When it comes to finding out the latest reports in a breaking news story, social media site Twitter has become the place to head to, as the just-passed summer news cycle showed.
It turns out Twitter is also the go-to place if you want to be among the first to hear what plans Tesla Motors has in store for its range of electric cars, as Tesla CEO Elon Musk proved last night when he announced that Tesla will be holding a special event in one week to announce something Musk is calling the “D,” along with “something else.”
In a slightly cryptic tweet which some might recognise as an allusion to The D Internet meme, Musk said it was “About time to unveil the D and something else,” accompanied by a moody picture of a half-open roller garage door with the letter D on itand the headlights of a Tesla peeking out from inside.
About time to unveil the D and something else pic.twitter.com/qp23yi59i6
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 2, 2014
As you might expect, Musk’s Tweet — made at around 6:30 pm PDT yesterday evening — attracted a flurry of Internet activity, including of course many, many retweets and replies on Twitter. And from what we can tell, a fair few picked up on Musk’s allusion.
@elonmusk looks big
— chickeee (@chickeee) October 2, 2014
Phallic jokes aside, Musk’s nine-word tweet has created a massive buzz, with Tesla fans and industry insiders alike trying to decipher what exactly Tesla will be unveiling next week.
We’ve already heard plenty of people surmise that next week’s event will be an unveiling of yet another electric car, bringing Tesla’s future model count up to five: Roadster, Model S, Model X, Model ≡ and Model D.
Given the amount of work ahead for the Californian automaker however, we’re not convinced next week’s announcement will be another future Tesla Model.
For a start, Tesla is already hard at work trying to bring the Tesla Model X to market for next year, along with overseeing and financing the mammoth construction project that is its first ever Gigafactory battery reprocessing and manufacturing plant.
That’s before Tesla even starts work on its affordable mass-market Model ≡ — the very which Tesla needs to build its Gigafactory to be able to financially afford.
But there’s another reason we’re not convinced Tesla is unveiling another car yet: look closely at the Tesla-prepared photograph Musk tweeted, and you’ll note that the car peeking out from behind the shuttered door looks to be a Tesla Model S. At least, it does if you look at the lighting pattern and the curves of the grille.
Which makes us wonder if next Thursday’s event will be about unveiling a new Tesla technology or a new option for existing cars.
From where we’re sat, we’re thinking one of two possible outcomes are most likely.
First, ‘D’ most likely refers to the “D85,” a dual-motor, four-wheel drive variant of the Tesla Model S, which was promised by Musk earlier this year.
Essentially using the same all-wheel drive layout as the upcoming Tesla Model X (both the Model S and Model X use the same chassis) an all-wheel drive Model S may lose a little luggage space in the front of the vehicle to make way for a second electric motor, but would be an excellent choice for any would-be Tesla customer in a climate where heavy winter snow makes all-wheel drive capability as must-have feature.
Second, ‘D’ could refer to an early form of Tesla autonomous or “autopilot” driving technology in which the car offers either low speed self-driving or new safety technology designed to assist the driver. Given the fact that the Tesla Model S does not currently feature the required sensors needed to make that a reality — and offering it would require a mammoth retrofit program for existing owners — we’re doubtful of that particular option.
As for the ‘something else’?
Earlier this year, Musk promised that Tesla Roadster owners — Tesla’s very first customers who purchased the limited-production Tesla Roadster and helped Tesla on its way towards becoming a mainstream auto makers — would be given a special treat in the form of a new battery pack retrofit offering up to 400 miles of range per charge.
Other than announcing it earlier this year, we’ve heard nothing from Tesla or Musk about the price or availability of such an upgrade, so here’s hoping that the ‘something else’ is in fact the long-anticipated upgraded pack.
For now however, we’ve got another week to try and guess, so be sure to leave your guesses in the Comments below.
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