Tesla confirms larger battery for Model S/X Plaid
The detail corroborates speculation that the S and X will switch to the Model 3's newer battery architecture.
Tesla chief Elon Musk has confirmed that the upcoming Model S and Model X 'Plaid' edition will be available with a higher-capacity battery.
The company has not yet divulged any technical details, aside from an expectation that the Plaid powertrain will allow the Model S to beat the Porsche Taycan's Nurburgring record by around 20 seconds.
The current-production S and X still use common '18650' lithium-ion battery cells -- the same size used in many laptops and flashlights -- while the Model 3 is powered by a slightly larger '2170' cell that was developed with electric vehicles in mind. The latter battery design supports higher charge rates of up to 250 kW in the Model 3 Long Range, versus just 200 kW in the more expensive Model S and X.
The charge-rate discrepancy serves as evidence that the 2170 cells likely support higher discharge rates via improved thermal management, addressing the core issue that is believed to have prevented the Model S' 18650-based battery module from completing an entire Nurburgring lap without cutting power late in the run to prevent overheating.
Aside from performance, range and charging improvements, switching to the 2170 format for the Model S and X could help achieve a lower weight per kilowatt-hour and allow Tesla to streamline its battery production operations.
Production of the Plaid Model S is targeted to begin late in 2020. The same powertrain technology will also be used for the Roadster and presumably the company's all-electric pickup, which will debut later this month and could shed more light on any battery improvements.