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Tesla upgrades Model S, Model X with more range, new variants

by Ronan Glon

The changes can't be beamed via Tesla's over-the-air updating system.

Tesla has once again rejiggered its portfolio. The California-based company made the Model S and the Model X more affordable, and it made a series of updates to both cars to boost range, performance, and comfort.

This update isn't available via an over-the-air software update. Starting in April 2019, the Model S and the Model X benefit from a new powertrain made up of a permanent magnet motor up front, and an induction motor over the rear axle. Tesla claims it made other improvements to the drivetrain; it notably improved lubrication, cooling, and gear designs.

The Long Range variants of the S and the X continue to use a 100-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, but they're now capable of driving for up to 370 and 325 miles of range, respectively. Up until now, their range checked in at 335 and 295, respectively. The new powertrain increases both cars' zero-to-60-mph time, too, but Tesla hasn't released performance figures.

Both electric models charge faster than before, too. Motorists who use a V3 Supercharger can achieve 200 kilowatts; those who plug into a V2 Supercharger can reach 145 kilowatts. Tesla promised customers will be able to fill their battery pack up to 50 percent faster than before.

Moving beyond the powertrain, the Model S and the Model X benefit from a fully adaptive air suspension that Tesla developed in-house. According to an article posted on the company's website, the suspension keeps the car low at high speeds to reduce drag. It provides a supple ride in normal driving conditions, and gets firmer when the pace picks up to deliver more dynamic handling.

Finally, Tesla noted it made several small improvements to the S and the X, like re-engineering the tires and the wheel bearings. There are no visual modifications to speak of inside or outside the car.

In a bid to boost sales, Tesla re-launched the Standard Range variants of both the Model S and the Model X. Pricing now starts at $78,000 and $83,000, respectively, down from $88,000 and $93,000 for the Long Range cars. The variants are available now on the company's website. And, to drive sales, Tesla is giving current owners who buy a new, Performance-spec its Ludicrous Mode upgrade for free.

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