Back in January, Tesla revealed all the details about its long-anticipated Model S refresh. Alongside all the talk of steering yokes and cars that shift themselves from drive to reverse, the carmaker also revealed there would be a top-of-the-line super-high performance Plaid+ edition of the Model S.
Well, January and June are years apart in Silicon Valley time, and now, that vehicle isn't happening. Tesla announced on Sunday that the Plaid+ Model S has been canceled via its official PR channel — Elon Musk's Twitter account.
The Plaid+ Model S was supposed to use Tesla's new 4680 battery cells to produce some staggering performance numbers. It was going to put out 1,100 horsepower, accelerate from 0-60 mph in under two seconds and deliver 520 miles of range. The model was going to start at $139,900, a $20,000 premium over the Plaid model.
Musk's explanation for axing the Plaid+ version was that there was "no need, as plaid is just as good." From a pure performance perspective, that may be a fair point. Musk notes that the Plaid Model S will still be the quickest production car ever, with a 0-60 time under two seconds. However, a prime selling point for Plaid+ buyers— many of whom already put down deposits — was likely the 520-mile range on a single charge, versus the 390 miles offered by the Plaid Model S.
Admittedly, Tesla's hardly alone in dealing with turbulence these days. Automakers are scaling back production all over the place with supply chain shortages — GM went as far as removing tech from its trucks — so Tesla scaling back should not be too surprising. And, yes, Tesla does have a track record of making bold promises and working out how to deliver them later (see: Tesla Roadster, Level 5 autonomy, Cybertruck.). And hitting that level of performance and range at $140,000 would certainly have been bold.
That said, we would be remiss if we didn't note that the announced Plaid+ specs not-so-coincidentally came in just past of the up to 1,080 hp and up to 517-mile range Lucid Air — the CEO of Lucid is a former Tesla engineer — launching later this year.