I can't wait until a dual-motor AWD S is in my garage

I can't wait until a dual-motor AWD S is in my garage

I know there has been no announcement of this version of an S, but it makes sense that one is coming. Elon has stated that people are going to be very surprised how well the X handles. The dual motors can communicate and send torque to each of the 4 wheels within 30 milliseconds. This is far quicker than a mechanical system used in other AWD cars.

So imagine the benefits of adding a front motor to the S. First of all it will fit nicely in the "tunnel" part of the frunk. It will dramatically improve handling. Could it have the best skidpad rating of any sedan on the road? Rivaling some of the best sports cars? Also acceleration would seem to be much quicker. Could we see 0-60 below 3.5 seconds? Seems plausible. That is a car I would love to get on the track.

NikolatheGreat | 07. Juni 2013

I have a buddy that works there. He's not a good liar. I pressed him on a dual motor AWD car and he didn't give it up, but I could read it on his face. It's coming. Might be a supercar version only, but it's coming.


Rmanulkin | 08. Juni 2013

The ideal setup would be four motors, no? That would rock.

Jack_L | 08. Juni 2013

I spoke with one of the senior folks from HQ at the recent "Tesla Tech Talk" and after discussing MS vs MX and my strong desire for AWD due to my driving circumstances I was told to expect AWD on the MS before the release of the MX. I was told that it's not a set timeframe yet but later this year or early 2014 was very, very likely. Good enough for me to sit tight and get what promises to be an amazing machine!!

CraigW | 08. Juni 2013

I picked up my 60kWh at the factory in January. There was an original red (only made for the Signature series) car that was attended by about 12 people and slowing down the line - I was not supposed to see this. It had an engine in the front, as well as the rear. To me this means Tesla has built such a car and probably tested it somewhere. I have been waiting for some type of rumor or test announcement, but heard nothing.

Jolinar | 09. Juni 2013

maybe I just don't understand, but how do you know it had 2 engines? Did you see different frunk or did you see it from beneath?

patp | 09. Juni 2013

That would be awesome. My only main issue with my Model S is that I miss AWD very much. I guess my next car will be an AWD Model S Performance Plus with the cold weather package. Please Tesla!

LEvans | 18. Juni 2013

I live in Maryland and currently drive a Mercedes E550 with 4MATIC. Living in the East Coast I can't imagine owning a car without AWD.

If you look at E class and S class sales well over half all vehicles are sold with AWD and the new Mercedes AMG vehicles all have AWD by default. This is not some luxury but a necessity for people who have to live with snow and ice for months and have to go up and down snow covered driveways and hills on cold months.

I just can't understand why such an amazing car lacks this critical feature. I'm about to replace my car and the upcoming redesigned 2014 S class looks very appealing and I will likely purchase one with AWD but if Tesla offered the Model S with AWD I would instead purchase a Model S with AWD.

I live in a 1940s house and my garage would not accommodate the fance doors of the MX so MS is the only option for me and I've been so disappointing with the lack of availability of AWD in the MS.

If and when Tesla offers a MS with AWD I think they will be very pleased with the sales and discover why Mercedes now offers AWD across their entire model range and why AWD is pretty much standard on all their V8 and AMG vehicles.

Come on Tesla. Add AWD to the MS so I can buy my favorite car in the world!

rdalcanto | 18. Juni 2013

Great. I read this 48 hours before my P85+ gets delivered.... Oh well. I can still drive the Tesla with snow tires most days, and I will have my Jeep available for when it is actually snowing....

ian | 18. Juni 2013

Could have been a test mule for the MX AWD system.

cloroxbb | 18. Juni 2013

I can see how ICE cars may NEED AWD because of weight distribution imbalances, but have you people (that haven't driven a Model S yet, let alone in the snow) thought about the fact that the weight of the Model S makes an very low center of gravity, and may be a lot more evenly distributed to make AWD less needed than in an ICE?

cloroxbb | 18. Juni 2013

an = a

rchiang | 18. Juni 2013

rdalcanto: I guess your feeling how I felt when I got my p85 and I missed it for couple of days for the plus +.

Colasec | 18. Juni 2013

Do you think that the front engine could be retrofit onto the existing MS? Easily enough so it could be something that Tesla Service might offer?

ian | 18. Juni 2013

Retrofit? No way.

