What is Tesla P85D and autopilot? on Driving the Nation

What is Tesla P85D and autopilot? on Driving the Nation

Listen to the podcast below as John Batchelor, host of John Batchelor radio show, talks to Lou Ann Hammond, CEO, Driving the Nation about the 2015 Tesla Model S D.

Remember the commercial when E.F. Hutton talks everyone listens? Well, just before the LA Auto Show in November Elon Musk has tweeted his newest and greatest – the Tesla D and autopilot.

The “D” stands for dual motor, so those concerned with foul-weather traction now have an all-wheel drive option for the Tesla all electric car.

According to Tesla’s website, there are three models of Tesla and each differ depending on rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The 60kwH, according to Tesla Motors, starts at $4,000 for all-wheel drive and goes depending on the car.

2015 Tesla Model S 60KwH starting price, $69,900 – cash order RWD, $71,070
208 miles range (EPA)
380 hp motor power
5.9 seconds 0-60 mph
120 mph top speed
8 year, 125,000 mile battery and drive unit warranty
Supercharging optional

2015 Tesla Model S 60KwH – AWD, $75,070
225 miles range at 65 mph
376 hp motor power
188 hp front and rear
5.7 seconds 0-60 mph
125 mph top speed
8 year, 125,000 mile battery and drive unit warranty
Supercharging optional

2015 Tesla Model S 85 kWh Battery starting price, $79,900 – cash order RWD, $81,070
265 miles range (EPA)
380 hp motor power
5.4 seconds 0-60 mph
125 mph top speed
8 year, infinite mile battery and drive unit warranty
Supercharging included

2015 Tesla Model S 85 kWh Battery – AWD, $85,070
295 miles range at 65 mph
376 hp motor power
188 hp front and rear
5.2 seconds 0-60 mph
155 mph top speed
8 year, infinite mile battery and drive unit warranty
Supercharging included

2015 Tesla Model S P85 D – 85 kWh Performance starting price, $93,400 – cash order RWD, $94,570
265 miles range (EPA)
470 hp motor power
4.2 seconds 0-60 mph
130 mph top speed
8 year, infinite mile battery and drive unit warranty
Supercharging and Alcantara headliner included

2015 Tesla Model S P85D – 85 kWh Performance AWD, $120,170
275 miles range at 65 mph
691 hp motor power
221 hp front, 470 hp rear
3.2 seconds 0-60 mph
155 mph top speed
High performance Dual Motor all wheel drive with specially designed suspension for exceptional power and handling
8 year, infinite mile battery and drive unit warranty

The P85D is not cheap at $120,000, but neither are the competitors.

Tesla has also announced their “autopilot” technology, “Model S comes standard with a forward looking camera, radar, and 360-degree ultrasonic sensors that actively monitor the surrounding roadway. Progressive software updates over time will enable sophisticated safety and convenience features that use these sensors to respond to real world conditions. Safety features include systems that warn drivers of potential hazards and help avoid or lessen the impacts of collisions. Convenience features include everyday driving maneuvers that reduce driver workload, such as traffic aware cruise control and automatic parking.”

“Safety features, today and in the future, are included in every Model S with Autopilot hardware. Convenience features will be included in the Tech Package. It will take several months for all the features to be completed and uploaded to the cars. ”

What does that mean? Is this just “radio control hobby technology” or will this system work? What autopilot brings forth is the merger of adaptive cruise control lane – keeping assist, automatic speed limit adjusto to the road sign recognition and twin electric engines.

What about driving in the snow in electric vehicles?

People shudder at the thought of driving an electric vehicle in cold weather. The lamentations start at less driving range and go through the drivability of the car it’self. Historically, a front-engined rear-wheel drive car, but remember, there is no engine in the Tesla. You will need those twin electric motors for the all-wheel drive so that you don’t go spinning. Regenerative braking can also be an issue, but Tesla has two modes of regenerative braking, one of them creep. All one needs to do is turn it to the smooth braking and that will mitigate the issue.

Is autopilot new?

No, Mercedes-Benx S-class has a bevy of technologies that rival everything Tesla offers. According to Bloomberg news, Daimler AG (DAI) is working to introduce trucks that steer, brake and accelerate independently as early as 2025, “The self-driving technology, adapted from features already available on Daimlers new Mercedes-Benz S-Class luxury sedan, enabled a prototype based on the companys Actros truck to travel by it’self down a stretch of superhighway today while the driver kept his arms crossed, waved or used a tablet computer.”

