Although there was a lot of internet hype leading up to the Tesla “D” announcement, it still did offer something quite unexpected when Elon Musk finally revealed the new offering. Various pundits guessed correctly that the “D” stands for “Dual Motor”, which means this new version of the highly successful Model S is an all-wheel-drive; one motor for each set of front and back wheels.
Having the dual engine configuration means that this car is very, very quick from a standing start, as well as quiet. It can go from 0 to 60mph in 3.2 seconds, which, as the second video below claims, makes it “the fastest 4 door sedan ever.”
With the dual motor all-wheel-drive, the Tesla D also achieves great traction on the road and gets about 10 extra miles of driving range per battery charge. In conventional combustion engine cars, AWD tends to be less efficient than 2-wheel-drive cars. This new digital, electric system, actually improves acceleration, traction, and efficiency from the single motor, all-electric Model S.
That’s all well and pretty damn good, but that wasn’t the surprise. What was unexpected was Musk revealed that the Model D, and indeed all other Model S cars already coming off the production line, are now installed with new “autopilot” (or self-driving) hardware. Musk said Tesla has been able to start delivering these autopilot features earlier than expected.
See the second video below for an impressive demonstration of the fast Model D acceleration, and then the driver switches to autopilot. The car drives and navigates by itself, reads road signs for speed limits, changes lanes on command, and stops at a safe distance behind a car stopped in front of it up ahead. Musk says the car can open your garage door and park itself while you’re not in it, and even drive itself to meet you somewhere (on private property, as that’s not allowed in public space yet). The first video is a Tesla edit of the whole Tesla D unveiling by CEO Elon Musk.