AWD Model S available early 2015, Model X all-wheel drive only

AWD Model S available early 2015, Model X all-wheel drive only

Tesla has confirmed that the Model X will be all-wheel drive only, and Elon Musk has said that an AWD Tesla Model S will be available in early 2015. Can we believe this report?

lolachampcar | February 12, 2014

There has been rampant speculation about a P120++ (or whatever else you would like to call it) over on TMC for months now. I've tried to fuel the speculation in hopes of showing customer interest :)

Car t man | February 12, 2014

The problem is that this isn't true. Elon mentioned that the AWD S might come in 2015 but the rest is in this author's head. He mentions separate motors
for each wheel and torque vectoring, which is not how Tesla does AWD.

This is someone's flawed understanding of what Elon way saying.

Brian H | February 13, 2014

car t;

Roamer@AZ USA | February 13, 2014

+1 Lola

As soon as the order tab shows up on I am preordering

P120++AWD can't come soon enough. I would love to have a true Super S wrapped in a daily driver skin.

Perfect market timing to keep the buzz going;
2015 is X
2016 is AWD S
2017 is E

Then if we are really dreaming big an Airstream trailer mounted on an S skateboard that is self powering so you can tow it with anything......Never hurts to dream big.

podoffice | February 13, 2014

The model X page now only lists the Model X as having AWD.

SD Supercharger | February 13, 2014

2018 needs to be a Tesla pick-up truck--currently the best selling vehicle in the US.
YOUR Airstream will just have to wait!!

chenglo1 | February 13, 2014

Tesla Minivan anyone?

Roamer@AZ USA | February 14, 2014

+1 SD Supercharger. I am willing to wait for my Airsteam Trailer Tesla if I can have a pickup truck first.

I was loading 5 gallon buckets of roof coating material in my S the other day and the warehouse guy commented, "that's a pretty expensive pickup truck you are driving".

SamO | February 14, 2014

+2 @Lola & Roamer

I would jump all over an AWD 120+ Supercar. Whatever I can say on this forum, sprinkle pixie dust . . . please make this happen.

I'm hoping it will come out (at least the AWD) in 2015 concomitant with the MX. Wouldn't be surprised to see a larger battery as well.

Elon has been quoted, often, saying costs/density are improving at ~8%/yr.

40% by ME (Model E)

LEvans | April 4, 2014

I don't think they need to make the AWD into a "supercar." It does not have to be crazy expnesive just because you want AWD. I'd be perfectly satisfied with a P85 AWD at a higher cost to cover the additional components.

AWD is an essential feature for a luxury performance car and I hope they don't position AWD as some exotic highly expnesive feature.

carlk | April 4, 2014

@WEB_SRFR Agreed. Any supercar talks need to start with a 1000lb weight reduction. The AWD S and X are likely for better wet road performance only.

Brian H | April 5, 2014

90% of those who insist "AWD is an essential feature" have never driven an MS equipped with good snows. My SWAG.

carlk | April 5, 2014

How much is that "good snow" option costs?

JonathanL | April 5, 2014

Put me down for the supercar. After driving around in the snow the past winter, AWD just for "better" snow handling is not enough for me to swap out.

P85D | April 5, 2014

I emailed Tesla two days ago about the timeline of an AWD Model S and here is the two responses I got.

Thank you for contacting Tesla Motors Support in regards to the Model S. Currently we have no information on the AWD addition to the Model S. The best place for any features coming would be our website . We greatly appreciate the feedback and please feel free to reach out to us via email or 877-79-TESLA.

Kind Regards,

I don’t know if anyone has already contacted you regarding your question about an AWD Model S. I haven’t heard of any plans for one right now but that’s always subject to change. Please keep checking our web-site, it’s updated frequently and quickly so any announcements will appear there.

Thanks Mr.*****,

Red Sage ca us | April 5, 2014

carlk rightly noted, "Any supercar talks need to start with a 1000lb weight reduction."

We can get close, maybe. Elon Musk says that the Generation III (Model E) vehicle will be about 80% the size of the Tesla Model S. With a reported curb weight of 4,647.3 LBS for the current car, that would make the next sedan around 3717.84 LBS.

