"70% plus of our cars will be dual motor" - GQ Article "Elon Musk talks Tesla"

"70% plus of our cars will be dual motor" - GQ Article "Elon Musk talks Tesla"

I thought you all would enjoy reading this new GQ article.

I am not at all surprised that over 70% of Model S vehicles are now sold with AWD. Also seems the P85D sales are very strong and I'm not surprised to hear that as well given the extreme performance you get at the price. It's the best premium performance car value out there.

All in all things are looking good going into the holidays... :)

3s-a-charm | November 26, 2014

I agree - but only if they can get across to people that the AWD in a Tesla is an ADVANTAGE and doesn't negatively impact handling/power like a traditional single-engine ICE vehicle. It's amazing to think an AWD car would actually be better than a RWD car even in a hot climate that doesn't warrant the added traction of AWD 99% of the time. | November 26, 2014

Wait a minute. There's something fishy about the article. First of all, I don't believe that Elon said "mould", although he might have said "mold". Moreover, the term "milk floats" appears twice. What is a milk float? Apparently, it is a battery-powered milk delivery truck in England. How does Elon know about this type of vehicle? Evidently, they have used them in South Africa in the past within Elon's lifetime. Do you think he got the yen to join Tesla because he had to wait for milk as a kid?

Milk truck in South Africa in the 70's:


I hope it is more than 33,000 cars for 2014 not 32,000 ( a new number uttered by his Muskness.)

tes-s | November 26, 2014

Not sure it makes a difference if it is 32,000 or 33,000. Elon reiterates their problem is production:

"With deliveries of the X due to start next summer, the biggest problem we have at Tesla now is meeting production demands."

He is linking the production constraints to the X.

AmpedUP | November 26, 2014

Because there appear to be no negatives associated with AWD in the Model S, I think single drive will be phased out. I also think the Model III will only be offered as AWD, just like the Model X.

cpmarino | November 26, 2014

For any other manufacturer, I would disagree. There is a big difference between RWD and AWD, in cost & complexity, performance, maintenance, tires, etc.

For Tesla though, it would make sense to focus on fewer iterations of the same vehicle. Yes, cost and complexity increase with the 2nd drive unit, but if all you were building were cars with 2 drive units, you wouldn't have to have two different production processes. From a logistical standpoint, it's hard enough producing two or three different vehicles, but if each had 18 iterations (like Porsche) it would be impossible. With no drawback to AWD, makes sense for all Tesla cars to have it, period.

TimV | November 26, 2014

I could see TM keeping RWD on the M3 for the sole purpose of having it at a lower price point. Even if the cost difference to them is small, they can charge more for AWD. This potentially allows them to have better margins and a higher overall ASP since most people will opt for AWD while also keeping a lower priced base model for those that are more cost sensitive.

Pungoteague_Dave | November 26, 2014

Hence the obsolescence and aftermarket value implosion of all Teslas delivered prior to September 2014. Brilliant. Tesla cars are the new iPhones - upgradable, disposable, and obsessed about by their owners. 8-}

Sudre_ | November 26, 2014

Or put both motors in and have an activation fee!

LEvans | November 26, 2014

@Sudre_: That is actually brilliant. I can see now a poor Tesla owner calling Tesla stuck in a snow storm to pay $5K to have the AWD feature added on to the car so they can get home :)

Seriously though I think this is a great approach. I think if they add AWD to all the cars, their per unit cost will go down and the additional motor can be activated later by the current owner or even a subsequent owner a bit like how some of the initial S40s can be upgraded to an S60 via software.

tes-s | November 26, 2014

I think the S/X skateboard will eventually be offered AWD only. The M3 could be handled differently - my guess is 2WD, and possibly an AWD option.

plafor | November 26, 2014

I don't think that Tesla can make a $35K Model 3 as promised with AWD. In fact, the best way to achieve that price is to use the already existing 188 hp motor of the S85D to make a 2WD Model 3. A performance Model 3 could be built with two 188hp motors, but that would cost much more than $35K.

carlk | November 26, 2014

Tesla will make a bare bone $35K without any minimally required options such as tech or even back seats (that's a joke btw), althoug few will buy it. The price for the most popular variation is likely ~$50K up to $80K for fully optioned performance model. Incidentally this is about the price range of BMW 3 series from 320i to M3. Tesla still has a big advantage over BMW because of the inherent electric car performance and much lower operating and energy costs.

