Tesla shows off the Model S Plaid, the quickest production car ever made

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,152   +132
Staff member
Editor's take: As a sports car enthusiast, it’s hard not to salivate over the sort of acceleration the Tesla Model S Plaid is capable of. According to founder Elon Musk, no production vehicle has ever been able to turn in a 0-60 mph time under two seconds.

Tesla last night hosted an event at its test track in Fremont, California, in which it delivered the first batch of Tesla Model S Plaid electric vehicles to their respective buyers.

Plaid is the latest iteration of Tesla’s premium Model S sedan. It features a tri-motor design that goes above and beyond the company’s “Ludicrous” version in virtually every way.

The all-wheel drive sedan boasts an EPA estimated range of 390 miles with a peak power output of 1,020 horsepower. Factor in the instant torque you get from an electric powertrain, and you get 0-60 mph speeds of 1.99 seconds, a quarter mile time of 9.23 seconds and a top speed of up to 200 mph (the top speed is attainable with the proper wheels and tires, which won’t be available until fall 2021).

On stage, Musk highlighted the Plaid’s new battery pack technology, the carbon-sleeved rotors Tesla designed for the drive motors and the vehicle’s improved cooling system. Recharging capability has also been improved, with a 15-minute stint at a Supercharging station capable of supplying 187 miles of range.

Tesla’s Model S Plaid starts at $129,990 and is available to order over on the company’s website.

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Dimitriid

Posts: 515   +857
Has someone ever explained why do we need production electric cards to be ridiculously fast?

I get the perspective of a gasoline car having bragging rights about being fast: it wants to use whatever advantage it might have, perceived or otherwise, to obtain the most amount of money possible for the company and it's board of directors.

But the premise of electric cars should be "We need this tech to replace our dependence on fossil fuels" so how does killing yourself in under a second by losing control of your vehicle on urban environments not AT ALL designed to even handle such acceleration is going to save the planet or contribute to allleviate fossil fuel dependency?

It seems like Elon just wants the same bragging rights as gasoline cars. It fundamentally just wants to make a lot of money out of selling cars and is trying to reconcile conflicting interests here: the one that is about the ecological angle and the one that is about being a luxurios super car prestige while doing so. Seems like focusing on the later is directly counter-intuitive to just making the stupid electric cards widely available fast enough to shift away from fossil fuels.
 

Adhmuz

Posts: 2,145   +947
"you get 0-60 mph speeds of 1.99 seconds, a quarter mile time of 9.23 seconds and a top speed of up to 200 mph (with the proper wheels and tires, which won’t be available until fall 2021)."

So it can't do any of this until the fall technically? 🥱
 

BadThad

Posts: 487   +474
Has someone ever explained why do we need production electric cards to be ridiculously fast?

I get the perspective of a gasoline car having bragging rights about being fast: it wants to use whatever advantage it might have, perceived or otherwise, to obtain the most amount of money possible for the company and it's board of directors.

But the premise of electric cars should be "We need this tech to replace our dependence on fossil fuels" so how does killing yourself in under a second by losing control of your vehicle on urban environments not AT ALL designed to even handle such acceleration is going to save the planet or contribute to allleviate fossil fuel dependency?

It seems like Elon just wants the same bragging rights as gasoline cars. It fundamentally just wants to make a lot of money out of selling cars and is trying to reconcile conflicting interests here: the one that is about the ecological angle and the one that is about being a luxurios super car prestige while doing so. Seems like focusing on the later is directly counter-intuitive to just making the stupid electric cards widely available fast enough to shift away from fossil fuels.

SIMPLE! Because going fast (and quick) is fun!
 

VitalyT

Posts: 5,538   +5,203
They fail in one direction that matters - mileage, and they are desperately trying to make up for that in all other departments that we don't care much about.

FAIL.

 

mbk34

Posts: 175   +118
They fail in one direction that matters
They're not petrol? They accelerate way faster, they barely need any maintenance, they're cheap to run, they have tonnes of storage space, they're quiet, the infotainment is great, they don't cost any more than an equivalent petrol car to buy and they can even drive themselves (in certain situations). The range of 390 miles is way more than I'd sit in a car for but I'd be quite happy to wait 15 mins, have a coffee and add another 200 miles. It only costs about $15 to totally fill up (even cheaper at home). If you honestly have to drive over 300 miles a day then petrol might still be for you but, for the rest of us, I suspect electric makes way more sense.
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 433   +623
Has someone ever explained why do we need production electric cards to be ridiculously fast?

[...]

It seems like Elon just wants the same bragging rights as gasoline cars. It fundamentally just wants to make a lot of money out of selling cars and is trying to reconcile conflicting interests here: the one that is about the ecological angle and the one that is about being a luxurios super car prestige while doing so. Seems like focusing on the later is directly counter-intuitive to just making the stupid electric cards widely available fast enough to shift away from fossil fuels.
Yes, at the beginning of the event they explained why. He said it's basically to show that an electric car can be a better car in every way compared to a gas car and that it's the clear winner. "It can be the fastest car, it can be the safest car, and it can be the most kick-*** car in every way." How important that is, that's another question.
"you get 0-60 mph speeds of 1.99 seconds, a quarter mile time of 9.23 seconds and a top speed of up to 200 mph (with the proper wheels and tires, which won’t be available until fall 2021)."