+1 cloroxbb.

napacab | 18. Juni 2013

I also picked my car up in late January and they were in fact working on something we were told was "top secret" on a parallel line. I think it was red, and we could see the car very close up. It was in a state of assembly that a trained eye likely could have identified a second motor, but frankly to me (a consumer and enthusiast, but not an expert) it looked exactly like any other MS on the line. It is highly probable that this was in fact an AWD mule. Our tour guide was excited for us, as he kept telling us we were seeing something no one else had seen.

cnoshea6 | 18. Juni 2013

Was told by a Tesla Exec that an AWD Model S would not happen until after the X as it would defeat the purpose of Tesla offering the X with AWD as a lure to some customers. Also he said that they would have to redesign large portions of the car and the factory was running efficiently and that the primary focus was on getting the right hand model ready to go. Don't want to bring bad news but I hope this helps!

rdalcanto | 18. Juni 2013

Trust me, Cloroxbb. No way anyone is making it up the road to my house, 10-14% grade, covered in snow and ice, without Blizzacks AND AWD. But I've been thinking about it, and when it is snowing hard, I don't want to take a $100K vehicle on the road anyway. Better that someone slide into my Jeep and damage that....

JZ13 | 18. Juni 2013

I am excited about AWD S for the performance aspects. An AWD Model S would corner amazingly well. It would also have quicker acceleration

Steven K. | 19. Juni 2013

I am holding out for the AWD MS before I place an order. I am not quite sold on the MX. I definitely prefer AWD not only for the performance aspects, but also for the ability to cross mountain passes in the winter without having to stop and chain up (or buy snow/traction tires). Hopefully, we all won't have to hold out for too long.

LEvans | 19. Juni 2013

Anyone claiming weight distribution or traction control is all you need to deal with snow has likely not driven a rear wheel drive car in snow and ice covered roads. It is an embarrassing and futile disaster. It makes you look like an idiot when you are stranded spinning your wheels.

No amount of weight distribution can defeat the laws of physics. If you live in parts of the country with wintry weather, it is a fact that you will have to deal with snow and sleet and after having owned rear wheel drive vehicles, I decided I'll never do that again.

Perhaps it is the California mindset of where the vehicle is built but AWD is a must for large parts of the country. There is a reason more than 50% of Mercedes vehicles are sold with AWD.

I look forward to purchasing a MS when it is offered with AWD but it looks like in the meantime I'll be looking at getting a S550 with 4MATIC to replace my E550.

herkimer | 19. Juni 2013

Hey WEB SRFR, take a look at the Youtube videos of Model S driving in snow and ice in Canada and Norway. Performs very well, much better than gas cars. Of course good winter tires are necessary. The Pirelli tires offered by TM get rave reviews on tire review sites. Tesla also sells chains, and has a winter package coming on for N. European deliveries. Most of the reports have been very, very positive, even surprised, at how well the Model S performs in snow and ice, even without the winter package.

tobi_ger | 19. Juni 2013

@imherkimer: the winter package does not seem to affect traction/tires

carlk | 19. Juni 2013

+cloroxbb You're right but not even all ICE cars need all wheel drive. GT-R and some Porsche have it but M's, AMG's, Corvettes and even F1's don't.

ian | 19. Juni 2013

I'm sorry but AWD is NOT a substitute for proper winter tires.

WEB_SRFR - You really need to drive a MS or a Roadster in the winter before commenting. Or at least read the MANY reports from those that have. They are NOT like the rear wheel drive you're used to. Then again, just about any modern (5 -10 years old?) rear wheel drive car with proper winter tires will likely do as well as my 10 year old AWD Subaru. Yes, modern traction control systems are THAT good and the Tesla traction control is even THAT much better than the others.

Going back to my comment about how unlikely a retrofit of the front engine would be. I would assume such a vehicle would have to be tested in that configuration by the NHTSA. Therefore it would be highly unlikely Tesla would be willing to install one after the fact.


DTsea | 19. Juni 2013

Rmanulkin- 4 motors is a bad idea. 4 motors, 4 inverters, four times as much power feeder, plus integration volume subtracted from battery pack, and throttle control to 4 points instead of one.

RWD is the simplest possible- one motor, one gearbox, and differential. Easy.

AWD in a model S would change the config of the frame/battery pack which would change the safety score, so hard to see how they could do it prior to homologating the Model X.

Skjervesbu | 19. Juni 2013

Would love to see AWD on the S and the rear wheel drive is one of the things holding me back. My current vehicle is a BMW xDrive, and I must say goneskiian, I had a brand new BMW loaner this winter with rear wheel drive and the difference is HUGE on icy roads, both cornering and straight.

