- REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach
Tesla is gearing up to roll out a big update for its cars.
The automaker announced in October that its Model S and Model X cars will now come with new hardware that will boost Autopilot’s current capabilities and set the foundation for a fully driverless Tesla later on.
Tesla cars have progressed a lot in just the last year alone. Here’s a look back at how far the company has come.
Tesla garnered a lot of attention in 2008 when it released its very first electric car — the wildly sexy Tesla Roadster.
- Dennis Larson/Flickr
The Roadster Sport boasted a range of 245 miles and could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. Its base price in 2008 was $98,000, according to Car and Driver.
Tesla sold more than 2,400 Roadsters across 30 countries, the company wrote on its webpage.
In 2012, Tesla released its Model S — the first luxury electric sedan on the market.
- Reuters/Noah Berger
The car could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5 seconds and had a range of 265 miles per charge. It was named Motor Trend’s 2013 Car of the Year.
But the car was pricey at $106,900 before federal tax exemptions.
In late 2014, Tesla released two dual motor all-wheel drive configurations for the Model S, the world’s first dual electric motor car.
- Wikimedia/Martino Castelli
It was also the first time Tesla made Autopilot standard on every car. The car came in three versions – the 60D, 85D and the top-of-the-line P85D. Above you see the P85D.
The P85D could reach a top speed of 155 mph and could accelerate to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, outperforming the McLaren F1 supercar, Tesla wrote on its blog at the time.
Tesla offered three new versions of the Model S in early 2015, the 70D, 90D, and P90D. The P90D is worth paying attention to because of its coveted Ludicrous mode.
The P90D can go from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.8 seconds while driving in Ludicrous mode. When it first came out, people went bananas for the new feature. It also has a range of 253 miles and can reach a top speed of 155 mph.
The Model S starts at around $66,000.
Tesla introduced its Model X with its stylish falcon wings to the world in September 2015.
- Tesla Motors
Like the Model S, the Model X comes in three different versions starting at $74,000. The highest performance version at the time of its release was the P90D that comes with a range of 250 miles. It can reach 60 mph in 3.2 seconds in Ludicrous mode and has a top speed of 155 mph.
But the Model X was a bit of a production nightmare and suffered several delivery delays.
Tesla unveiled its consumer sedan, the Model 3, in March — and it got almost 400,000 pre-orders.
- YouTube/Motor Trend
The Model 3 will start at $35,000 before federal tax exemptions, making it a huge competitor in the EV market. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in under 6 seconds and will boast a range of 215 miles, Musk has said.
The Model S and Model X recently got a major battery upgrade to extend their ranges.
Musk announced a new 100-kilowatt-hour battery upgrade for the Model S and Model X cars that have Ludicrous modes in August.
The new battery option extends the range of the Model S to 315 miles per charge, making it the first electric car on the market to exceed 300 miles of range. The new battery option also extends the range of the Model X with Ludicrous mode to 289 miles.
The upgrade also enables the Model S P100D Ludicrous to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.5 seconds, making it the world’s third-fastest production car. The larger battery pack also makes the Model X the world’s quickest SUV with the ability to accelerate to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds.
But the upgrade isn’t cheap – those who already own the car can upgrade for $20,000. If you don’t own it yet, it will tack an extra $10,000 on the price.
Autopilot has had quite a year. In January, Tesla rolled out its 7.1 software update — giving the Model S and Model X several cool new semi-autonomous features.
The software update offered safety features like automatic braking, lane switching, and blind spot warnings. The cars could also autosteer without a center divider, self-parallel park, and manage speed using traffic aware cruise control.
Perhaps the coolest feature of the new update was giving drivers the power to summon their cars at the click of a button like a personal, robotic valet. At the time of its release, the Autopilot package cost an extra $2,500.
Autopilot then got a major upgrade, called Version 8, in September.
The software update made more use of the radar sensors on the cars, allowing them to play a greater role in determining whether an object is a danger.
Musk went so far as to say the upgrade made Tesla cars so much safer that it could have prevented the fatal Autopilot crash in May. The upgrade increased Autopilot’s price to $3,000 – a $500 increase from its original release.
But Musk brought Autopilot to a whole new level when he announced that new vehicles currently in production — which includes the Model X, Model S, and future Model 3 — are being built with new hardware to boost Autopilot’s capabilities.
Tesla has renamed Autopilot to Enhanced Autopilot because of the new improvements.
Enhanced Autopilot allows the car to match speed to traffic conditions, automatically change lanes without driver input, merge on and off highways, and park itself. It can also maneuver around objects in a more complex environment than it could before to find you when you summon it.
Musk originally said the new system will be pushed through over-the-air updates in December, pending regulatory approval. More recently, Musk tweeted that Tesla was working seven days a week to complete testing and validation and was “getting close” to rolling out the system.
Enhanced Autopilot costs $5,000.
Musk said the new hardware will enable fully autonomous driving, pending regulatory approval and software validation.
A Tesla vehicle will drive in fully autonomous mode from LA to New York City by the end of 2017 to demonstrate the technology.
Tesla is planning to build three new vehicles later on.
Musk announced in his “Master Plan, Part Deux” that Tesla will build an all-electric semi truck and a self-driving, electric bus. He also said Tesla will build an electric SUV as the next vehicle following the Model 3.
It’s speculated that the electric SUV will be called the Model Y.