He also said this new vehicle will target the BMW 3-Series. Interestingly enough, the proposed lower weight falls right smack dab in the middle of the weight range for those cars:

3,410 $37,300 328i Sedan
3,555 $43,400 335i Sedan
3,595 $35,300 328i xDrive Sedan
3,710 $45,400 335i xDrive Sedan
3,915 $41,450 328i xDrive Gran Turismo Hatchback
4,010 $46,850 335i xDrive Gran Turismo Hatchback

Almost, but not quite 1,000 LBS off... But it should suffice, given this competition. If an All-Wheel-Drive version of the Model E can be had for under $40,000 there will be a lot of happy people in Norway, and Aspen, and Minneapolis, and Buffalo, and Quebec...

kevinf311 | April 5, 2014

As long as they continue to use the same skateboard for the production cars the weight and size differences will most likely rely on body and interior accoutrement changes (and eventually cell improvements).

I think re-using the main component of the S across all models is a great idea, at least as long as the models produced are fit for a car chassis. Expanding to a full size truck or larger SUV format would benefit from a new skateboard (surfboard? longboard? paddleboard?) but would incur production/R&D costs.

It'll be an exciting second half of the decade regardless.

shop | April 5, 2014

I don't see a compeling reason for an AWD Model S. They can't build them fast enough now. Battery packs are going to get even more constrained with the Model X. They have AWD with the Model X, so if you must have it, you can buy the X. I just don't see a reason for Tesla to do it. Maybe if they were GM and selling 500,000 copies of a car per year, it would make sense to grab an extra 50,000 sales with an AWD variant, but they aren't in that position.

Captain_Zap | April 5, 2014


Aren't Signature owners first in line for an P120++ reservation?


kevinf311 | April 5, 2014

Cap'n: Unsure about for the P120++ but they definitely are at the top of the list for the Mr. Fusion upgrade once they release the software update that unlocks the Flux Capacitor :D

Brian H | April 5, 2014

The Model E is not on the same skateboard. It will be smaller, and somewhat lighter. IMO, AFAIK, IIRC.

NomoDinos | April 30, 2014

*Bump* to fuel speculation and support for expedient P120++++ production :)

RedShift | April 30, 2014

120 is something I would definitely trade up to, just the battery.

Then my Model E will become the 'driving pleasure' car.

LEvans | April 30, 2014

@shop: You don't see a compelling reason for AWD with the Model S? Try the fact that over half of what Mercedes sells is sold with AWD and it is a feature desired in the market segment the Model S competes in. I'm one of those potential customers waiting for AWD.

And yes, I know the RWD Model S drives better than RWD ICE cars. My view is that an AWD Model S will drive better than an AWD Ice and I'm not the only person waiting for this to be available. | April 30, 2014

I wonder how much AWD upsells are just promotion by the dealers than fulfilling a real need. I expect they make a lot more profit on AWD cars (since they always cost more).

I'm sure some situations benefit from ICE AWD, but it seems all the MS owners who drive in ICE AWD conditions are not having a problem. This includes snow and ice.

So consider if it's worth what your asking for in the MS:
- Significantly higher cost (maybe $10-20K)
- Reduced range (due to extra weight, and power requirements)
- Less cargo space - likely the frunk would have to go

On the positive:
- Better traction
- Maybe better 0-60 times (but extra weight might negate this)
- Better stability
- Easier sell for those who are used to AWD and have never tried the MS

LEvans | April 30, 2014 The Mercedes 4MATIC system generally costs only about $2-4K more. It's really not a big deal. There is no reason why the Tesla AWD needs to cost much more than $5K or so. Additional weight is negligible for a 5,000 lb car.

My girlfriend has asked the same questions you are asking but I am stubborn about AWD and I want it :) I am unlikely the only person waiting for this and as good as the the Model S RWD system is, the AWD system in a Model is going to be even that much more better.

I can't emphasize enough how this feature is desirable in the high performance premium car segment. You can no longer buy a Mercedes E class or S class AMG without 4MATIC and even with the current generation E550, 4MATIC is standard. It's becoming a standard feature in this segment much the same way ABS is standard.

For some extra money and negligible weight and space loss you gain better traction and thereby safety. They just need to add AWD across their entire model line up so people who want it can pay more for it.

Olof | April 30, 2014

Higher sales price and margins sound like good reasons for AWD even if they can sell all the MS they can make already. | April 30, 2014

The reason it costs and weights more on the MS is the addition of a second motor, inverter, and likely a few other parts. I thought I read the motor inverter is $10K, but that's a retail price. The motor/inverter alone is about 300 pounds. I'd guess the other components would at another 100-200 lbs. So it means a 10% weight gain and perhaps a 5-10% range reduction. Tesla may have some tricks to reduce the range loss.

An ICE car can add AWD fairly cheaply as it only requires the transaxle as it already has a long drive train to power the rear wheels from the front motor.

