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"

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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:


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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2021 Top 10 Tech Cars

The trend toward all-electric is accelerating 

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Photo: Rimac Automobili

The COVID-19 pandemic put the auto industry on its own lockdown in 2020. But the technological upheavals haven't slowed a bit.

The march toward electric propulsion, for example, continued unabated. Nine of our 10 Top Tech Cars this year are electrically powered, either in EV or gas-electric hybrid form. A few critical model introductions were delayed by the virus, including the debut of one of our boldface honorees: the long-awaited 2021 Lucid Air electric sedan. It's expected to hit the market in a few months. But the constellation of 2021's electric stars covers many categories and budgets, from the ultra-affordable, yet tech-stuffed Hyundai Elantra Hybrid to the US $2.4 million Rimac C Two hypercar.

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