The latest Model S Plaid from Tesla was said to be the fastest mass production car when it was first announced. However, lately there have been some reports that suggest otherwise. According to the information provided by some automotive media outlets, there are slight differences between the actual acceleration performances of the car versus what the manufacturer has been saying.
A number of foreign media outlets had acquired Tesla’s Model S Plaid for test driving prior to its official announcement; for the most part, they have found what Tesla is claiming about this car to be accurate. Some test drivers even believed that supervision institutions should stipulate a new road safety regulation for high performance vehicles like the Model S Plaid, since it is way too fast and dangerous to drive on the road.
As indicated by the official statistics of Tesla, the Model S Plaid is able to accelerate from 0-60mph in merely 1.99 seconds, which is 2.1 seconds when converted to 0-100km/h. This claim was recently put to the test by a team from Motor Trend, an automotive media company. The company has devised two separate experiments to see whether this three-motor beast with a horsepower of over 1000 can in fact live up to its expectations.
The two tests have almost identical variables, with the only difference being the road surface. Apart from the general asphalt roads, the team has prepared a VHT road surface under the requests of Tesla, which is a synthetic material of high viscosity. According to the team, it is almost impossible to walk on this particular type of surface. The VHT material provides an extensive level of traction that is perfect in testing the acceleration performance of vehicles.
According to the results of the test where the VHT road was used, the Model S Plaid was able to achieve an impressive acceleration time of 1.98 seconds from 0 to 60mph; What’s even more impressive was the fact that it was able to complete a quarter of a mile in merely 9.25 seconds under a driving speed of 152.6 mph (roughly 244km/h).
Of course, a performance result derived from a “customized” road surface hardly proves anything, which is why the team decided to test the vehicle again on a different road surface, without Tesla knowing.
How Fast is the Model S Plaid in a Real Environment?
Could the Model S Plaid achieve a record-breaking result when switched to an ordinary asphalt road surface?
According to the test results from the asphalt road experiment, after entering into its “Cheetah Stance” mode, the Model S Plaid was able to achieve an acceleration time of 2.07 seconds when speeding from 0 to 60mph, which is an improvement over the previous record of the Model S P100D Ludicrous+ at 2.28 seconds.
The team was unable to test the vehicle’s “quarter mile” speed under the restricted environment, unfortunately. According to a rough calculation based on the previous peak horsepower and rotational speed of the car, the Model S Plaid should be able to complete 1/4 of a mile in 9.34 seconds on ordinary road surfaces under a speed of 152.2mph (approx. 243km/hr).
Model S Plaid has improved its acceleration curve.
According to an official technician at Tesla, the Model S Plaid is not only equipped with three motors, but it has also largely adjusted the heat dissipation and the configuration of the path for the motors, in order to resolve the weak “mid-to-rear section” problem of the previous generation models. The largest horsepower of the Model S Plaid surfaces when it is running at 80mph, and the power is maintained until it reaches 200mph.
The result of its improvement can be seen in the results of the 1/4 mile drives, which took 10.6 seconds to complete for the previous generation Model S Raven. Theoretically, if the Model S Plaid is in fact able to finish 1/4 of a mile under 9.34 seconds, as the team had predicted, then it has not only broken its own record, but also surpassed the current record of Ferrari LaFerrari at 9.74 seconds.
Fast, But with a Slow Start
So this must mean that the Model S Plaid can humiliate its competitors in various open and private race competitions, right? Unfortunately, that may not be the case.
To achieve the best performance of the Model S Plaid, the driver must first click and enter the “Drag Strip” mode from the dashboard; afterwards, the vehicle will take about 8-15 minutes to adjust the motor and battery based on the weather condition of the day. When the preparation is complete, the driver will then need to step on the brake to the very end, before putting the pedal to the metal, for the vehicle to initiate its “Cheetah Stance”.
It takes about 8-10 seconds to enter the “Cheetah Stance” mode. The front of the vehicle will start to lower, and the monitor will display a “Launch Control Ready” message when everything is in place; that is when the driver is supposed to lean backwards and let go of the brake while holding onto the Yoke steering wheel to experience the destructive force of the car.
You will have to make sure that all of your competitors are willing to wait for this prolonged preparation if you want to win any race with the Model S Plaid.
The Yoke steering wheel exclusive to Model S Plaid.
Model S Plaid is undoubtedly the most ferocious Tesla model so far, but those who are looking to purchase the vehicle must take into account two factors. First, the new Yoke steering wheel resembles that of a racing car, which is not a problem during high speed drives, but can cause major issues for the driver when driving in the city, making U-turns, or parking on the roadside.
The second factor is that a car with such an aggressive acceleration speed is probably illegal on most roads. More importantly, it may result in higher risks of out-of-control incidents. If you do get one, make sure to equip yourself with the proper safety gears during extreme acceleration test runs.
(Photo source: Tesla)