 adults plus 2 children and has exceptional cargo capacity.
“The 100 kWh battery also increases range substantially to an estimated 315 miles on the EPA cycle and 613 km on the EU cycle, making it the first to go beyond 300 miles and the longest range production electric vehicle by far.”
The same goes with Model X, which, also powered by Tesla’s new battery, is the world’s fastest SUV that not only runs at 60 mph in 2.9 seconds but also “travels up to 289 miles EPA estimated and 542 km EU on a single charge.”
But taken at a larger perspective in view of plummeting fuel prices and soaring SUV sales over the past two years, as Zhang noted, not everything is good news for Musk and Tesla and other electric car makers and dealers.
Add to this the fact that “many of the generous government incentives and lease deals that drive electric-car sales have also dried up,” as Zhang put it into perspective, there should be no reason to wonder why “sales of battery-electric cars have tanked.”
Today’s wavering consumers’ behavior is also telling. Those who once put their faith in a new breed of carmakers who promise to give them a petroleum-free world are now faltering and are not likely to be impressed by Tesla’s new battery.
As Zhang put it, “Even though all of the major automakers around the world are working on pure battery-electric cars, few have bet the farm on battery technology.”
Kelly Blue Book editor Karl Bauer agrees, telling CNBC that Tesla’s battery pack “is unlikely to boost sales much, when existing drivers are being charged $20,000 for the upgrade.”
Tesla’s Model S, priced at $134,500, and Model X, at $135,500, compared to Ferrari’s $1.4 million LaFerrari, Porsche’s $845,000 918 Spyder, may look competitive in terms of price and speed at first blush. But as Bauer has it, that doesn’t make sense if “owners of earlier models will be able to buy the better specs for $20,000, while those who currently have a vehicle on order will pay $10,000.”
“It’s an impressive acceleration and range number [but] it doesn’t apply to most Americans out there,” Bauer told CNBC.
If that is the case, Tesla’s new battery, regardless of how it has impressively boosted electric cars’ speed at a mind-blowing 60 mph in 2.5 seconds, is no big deal.
[Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Images]