Tesla: Promising Software Upgrade Will Allow Model S to Reach 155 MPH

Associated Press
Los Angeles, CA

Despite falling from $286.04 to $222.41 since September, Tesla Motors, Inc. stock is still rated by 13 Wall Street analysts as a buy, and only one doubting Thomas rates the company “underperform.” But facing a collapse in gas prices that is undermining the advantage of electric cars, Tesla is promising big performance improvement to stem any customer defections.

Last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk talked up a 400-mile range Roadster 3.0, and now, they announced the company will offer a free software tweak in the future that will allow Tesla’s higher-end Model S coupes to achieve a top speed of 155 mph.

Tesla Model S offers acceleration from zero to 60 in 3.2 seconds. That is just one-tenth slower than the vaulted ranks of the top quickest cars in the world. But Tesla’s highest speed at just 130 miles per hour clocks in more like a Detroit passenger sedan.

Tesla was offering list prices for the Model S entry model at $74,570, 85D mid-range starting at $85,570, and the P85D at $106,570. But Tesla’s stock price plunged to under $200 as cheap gasoline is threatening to wipe out the electric car industry. The Tesla Owner’s community website acknowledged in November that dealers were liquidating demos and discounting inventory to move stranded vehicles off showroom floors.

With the promised software upgrade, Tesla claims its 380 horsepower 85D and 691 horsepower P85D sedans released in October 9, 2014, will both hit the 155 mph mark.

When Drag Times  recently tested a P85D Tesla Model S on a dynamometer, the drive train hit a stunning 864 ft-lbs of torque. That is double the bulked-up 2015 V8 Ford Mustang that enthusiasts have deemed the new American muscle car. But Drag Times also warned that the P85D had difficulty holding the high torque level.

It seems problematic that Tesla would preview the 400-mile range Roadster 3.0 last week and a software upgrade for the new Model S this week without having units available for review. The auto industry has a nasty reputation for promising impressive technical specifications and delivering much less.

On Dec 31, 2014, Tesla Motors, Inc. stock closed on the NASDAQ (TSLA) at $222.41, up just $.18.