Tesla to Introduce Upgraded Model S to Jump-Start High-End Model Sales


Elon Musk

is aiming to breathe new life into

Tesla Inc.’s


TSLA 1.89%

high-end sedan that helped set up the corporate because the world’s main electric-vehicle maker.

The redesign of the Model S is the most recent signal that Tesla has developed from a sprightly startup difficult incumbents with new automobiles, to a longtime producer that additionally has to improve legacy fashions to preserve potential consumers .

The Silicon Valley firm late Thursday is poised to mark the supply of a souped-up model of its luxurious sedan. Mr. Musk, Tesla’s chief government, has billed it because the quickest manufacturing automobile in the marketplace. The car, dubbed Model S Plaid, can speed up from zero to 60 miles an hour in lower than two seconds, Tesla says on its web site, and is priced beginning round $130,000.

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The revamp comes almost a decade after Tesla launched the automobile, which turned one of many world’s first extensively bought battery-powered automobiles. However gross sales have slumped in recent times as the corporate has focused on developing more-affordable vehicles.

Deliveries of the luxurious sedan and one other high-end providing, the Model X sport-utility car, fell to a mixed 57,085 final 12 months, from a excessive of greater than 101,000 in 2017. Total vehicle handoffs to customers soared almost fivefold in that point.

The launch displays Mr. Musk’s observe document of showmanship in addition to missed deadlines. He has steadily talked up the car, which has a reputation adopted from Mel Brooks’s blockbuster “Spaceballs” film.

The automobile is also arriving late. Mr. Musk in January mentioned that he anticipated the Model S Plaid to be in buyer fingers the next month, however the overhaul proved to be tougher than anticipated.

Chinese language automaker XPeng is betting that driving help options and different tech would be the key to profitable new prospects. WSJ travels to its analysis and growth lab to see how its rivalry with Tesla may reshape how we drive. Photograph: XPeng

“It’s going to be a query of ramping provide chain and inside manufacturing processes,” Mr. Musk mentioned in April, after output of the fashions S and X floor to a halt within the first quarter.

The delay means Tesla has up to now largely missed out on this 12 months’s booming demand for luxurious automobiles, which usually are extra profitable for auto makers. U.S. gross sales of automobiles priced above $80,000 greater than doubled within the first 5 months of the 12 months, from the identical interval in 2019, in accordance to analysis agency J.D. Energy. Tesla delivered 2,030 mixed Model S and Model X automobiles within the first quarter.

“Customers are flush with money,” mentioned

Tyson Jominy,

who leads J.D. Energy’s knowledge and analytics follow. The redesign, he mentioned, ought to jolt gross sales.

The Model S Plaid has an estimated vary of 390 miles, in accordance to Tesla, and a redesigned inside that includes three show screens, together with one for rear passengers that allows in-car videogaming. The car has an uncommon yolk-shaped steering wheel and does away with the standard gear selector. As an alternative, the car “guesses drive route” primarily based on context together with obstacles and the navigation map, and drivers can use a contact display to override these assumptions, Mr. Musk has said.

Tesla, like many automobile makers, has been beset by supply-chain issues that took maintain in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, together with shortages of semiconductors. The corporate briefly shut down its Fremont, Calif., auto plant earlier this 12 months due to elements shortages.

“Our largest problem is provide chain, particularly microcontroller chips. By no means seen something prefer it,” Mr. Musk mentioned on Twitter earlier this month. “Concern of operating out is inflicting each firm to overorder—like the bathroom paper scarcity, however at epic scale.”

The corporate additionally has begun making battery cells in-house, to complement these offered by third-party suppliers akin to

Panasonic Corp.

Mr. Musk indicated last year that the Model S Plaid may use the bigger batteries that Tesla is producing at a Silicon Valley pilot plant. Nevertheless, as of April, these cells weren’t but dependable sufficient, Mr. Musk mentioned.

Mr. Musk just lately mentioned the corporate scrapped a higher-end model, dubbed Plaid+, which was billed as having a spread of greater than 520 miles. Mr. Musk attributed the move to Plaid being “simply so good.”

Tesla didn’t reply to a request for touch upon matters together with whether or not battery cells have been a consider its resolution to cancel the Model S Plaid+.

Tesla is also refreshing the Model X, first delivered to prospects in 2015. Mr. Musk mentioned in the course of the firm’s first quarter earnings name that he anticipated to start delivering the revamped Model X within the third quarter. As of Wednesday, the corporate’s web site estimated availability for brand spanking new orders early subsequent 12 months.

In the meantime, the corporate has new automobiles within the works, together with an electrical pickup truck that Mr. Musk has mentioned Tesla could ship by the tip of the 12 months. Tesla also is developing a semitrailer truck that’s operating late, and Mr. Musk has mentioned the corporate is striving to produce a $25,000 electric vehicle.

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Write to Rebecca Elliott at [email protected]

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Tesla to Introduce Upgraded Model S to Jump-Start High-End Model Sales

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