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Tesla unveils new Model S sedan, Model X crossover with quicker acceleration, longer battery range

Tesla's new battery pack is all about going the distance, and being quicker than any mass-produced car has ever been.

Tesla announced new versions of its Model S sedan and Model X crossover Tuesday, with substantially faster acceleration and longer battery range.

The company claims its Model S P100D with Ludicrous mode is the quickest production car in the world, in terms of acceleration. Tesla compared it to the likes of the LaFerrari and the Porsche 918 Spyder, which were accelerated faster, but were limited-run cars, while the Tesla will factory-produced for the general public. The Model S has a 100 kilowatt hour battery, with a 315 mile EPA range.

"I think this is going to send a great message to the public that sustainable transport is the future," CEO Elon Musk said.

However, after the announcement, shares of both Tesla and SolarCity gave up earlier gains of 2.49 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively. At market close, both stocks were up slightly.

"I think what they have done here with the battery pack in terms of improving the capacity in the same form factor is an impressive feat from an engineering standpoint," said Oppenheimer analyst Colin Rusch on CNBC's "Closing Bell." "And this is a capability that we were very excited about with the auto platform, that they can do these sorts of things, that they will continue to roll these sorts of products out."

The Model X P100D, which also has Ludicrous mode — a performance mode that allows an increase in acceleration through electronics — is built to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.9 seconds and will be able to travel 289 miles on a single charge.

The Model S P100D will start at $134,500 and the Model X 100D will start at $135,500.

Pictured here is a Tesla Model S. Tesla’s Model S P100D with Ludicrous mode will use the same basic Model S body, but will have 100 kW/h battery, the Ludicrous mode hardware and a different badge.
Source: Tesla
Pictured here is a Tesla Model S. Tesla’s Model S P100D with Ludicrous mode will use the same basic Model S body, but will have 100 kW/h battery, the Ludicrous mode hardware and a different badge.

The battery will also be available as an upgrade to P90D Ludicrous owners of both models for $20,000, and to customers who have ordered a P90D, for $10,000. Ludicrous mode originally debuted as a $7,500 hardware upgrade to the P85D, that boosted the current from the battery and delivered more power to the motor.

"This has been a very difficult development," Musk said, "going from roughly 90 to a 100" was "more like a 50 percent increase in difficulty."

Musk said that production volume will be "quite low because of the challenge of making such a complex pack."

"It is a very expensive car," Musk said,"but it is important to bear in mind that this is what is paying for the Model 3" both in terms of cash flow, and in terms of research and development.

The Model 3 is a smaller, more affordable electric car currently in development.

Oppenheimer's Rusch is still not convinced Tesla's merger with SolarCity will pay off, and is not bullish on the stock overall. But he does believe the owners of Tesla's high-models will "pony up" for these upgrades.