Elon Musk famously dubbed the new tri-motor, high-performance variant of the 2022 Tesla Model S the “Plaid” because, as the movie Spaceballs says, it’s the only step up from the previous top-dog in the Model S lineup, “Ludicrous.” So, what if there’s a step up from Plaid and the cancelled Plaid+? According to a company source, there is no reason why Tesla couldn’t build a quad-motor Model S if it wanted to.
Why Would Tesla Want to Make a Quad-Motor Model S?
There are two main reasons for this: more power and traction, which could potentially improve the Model S’s launch and give it a sub-2.0-second 0-60 mph time without any gimmicks. According to the cutaway below, the Model S Plaid currently has two motors at the rear axle, one driving each rear wheel, and one at the front axle, primarily driving the front-right wheel.
According to our source, these carbon-sleeved motors are identical and have a total system output of 1,020 hp and 1,050 lb-ft of torque. That equates to 340 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque for each.
Adding a front motor to the Model S would theoretically increase horsepower to 1,360 and torque to 1,400 lb-ft, with the added weight of the motor (plus the drive force of the motor itself) possibly aiding traction and performance.
Why Didn’t Tesla Make a Quad-Motor Model S?
According to our source, Tesla simply did not see the need to produce a quad-motor Model S. The dual-motor rear drive unit of the Model S Plaid would fit on the front axle, but it would further shrink an already small trunk, making the car less efficient and adding cost and complexity. Our source also mentioned that the Model S Plaid was already on the cutting edge of performance, making developing the automaker’s first-ever quad-motor system a riskier proposition.
The current tri-motor system of the Model S Plaid is expected to be available on both the Cybertruck and Roadster, if either ever goes into production. Rivian appears to be the first automaker to bring a quad-motor system to market, which comes standard on its R1T and R1S pickup and SUV. General Motors isn’t far behind. When it goes on sale later this year, the GMC Hummer EV Pickup will also have a quad-motor powertrain.