During a media packed event held in Hawthorne, California, Elon Musk – the billionaire CEO and co-founder – presented the latest features to adorn the electric Model S: all-wheel drive system and “autopilot.”
The features that Musk called during the announcement as part of an “autopilot” system allow the car to park itself, turn air conditioning in advance and even detect obstacles on the road. The hardware includes a long-range radar and a 360-degree ultrasonic sonar, while image recognition software allows the car to detect road signs, pedestrians, etc. Musk warned that while these are first steps towards self-driving cars, the features don’t provide automated driving and the driver needs to stay focused during the ride.
“Until the Model X arrives, a vehicle that will substantially amplify Tesla’s appeal and volume potential, these upgrades should keep the Model S at the forefront of advanced personal transportation,” said Karl Brauer, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk also joked that the electric sedan would allow owners to feel like having their own “personal roller coaster,” if they opt for the new “D” version. The letter stands for “dual” as analyst predictions were confirmed and the company added an all-wheel drive version to the Model S roster. That means the car now comes equipped with two electric motors, one for each set of wheels, allowing for better control, grip and efficiency. The CEO claims the new Model S is capable of reaching 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds now, an all that without range compromises.