Tesla Motors changes its lineup more frequently than I replace my soiled bed sheets and, with the Model 3 fast approaching, it’s tweaking things yet again. This time the manufacturer is getting rid of the rear-wheel drive variant of the Model S 75, leaving the all-wheel version as the new base-trim — presumably to make room between its $74,500 price tag and the $35,000 Model 3.
This move also streamlines production, as eliminating the RWD car results in the Model S being an exclusively AWD build. However, that doesn’t mean the upscale sedan will be slim on options. Tesla has claimed the Model S will maintain gobs of premium features, unimaginable on the Model 3, for a grand total of 1,500 possible configurations. Do you need that much choice? Probably not. But you have to differentiate yourself from the plebs in the more-common EV somehow — apparently, superior size, speed, and free access to the company’s charging network isn’t enough.
According to Electrek, the rear-drive Model S will remain available for the rest of 2017. After that, Tesla has indicated it will be ending production to ramp-up assembly of the Model 3.
Don’t get too comfortable with the new lineup, though. Electrek also noticed Tesla has brought back its 85 kWh battery pack on a handful of brand new Model X 75Ds sold in Norway. While that’s no guarantee the automaker will upsize the power source in its flagship vehicles, it would make sense since the production version of the Model 3 is expected to have a comparable range to the larger sedan. Meanwhile, future installments of the Model 3 using an upsized battery are likely to surpass the current Model S and X’s effective area of operation — and nobody is going to want to pay a premium for enhanced range anxiety.
Tesla previously offered the Model S 60 with a software-restricted 75 kWh battery, so it might try something similar with the 75 or replace it with the the Model S 85 — but that’s a purely speculation. All we know for sure is that the previously discontinued 85 kWh battery pack has cropped up again and Tesla isn’t interested in talking about it.