AWD Teslas (at least for the Model X) will be far superior to any ICE AWD. The 2nd motor and related software can do things with traction and stability control that ICE vehicle designers can only dream about. It will be amazing, but not cheap.

LEvans | April 30, 2014

@TeslaTap: I understand your reasoning but everything you mention has already been figured out by Tesla for the Model X. They also have economy of scale that you don;t get when you buy one motor at the retail price. They should be able to add AWD for about an additional $5K to be competitive with the added cost most people are used to for getting AWD.

I agree completely about an AWD Tesla being better than any AWD ICE. That's what I'm waiting for :)

@Olof: Yup but at some point they need to sell more than what they are selling now and AWD at an additional cost can only help.

elie.assaf | April 30, 2014


I live in Canada, since 20 years I am driving Porsche 911 4S...and I enjoyed driving the 911 in winter because its 4 wheels drive.
I supposed to have a new panamera 4S in june 2014.
When I did a test drive with Model S P85 I loved the car. I canceled my contract for the new panamera 4s.
But when I did a second test drive for the P85 in winter day, there was a problems when I stopped the car in a snow hill and re-start driving....I can say that the car was not moving at all, as it was confused, I was big time disappointed..
Thanks god no car behind me. it will be a problem.
Still I love Tesla car, so I decided to go with model X because its 4X4. and I did my deposit.
I wish Tesla do model S 4x4, its a must in Canada in Winter in this way I can buy the model S 4x4 P85 (as my car) because the P85 is so sexy, wide from the back like the Porsche.
If it will be available Model S 4x4 for sure I will buy the car.
In this way I can have both model x (4x4) and model S P85 (4x4)

Bighorn | April 30, 2014

I'd be surprised if an AWD upgrade were less than $10K.

NomoDinos | April 30, 2014

TeslaTap - I'm too lazy to look for the reference, but in one of the talks Elon gave, I believe he mentioned that the AWD was going to be "energy neutral". The weight of it would certainly still be a detriment, but in another thread someone mentioned how a higher gear ratio for the second motor might increase the efficiency and range at freeway speeds. I'm no engineer, but it sounded like a great idea to me :)

WEB - I wasn't planning on waiting for the AWD and/or bigger battery initially, but my home refinance took forever, so I figured I might as well wait until early 2015 to see if it comes out. Plus, that way I can save up enough to not have to finanance the car. I believe I am the longest reservation holder ever :)

NomoDinos | April 30, 2014

**(since the car went into production, of course)

NomoDinos | April 30, 2014

***finance. Although fianance has a nice French ring to it.

AlMc | April 30, 2014

Agree with Bighorn. This could be a nice 'profit center' for all who would like AWD so I expect it to be at least 10K upgrade charge. Since TM can sell as many RWD Ss as they can make I think they would have an 'Osborne Effect' if they introduce an AWD S before they are less battery constrained.

Despite my feelings that RWD is sufficient my wife insists that she drive an AWD vehicle. She likes the traction and psychological/safety feel of driving our child in an AWD vehicle.
She does not (again despite my thought :) ) like the falcon doors of the X so we are waiting for an AWD S that we expect to be produced/introduced just before the X goes into production.

LEvans | April 30, 2014

@AlMc: If you look at Tesla's pricing, they generally price their products around what competitors charge. The Model S is priced between a higher end E class and an S class and when Elon was asked about some aspects of pricing at the Norway town hall recently he kept referring to how the price is similar to what Mercedes or another premium car maker would charge for whatever feature was discussed. I think this approach makes sense.

Compared to the competition, around $5K is what I think is fair for the addition of AWD. That's still higher than what Mercedes charges for most of their models but I do understand that there will be an actual second motor etc., Yes you can charge more and you can possibly even gouge customers on this feature but sooner or later as other options open up in the marketplace things will even out.

I'd pay up to $10K for the AWD feature but some/most may not. I think they are better off figuring out a price-point that is palatable to a majority/large percentage of their customers so they can offer this feature to a larger customer base and make more profit based on volume rather than generating lower net cumulative profit by making a larger profit on a smaller number of cars.

If they price it appropriately they can make the extra profit on about half the models they sell, as is the case with Mercedes. If they price it too high, they would actually be missing out on a profit center by making this a niche feature that appeals to a far smaller customer base.

