Meet the Dark Knight—a Brooding, Souped-up Tesla Model S
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Meet the Dark Knight—a Brooding, Souped-up Tesla Model S

By Jim Motavalli
Wed, Sep 27, 2023 8:36amGrey Clock 3 min

The US$104,990 three-motor 2023 Tesla Model S Plaid Edition is among the fastest cars in the world, able to reach 60 miles per hour in just two seconds. It puts out 1,020 horsepower and 1,050 pound-feet of torque.

The Plaid is so quick it leaves its drivers gasping for breath, but can the car be improved? Unplugged Performance, a tuning shop in Hawthorne, Calif., that launched in 2013, thinks it can. So was born the Dark Knight, a tweaked Model S-APEX Plaid that has been extensively reworked to better hug the pavement. It sells for approximately US$230,000, including the donor car. But the many options could make it costlier.

The powertrain stays the same, but the car gets a 19-piece carbon fibre wide body kit that allows it to wear big 21-inch, lightweight forged wheels. Airflow is improved with “bargeboard” bodywork in front of the front wheels, a technique adapted from Formula One. Also directing air is the company’s Autobahn front carbon-fibre diffuser. The car meets the world with a sinister satin-black finish, featuring more exposed carbon fibre.

The car’s centre of gravity is lowered via a kit, and there’s a three-way adjustable rear sway bar and a rear-mounted GT strut tower brace. Also part of the suspension build are a series of billet-aluminium adjustable control arms that cut weight, increase strength, and allow some fine adjustments. For those choosing optimum track performance, there are full-race coilover suspension choices available. The Dark Knight needs to stop, so there are carbon ceramic brakes all around, cooled via a ducting system.

The interior was designed in collaboration with von Holzhausen, a company created by Vicki von Holzhausen (married to Tesla chief designer Franz von Holzhausen) that specialises in vegan leather products, including handbags. The tough-wearing interior fabric is in Serrano red and made from bamboo.

The Dark Knight interior uses vegan leather from von Holzhausen.
Unplugged Performance

Unplugged also makes over the other Teslas, including the S, 3, X, Y, and will also tweak the forthcoming Cybertruck. Brendan Sangerman, who directs marketing at Unplugged, says the Dark Knight is “the ultimate daily driver sports sedan.” Asked why the electric motors are left alone, he says, “You wouldn’t want it to be any faster than it is. Instead, we match the performance of the suspension and braking to the level of performance that the car already has.”

Sangerman emphasises that the Dark Knight is a bespoke product, and that the customer has a wide choice in the interior colors and fabrics. “We want customers to be very hands-on in the process,” he said. “If you tell us you like the interior shade in a specific Rolls-Royce, we can match it. Our parts catalog is pretty extensive.”

Unplugged is located close to the Tesla Design Center in Hawthorne. Its first Model S build was shown at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas in 2014, and the company exhibited at the Tokyo Auto Salon in 2016. Unplugged began putting its vehicles to the test on race tracks, and it set some EV records. It also won the exhibition class at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 2021.

There will always be a market for performance tuners, and Unplugged has found a niche market in making some of the world’s most exciting EVs be just that little bit more intoxicating.


This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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Should AI Have Access to Your Medical Records? What if It Can Save Many Lives?

We asked readers: Is it worth giving up some potential privacy if the public benefit could be great? Here’s what they said.

Tue, May 28, 2024 4 min

We’re constantly told that one of the potentially biggest benefits of artificial intelligence is in the area of health. By collecting large amounts of data, AI can create all sorts of drugs for diseases that have been resistant to treatment.

But the price of that could be that we have to share more of our medical information. After all, researchers can’t collect large amounts of data if people aren’t willing to part with that data.

We wanted to see where our readers stand on the balance of privacy versus public-health gains as part of our series on ethical dilemmas created by the advent of AI.

Here are the questions we posed…

AI may be able to discover new medical treatments if it can scan large volumes of health records. Should our personal health records be made available for this purpose, if it has the potential to improve or save millions of lives? How would we guard privacy in that case?

…and some of the answers we received. undefined

Rely on nonpartisan overseers

While my own recent experience with a data breach highlights the importance of robust data security, I recognise the potential for AI to revolutionise healthcare. To ensure privacy, I would be more comfortable if an independent, nonpartisan body—overseen by medical professionals, data-security experts, and citizen representatives—managed a secure database.

Anonymity cuts both ways

Yes. Simply sanitise the health records of any identifying information, which is quite doable. Although there is an argument to be made that AI may discover something that an individual needs or wants to know.

Executive-level oversight

I think we can make AI scanning of health records available with strict privacy controls. Create an AI-CEO position at medical facilities with extreme vetting of that individual before hiring them.

Well worth it

This actually sounds like a very GOOD use of AI. There are several methods for anonymising data which would allow for studies over massive cross-sections of the population without compromising individuals’ privacy. The AI would just be doing the same things meta-studies do now, only faster and maybe better.

Human touch

My concern is that the next generations of doctors will rely more heavily, maybe exclusively, on AI and lose the ability or even the desire to respect the art of medicine which demands one-on-one interaction with a patient for discussion and examination (already a dying skill).


People should be able to sign over rights to their complete “anonymised” health record upon death just as they can sign over rights to their organs. Waiting for death for such access does temporarily slow down the pace of such research, but ultimately will make the research better. Data sets will be more complete, too. Before signing over such rights, however, a person would have to be fully informed on how their relatives’ privacy may also be affected.

Pay me or make it free for all

As long as this is open-source and free, they can use my records. I have a problem with people using my data to make a profit without compensation.

Privacy above all

As a free society, we value freedoms and privacy, often over greater utilitarian benefits that could come. AI does not get any greater right to infringe on that liberty than anything else does.

Opt-in only

You should be able to opt in and choose a plan that protects your privacy.

Privacy doesn’t exist anyway

If it is decided to extend human lives indefinitely, then by all means, scan all health records. As for privacy, there is no such thing. All databases, once established, will eventually, if not immediately, be accessed or hacked by both the good and bad guys.

The data’s already out there

I think it should be made available. We already sign our rights for information over to large insurance companies. Making health records in the aggregate available for helping AI spot potential ways to improve medical care makes sense to me.

Overarching benefit

Of course they should be made available. Privacy is no serious concern when the benefits are so huge for so many.

Compensation for breakthroughs

We should be given the choice to release our records and compensated if our particular genome creates a pathway to treatment and medications.

Too risky

I like the idea of improving healthcare by accessing health records. However, as great as that potential is, the risks outweigh it. Access to the information would not be controlled. Too many would see personal opportunity in it for personal gain.

Nothing personal

The personal info should never be available to anyone who is not specifically authorised by the patient to have it. Medical information can be used to deny people employment or licenses!

No guarantee, but go ahead

This should be allowed on an anonymous basis, without question. But how to provide that anonymity?

Anonymously isolating the information is probably easy, but that information probably contains enough information to identify you if someone had access to the data and was strongly motivated. So the answer lies in restricting access to the raw data to trusted individuals.

Take my records, please

As a person with multiple medical conditions taking 28 medications a day, I highly endorse the use of my records. It is an area where I have found AI particularly valuable. With no medical educational background, I find it very helpful when AI describes in layman’s terms both my conditions and medications. In one instance, while interpreting a CT scan, AI noted a growth on my kidney that looked suspiciously like cancer and had not been disclosed to me by any of the four doctors examining the chart.


This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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