Brian H | 19. Juni 2013

They have also indicated they don't want to cannibalize MX AWD sales. First things first.

stimeygee | 19. Juni 2013

I was looking up something Tesla-related recently, and stumbled on a job posting looking for someone to help them manufacture the 'AWD version of the Model S,' or something to that effect. It sounded like it was happening soon. Can't find the posting now but I bet some googling could turn it up. It was pretty clear, really no mistaking it. I was going to post it to the forum but decided I was going Tesla-crazy and needed a break.

noahas | 19. Juni 2013

I had my S550 4Matic for one winter before trading it for the Model S. Granted I was using the stock all season tires, but in a mild Chicago winter, I would have either had to get snow tires to try them or get rid of the car before next winter, because I had several very scary experiences where the handling in snow/ice was ridiculously bad.

Reading the Chicago subforum here about people's winter driving experiences was enough to convince me that the rear wheel drive was going to be ok, and better than my last RWD car, the 750IL.

Vawlkus | 27. Juni 2013

Web-srfr: as a Canadian I am we'll versed in driving in snow and icy conditions. As such, I call bull---- on needing AWD to tackle ANY such conditions. No car I have EVER owned or driven has had AWD, they have ALL been two wheel drive, some front and some back. There is ZERO need for AWD unless you're going off road. I can say that as I routinely use my two wheel drive cars to get my brother-in-law's AWD truck unstuck from roads and conditions that I have never gotten stuck in.

Good day sir.

cfOH | 27. Juni 2013

It would disappoint me greatly if an AWD MS came into existence in the very near future because the lack of AWD was what kept me from ditching my Subaru in favor of an MS for so long, and I had asked many Tesla employees if there was any plans for an AWD MS. I just recently relented (after 3 winters of very little snow in Cincinnati) and ordered a P85+. I hope I don't end up regretting that.

danej | 27. Juni 2013

This old document from 2010 talks about battery swapping, and also all wheel drive. See page 13:

So, I think it's safe to assume it's in the product road map, and that we'll see it someday. That would be cool!


skymaster | 27. Juni 2013


You can get 19" wheels with winter tires for your brutal winters in Cincinnati. You will never regret buying a P85+!!

cfOH | 27. Juni 2013

@skymaster: Oh, for sure. By the beginning of November, she'll be shod for the cold weather months. Probably not Blizzaks, but something grippy on a 19" wheel.

LEvans | 04. Juli 2013

Wow good for you that you can magically drive better in a non AWD car than your brother in law with an AWD vehicle. So this topic should not matter to you at all since you have zero need for AWD. So enjoy your life in Canada with your amazing driving skills and all!

After having experienced driving in the winter in AWD and RWD cars my pathetic limited driving skills have taught me that I am safer and in more control in an AWD car because I can't defeat the laws of physics like they do in Canada with their magical driving skills.

So before I trade in my E550 with 4MATIC for an S550 with 4MATIC I was wondering if anyone had any news about a possible MS with AWD. I need to replace my car within the next 6 months and living in the north east and having to deal with snow, and not being a Canadian with magical winter driving skills, AWD is a must for me.


In reply to: Vawlkus | June 27, 2013

Web-srfr: as a Canadian I am we'll versed in driving in snow and icy conditions. As such, I call bull---- on needing AWD to tackle ANY such conditions. No car I have EVER owned or driven has had AWD, they have ALL been two wheel drive, some front and some back. There is ZERO need for AWD unless you're going off road. I can say that as I routinely use my two wheel drive cars to get my brother-in-law's AWD truck unstuck from roads and conditions that I have never gotten stuck in.

Good day sir.

carlk | 04. Juli 2013

@WEB_SRFR What he said is true. Modern traction control has made AWD unnecessary for on road driving. All you need is four (snow) tires with good tacktion. Tell me under what situation when there is no tire slip that the extra pull from the front tires help?

rdalcanto | 04. Juli 2013

When you are going up the 12% grade to my house, and it is covered by snow and ice, the traction from 2 snow tires is just not enough. You do need the extra pull from the front tires to make it, and even then there are days you will BARELY do so. There are similar grades to some of the ski resorts (like Snowbird), and it is illegal to drive them when it is snowing without either chains or AWD. If you live in Chicago, or similar relatively flat city, then rear wheel drive with snow tires is probably adequate.

