Tesla Model S Plaid+ Canceled, Musk Claims Better Performance And 520-Mile Range Don't Matter

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With one tweet this afternoon, Tesla CEO Elon Musk crushed the dreams of Model S Plaid+ reservation holders that hoped to enjoy the best of both worlds with EVs: unmatched performance and incredible range. This week, Tesla is holding a delivery event in which the first Model S Plaid vehicles will make their way to reservation holders. But those that opted for the even more expensive Model S Plaid+ were instead greeted with disappointment.

"Plaid+ is canceled. No need, as Plaid is just so good," said Musk in a tweet. Granted, Musk is correct; the Plaid really is so good. It goes from a standstill to 60 mph in 1.99 seconds, and has a driving range of 390 miles backed by a $119,900 price tag, but the Plaid+ would have been even better. The Plaid+ would have a 0-60 time of less than 1.99 seconds and an incredible driving of 520 miles for $149,990.

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Granted, we can understand that it's really pointless to try to better the 1.99-second 0-60 times, but the expanded driving range is nothing to scoff at, which makes Musk's following comments even more puzzling. Musk provided a statement to Electrek, which gave an additional [rather odd] reason for canceling the Plaid+.

"What we are seeing is that once you have a range above 400 miles, more range doesn't really matter," said Musk. "There are essentially zero trips above 400 miles where the driver doesn't need to stop for restroom, food, coffee, etc. anyway."

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Those comments might be understandable if Tesla EVs actually met their EPA range numbers in the real world. While all vehicles can be affected by weather (i.e., rain, extreme heat/cold), EVs can take a massive hit to efficiency in extreme weather. That 400-mile range in optimum conditions while driving like a snail on the highway could end up being 220 miles or less when the temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower outside.

Or even doing something as simple as loading the family up for a trip at highway speeds can see your range drastically reduced. Electrek poster and Model X owner onlineo gave a first-hand account of this situation in a comment saying that Elon's assertion that 500+ miles of range isn't needed is simply wrong:

My Model X 75D when we go on a family trip so 2 adults, 2 small children with suitcases and scooters or small bikes etc struggles to get 140 miles range at 75mph. Sure it can get 170 miles range if I drive 65mph, but why would I buy a car this fast only to drive it slower than the speed limit. It is supposed to get 238 miles range. So real world for me is 40% off EPA. Well you give me a 500 mile range that has a real world range of 300 miles in every circumstance and I will be very happy.

Tesla Superchargers are definitely a well-thought-out and welcome option for long-distance travel, but having more range at your disposal in the first place would lessen the reliance on them.

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Tesla (and Musk) has a penchant for overpromising when it comes to new products, and perhaps the company simply bit off more than could chew with the Model S Plaid+. Maybe the company ran into issues with the new "4680" batteries that power the vehicle. Finally, perhaps the company simply didn't want the $150,000 Plaid+ offering comparable performance and range (while providing far superior versatility) than the upcoming second-generation Roadster.

Whatever the case, Musk's explanation doesn't hold much water with disappointed Plaid+ reservation holders, who could potentially look elsewhere (perhaps to the 517-mile range Lucid Air)