Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has announced the electric car maker is launching a new battery pack for the performance versions of its Model S and X cars that will extend the range and mean faster acceleration.
Elon Musk hailed the upgraded charger as a “profound milestone”.
The battery cell chemistry is the same, but the reconfigured product stored more energy in the same space, he said.
Tesla, which this month posted a steeper-than-expected loss, is adding a new sedan car to its sports line-up.
Elon Musk claimed that the new 100-kilowatt hour battery pack means high-end versions of the Model S sedan, called the P100D, will be the world’s fastest accelerating car in production.
The P100D will do 0-60mph in 2.5 seconds. Elon Musk said there were faster cars on the market, but these were limited-run vehicles, while the Tesla is aimed at the mass market, he said.
“These are very profound milestones and I think will help convince people around the world that electric is the future,” Elon Musk said on a conference call with journalists.
The new battery extends the range of performance versions of the new Model S well beyond 300 miles, from about 290 miles, Tesla said.
Elon Musk said that in cool weather, a driver could travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles – a nearly 400 mile drive – without recharging.
In May 2016, Tesla said it was stepping up production plans for its upcoming Model 3 mass-market sedan and would build a total of 500,000 all-electric vehicles in 2018, two years ahead of schedule.
The Model S and X vehicles with the upgraded batteries will help fund the more affordable Model 3 still in development, Elon Musk said. The performance versions of the S and X without the new battery currently start at $108,000 and $115,500, respectively.
However, Tesla Motors also warned that investment would ramp up as well.
The company has been under investigation from US safety regulators following a fatal crash in Florida earlier this year involving its drive-assistance feature known as Autopilot.
Elon Musk said a software update of the feature is nearing completion, adding that it will result in “material improvements in the autonomy of the car”.