The refreshed Model S is said to come with a new 100kWh battery pack and advanced air filters.
Tipped for an update as soon as this week, the Tesla Model S could very well soon be breaching the 300-mile-range mark. According to The Verge, the mid-cycle update of the Model S is said to bring the advanced "Bioweapon Defense Mode" air filtration system from the Model X, a refreshed exterior and interior, and a new option for a massive 100kWh battery.
Bioweapon defense mode, while humorously named, is serious business for Tesla. The system pushes the vehicle's interior ventilation system into full fresh mode and max speed, pulling exterior air through a HEPA filter and slightly pressurizing the interior to prevent contaminated exterior air from leaking in. It's worth noting that though we've not yet had the chance to test how well the Model X can protect its occupants from biological weapons agents, the HEPA filter that Tesla uses on the Model X wouldn't be highly effective against a true viral bioweapon attack (though it could do alright against bacterial attacks like plague or anthrax). We'd take it more in stride with Tesla's playfully named "Insane" and "Ludicrous Mode" performance options, and use it more to fight against noxious external air contaminants — like that trash truck you're stuck behind on the highway.
The more exciting option, however, would be the 100kWh battery. Surely, it'll be an expensive upgrade — jumping from the current base 70kWh Model S 70D to a 90D incurs a $13,000 charge for an additional 48 miles range (bringing it to 288 miles range). That 28% increase in battery capacity is good for a 20% increase in range — the 90D is also a bit higher performing on the top speed and acceleration fronts, plus the more capacious battery weighs more, so you don't get a 1-to-1 increase kWh-to-miles. But if that same ratio holds true — each 10kWh is good for roughly 24 miles additional range, then a Model S 100D might just be the first production electric car to top 300 miles in range, possibly as high as 310 miles range.
Of course, you'll pay dearly for the privilege of driving a Model S 100D. We don't yet have pricing, but it won't be cheap. Just as you don't get a 1:1 increase kWh-to-range by increasing the capacity of the battery, you also have to contend with rising per-kWh costs for shoving more cells into the same size battery unit. A Model S 90D already tips the scales at $88,000 a starting price of — a 100D could well push over $95,000, or more depending on just how luxurious and speedy Tesla intends to make the refreshed sedan.
If this updated Model S is proving too rich for your blood, might we suggest a Tesla Model 3 instead? It's starting at a much more reasonable $35,000 — though you'll have to option up for an increased-range battery if the Model 3's base 215-mile range isn't cutting it for you.