AlMc | April 30, 2014

@Web-srfr: We shall see. Hope you are correct.

shop | April 30, 2014

@web-surfer, you completely missed the point I was trying to make. I didn't say there was no demand for AWD and I didn't say Tesla wouldn't sell a lot of AWD Model S. My point was: from Tesla's perspective, it didn't make sense to have an AWD S until manufacturing can finally outstrip demand. People seem to forget that Tesla is making cars as fast as they possibly can right now, and they still cannot catch up to demand. Just like there is no point spending money on advertising, there is no point doing a major model modification right now.

EdwardG.NO2CO2 | April 30, 2014

Although I am not an engineer either it seems to me a 4 wheel / All wheel drive would only require 2 smaller motors that add up to about the same power/torque as the current rear motor. Each smaller motor would drive two wheels and only be slightly heavier than the current drive train and draw close to the same power. With two motors applying power front and back perhaps the acceleration and range might not change as much as some have previously suggested! No? This configuration must have been designed and thoroughly tested in the Model X configuration before announcing its performance. Perhaps the same motors would work in the S and X 4 wheel drive with different torque tuning.

Red Sage ca us | April 30, 2014

BMW corrected one of their prices while I wasn't looking:
3,410 $37,300 328i Sedan
3,555 $43,400 335i Sedan
3,595 $39,300 328i xDrive Sedan*
3,710 $45,400 335i xDrive Sedan
3,915 $41,450 328i xDrive Gran Turismo Hatchback
4,010 $46,850 335i xDrive Gran Turismo Hatchback
* $4000 higher than before.
The BMW Gran Turismo Hatchback is only available with their xDrive All Wheel Drive system. I suspect the Model E will have a similar form factor, though available drive options are likely to be both RWD and AWD. The Tesla Motors vehicle will be much prettier though, of course.

BMW 335i xDrive Gran Turismo M Sport Package

Brian: I think that if the Generation III cars have a smaller battery pack physically, it will still have the same or higher capacity when compared to today's 60 & 85 kWh versions. Some have intimated they think the new car series will have a 40 kWh battery. I doubt those will ever be seen again in a Tesla Motors product.

I think it is more likely that even with a smaller wheelbase, the Generation III cars will still use the exact same physical battery format as Model S and Model X. That will simplify manufacturing processes and inventory control considerably. As usual, of course, I concede that I may well be wrong.

Olof: Precisely. Tesla can certainly use the money.

LEvans | April 30, 2014

@shop: While I understand your reasoning, I see no point in holding back a desirable feature that is wanted by perhaps 50% of the market segment. I hope you agree that it is better to offer AWD before any drop in demand than to milk the RWD propulsion for all its worth while denying the feature to those who have been waiting for it.

I originally wanted to buy a S550 with 4MATIC and the only reason I decided to delay my purchase was because I was told by the Tesla showroom people to wait until 2015. It's better for Tesla to get my money next year for an AWD Model S than wait another 6 years when I'm ready to replace my S550.

The Market for AWD is huge and a lot of the higher end Mercedes models are are sold only with AWD for this reason. It would be very disappointing if they don't offer the Model S with AWD next year.

LEvans | April 30, 2014

@Red Sage: Thanks for the info. Mercedes is very similar with their pricing structure. They charge around $2-4K extra for AWD and their higher end models are all sold with AWD standard. It's almost becoming a standard feature with premium cars and that's a good thing...

Brian H | May 1, 2014

The second motor and inverter will not be duplicates of the corrent ones. They will be sized for the needs of the car, and power output is determined by the battery, so they will have to share. Straubel once explained that the front would take over more at highway speeds, etc.
Also, the space required is likely to sacrifice the "microwave" space, but not the whole frunk.

shop's point remains. It would require new manufacturing capacity and capital costs to achieve zero new sales to rush AWD -- since they're already selling all the RWD they can make. Note they've also minimized the MX AWD capital hit by making ONLY that model.

LEvans | May 1, 2014

@Brian/Shop: Yes, adding AWD would require some extra effort but with most of that work having been done already for the Model X, to a large extent the technical parts of this have already been solved and implemented.

I respectfully disagree about not having to undertake efforts to improve the car. Is Tesla's goal to milk their current platform for all that's worth or continuously innovate to build the best car in the world? I would hope their goal is the latter. It's lack of innovating that is going to eventually erode the market share of existing carmakers.

I'd like Tesla to deliver innovation and what customers want. This whole discussion is moot to a large extent as Tesla has pretty much admitted that there will be an AWD Model S. They just have not given a firm date yet so it is pointless to argue this point any further.

