How Do Tesla’s Dual-Motor Systems Work? (Explained)

The Tesla Dual-Motor is an option on the market for those who want to have improved torque and maximum durability.

There is a lot of digital control in the way that the Tesla operates.

With so many unique aspects to this design, it’s important to explore the benefits.

What is Tesla’s Dual Motor All About?

The dual motor design places a motor on each axle of the Tesla. These motors are responsible for digitally controlling the torque of the front and rear wheels for improved redundancy and handling. Teslas with the dual motor setup have all-wheel-drive and more acceleration as the torque is transferred directly to the wheels.

Here are more details on how it works.

How Exactly Does the Dual Motor Setup Work on a Tesla?

The Dual Motor setup is for the all-wheel drive version of the Tesla.

The way that conventional AWD vehicles work is that power is distributed from a single engine to the wheels using a complicated mechanical transmission system.

The Dual Motor in a Tesla works uniquely by placing a motor on each axle. This allows the torque to be digitally and independently controlled by the front and rear wheels.

The Tesla has the capability of outperforming gas-powered cars in the same class because of delivering 100 percent of the peak torque from a standing start.

The front drive unit is new – there’s always been one on the rear. Tesla had the goal of adding this second motor so that it could outperform the McLaren F1, a supercar.

The Model S, specifically, is able to combine the performance of the rear motor with 50% of the torque from the front motor. It accelerates faster without needing to be a professional driver.

The dual motor setup is something new for electric cars. However, the concept of two sources of power isn’t actually new. There are quite a few performance cars on the market with two engines. This includes the Alfa Romeo Bimotore, the Citroen Sahara, and the Mercedes A38 AMG.

How Does the Tri-Motor Setup Work?

The Model S actually has a Tri-Motor option as of 2022. It is also expected that the Cybertruck will have a tri-motor once it is released for 2023.

The tri-motor is still all-wheel drive. There are three independent motors along with carbon-sleeved rotors that are designed to increase top speed while also maintaining premium power output.

As a result, the Tri-Motor Model S is capable of doing 0 to 60 miles per hour in 1.99 seconds – and that’s compared to the 3.2 seconds of the Dual Motor Model S.

In the Cybertruck, the added motor will increase the towing capacity by 14,000 pounds and increase the speed off of the start line.

Tesla has also reported that the Model X will soon have a tri-motor option.

How Many Motors Does a Tesla Dual Motor Have?

A Tesla Dual Motor model will have two motors. One motor to control the front wheels and another motor to deliver power to the rear wheels. They work together simultaneously to prove all-wheel-drive. Teslas with two motors have higher acceleration and increased performance on the road.

As Elon Musk has explained, one motor is designed for power, and one is designed for range.

If one motor breaks down, the car will still operate.

It’s important to remember that since Tesla is all-electric, there are motors instead of engines. While many people use the terms interchangeably, there are actually quite a few differences.

A motor transforms the electrical energy from the battery into power.

Meanwhile, an engine runs on fuel combustion.

Since the engine has to deal with the combustion of fuel, there is also an exhaust system and tailpipes. You won’t see exhaust or tailpipes on a Tesla because the motors replace the need to deal with fuel and the gases that are produced during the combustion phase.

How Much More Torque Do You Get with the Dual Motor Setup?

You can plan on getting a lot more torque with the dual motor setup. The Model S gets close to 200 more horsepowers (471 lb.ft. of torque).

While it depends on the model and model year, you can expect to get at least 100 lb.-ft of torque more than you would out of the base rear-wheel-drive model.

In a 2018 Tesla Model 3, the long-range rear-wheel-drive trim has one motor. It offers 258 horsepower along with 317 lb.-ft of torque.

That same Tesla with a Dual Motor Performance trim offers an enhanced 450 horsepower along with 471 lb.-ft of torque. You can read more here about why electric cars have much more torque than regular cars.

When you are considering whether you want to spend the added money to upgrade to the Dual Motor, you can simply look at what you get with that second motor. In the case of the 2018 Model 3, you’re paying for nearly 200 more horsepower and over 150 lb.-ft of torque.

In many vehicles, you have to choose between torque and horsepower. Tesla has changed all of that with the Dual Motor setup.

Added torque is beneficial for a number of reasons:

  • Have more pulling capacity
  • Take off faster
  • Easier for steep inclines

Even heavier loads are transported easier when you have more torque.

This means that if you or your passengers are on the heavier side or you’re going to haul more cargo regularly, it can be beneficial to take advantage of the higher level of torque offered by the Dual Motor.

What are the Main Advantages of Having Dual Motor?

The Dual Motor delivers more controlled performance for the Tesla.

Some of the primary benefits include:

  • Premium traction control
  • Instant response from the motors
  • Controlled performance
  • The ability to drive in all conditions

Gas-powered cars with all-wheel drive typically sacrifice efficiency for all-weather traction.

Tesla offers the added advantage that with the dual motor setup, it provides a propulsion system that increases the efficiency while still delivering impressive traction and control, even in slippery and icy conditions.

Further, when the current is delivered from the battery, it is split to each motor. It means that it is actually possible for the Tesla to gain 10 miles of highway driving range in comparison to its single motor counterpart.

The performance package for the dual motor will also include a few other features, including:

  • Carbon fiber spoiler
  • Black & white interior options
  • 20” performance wheels

How Much Extra Do You Pay to Get the Dual Motor Setup?

You will pay more for the dual motor setup, but it can be well worth it.

Much of it depends on where you’re driving, the weather conditions you’re regularly exposed to, and how much performance handling you demand from your Tesla.

Each Model used to have a rear motor and a dual motor option though newer models, depending on model, will only offer Dual Motor.

The price will vary based on the model as well as the other features.

Model 3:

Rear-Wheel Drive is $40,390. The Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive is $56,390. That means that the Dual Motor version is $16,000 more.

Model S:

The Dual Motor is the standard for $96,500. There’s also a Tri Motor option for the Tesla Model S Plaid, which drives the MSRP up to $127,590.

Model X:

The Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive is $112,590 as the base for the Model X. You can also choose the Tri Motor All-Wheel Drive Model X Plaid for $130,590.

Model Y:

It’s only available in a Dual Motor, though you get the choice of a Long Range for $58,190 or Performance for $62,190.

You’ll also find that there are various incentives offered by Tesla, the federal government, and even state and local municipalities that can drive the cost of the Tesla down by $10,000 or more for the total price you’ll pay.

Do All Teslas Come in a Dual-Motor Version?

All of the Tesla models are available in a dual-motor version. This includes the Model X, Model S, Model 3, and Model Y. The Cybertruck, once it is released onto the market, will have a dual motor trim level as well as a tri motor trim level.

The Model S is the first one to have offered the dual motor, which was launched in 2014.

This was to offer more athletic handling and performance.

In 2018, the first Tesla Model 3 Dual Motor and Dual Motor Performance were released on the market.

The Model X and Model Y followed shortly after. It is anticipated that the Cybertruck will release in 2023.

Final Thoughts

Tesla, under the leadership of Elon Musk, is continuously looking to provide innovative solutions to deliver premium performance. The Dual Motor is unique to Tesla models.

While adding a dual or even tri motor setup can be expensive, it delivers the performance and handling that you might desire. Especially if you find yourself traveling up steep inclines, hauling heavy loads, or driving in slippery conditions, it can be well worth the cost.

Ultimately, you have to consider how much you want to spend in order to get a performance vehicle.

It’s often best to consider Tesla to be the supercar of the electric car market. Once you consider that, the costs are actually considerably low.


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