cfOH | 04. Juli 2013

I vehemently disagree with the idea that traction control + snow tires provides the same level of control as AWD. It simply ain't so. And I say that as someone who has owned, driven, and raced RWD and AWD cars on a variety of surfaces (tarmac, snow, mud, gravel, etc.). Traction control helps. Snow tires help. But the vector control you have by putting power at all 4 corners is impossible for a RWD (or even a FWD) car to replicate completely. There's a reason the best rally cars in the world are all AWD.

carlk | 04. Juli 2013

Haha, Can you say formula one?

carlk | 04. Juli 2013

@rdalcanto 12% grade is certainly off road territory and yes you probably do need pull from all four wheels. Other than that and feel good factor I really can't think of a reason that pull from front tires can help on regular roads in rain or snow. Note I said pull not traction since you always have traction from all four wheels no matter it's AWD or RWD.

Dr. Bob Reinke | 04. Juli 2013

Those who believe that 4wd will solve bad driving conditions without denigrating the over all performance of the Model S don't understand the laws of thermodynamics. Murphey expressed it in it's simplest form: Carrying a full honeybucket up hill is harder than carrying an empty hunnybucket up hill and carrying a full hunnybucket down hill is harder than carrying an empty hunnybucket down hill. The drive train on a Model S including the control hardware makes up about 1/3 of the Model S weight. Adding another drive will reduce the range by about 1/4. The weight doesn't even consider the second range-loss factor: the friction of another gearbox and it's sticky lubrication in cold weather. That friction loss is exactly why most 4WD are equiped with manual or electronic hub disingagement. Denigration of range will be the first complain when 4wd provides only 200 mile range.

Friction and weight against range are the reason that the model X is also offered in rear wheel only drive, with a 4 wheel drive option.

Malnodnarb | 05. Juli 2013

@Dr. Bob Reinke Good point. Maybe they will have an option for the driver to select when the front motor operates so they can keep the rated range higher when only using RWD. I know there's added weight, but at least that's one less thing that could lower EPA range.

cfOH | 05. Juli 2013

@Dr. Bob: The MS doesn't adhere to traditional thinking when it comes to AWD drivetrains since there isn't a normal transmission, clutch, differential setup, etc. The mechanical losses between the MS motor and the wheels are pretty small, actually...probably no more than 5-7%, compared to 12-20% on an AWD car. Also, the motor assembly isn't that heavy compared to the other components, like the battery pack, chassis, and so on. I have a really hard time believing that a second motor assembly would reduce range by 25%...unless you have data to support that, I'm going to assume it's pure conjecture.

Regarding performance, AWD helps launch by a significant amount because it improves traction, but hurts top speed because of its impact on WHP. Two of the world's quickest street cars -- e.g., the Bugatti Veyron and the Nissan GT-R -- are both AWD. Given that very few of us need, or even want, to drive over 130 mph on a regular basis, if ever, I'd certainly take the traction benefits of AWD over the top-end benefits of RWD, especially since I live somewhere with 4 actual seasons.

I suspect that the Model X will give the driver some control over front/rear power bias. Those who want more safety can bias power to the front whereas those who want more sportiness can bias it to the rear. The possibility of near-instantaneous torque vectoring without a center differential and all that associated hardware is very exciting, IMO.

carlk | 05. Juli 2013

I just want to add one more thing that no one has mentioned yet. Traction control on MS can be more effective than on ICE cars because of the instantaneous torque response. The car can adjust output much faster and more precisely than in ICE cars where the feedback loop takes much longer. You should take this into consideration whether you will need AWD or not on your MS, giving the penalty you need to pay for having it.

carlk | 06. Juli 2013

@Brain H Of curse. What I meant is it was not mentioned in this RWD vs. AWD discussion.

Bubba2000 | 06. Juli 2013

I am getting a 85P in early August, and I have booked a MX. I am going to defer my purchase of the MX AWD performance till Tesla gets a 500 mile battery. That car with 2 motors/HP, extra weight and profile/drag will need extra battery power. Hopefully, Tesla will improve on design and cut the weight too. Meanwhile, the MS will do.. I live in hot climate, except it rains and is swampy at times in the country, so AWD would help.

From a practical aspect, the MX makes the most practical sense for me since I have kids, etc. Will keep my ICE auto for long range driving and second car.

Brian H | 06. Juli 2013

Brain Brian
Of curse course

Yes, it changes the parameters and dividing lines. Millisecond TC will also enhance AWD, of course.

JZ13 | 13. Oktober 2014

I'm still curious how the road holding performance numbers will be. Could this car have a lateral acceleration exceeding 1g? I've got my P85D on order and December can't get here soon enough.