Spy Photos: Saleen's Model S on test track

Spy Photos: Saleen's Model S on test track

Red Sage ca us | June 24, 2014

Enthusiastic article. Nice stickers. Same nosecone. Good pictures.

Are they really spy photos if you had permission?

And... Why the tire/rim switch? Oh, wait... Five spokes are BETTER.

Thomas N. | June 24, 2014

A Saleen Model S is like making an Electric Hummer. Why even bother?

DonS | June 24, 2014

Saleen could stiffen the suspension for better track handling, but I doubt it would be pleasant for everyday. I don't see see much else they could do to actually improve performance. Gaudy decals don't make it drive better.

Haeze | June 24, 2014

My theory was that they would remove a lot of the restrictions Tesla put on the car to preserve the battery (for both longevity, and range). Thus, they allow a much higher max draw per-cell under heavy acceleration, using a bigger inverter, and they enhanced the cooling of the battery pack to compensate for the extra heat this would produce (as evidenced by what looks like an additional radiator under the nose cone).

I also imagine they would consider a 2-speed manual transmission or a planetary CVT with a small secondary electric motor to increase top-speed, or at least that they would choose a different reduction gear set.

Tesla engineered the car with a very delicate balance of reliability, speed, range, and simplicity. Saleen is only concerned with speed, so they can make sacrifices that Tesla wasn't willing to in the other three aspects.

Lastly, I don't doubt that they will strip some of the luxury out of the interior in favor of lighter seats, and electronics.

PaceyWhitter | June 24, 2014

But to do that they would need access to the software that controls the S. It is not like strapping on a turbo and modifying the ECU. I would think they would need help from Tesla to do it, and I am not sure Tesla would want to provide the help. If Tesla has to do the work, they would also want the reward.

Haeze | June 24, 2014

I was under the assumption Tesla WAS assisting Saleen, especially with what was said in the linked article. It sounds like they already have access to tweak the software of the drive systems.

carlk | June 24, 2014

Once thing I heard mentioned elsewhere is they are going to beef up the cooling system so the car can run at higher power for longer.

regen | June 24, 2014

And this can all be yours for an extra *drum roll*

$79,999 Saleen upgrade cost (speculating here).

AmpedRealtor | June 24, 2014

-- off topic --

Speaking of beefing up the cooling system to run at higher power for longer... has anyone heard anything else about the "autobahn upgrade" that Musk talked about last year? He said it would be made available to all Model S owners, but never heard a peep after that.

-- back on topic --

regen | June 24, 2014

I'm sure that was one of Musk's infamous lets-make-something-up-in-order-to-keep-the-crowd-happy statements. Not only does this quell the masses, but it also buys him time to think things through and deliver.

I wonder if these Saleen guys will beat Musk to it.

dortor | June 24, 2014

I love my > 1 year old Tesla Model S - but it consumes power at a voracious rate at speeds above 70 - I can't imagine going more than like 15 feet at auto-baun speeds - ok may be 25 feet…it's a great car but a distance speed demon isn't in the cards IMHO - I still Musk will deliver the changes, I'm just saying the range is going to be severely degraded by such driving…

Red Sage ca us | June 24, 2014

All it needs really is an 850 kWh battery pack that is the approximate size, shape, and weight of an attache case.

dortor | June 24, 2014

850 kw in brief case size package - why didn't I think of that - I'll have it on the market next week as a $350 accessory - it will plug into the existing charge port - and come with a software rev that lets you drive the car with the charge port open…

you can all donate money to my kickstarted campaign:

"850 kw Tesla Model S Autobaun enhancement unit & dortor Caribbean retirement non-US extradition package"

I'll post the link shortly…

NKYTA | June 24, 2014

@dortor, can't wait to sign up!

Red Sage ca us | June 24, 2014

Panama -- here we come!

EQC | June 24, 2014

The cars photographed are labeled as R&D Test Vehicles...not any sort of final version from Saleen. I would expect significant interior and exterior changes not yet on these "test vehicles."

Some of the early Saleen sketches show their plans, including a completely new front end design with no nose cone:

and that might make some folks happy.

The sketches also show vents at the top/back of the frunk, though -- that could either be a pointless cosmetic stick-on, or an indication that they might stuff the frunk with radiators and ventilate it for cooling.