Let me say though that there are many other potential innovations coming that Tesla does not *need* to sell the Model S but I bet they will implement them in the interest of keeping up with automotive technology, delivering what customers expect, and continue to make the Model S the best car in the world.

+ Lane departure warnings
+ Cruise control steering assist
+ Radar based cruise control
+ Active variable range headlights

I could name many more other features. I think it is nonsense to suggest that because the Model S is selling well now, they should sit on their laurels. It is selling well now because it is the best car in the world. If Tesla stops being the best car in the world it would be because they stopped innovating and offering what customers expect in this price segment.

Offering AWD is needed to maintain parity with other offerings and deliver a feature that is very much in demand to a large segment of customers and I hope they deliver it next year. If they do not, it is only a matter of time until someone else will.

After the S500 hybrid nonsense coming out, Mercedes will figure out that people are not interested in stupid hybrids and they will eventually deliver a high performance, high range S class. When that happens, the Model S needs to be able to compete with it. Tesla has a 3+ year head start and as long as they keep innovating, they can maintain their lead.

LEvans | May 1, 2014

@Brian: Re: Model X only being AWD: It is for the same reason they discontinued the Model S 40. Lack of demand. I heard AWD was so desirable with the Model X for potential customers tat they could not justify a non AWD model.

As I've said above, based on your logic of not innovating because of netting zero new sales, Tesla can stop innovating the Model S or adding any new major features. It would give no reason for current customers to upgrade in a few years and it will allow a competitor to create a more compelling offering.

Innovating the car is not an unnecessary capital cost, it is necessary to stay ahead in a very competitive industry.

Mathew98 | May 1, 2014


TM has been offering updates and upgrading the options selections in the last two years. Parking sensor, auto folding mirrors, cold weather package are new options since last summer. Other wish list options such as lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and rocket launchers will be available option SOON.

I'm sure others are trying to say that some new hardware features may take longer to develop / introduce to the public. AWD may just be the long awaited option that some buyers have been asking for but won't be available until MX is on sales.

It will allow TM to divert the limited resources on the new model and then trickle down to the MS. It's really a waiting game for now.

LEvans | May 1, 2014

@Mathew98: I agree :) I really want Tesla to continue to be the best car available to purchase and I hope they continue to innovate and add desirable features to the car.

With the limited resources, I completely understand them wanting to get the MX out and when that happens they would have essentially solved the logistics of adding AWD to the MS as they share the same platform. Hopefully not too long after that, we will be able to buy a MS with AWD...

Red Sage ca us | May 1, 2014

Improving the Tesla Model S...

In terms of options and feature sets, I think there are two main types: Electronic Advances; and Creature Comforts.

Electronic Advances will be the easiest to develop, implement, and add to the existing platform. This is where the sheer awesomeness of making the Tesla Model S 'a computer on wheels' shines through.

Essentially, they can be achieved by adding sensors and upgrading software. In some cases Tesla Motors will be able to add software that re-purposes existing hardware to add such features as lines overlaying the backup camera in software. In others, hardware will have to be added to the car, in the form of sensors, actuators, solenoids, cameras, and additional circuit boards. Those will be among the simplest to accomplish, but will take time to get right.

Be patient and you will see them all before long.

Creature Comforts are harder to implement because of the checks and balances involved with building an electric car. People have complained incessantly about the lack of 'luxury' features that 'everybody else has' on their cars being mysteriously 'missing' on the Tesla Model S.

One thing we must not overlook is that each of those incremental additions adds weight to the car. Tesla's original design philosophy, especially for the interior of the car, was to eliminate many of the components that were holdovers from carriage and coach design from the horse and buggy era. First, to show that this was a forward thinking, futuristic vehicle from a new company. Second, to eliminate the weight that is associated directly with those items, since the versions that illicit a tone of quality and luxury are without fail far heavier than most people realize.

Please allow Tesla some time to provide the fit, finish, and features that are expected in a premium car line, without compromising performance.

I'm sure this brings to mind that wonderful question, "What's taking them so long?"

Patience, patience, patience... Methinks that once a really big battery pack is available, there will no longer be any compromises whatsoever when it comes to luxury items appearing in any Tesla product. Rather than simply being a trim level that ups performance, when a 120 kWh, 135 kWh, or better version of the battery pack is offered, there will be absolutely nothing to prevent offering every single 'missing' luxury interior feature in the Tesla Model S and Model X. That will bring them 'up to par' and beyond their competitors on all points. Albeit, at a higher price point that will be lambasted as being 'only for rich people'.

Can there really be a better motivation for getting rich?