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The Week in Tesla News: Going to Plaid, Lapping Laguna Seca and Free Supercharging for Model 3 Returns?

Tesla remains embroiled in a Nurburgring imbroglio this week as it’s still unclear when a Model S sedan might — if ever — try to take the Porsche Taycan’s electric lap-time crown. Tesla CEO Elon Musk even said the Model S currently testing there has seven seats, which: Huh? One astute Twitter user suggested the company was aiming for the record for seven-seat vehicles, to which Musk replied, “Good point.” We’ll keep track of … whatever happens in Germany.

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In the meantime, Tesla went and set a lap record at another famous track. Sort of. (We’ll discuss.) And both that vehicle and at least one in Germany may house a new three-motor powertrain. Finally, in news back in the sane world outside of lap records, rumors are that Tesla may be reinstating free Supercharging for Model 3 buyers in a sales push.

They’ve Gone to Plaid!

At least one of the Model S prototypes undergoing testing is rumored to have a three-motor powertrain dubbed “Plaid.” As Musk pointed out on Twitter, “The only thing beyond Ludicrous is Plaid.” (He really loves “Spaceballs,” huh?) Power details and subsequent measurables like zero-to-60-mph times or top speed are currently unknown, as is potential availability.

In a follow-up tweet, Musk claimed that the new powertrain “is about a year away from production” and would be for the Model S, Model X and upcoming Roadster. The Model 3 and the upcoming Model Y compact SUV will not be capable of going to plaid — unless some Liquid Schwartz is involved (hire me, Elon!).

Twisting the Corkscrew

Tesla released a video on Twitter of a “Plaid” Model S prototype lapping the famed WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca — more commonly known as just Laguna Seca, home of the Corkscrew — in 1 minute and 36.555 seconds, what it claimed is a record for four-door cars.

That … may be true? Objectively? We have no reason to suspect that the video isn’t accurate. The problem is that this didn’t take place during a sanctioned event and no one from a sanctioning body was on hand to observe and officiate (sound familiar?), which is one of the requirements for setting an official lap record. Which means that while Tesla may hold the record in our hearts, it doesn’t hold one in the official record book.

Supercharging Sales

According to a Road Show article, reporting on a piece by Electrek, who got their information from anonymous sources — who heard it from Elon Musk’s father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate — Tesla may be offering free Supercharging to Model 3 buyers. Electrek speculates that this is part of a push to boost sales before the end of the current quarter.

The offer would be for two years of free Supercharging. The Supercharger network comprises Tesla’s own charging stations. At various times, access to the network has been free to Tesla owners, or part of a referral program, or even not free at all. After reinstating free Supercharging for new Model S and Model X buyers in August, Model 3 buyers will finally get some of that free juice.

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