Tesla Model S

Jason Hughes is a fellow with above average computer skills. He also is a Tesla owner. He says the company is planning to release a P100D model in the very near future. In fact, he told Teslarati yesterday, “There have been configuration options in the firmware as early as about two months ago. With the latest 2.13.77 update, [Tesla] included the badges for the P100D, among other things. I’m very confident that it’s a real thing based on what I’ve seen of other things in previous versions of the firmware.” Jason tweeted about his discovery on Friday but disguised it in Twitter code.

Other hackers took a look at the tweet and were able to decode it using a reverse Twitter search.  Here’s what Tesla Motors Club member LuckyLuke found when he did that.

P100D Code

That led Hughes to release the graphic image he found buried in Tesla’s software update.

It’s not surprising that Tesla should be working on a new battery. It just discontinued the 85 kWh battery it had been using since the first Model S came out in 2012, replacing it with a 90 kWh version. But that means there is a rather narrow gap between the company’s base battery, which is rated at 70 kWh, and its top of the line battery. With a price difference of over $12,000, it could use a larger battery to convince customers to step up to the higher priced model, which is more profitable for the company.

A 100 kWh battery would also give the Model S a range of 300 miles or more. That’s an important marketing milestone. Lots of manufacturers are talking about making cars with 300 miles range in the near future, but Tesla would be the first to actually do so. If is does, that would do much to burnish its image as the world leader in EV technology.

The D in Tesla model name indicates the car has dual motors, one in front and one in the rear. Tesla no longer offers a rear wheel drive only option except for its entry level Model S with the 70 kWh battery. A standard Tesla Model S or Model X with a 100 kWh battery would be known simply as a 100D. The P indicates the car has more straight line performance model than the standard car. The new model, if there is one, has already earned the nickname “plood”, which is what the designation looks like if you change the numeral 1 to the letter l.

Tesla also offers a Ludicrous Model upgrade that chops another half second off the normal 0-60 acceleration time and adds $10,000 to the price of the car. You can tell a car that has Ludicrous Mode enabled because the underscore bar beneath the model designation on the rear will be red instead of chrome. Does this mean that a Tesla P100D with Ludicrous will be known as a “ploodl”?

Tesla has not officially acknowledged that a 100 kWh battery is in the offing. Nor do we know how a larger battery would affect the cost of the cars. The current 90 kWh battery adds $3,000 to the price of new cars compared to the what they cost when the 85 kWh battery was available. Perhaps now that the secret is out, Tesla may feel compelled to provide more information about availability and cost.

Photo credit: Flickr/raneko via Road & Track