Tesla’s 520-mile range Model S Plaid goes on sale in the UK for £131k

British Tesla fans have been offered the chance to buy its new 200mph tri-motor Model S ‘Plaid’ – which will become the electric car with the longest range available from 2021.

Following Tesla Battery Day on Tuesday, the US brand has listed for sale in the UK the new Model S Plaid, with an ‘estimated range’ in excess of 520 miles – beating the Model S Long Range by 141 miles and more. 

It also has a claim ed under 2 second 0 to 60mph time but won’t come cheap, though. The starting price is a whopping £131,000, with first deliveries expected to hit these shores around the end of 2021.

However, one Tesla that probably won’t hit showrooms in the UK is the Cybertruck, with Elon Musk admitting that it is unlikely to be sold outside of the US due to safety regulations and the vehicle’s size.

Tesla's 520-mile electric family car for 2021: Britons can already order the Model S Plaid on the firm's UK website

Tesla's 520-mile electric family car for 2021: Britons can already order the Model S Plaid on the firm's UK website

Tesla’s 520-mile electric family car for 2021: Britons can already order the Model S Plaid on the firm’s UK website

The Tesla site confirms the price of the tri-motor Model S and the estimated first deliveries arriving in late 2021

The Tesla site confirms the price of the tri-motor Model S and the estimated first deliveries arriving in late 2021

The Tesla site confirms the price of the tri-motor Model S and the estimated first deliveries arriving in late 2021

The Model S Plaid will take on the might of the Porsche Taycan and also cement the Tesla brand as the rangiest electric car maker on the planet. 

It will be powered by the firm’s most potent three-motor electric powertrain – which delivers a claimed output of 1,100bhp.

While no exact performance figures have been revealed, Tesla’s UK ordering website states that a sprint from zero to 60mph will take less than two seconds – claiming the fastest ‘acceleration of any production car ever’ and it says the top speed will be 200mph.

It also states an ‘estimated range’ of ‘520+ miles’. 

How does that compare to Porsche’s battery-powered sports car?

The longest range for the three versions of the Taycan is the mid-spec Turbo, with a 281-mile distance from a full charge.

The Turbo S – with both Turbo and Turbo S not having turbochargers at all but named in such a way for consistency with Porsche’s petrol car line-up – is the quickest to 62mph, taking 2.8 seconds and has a top speed of 162mph.

That means the Model S Plaid will be far and away the highest-performing plug-in car the market has seen yet – though fans will need to wait over a year to get their hands on one, and significantly empty their savings.

Elon Musk pictured during Tesla's Battery Day, held on 22 September and used to promote new advances in EV technology currently being developed by the manufacturer

Elon Musk pictured during Tesla's Battery Day, held on 22 September and used to promote new advances in EV technology currently being developed by the manufacturer

Elon Musk pictured during Tesla’s Battery Day, held on 22 September and used to promote new advances in EV technology currently being developed by the manufacturer

Elon Musk wants to dethrone the Porsche Taycan and take its claim as being the fastest production electric car with four doors

Elon Musk wants to dethrone the Porsche Taycan and take its claim as being the fastest production electric car with four doors

Elon Musk wants to dethrone the Porsche Taycan and take its claim as being the fastest production electric car with four doors

That’s because the UK website says first deliveries won’t arrive until the ‘late 2021’ and the price is an eye-popping £130,980 – which is likely to shift significantly due to changing exchange rates between now and the end of next year, especially with Brexit taking hold in this period.

That makes the Plaid £38,000 more expensive than the next priciest Model S, the Performance (£92,980) and £33,000 more than the most expensive Tesla on sale to date, the £97,980 Model X Performance.

Tesla has confirmed that the Model S Plaid will feature a few specification changes to cope with the additional performance.

It will be fitted with wider wheels and tyres, flared wheel arches, a new front splitter, a large rear spoiler and a race-car-like rear diffuser. 

To help slow the hefty – but rapid – car down, the US brand will also equip it with more potent brakes and a revised suspension setup.

To welcome the new arrival on its Tesla Battery Day, the US car maker released the much-talked-about footage of the Model S Plaid lapping the Laguna Seca race track in America.

