By Justin King
Wednesday, Feb 5th, 2014 @ 12:49 pm
 
Speaking to owners during a European tour, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has announced several product developments and outlined the company's general progress toward its goals for the year.

The executive has confirmed plans to release an all-wheel-drive edition of its Model S sedan. The option may be available by the time the Model X arrives on the market, possibly by the end of the year or early in 2015 when the SUV begins volume production.

The company is also working on higher-capacity battery options and new seats that will likely be ready by next year. For current owners, a seat modification will be available to improve comfort.

In the meantime, existing owners will be able to experience the Version 6.0 software update within a few weeks. The revision adds real-time traffic data, along with more control over suspension settings and ride-height adjustment, among other improvements.

Musk expects its "giga factory" to reduce battery costs by at least 30 percent, hopefully as much as 40 percent, with 30 gigawatt-hours of production capacity. Cheaper batteries are likely necessary for the company to meet its goal for a $30,000 mass-market car with a 200-mile range.

Following the completion of its transcontinental charging network in the US, Tesla is currently bringing new Superchargers on line at a rate of five per week. The chargers will eventually charge at a maximum 135 kW current.

While Musk was chatting with owners at the casual town-hall meetings, Consumer Reports was completing its latest brand-perception survey that showed the startup surging into the top five ahead of Subaru, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and other established players.