Last night, Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk unveiled the company’s next luxury electric car: the Tesla D. The D isn’t the highly rumored self-driving car from Tesla, nor is it a brand new design. Instead, the Tesla D is an update to the Model S, but it’s a big one.
“We’re able to improve everything about the car,” said Musk as he showed off the D for the first time, explaining how pros of the new dual motor system. While some of the awesome features were playing catchup to some of the newest luxury vehicles from Audi, Mercedes, and BMW. But here are the five new coolest things about the Tesla D:
While the Model S was rear wheel drive, the new Tesla D is the first Tesla vehicle to be full wheel drive. With each iteration, the engineers at Tesla are removing the limitations of its fully electric cars—and full wheel drive catches the sedan up to the competition. The ability to take the Tesla to the mountain or snowy parts of the country make it that much more accessible to the mainstream market.
The big highlight from the D announcement was Autopilot, which feels like Tesla’s answer to Google’s self-driving car—or perhaps, the first step towards making it a reality. Unlike that system, Autopilot feels much more versatile, safe, and practical. It’s a term that Musk has used in the past, but it seems to have been really expanded this time around.
Going into Autopilot mode will feel a lot like being in cruise control—a simple tap of the brake will put control directly back in the hands of the driver. While in Autopilot, the car uses sensors all over the vehicle to detect nearby cars and objects, and can even be ordered to change lanes with a simple switch of the turn signal.
One of the coolest features of being in Autopilot mode is that the Tesla D is able to read speed signs and adjust the speed of the car accordingly. This might sound bad for speeders, but the ability to take your hands off the wheel and pedals would make long distance road trips much more manageable.
The idea of electric cars being gutless can be pretty much officially thrown out the window with the Tesla D. Using its new dual motor system, among many things the Tesla D now has an amazing three second zero-to-sixty. This thing is fast. Real fast. Watch the video above from The Verge to see the speed for yourself—as well as see a demo of the Autopilot system.
The new Tesla D has a ton of new safety features, many of which are automated. This includes a lot of the stuff in Autopilot mode where the various cameras and sensors around the car are able to detect motion of vehicles and objects from a quite a long distance ahead. The interface in the car even gives the driver an overhead view of the cars moving around them. Other features include automatic parallel parking, lane control, and active emergency braking.