In a video posted to Twitter, it shows the electric car completing a lap in one minute and 30 seconds.

To put that in context, the current lap record at the circuit was posted last year in the £750,000 McLaren Senna , which posted a time of 1:27:62.

Elon Musk hopes the Model S Plaid – in the right hands – can shave three seconds off its best time to eclipse the lap of the limited-edition McLaren supercar. 

This will be part of a concerted effort by Musk for the Model S to knock the Taycan off its pedestal, with Porsche claiming it is the world’s ‘fastest four-door, all-electric sports car’, having recorded blistering laps at the California circuit and the Nurburgring – which is widely used by manufacturers to stake a claim to records for its super-fast road cars.

Tesla’s Model S Plaid has – in pre-production form – lapped the German circuit in a reported 7 minutes and 20 seconds, which shaves some 20 seconds off the Taycan’s time. However, no official lap time has yet to be posted by Tesla.

Elon Musk has conceded that the Cybertruck is unlikely to be sold outside of the US due to the need to meet regulations for other markets - a feat described as 'impossible', despite many other manufacturers producing cars that are sold in the same form globally

Elon Musk has conceded that the Cybertruck is unlikely to be sold outside of the US due to the need to meet regulations for other markets - a feat described as 'impossible', despite many other manufacturers producing cars that are sold in the same form globally

Elon Musk has conceded that the Cybertruck is unlikely to be sold outside of the US due to the need to meet regulations for other markets – a feat described as ‘impossible’, despite many other manufacturers producing cars that are sold in the same form globally

Tesla Model S Plaid is coming, but Cybertruck isn’t…

While a 520-mile-plus Model S is guaranteed to hit the UK market in around 12 months’ time, Elon Musk’s controversial Cybertruck won’t be doing the same.

We’ll probably make an international version of Cybertruck that will be kinda smaller, kind of like a tight Wolverine package 
Elon Musk 

Serious questions have been raised about the crash safety credentials of an angular-shaped pick-up with a stainless-steel body, especially the damage it could cause to pedestrians.

Critics have also said the enormous dimensions of the truck will be unfit for UK roads and any highways narrower than those used for US routes. 

And it seems these concerns were well founded, with Tesla’s star founder downplaying the availability of Cybertruck outside of America, if it does go into production. 

Tesla Battery Day: What else was announced? 

 – The annual Tesla Battery Day took place on 22 September 2020, having originally been planned for 15 September but pushed back by Musk.

– The firm confirmed plans for a more affordable electric model from the company, which would be priced from $25,000 (around £19,700 in the UK), but it would not be available for another three years.

– The affordable EV’s delay is due to the development of new cylindrical battery technology needed for the car to take shape. Lighter and more efficient, the batteries would be produced in-house by Tesla, thus negating the need for external suppliers such as Panasonic and LG, which would help bring vehicle costs down. 

– Tesla also announced a landmark for its charging infrastructure, confirming that its network of Superchargers now spans over 17,000 units worldwide.

Speaking at a Q&A session during his firm’s Battery Day, Musk conceded that it would be difficult for the wedge-shaped vehicle to meet vehicle regulations elsewhere to the US market. 

‘We are designing the Cybertruck to meet the American spec. If you try to design a car to meet the set of all global requirements, you can’t make the Cybertruck. It’s impossible,’ he said. 

When Cybertruck was first shown in November last year, This is Money said the vehicle would not be fit for purpose, suggesting the design would need to be completely overhauled in order for it to meeting stringent EU regulations. You can read our opinion piece here.

Musk went on to suggest that a smaller version of the humongous pick-up could be created for other markets.

‘We’ll probably make an international version of Cybertruck that will be kinda smaller, kind of like a tight Wolverine package’, Musk said. 

Wolverine is a name given to the heavy-lifting robots at Tesla’s factory in California, which is – of course – named after the X-Men comic-book character. 

Speaking yesterday, Musk claimed the brand has taken ‘over half a million orders’  for Cybertruck so far, though by the term ‘order’ it is referring to a $100 refundable deposit customers will get back if Cybertruck fails to ever surface.

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