After a successful debut with the Roadster, Tesla leaped into mass production with the Model S. This was long before the Tesla Model 3, Model Y, and Model X were even a twinkle in Elon Musk’s eye.
The Model S’s production ramped up slowly in 2012 and finally arrived in Canada as a 2013 model. Throughout the years, the Model S has been through a dizzying number of changes and versions.
To help you wrap your head around the different Model S Versions and decide which one may be right for you, we’ve listed them all and the significant changes they ushered in below.
The Model S sedan is the longest-running model in the all-electric automaker’s lineup, as it’s been on the North American market since the 2012 model year and entered the Canadian market as a 2013 model year vehicle. While its design has remained mostly the same, save for a refresh in 2017 that brought in a sleeker nose, the Model S has been through various powertrain spec updates.
In its debut year in Canada, the Model S had four variants, with the 40 kWh model being the entry-level model. The Model S 40 kWh delivered 224 km of driving range and a fuel economy equivalent of 2.5 Le/100 km combined.
This base Model S’s powertrain delivered 235 horsepower (hp) and 317 pound-feet (lb-ft) of torque, which was respectable for a midsize sedan in that model year. This sprinted the electric car to 96.6 km/h in just 6.5 seconds, which was also about average for a family sedan.
The Model S is notoriously roomy, checking in at 744 litres of cargo space with the rear seats up and 1,645 litres with the rear seats folded. There’s also a frunk (front trunk) with another 8.5 litres of room.
In these early years, the Tesla Model S lacked the advanced safety gear many luxury sedans had, like adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, or automatic emergency braking.
The 40 kWh Model S was only available in the 2013 model year, as Tesla scrapped it due to low demand.
The Model S midrange trim was the 60 kWh model in its early years. The larger 60-kWh battery afforded it a longer range of 335 km — and the estimated range jumped to 338 km in 2016 models. Like the 40 kWh model, the 60 kWh Model S offered fuel economy equivalents of 2.5 Le/100 km combined.
This larger battery pack also allowed Tesla to increase the electric motor’s output, bumping it to 302 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque. This dipped its 0-to-96.6 km/h sprint time to just 5.9 seconds. Output increased to 315 hp in 2015, reducing its sprint time to 5.5 seconds.
Next up in the early Model S years was the 85 kWh variant. The 85 kWh version used a larger 85-kWh lithium-ion battery pack to push its driving range to 426 km — a number no one ever expected an electric vehicle to reach. However, the extra charging demand for this large battery increased its fuel-consumption estimates to 2.6 Le/100 km combined.
This larger battery pack allowed Tesla to further increase the Model S’s output to 362 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. This dropped its 0-to-96.6 km/h sprint time to just 5.6 seconds. In 2015, the 85 kWh model increased to 380 hp, decreasing its acceleration time to just 5.4 seconds.
Even in its older years, the Model S had a high-performance variant. This model used the 85 kWh battery pack, but Tesla cranked the electric motor’s output to 416 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. This led to a sports-car-like 4.4-second 0-to-96.6 km/h sprint time.
Despite the added power, the Model S Performance’s driving range remained at 426 km. Its fuel consumption equivalent also remained steady at 2.6 Le/100 km.
The Model S Performance remained in the lineup only through 2014, but a new, higher-performing model arrived in 2015.
In 2015, the Model S lineup exploded, adding seven new models, starting with the 90 kWh model. This variant’s battery pack delivered a 426-km driving range and a 2.6 Le/100 km combined fuel consumption rating. With this pack, Tesla claimed a 6% driving range increase, but NRCAN notes no range difference between the 85 and 90 kWh battery packs.
The Model S 90 kWh also has the same output as the 85 kWh model’s 362 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. Its 0-to-96.6 km/h sprint time also remained at 5.6 seconds.
However, in 2015, Tesla added more standard advanced safety features, including automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, parking sensors, and more.
Tesla AutoPilot, a partial self-driving system, also debuted as an option in 2015. Elon Musk promised an eventual update to full self-driving capability in the coming years.
In 2015, Tesla introduced its dual-motor all-wheel-drive (AWD) system to the world, and the base AWD model was the Model S 70D. Models with a “D” in their name were AWD, and those without were rear-wheel drive (RWD) for many years.
This variant featured a 70 kWh battery pack that delivered up to 386 km of driving range and combined fuel-consumption ratings of 2.3 Le/100 km.
This model delivered 328 hp, resulting in a 5.2-second 0-to-96.6 km/h sprint time.
Tesla also paired the existing 85 kWh battery pack with the dual-motor AWD system to create the 85D variant. This Model S delivered a 435 km driving range and fuel-consumption estimates of 2.4 Le/100 km.
The big news was its performance, as this 376-hp model delivered a 5.2-second 0-to-96.6 km/h sprint time.
Replacing the discontinued Performance model was a lineup of “P” badged models, starting with the Model S P85D. This model featured an 85 kWh battery pack and a whopping 691 hp. This additional power rocketed it to 96.6 km/h in just 3.5 seconds.