JohnGlenney | November 26, 2014

The model 3 will probably have dual motor more for the range enhancement than performance. The s85 went from 265 to 295 mile range with addition of the "D". Tesla needs a model3 with 200 mile range and it doesnt matter where they get it. Given that they are committed to a "compelling" car for the masses, the dual drive gives them the best of both worlds at a nominal increase in price. By coming out with the dual drive now they can solve hardware and software problems before too many are on the road.

Iowa92x | November 26, 2014

Which costs Tesla less, a 60 kwh pack RWD or a 50 kWh pack with AWD? I'd think both would hit the 200 mile range goal for model 3.

AoneOne | November 28, 2014

I could see the M3 as a front-wheel drive, matching the driving dynamics of most of today's family cars. Of course, Tesla has little respect for precedent, so they, like Apple, might insist on doing it their way and waiting for the public to catch up.

Pungoteague_Dave | November 29, 2014

For a "standard" family econobox, front wheel drive makes the most sense in terms of driving dynamics and packaging. Tesla has the advantage of a compact drive train, but will probably need to go a bit more vertical with some elements of battery packaging, as the floor area will be smaller than with the S or X.

Most driving enthusiasts prefer RWD or AWD for driving dynamics, but look to the VW Golf and Japanese family cars as models for space use and handling. Tesla won't be copying anyone, but just as it uses four wheels and doors in conventional locations on the S, the Gen 3 will have to hew to certain design and driving characteristics if we hope to gain wide adoption. I realize this may be seen as conventional thinking and too conservative. However, not everything about the Tesla world is cutting edge - in fact its genius is applying conventional design and materials into a vehicle that is more advanced than anything out there. Even though BMW and others are employing more sophisticated body elements that are newer, Tesla gets a better product out the door.

Red Sage ca us | November 30, 2014

Model ☰ will probably offer a base version with rear wheel drive. There will not be a front wheel drive version of any Generation III vehicle. Eventually, as a electric cars become more accepted worldwide, all Generation III vehicles may be dual motor all wheel drive.

I believe that in a smaller, more lightweight vehicle than Tesla Model S, a 60 kWh battery pack should be able to provide around 250 miles of range. I am certain that will be the minimum capacity offered for the Model ☰, and that the sedan version will weigh about 3,700 lbs or less to start. A dual motor version will still weigh less than 4,000 lbs.

Because it will be an electric vehicle, Model ☰ can have a longer wheelbase than other cars in class. Just as the Model S is wider than its contemporaries, so shall be the Model ☰. So though it may use newer battery cell design, I would not discount the possibility that Model ☰ may use the same size/shape of 'skateboard' for the battery pack as do Model S and Model X.

I think there is an outside chance that once lightweight batteries, at least twice the current capacity in energy density, are available to Tesla Motors for substantially less than $100 per kWh there might be a Generation IV. It would be a series of extremely inexpensive city cars designed for use in Asian, European, African, and South American nations with narrow roads and crowded streets. Those might be front wheel drive to maximize passenger space over cargo area in extremely lightweight vehicles, but they would never be released for sale in the United States of America.



Remnant | December 1, 2014

@ JohnGlenney (November 26, 2014)

<< Tesla needs a model3 with 200 mile range and it doesnt matter where they get it. >>

If it's "affordable" and short range, I wouldn't buy it, because for the longer trips I would also need a second car or a Range Extender, and I couldn't afford them.

