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Will New Firmware Kick Tesla's 0-60 down to 2.8 seconds?

Rumor has it that the company will update its P85D supercar to go even faster when in "insane mode"

1 min read
A red Tesla Model S P58D
Photo: Scott Legato/Getty Images

Discussion boards are abuzz with the rumor that Tesla is preparing a firmware update to get its P85D from 0 to 60 mph (96 kph) in 2.8 seconds—four-tenths of a second faster than now.

Tesla’s own Elon Musk—ever the master of publicity—has not denied the rumor, but so far he has confirmed only a quarter of it:

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Rumor mills continue to entertain the larger, 0.4-second jump, citing unnamed company sources. It is at least possible that the leaks are intentional. There are many things besides inverters that might get updates, and perhaps the company wants to dribble out the various improvements.

Tesla has long championed such over-the-air updates. And it has already gone on record as saying it would use them to provide certain performance capabilities not offered in the P85D initially, notably by raising the top speed to 250 kph (155 mph) from the current 209 kph (130 mph).

By letting its own engineers play with proposed updates for an extended period, Tesla is also giving them time to push the envelope, so amateurs aren’t tempted to try doing so themselves. (Remember, the dual-motor P85D is itself a hot-rodded version of the Tesla S.)

To go superfast, you must first come to a complete stop before toggling into “insane mode.” Yup, that’s what it’s called. And here’s how some of those customers look the first time they try it.

The rumored software tweak wouldn’t make the Tesla  the fastest production car around—that would be the Porsche 918 Spyder. But remember, the Tesla is a car that runs on batteries, a species until recently associated with golf carts.

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Chinese Joint Venture Will Begin Mass-Producing an Autonomous Electric Car

With the Robo-01, Baidu and Chinese carmaker Geely aim for a fully self-driving car

4 min read
A black car sits against a white backdrop decorated with Chinese writing. The car’s doors are open, like a butterfly’s wings. Two charging stations are on the car’s left; two men stand on the right.

The Robo-01 autonomous electric car shows off its butterfly doors at a reveal to the media in Beijing, in June 2022.

Tingshu Wang/Reuters/Alamy
Purple

In October, a startup called Jidu Automotive, backed by Chinese AI giant Baidu and Chinese carmaker Geely, officially released an autonomous electric car, the Robo-01 Lunar Edition. In 2023, the car will go on sale.

At roughly US $55,000, the Robo-01 Lunar Edition is a limited edition, cobranded with China’s Lunar Exploration Project. It has two lidars, a 5-millimeter-wave radars, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and 12 high-definition cameras. It is the first vehicle to offer on-board, AI-assisted voice recognition, with voice response speeds within 700 milliseconds, thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8295 chip.

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