What Does Dual Motor Mean on a Tesla?

Tesla is constantly looking to push the envelope regarding EV technology. They often upgrade higher-end trims of Tesla cars with dual motors. What exactly does this mean?

Dual motor means one motor in the front and one in the rear. According to Elon, one is used for power and the other for range. It translates into a much higher output than top ICE cars. Let’s discuss what dual motors mean on a Tesla.

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Dual Motors are Nice-to-Haves, not Must-to-Haves

A dual motor delivers more power and speed than a single motor EV. It will also cost more.

In reality, you don’t need a dual motor EV for everyday use. You must be a sports car enthusiast to truly appreciate dual motor EVs.

Tesla cars with dual motors are the pinnacle of performance. For perspective, the Performance Model 3 has a horsepower of 450 hp.

This is a massive jump from the 221 hp found on the Standard Range Plus.

Number of Motors in Electric Vehicles

Is a Dual Motor EV an All Wheel Drive?

A dual motor electric car effectively serves as an all-wheel-drive vehicle. It has superior traction and can efficiently deal with wet, icy, and slippery conditions.

Dual motor EVs can efficiently run in icy and snowy conditions. Dual motors may be ideal if you live in an area prone to bad weather.

With that said, single-motor Teslas are more than sufficient for most electric cars.

There are pros and cons of multiple motors. For one, it will increase the costs of manufacturing. However, it will eliminate the need for a driveshaft. The driver will also maintain more control.

Adding more motors can also increase unsprung weight. Porsche

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Breathtaking Performance

Single motor Teslas already have an advantage over ICE cars. But placing an additional motor greatly boosts their power.

Take a look at the Model 3 Long Range Dual Motor, for example. It can hit 60 mph in under 4 seconds. It can cover a quarter of a mile in 12.5 seconds at 113mph.

The rear-wheel drive and mono-motor models hit 60 mph in 5.1 seconds.

These speeds used to be unheard of for electric cars. Acceleration metrics have also greatly improved due to the superiority of all-wheel traction.

The Dual Motor Performance Model is ahead of the Audi S4, BMW M6, and CTS-V. So it is leaving most ICE cars under the dust.

Opting for the second motor will cost an extra $5,000. It will allow the Model 3 to reach top speeds of 140 mph. The Model 3 can cover 310 miles on a single charge.

Model 3 sedans with dual motors use an AC induction front motor. This is similar to the Model X and Model S.

They use partial permanent magnet rear motors with silicon carbide inverters and switched reluctance.

As mentioned earlier, one of the motors is used for performance. The other is deployed for range. Additionally, the model features include 20-inch performance wheels.

The table below summarizes the key differences between single and dual motor Model 3 Teslas.

TrimStandard Range PlusDual Motor All-Wheel-DrivePerformance
0 to 60 mph (in seconds)

In other words, the Model 3 Performance is as fast as a supercar. At its current price level, the Model 3 Performance is a bargain.

Most supercars that come close to these performance metrics cost a fortune.

Tri Motor Electric Cars

Number of Motors in Electric Vehicles

Why stop at two motors when you can place three or even four engines? There are several factors that you should consider before choosing a motor arrangement.

These include the following.

  • Your overall budget (the more motors you employ, the more you have to pay)
  • The purpose for buying the vehicle (is it recreational or for everyday use?)
  • The type of terrain that you are most likely to drive on
  • What do you expect from your EV in terms of performance?
  • How efficiently you want your EV battery to be

This section will discuss all there is to know about the number of motors.

Single Motor Electric Cars

Single motor Teslas are ideal for new electric vehicle drivers. They are reliable, easier to maintain, and not very costly to repair.

More importantly, these motors use less energy than a dual motor Tesla. Want to get the most out of your EV battery? Then opt for single motor Teslas.

A single motor should suffice for most applications. This includes climbing steep hills, carrying many passengers, and hauling cargo.

However, if you want to tow trailers, single motor cars are not for you.

Dual Motor Electric Cars

Dual motor Teslas are recommended for motorists who drive on harsh terrain. Cars driving on rough terrain will require more horsepower and torque for cornering and acceleration.

Moreover, these Teslas are better suited to off-roading and driving in winter with snow and ice. Dual motor cars have several advantages, including the following.

  • The front and rear axles are independent. They have independent torque output for more efficient torque distribution to maximize traction control.
  • You can switch between front-wheel-drive to rear-wheel drive depending on the driving conditions.
  • Dual motor electric cars in California have superior acceleration.

Tri Motor Electric Cars

Tesla isn’t just stopping at dual motor electric cars in California. They have introduced the Model S plaid with a tri-motor configuration.

The Model S plaid of the most impressive numbers ever.

It can do 0-60 mph in under 2 seconds. The range of the S Plaid is a whopping 400 miles. And it has a peak power of 1,020 hp. These numbers easily take the S Plaid into supercar territory.

To put things in perspective, the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ does 0-62 mph in 2.8s. The S Plaid has beaten some of the world’s fastest supercars on a tri-motor configuration.

If you want a supercar that goes incredibly fast, consider buying a tri-motor Tesla. With a range of 400 miles, you can comfortably travel anywhere you want.

