Tesla Dual Motor Basics: What You Need To Know

By Russ Heaps 01/30/2024 8:00am

A pair of restyled 2024 Tesla Model 3 sedans seen from a front quarter angle

If one motor in a Tesla is good, then two motors should be better, right? If you are considering a Tesla or any other electric vehicle (EV) offering either one or two motors (some, including Tesla, offer even more), you might wonder what the differences are in the motor count. Here, we look into the one-, two-, or three-motor conundrum and provide some answers.

What Is a Dual Motor Tesla?

A Tesla with dual motors means the vehicle features a motor on each axle controlling power to the front and rear wheels. For example, the Tesla Model 3 and the Tesla Model Y offer the choice of one or dual (two) electric motors. In those with one motor, the single motor is located on the rear axle providing rear-wheel drive. Every new Model S and Model X comes standard with dual motors configured for all-wheel drive. In the case of the Model S, you can upgrade to the Model S Plaid, which expands the rear motor count to two (one for each rear wheel) for a total of three electric motors. Likewise, moving up to the Model X Plaid offers a tri-motor arrangement. You can order a Cybertruck with one, two, or three motors.

What Is the Difference Between One- and Two-Motor Teslas?

No matter the Tesla model, adding another motor results in some combination of increasing range, raising the top speed, and improving acceleration. In the case of the Model 3, Model Y, and the Cybertruck, adding that second motor also gains you all-wheel drive. According to Tesla’s reported specifications, here’s how the Tesla models and trims compare.

2024 Tesla Model 3

  AWD Range Top Speed 0-60 Time MSRP*
Model 3 (One Motor) No 272 miles 125 mph 5.8 sec $38,990
Model 3 Long Range (Dual Motor) Yes 341 miles 125 mph 4.2 sec $45,990

2024 Tesla Model Y

  AWD Range Top Speed 0-60 Time MSRP*
Model Y (One Motor) No 260 miles 135 mph 6.6 sec $43,990
Model Y Long Range (Dual Motor) Yes 310 miles 135 mph 4.8 sec $48,990
Model Y Performance (Dual Motor) Yes 285 miles 155 mph 3.5 sec $52,490

2024 Tesla Model S

  AWD Range Top Speed 0-60 Time MSRP*
Model S (Dual Motor) Yes 405 miles 130 mph 3.1 sec $74,990
Model S Plaid (Tri-Motor) Yes 359 miles 200 mph 1.99 sec $89,990

2024 Tesla Model X

  AWD Range Top Speed 0-60 Time MSRP*
Model X (Dual Motor) Yes 335 miles 149 mph 3.8 sec $79,990
Model X Plaid (Tri-Motor) Yes 326 miles 149 mph 2.5 sec $94,990

2025 Tesla Cybertruck

  AWD Range Top Speed 0-60 Time MSRP
Cybertruck (One Motor) No 250 miles (estimated) TBD 6.5 sec $60,990 (estimated)
Cybertruck (Dual Motor) Yes 340 miles (estimated) 112 mph 4.1 sec $79,990 (estimated)
Cyberbeast (Tri-Motor) Yes 320 miles (estimated) 130 mph 2.6 sec $99,990 (estimated)

*Manufacturer’s suggested retail price as of 1/25/2024.