Tesla ‘D’: No Self-Driving Car, But Model S Will Have All-Wheel-Drive, Driver-Assisted Features

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“The D” is here: All-wheel-drive and driver-assisted features are coming to the Tesla Model S, the luxury car company announced Thursday after a week of anticipation following a cryptic tweet by Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The event dashed hopes that Tesla was going to unveil a self-driving car.

Having all-wheel-drive will make the Tesla Model S a more attractive purchase for drivers in cold-weather states who want to buy the luxury electric car. The feature gives the car better handling in snowy and icy conditions. The all-wheel-drive version of the Model S, which is set to go on sale in December, also boasts a longer range — 275 miles — between charges than the current model. The all-wheel-drive on the Model S also won’t be sacrificing speed, with the car going from 0 to 60 mph in three seconds.

The all-wheel-drive versions of the Model S will end in D, with the top of the line Model S having the AWD P85D designation. The new feature was unveiled during an event in Hawthorne, California.

The new Model S will warn drivers when they’re drifting into another lane and will move the car over one lane when a driver uses the turn signal. The all-wheel-drive car also has the ability to read speed-limit signs and adjust the speed of the car to the limit.

The unveiling came after Musk cryptically announced on Twitter that the electric luxury car company would “unveil the D and something else”:


The tweet set off a week of speculation as to what “the D” was, with guesses ranging from driver-assistance features to dual motors on the Tesla Model S. The “something else,” others speculated, was a new Tesla model or all-wheel drive for the Model S and Model X, the Tesla SUV expected to debut in 2015.

Musk gave further hints on Wednesday. “The Internet is very good at guessing things,” the Tesla CEO told an event run by Vanity Fair Magazine and the Aspen Institute in San Francisco, suggesting that cyber sleuths already uncovered the surprise.

“One of the things is already there, and people just don’t realize it,” he said.

Royce Christyn
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