‘Ludicrous Mode’ upgrade for Tesla Model S – and a new Roadster for 2019

Published: 20 July 2015

Upgrade pack drops 0-60mph to 2.8sec
Same powertrain to feature in Model X SUV
New Tesla Roadster to be launched in 2019

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has announced a new ‘Ludicrous Mode’ performance upgrade for the Model S P85D saloon. The optional enhancement raises the dual-motor P85D’s battery pack’s amperage and sees its 0-62mph time tumble to a belief-beggaring 2.8 seconds.

Musk announced the optional upgrade in a typically mischievously worded statement on Tesla’s website, along with a series of further developments. They include plans for a successor to the Tesla Roadster sports car, an update on the progress of the upcoming Model X SUV and a further, separate battery upgrade to increase its existing models’ range.

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Ludicrous Mode: what is it?

Ludicrous Mode follows in the footsteps of the previous ‘Insane Mode’ software upgrade, which improved the P85D’s 0-60mph time to 3.1sec. Its aptly named successor trims a further three tenths from the 60mph sprint and makes for a quarter-mile time of 10.9sec. Not bad for a 2.2-tonne luxury saloon – a Lamborghini Aventador Roadster takes 10.8sec.

The package, which can be retrofitted to existing cars, comprises a new fuse design for the battery with its own separate electronics and tiny lithium-ion battery, to deal with a higher amperage than a standard fuse could cope with. Together with material changes elsewhere, the result is an increased maximum battery pack output from 1300 to 1500 Amps.

It’ll cost $10k (£6429) for new buyers in the US, while existing owners get a half-price discount for the next six months.

Tesla has concurrently announced a separate option for new buyers to upgrade the 85kW battery pack available in the single- and dual-motor Model S to 90kW, with the more prosaic aim of increasing usable range rather than performance figures.

Intriguingly, the Ludicrous-spec drivetrain package will be one of the options in the upcoming Model X SUV. There’s unlikely to be a faster seven-seater out there.

Model X first deliveries imminent

The Model X itself is on track for first deliveries in two months, says Musk. It’ll be joined by the smaller, cheaper Tesla Model 3 in just over two years, with a starting price pencilled in for around £22,700.

Click here for more on the Tesla Model X and Model 3.

A new Tesla Roadster for 2019

Musk’s missive signed off with a slightly cryptic confirmation of a successor to the 2008 Tesla Roadster sports car, with the promise that it’ll be really rather fast:

‘There is of course only one thing beyond ludicrous, but that speed is reserved for the next generation Roadster in four years.’

The original Roadster was Tesla’s first production car offering, based around a battery-crammed chassis derived from the Lotus Elise. Earlier this year Tesla made a retro-fit battery pack available for Roadster owners, boosting the car’s optimum range from 245 miles to a potential 400.

Click here to read CAR’s original Tesla Roadster review.

By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, occasional racer