The Lotus Eletre is an all-electric car with a tri-motor. It has a claimed power output of 600 hp.

It has a massive battery pack of 100 kWh to cover more range. Adding all these motors will significantly increase the EV’s. It will weigh exactly two tons.

Quad Motor Electric Cars

You’re playing fire with Tesla has yet to reveal any vehicle with a four-motor configuration. The highly anticipated Cybertruck will have the quad-motor option.

Each motor will enable independent power at all wheels and four-wheel steering. Such precision control and top speeds make the Cybertruck more like a spaceship.

Other EV makers are also experimenting with quad motors. Porsche has developed a drivetrain for quad-motor electric vehicles.

They haven’t announced any specific electric cars. But it is rumored that the next Macan may be a quad-motor electric car. Porsche has stayed very tight-lipped about any developments.

Drake Motors is also currently developing the Drako GTE. This EV is a limited production electric supercar with a 1200 hp quad motor architecture.

It has a top speed of 206 mph with a 0-60 of 1.9 seconds.

These numbers are only eclipsed by the Drako Dragon SUV with 2000 horsepower. The SUV, at its size, can hit 60 mph in 2 seconds.

It is capable of hitting 200 mph at top speeds. All this is made possible thanks to a quad-motor setup that Drako will develop in-house.

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Single Motor vs. Dual Motor Teslas for Colder Climates

A major deciding factor when choosing between either motor configuration is your location. There is more to dual motor Teslas than raw power.

They can also maximize traction and improve your drive performance on tougher terrain. The front motor drives the front wheels, and the front motor drives the rear wheels.

This can make it easier for your Tesla to cover snow and ice-covered roads. Dual motor isn’t a magic bullet that prevents crashes in bad weather.

However, dual motors can lower your likelihood of accidents on slippery surfaces. Moreover, dual motor cars make cornering easier on colder, slippery surfaces.

Single Motor vs. Dual Motor Teslas for Handling

This topic won’t be complete without discussing handling between single motor and dual motor handling.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer here. It depends on individual preferences and experiences. Some motorists prefer rear-wheel drives, while others feel safer with all-wheel drives.

A case can be made for rear-wheel drives, though. This is because you aren’t confused about the job of each wheel.

The rear wheels do the propelling while the front wheels do the steering. This makes driving easier for beginners.

However, working with a dual motor might require a learning curve. We recommend working with single motor Teslas before upgrading to double motor Teslas.

Once you switch to double motors, however, you will find it hard to go back. The sheer power of an AWD will leave a lasting impression on you.

Being able to carry so much speed feels terrific. Plus, cornering at high speeds becomes a lot easier.

Finally, you can also tow an incredible amount of weight and haul cargo. A dual-motor Tesla is better if you want to tow a trailer.

Importance of dual motor on a tesla

Single Motor vs. Dual Motor Teslas for Range

The range is a sensitive issue for motorists. It has been the biggest concern for anyone on the fence about adopting EVs.

This is why EV makers like Tesla are obsessed with superior battery capacities. Electric car charging stations are springing up everywhere to facilitate accessible re-charging.

Electric cars with dual motors will have a shorter range. This boils down to the laws of physics. The more weight you carry, the less distance you’ll cover.

Tesla might compensate for this by adding a more powerful battery. But the point remains: dual motor means smaller range.

You can opt for a superior battery, but it will increase the overall price.

This can become a problem in the winter. You will rapidly lose range as the temperature declines. Once again, this is because of the laws of physics.

EV makers are still finding ways to improve battery chemistry at extreme temperatures. And until they find a breakthrough, cold will remain the Achilles heel of your EV.

Pro tip: Opt for more motors if you are a speed freak. But if you also want more range, then add a more powerful battery.

But adding a more powerful battery can increase Tesla’s curb weight. This can reduce the overall range you can cover on a single charge. It’s a vicious cycle.

Most importantly, you can’t go wrong with a more powerful battery.

Note that range should not be an issue for most motorists. Running errands and going to and from work shouldn’t use more than 50 miles.

Even low-end EVs with as little as 100 miles on a single charge is sufficient. The average motorist won’t need more – unless they’re driving just for the sake of it.

Single Motor vs. Dual Motor Teslas for Value

As the old saying goes: you get what you pay for.

Dual motor Teslas will cost more than single motor Teslas. If budget is not an issue, we would almost always recommend dual motor Teslas.

The price of a single motor Tesla Model 3 is about $42,000. The Dual Motor Performance Model 3 starts at $60,000.

The Model Y’s AWD Long Range starts at $63,000. With all the bells and whistles, prices can go as much as $83,000.

The Model S ups the ante with superior performance metrics. The dual motor Model S starts at $104,000. It can go up to $121,000.

The Model X is available in dual motor and tri-motor configurations. The dual motor Model X starts at $120,000. The tri-motor Plaid version starts at $144,000 and more.

Based on the prices so far, single-motor Teslas fetch the most bang for your buck.

Wrapping Up

These were some of the differences between single motor and dual motor electric vehicles. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages.

Consider all factors before deciding which motor configuration is suitable for you. So, which motor configuration do you plan on buying? Please share your opinions with us.

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