From Tesla’s press release:

Dual Motor Model S and Autopilot
By The Tesla Motors Team

Yesterday, we unveiled the worlds first dual electric motor production car and announced that new safety and autopilot hardware is standard on every new Model S.

Conventional all wheel drive vehicles distribute power to the wheels from a single engine driving a complex mechanical transmission system. By contrast, Dual Motor Model S, which comes with either the 60 kWh or 85 kWh battery, has a motor on each axle, digitally and independently controlling torque to the front and rear wheels. The result is unparalleled control of traction, with instantaneous response to the motors giving drivers precisely controlled performance in all conditions. With it’s digital torque controls and low center of gravity, Dual Motor Model S has the most capable road holding and handling of any vehicle ever produced.

Where gasoline-powered all wheel drive cars sacrifice efficiency in return for all weather traction, Teslas Dual Motor propulsion system actually increases efficiency while delivering exceptional traction and control in slippery conditions. By precisely splitting the delivery of current from the battery to each motor, the Model S 85D and 60D actually gain an additional 10 miles of highway driving range compared to their rear motor Model S counterparts.

Consistent with our mission, we also wanted to demonstrate that an electric car can soundly beat gasoline cars on efficiency and pure performance. The Model S P85 already outperforms gasoline-powered cars in the same class with it’s ability to deliver 100 percent of peak torque from a standing start. We combined our new front drive unit and our P85 rear motor with the objective of outperforming one of the greatest supercars of all time, the McLaren F1. With P85Ds 0 to 60 mph performance of 3.2 seconds, we have succeeded.

The P85D combines the performance of the P85 rear motor with an additional 50 percent of torque available from our new front drive unit. The result is the fastest accelerating four-door production car of all time “ while remaining one of the most efficient cars on the road. Thats a combination that can only be achieved by an electric car. Not only is the P85D a match for the McLaren F1, but it also doesnt need a professional driver to achieve optimum performance. Just plant your foot and go.

Customers can order a Dual Motor Model S today. Deliveries of P85D begin in December for North America, to be followed 85D and 60D in February. Deliveries to Europe and Asia will follow in the months afterwards.

New Safety Features and Autopilot

The launch of Dual Motor Model S coincides with the introduction of a standard hardware package that will enable autopilot functionality. Every single Model S now rolling out of the factory includes a forward radar, 12 long range ultrasonic sensors positioned to sense 16 feet around the car in every direction at all speeds, a forward looking camera, and a high precision, digitally controlled electric assist braking system.

Building on this hardware with future software releases, we will deliver a range of active safety features, using digital control of motors, brakes, and steering to avoid collisions from the front, sides, or from leaving the road.

Model S will be able to steer to stay within a lane, change lanes with the simple tap of a turn signal, and manage speed by reading road signs and using active, traffic aware cruise control.

Our goal with the introduction of this new hardware and software is not to enable driverless cars, which are still years away from becoming a reality. Our system is called Autopilot because it’s similar to systems that pilots use to increase comfort and safety when conditions are clear. Teslas Autopilot is a way to relieve drivers of the most boring and potentially dangerous aspects of road travel “ but the driver is still responsible for, and ultimately in control of, the car.

The Autopilot hardware opens up some exciting long term possibilities. Imagine having your car check your calendar in the morning (a feature introduced in Software v6.0), calculate travel time to your first appointment based on real time traffic data, automatically open the garage door with Homelink, carefully back out of a tight garage, and pull up to your door ready for your commute. Of course, it could also warm or cool your car to your preferences and select your favorite morning news stream.

The introduction of this hardware is just the first step for Autopilot in Model S. We will continue to develop new capabilities and deliver them through over-the-air software updates, keeping our customers at the forefront of driving technology.

Other Product Updates

Our commitment to continuous improvement extends to other features of Model S, and we have recently made several updates to the car, including:

* Seat comfort improvements and taller headrests for whiplash protection
* Improvements for a quieter cabin
* Wider rear door opening
* Electrically opening, self-closing charge port door on Dual Motor Model S
* Increased visor size and larger vanity mirror
* Parcel shelf and front trunk cargo net now standard
* Air ionizer and carbon filter for cabin air purity
* Updated steering column
* Updates to Alcantara interior trim, such as wrapped roof bow and top pad

About the Author:

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY), Women's World Car of the Year (WWCOTY), and the Concept Car of the Year.