Tesla will deliver its first high-performance Tesla Model S Plaid tonight, with the aim of reviving interest in the nearly decade-old sedan and knocking out rivals such as Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and Lucid Motors in the luxury electric vehicle market. to ward off.
Tesla redefined electric cars in 2012 when it launched its high-end Model S with a sleek design and long driving range, but it faces a whole host of new challenges.
The automaker plans to live stream the delivery of the first Model S Plaid at its US factory in Fremont, California, at 7 p.m. Pacific (10 p.m. Eastern), according to its official Twitter account.
CEO Elon Musk has not said whether he will take the stage, but he has been promoting the new model on Twitter, which costs $129,990, versus $79,990 for a long-range Model S. The latest price for the Model S Plaid is $10,000 more than what was listed on Tesla’s website a few days ago.
“The look of the Model S hasn’t changed much in the past nearly a decade. I think Tesla has a little more to offer consumers,” said Jessica Caldwell, executive director at automotive information provider Edmunds.
The launch of the Model S Plaid, which has already been shown online, has been delayed and some controversy over an expected airplane-style steering wheel. Musk this week canceled another variant, Model S Plaid+, which would have had a 33% greater range than the Model S Plaid and used advanced battery technology known as 4680 cells.
“The Model S Plaid is certainly intended to help reduce the migration of current Tesla owners from Tesla,” said Ed Kim, vice president at consulting firm AutoPacific. “I think we now see that Tesla can no longer operate in a vacuum.”
He said the Model S Plaid is a low-volume halo model intended to showcase the automaker and generate excitement around the sedan, with Tesla having to successfully roll out new models such as Cybertruck and Semi-trucks to expand its customer base. to expand.
Musk has called the Model S Plaid “the fastest accelerating car ever”. He claims the sports sedan goes from 0 to 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) in 1.99 seconds and has an estimated driving range of 390 miles.
The Plaid offers little change in body style and the option of yoke steering. It is also expected to offer enhanced gaming with new titles and more powerful processors.
The launch event was postponed to tonight after it was originally scheduled for last Thursday.