Tesla Model S gets four-wheel drive and self-driving tech

* Four-wheel-drive versions will be badged 'D' for Dual Motor * New technology for autonomous driving * Available to order now; UK deliveries from spring 2015...

Tesla Model S gets four-wheel drive and self-driving tech

Tesla has announced two new features that will be coming to its all-electric Model S, four-wheel drive and Autopilot.

Tesla's four-wheel-drive system is called Dual Motor. As the name suggests, a second motor has been added to the Model S to drive the front wheels.

Quoted performance figures for these 'D' versions are impressive. The 60D has a 0-60mph time of 5.7 seconds and a range of 225 miles, which is an improvement of 10 miles over the standard Model S 60.

The second feature announced is a technology called Autopilot. This is the inclusion of hardware that is paving the way for the Model S to one day drive itself.

Tesla is already building this hardware into the Model S and will bring new features to the car by over-the-air software updates in the future.

The first uses of this new hardware are a lane departure-warning system and a speed limit-warning system. Eventual applications could include the driver being able to exit the Model S which then drives itself to find a place to charge – this is some way off but not outside the realm of possibility.

Three 'D' versions of the Model S will be available: 60D, 85D and range-topping P85D which has a claimed 0-60mph time of just 3.2 seconds.

UK prices have yet to be announced but the cars will be available to order soon. Deliveries of the updated Model S will start in spring 2015.