A person/family of limited means needs a multi-purpose car, with at least average range (350 miles) and decent features and performance, including AWD. It has to be a competitive vehicle, not a "bare-bone" one that people would easily forgo, in favor of some other make.

MΞ could get a longer range from the smaller dimensions, lighter components and materials, an optimized power train, or the improved battery we expect for the late 2015 or early 2016 (higher energy density, faster recharge, lighter electrode materials, better thermal behavior and cooling requirements).

Pungoteague_Dave | December 1, 2014

There is zero evidence from an authoritative source that the Gen 3 will be rwd.

RS, the cars you picture as examples for small econoboxes are all front wheel drive. Also, many of the places you list as candidates for the car don't have electrical infrastructure required for charging a fleet of EV's. I have motorcycled all over Africa and South America. The vast majority of people there live in places with no electricity, or with local gasoline generators that run a few hours per day to mass-charge cell phones. Most villagers now have cell phones and use small handheld solar panels for power. My experience is that it is often tough to find gas stations that have fuel, and often must buy black market jerry-can gasoline of suspect origin in order to keep going. Electricity? Decades away, if ever.

Red Sage ca us | December 1, 2014

Pungoteague_Dave: Yes, it would take a long while. That's why I dubbed them 'Generation IV'. I would presume that Tesla Motors would work to expand infrastructure for charging through those territories themselves at some point in the coming years. Decades? Maybe. But Tesla will move much faster than any expect, I think.

As for rear wheel drive... The only front wheel drive cars that Tesla Model S competes against are from Acura perhaps. Every other car in the market segment is rear wheel drive or all wheel drive. It took a couple of years, but Tesla now has AWD covered as well.

Since the announced target for Model ☰ is the BMW 3-Series, and there are no front wheel drive variants of the 3-Series, I think it is a fairly accurate assumption to presume the Model ☰ will be rear wheel drive, and offer a dual motor all wheel drive variant.

Acura, Infiniti, and Lexus have all tried front wheel drive around the same price point as BMW 3-Series, and they have all been consistently outsold by the car with rear wheel drive standard, and an AWD option.

So I expect Tesla will follow BMW's example in that regard with Model ☰.

There is the argument that people who buy in the 'real' mass market, those who purchase Accord, Camry, Altima, Fusion, Malibu, Sonata... May not be 'ready' for a performance minded rear wheel drive car. That's fine. Tesla Motors won't be able to accommodate them with capacity for another six or seven years anyway, so they can just keep buying gas.

Really though, I think that notion is utter hogwash. If you can handle a 250+ HP front wheel drive car, you'll be able to manage a 300+ HP rear wheel drive car. Most people can't tell the difference on surface streets, driving at below 45 MPH, anyway. What impresses people is torque, and the Tesla Model ☰ will have that in abundance.

TytanX_ | December 1, 2014

I wonder how much better Regen you can get from front wheel compared to rear wheel drive.

tes-s | December 1, 2014

Let's not forget the FWD 75-mile-range Nissan Leaf outsells the Tesla MS.

Apparently it is not all about performance and range.

CraigW | December 1, 2014

It would be stunning if the Tesla outsold the Leaf.

Most people cannot spend $50,000 on a car and Tesla is well above that. Range doesn't matter if your budget won't accommodate your wishes.

For a clean town car the Leaf is a very good solution. It is only when you want to set out on trips that it comes us short.

It may well be that Tesla doesn't enter this economy market. Elon has said his goal is to make the electric car a superior alternative. If other major manufacturers enter the electric market in a serious fashion, Tesla may just stick to the most profitable end of the market for the next 10 years.

kwen197 | December 1, 2014

Does anyone on this thread know what a 188 HP electric drive unit costs to manufacture?
A friend & co-worker was hired as an engineer by Chrysler in the mid 1960's he was slotted in the V8 ICE department to look for ways to reduce the cost. At that time the engine with all components to make it function cost
$37.36 period.