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Friday, February 7, 2014

Tesla confirm AWD Model S & cheaper batteries [VIDEO]

Speaking to owners during a European tour, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has announced several product developments and company goals.

Musk confirmed plans to release an all-wheel-drive edition of its Model S sedan. The option may be available by the time the Model X arrives on the market, around early 2015.

The company is also working on higher-capacity battery options and new seats that will likely be ready by next year. For current owners, a seat modification will be available to improve comfort.

In the meantime, existing owners will be able to experience the Version 6.0 software update within a few weeks. The revision adds real-time traffic data, along with more control over suspension settings and ride-height adjustment, among other improvements.

Musk expects its "giga factory" to reduce battery costs by at least 30 percent, hopefully as much as 40 percent, with 30 gigawatt-hours of production capacity. Cheaper batteries are likely necessary for the company to meet its goal for a $30,000 mass-market car with a 200-mile range.

Following the completion of its transcontinental charging network in the US, Tesla is currently bringing new Superchargers on line at a rate of five per week. The chargers will eventually charge at a maximum 135 kW current.

While Musk was chatting with owners at the casual town-hall meetings, Consumer Reports was completing its latest brand-perception survey that showed the startup surging into the top five ahead of Subaru, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and other established players.

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