The added demand on the battery pack shortened its range to just 407 km and pushed its combined fuel-consumption equivalent to 2.5 Le/100 km.
The P90D model’s output and performance remained the same as the P85D, but Tesla claimed a 6% range boost. NRCAN notes no range difference between the P85D and P90D models in 2015.
In 2016, however, the P90D model’s acceleration dropped to 3.1 seconds in normal mode and a supercar-like 2.8 seconds in Ludicrous mode. The late-2016 Model S refresh also boosted the P90D’s range to 435 km.
In 2016, the Model S lineup exploded again to include several more powertrain options, including a new 70 kWh Model S. This variant produced 315 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque, pushing it to 96.6 km/h in just 5.5 seconds. Its range checked in at 377 km and combined fuel-consumption equivalent sat at 2.6 Le/100 km.
In 2016, Tesla began offering its full self-driving capability as an option, although it continued to go through numerous updates throughout the years.
Later in 2016, Tesla replaced the 70 kWh battery with the 75 kWh battery pack, increasing its range to 401 km. This also lowered the fuel-consumption equivalent to 2.4 Le/100 km combined.
The output, however, remained at 315 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. Acceleration also remained the same at 5.5 seconds.
In 2016, Tesla introduced the dual-motor AWD system to the 60 kWh versions of the Model S. This model delivered 328 hp and 387 lb-ft of torque, giving it a 5.2-second 0-to-96.6 km/h sprint time.
This AWD model’s driving range checked in at 351 km, and fuel consumption numbers were 2.3 Le/100 km.
2016 also brought in a dual-motor variant with the 75 kWh battery pack. This model mimicked the 60D model’s output, but the added battery capacity pushed its range to 417 km. Fuel consumption was the same as the 60D model.
Late in 2016, Tesla released a refreshed Model S 90D that replaced the 85D and early 90D variants. This model pushed its range to 473 km and dropped its fuel-consumption numbers to 2.3 Le/100km combined.
The 90D’s output was 417 hp and 485 lb-ft of torque, which launched it to 96.6 km/h in just 4.2 seconds.
In late 2016, Canada received the all-new P100D Model S, which added a 100 kWh battery pack to the mix. This pushed its total driving range to 507 km. The fuel-consumption ratings sat at 2.4 Le/100 km.
Under the skin, this model delivered 503 hp and could sprint to 96.6 km/h in under three seconds.
In 2017, Tesla released a detuned P100D model and named it the Model S 100D. It boasts the same dual-motor AWD system, but it is less powerful and sprints to 96.6 km/h in 4.1 seconds. The tradeoff was its 539-km driving range — 22 km more than the P100D.
In 2019, Tesla dropped the 60 and 75 kWh models and released a new naming convention based on each model’s range and/or performance. Enter the Model S Standard Range, which includes dual-motor AWD with a 382-hp front motor and 260-hp rear motor that combine for a 4.2-second 0-to-96.6 km/h sprint time.
The Standard Range model also featured a 459-km driving range and combined fuel-consumption rating of 2.2 L2/100 km.
The Model S Standard Range lasted only one model year.
As the replacement for the outgoing 100D model, the Model S Long Range also boasted dual-motor AWD and a total output of 541 horsepower. This added up to a sub-four-second 0-to-96.6 km/h sprint time.
The Long Range trim could travel up to 595 km on a single charge and boasted a combined fuel-consumption rating of 2.1 Le/100 km. In 2020, the range jumped to 600 km.
The Model S Performance replaced the P100D model and continued with insane performance numbers, including a 2.4-second 0-to-96.6 km/h sprint time.
With 19-inch wheels, the Model S Performance could drive 555 km on a charge and deliver a 2.3 Le/100 km combined fuel-consumption rating. With the 21-inch wheels, the range fell to 523 miles and fuel consumption increased to 2.4 Le/100 km.
Adding more confusion to its lineup, Tesla released a new Long Range Plus model in 2020. The early versions of this model delivered a 629-km range and 2 Le/100 km combined.
The Long Range Plus has the same powertrain and performance credentials as the Long Range model.
In 2021, Tesla introduced the wild, tri-motor 1,020-hp Plaid variant that boasted a roughly two-second 0-to-96 km/h sprint time — this made it the world’s quickest production car — and a 322 km/h top speed.
The Tesla Model S Plaid’s 630-km range with 19-inch wheels was equally impressive. This range dipped to 560 km with the optional 21-inch wheels. Combined fuel-consumption ratings checked in at 2 Le/100 km with the 19-inch wheels and 2.3 Le/100 km with the 21-inch wheels.
In 2022, Tesla finally streamlined its Model S lineup to just two variants, with the base model being named simply the Model S. This model featured a 652-km driving range and a combined fuel-consumption rating of 2 Le/100km.
The base model S came standard with dual-motor AWD and 670 hp. This helped sprint it to 96.6 km/h in just over three seconds, with a 250 km/h top speed.
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