Tesla Model S Plaid Plus cancelled days before launch as there's 'no need' for it

Tesla Model S
(Image credit: Tesla)

Elon Musk and Tesla have cancelled plans to produce the Model S Plaid Plus, just days before the car was due to be unveiled at an official delivery event for its standard sibling, the Model S Plaid.

The Model S Plaid Plus was set to become the most expensive variant of the company's flagship sedan and the quickest vehicle in the Tesla lineup, before mysteriously disappearing from Tesla's official website a few weeks ago.

Clarifying the last-minute U-turn, CEO Musk said in a tweet that there is simply "no need" for the Plaid Plus, as the standard Plaid variant is "just so good." Talk about confidence.

Tesla had promised a Plaid Plus version of the Model S would deliver 520 miles of range, and accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than two seconds. Those specs would have put the model at the front of the electric vehicle (EV) pack, but the non-Plus Model S Plaid – scheduled for delivery on June 10 – is certainly no slouch, either.

Only just shy of its now-canned premium brother, the remaining high-end version of the Model S Plaid will pack a 390-mile range battery, 1,020 horsepower, boast a 0-60mph acceleration of just two seconds and a top speed of 200 mph (~320 kmph).

That will make the regular Tesla Model S Plaid the quickest production car ever made, so it seems Musk's confidence is justified. In fact, the Tesla boss followed up confirmation of the Plaid Plus' cancellation with a further tweet affirming that the Model S Plaid "has to be felt to be believed," adding to previous comments suggesting the car "feels like a spaceship." 

High praise from a man who does indeed build spaceships. 

Naturally, it's not going to be cheap. The Tesla Model S Plaid has a list price of $119,990 (around £90,000 / AU$150,000), making it the most expensive Tesla so far (ahead of the Model X).

Even bigger fish

The Model S is already the most premium offering currently available in the Tesla lineup. In 2019, Elon Musk confirmed that a Plaid (a reference to Mel Brook's 1987 film Spaceballs) variant was in development and would be available in a few years. 

Soon after, it was revealed that an even more powerful Tesla Model Plaid Plus would be available at a price of $149,990, with greater performance specs (as detailed above) – achieved by using the company's new 4680 cells. 

Tesla's move to axe the Plaid Plus therefore suggests that those 4680 cells – and the performance gains brought by them – will likely be reserved for the Tesla Roadster, which is set to dethrone the Model S Plaid in 2022 with even quicker acceleration, a top speed of more than 250mph and a range of over 620 miles. 

Perhaps Tesla wants to have some differentiation between its top two models – which the Tesla Model S Plaid Plus would have blurred. In any case, the standard Model S Plaid is one serious car.

Axel Metz
Phones Editor

Axel is TechRadar's UK-based Phones Editor, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest AI breakthroughs as part of the site's Mobile Computing vertical. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion.  Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.