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June 14, 2021

Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk showed off the Model S Plaid, the electric car maker's quickest vehicle to date, at an event for customers at the company’s factory in Fremont, California.

As the sunset on Silicon Valley’s East Bay hills Thursday, Musk appeared on stage shortly after 8:45 p.m. California time. The phrase “Plaid Mode” is a reference to the 1987 comedy movie Spaceballs starring Mel Brooks.

“Why make this really fast car that’s crazy fast?” Musk, dressed in a leather jacket and black jeans, said after driving one of the cars on stage. “It’s something that’s quite important to the future of sustainable energy. We’ve gotta show that an electric car is the best car, hands down.”

Tesla currently makes four vehicles: the Model S, X, 3, and Y, but the 3 and Y account for the vast majority of global sales. Musk said the Model S Plaid has a range of roughly 400 miles per charge, a top speed of 200 miles per hour, and can go from 0 to 60 mph in under 2 seconds. The cost: roughly $130,000, according to the company’s website.

“This is what I call limit-of-physics engineering,” Musk said.

The Model S, Tesla’s breakthrough sedan, was first delivered in 2012 and has been overdue for a refresh.

Tesla typically hosts one or two splashy events each year. They keep customers excited and plunking down deposits on products, assure investors that the future is bright, and generate an avalanche of media coverage–critical for a company that spends no money on traditional advertising.