Tesla targets mid-2020 production for Nurburgring-tuned Model S
Elon Musk says the Plaid powertrain is not "merely for the track."
Tesla is apparently aiming to start building the Tesla Model S 'Plaid' powertrain in less than a year.
The original Model S could not complete an entire Nurburgring lap without entering limp mode, presumably due to excessive heat buildup in either the battery or other electronic systems.
The Plaid edition represents a significant leap in race-track endurance, allegedly beating the Porsche Taycan's 'Ring record by approximately 20 seconds in an unofficial run, however observers have pointed out that the Model S appears to have been outfitted with special tires and other gear that may not reflect the production version.
Elon Musk has attempted to address the critics, claiming that the "final configuration" that will make a record attempt at the Nurburgring will represent a future production edition that could begin rolling off the assembly line as early as summer 2020.
"So this is not merely for the track," he added.
The comment has ignited rumors that all Model S variants will switch over to the Plaid powertrain. The speculation may be true, at least in part, as the Nurburgring achievement likely involves an improved battery chemistry that handles higher discharge rates and may deliver superior resistance to long-term range degradation in normal use. It is unlikely the Nurburgring-level performance will be available on all configurations, however, and even less likely that the record-setting car's aggressive widebody styling, sticky tires and suspension modifications will be present on the entry-level Model S.
The company has not detailed exactly which features will carry over to the production car. It is possible a less-modified Model S could be shipped to Germany to make the formal attempt at dethroning Germany's own Taycan, providing more credibility than using a car that appears to be a stripped-down purpose-built racer.