So it can't do any of this until the fall technically? 🥱
It can't do any of this stock until fall. But technically it can do this after some modifications.
Great for a dragster. For a street car? Not so much.
It would probably be among the top five all time best racing production vehicles even in a track:
* Laguna Seca (one month ago): https://insideevs.com/news/508122/tesla-models-plaid-lap-record/
* Nuburgring (closer to #15 but with a 1.5 year old prototype): https://electrek.co/2019/11/04/tesla-record-time-nurburgring-beats-porsche-taycan-unofficial/
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 4,866   +5,390
Has someone ever explained why do we need production electric cards to be ridiculously fast?

I get the perspective of a gasoline car having bragging rights about being fast: it wants to use whatever advantage it might have, perceived or otherwise, to obtain the most amount of money possible for the company and it's board of directors.

But the premise of electric cars should be "We need this tech to replace our dependence on fossil fuels" so how does killing yourself in under a second by losing control of your vehicle on urban environments not AT ALL designed to even handle such acceleration is going to save the planet or contribute to allleviate fossil fuel dependency?

It seems like Elon just wants the same bragging rights as gasoline cars. It fundamentally just wants to make a lot of money out of selling cars and is trying to reconcile conflicting interests here: the one that is about the ecological angle and the one that is about being a luxurios super car prestige while doing so. Seems like focusing on the later is directly counter-intuitive to just making the stupid electric cards widely available fast enough to shift away from fossil fuels.


Not only can you race Lamborghini, Porsche, Bugatti and just about anything else to the quarter mile…

You can have a family of 4 witnesses watching
 

koblongata

Posts: 412   +226
Heh, and to think some companies would sell it for millions of dollars and people will still be lining up for it..... What a time we live in.
 

mbk34

Posts: 175   +118
You want to run that by me one more time
Sure. I can't think of a sub 2 sec car that's cheaper.

Obviously going for a cheaper model like the Y makes it much easier to find comparisons - a BMW M5 is similar but slower, with less space, no auto drive and way more expensive to run. Actually, I just looked up the price of the M5 and it's way more expensive to buy!
 

Adhmuz

Posts: 2,145   +947
It would probably be among the top five all time best racing production vehicles even in a track:
* Laguna Seca (one month ago): https://insideevs.com/news/508122/tesla-models-plaid-lap-record/
* Nuburgring (closer to #15 but with a 1.5 year old prototype): https://electrek.co/2019/11/04/tesla-record-time-nurburgring-beats-porsche-taycan-unofficial/
Simply put, no.

If It was gutted of all the useless electrotainment and turned into a race car maybe, but as it stands it's far too heavy to be considered anything close of a true "racing production" vehicle. You can still buy faster, better suited vehicles for less than this and not have to brute force your way around a track.

None the less it still an impressive feat.

Would be nice if either of those times were officially recognized as times.
 

ZipperBoi

Posts: 78   +130
They're not petrol? They accelerate way faster, they barely need any maintenance, they're cheap to run, they have tonnes of storage space, they're quiet, the infotainment is great, they don't cost any more than an equivalent petrol car to buy and they can even drive themselves (in certain situations). The range of 390 miles is way more than I'd sit in a car for but I'd be quite happy to wait 15 mins, have a coffee and add another 200 miles. It only costs about $15 to totally fill up (even cheaper at home). If you honestly have to drive over 300 miles a day then petrol might still be for you but, for the rest of us, I suspect electric makes way more sense.
They also contribute to wear and tear on the road but their drivers arent paying the tax that goes into repairing that wear and tear via not paying for gas. Electric is cool. But its being rushed.
 

mbk34

Posts: 175   +118
They also contribute to wear and tear on the road but their drivers arent paying the tax that goes into repairing that wear and tear via not paying for gas. Electric is cool. But its being rushed.
You're right, I left that out of my list of advantages for getting a Tesla (or any other EV).
 

Godel

Posts: 261   +160
I read someone elsewhere who said that for real world driving, the 0 to 60 mph time is less relevant than the 0 to 30 mph time, and even small EVs excel at that due to their high low-speed torque.

If the Tesla is only 2 seconds to 60 mph it must practically teleport straight to 30 mph.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 515   +857
They're not petrol? They accelerate way faster, they barely need any maintenance, they're cheap to run, they have tonnes of storage space, they're quiet, the infotainment is great, they don't cost any more than an equivalent petrol car to buy and they can even drive themselves (in certain situations). The range of 390 miles is way more than I'd sit in a car for but I'd be quite happy to wait 15 mins, have a coffee and add another 200 miles. It only costs about $15 to totally fill up (even cheaper at home). If you honestly have to drive over 300 miles a day then petrol might still be for you but, for the rest of us, I suspect electric makes way more sense.

1) Yeah not sure why do we even need more acceleration I covered that
2) I can give you the "storage space" and "quiet" parts those are just net positives. The infomart stuff I'm just neutral about
3) The price being not "any more than an equivalent petrol car to buy" is where I start having some serious issues: We don't really need cars to drive themselves or be competitive if we know that could have been put into make it a cheaper car that's more attractive to mass buyers than petrol which is what we desperately need to immediately lower emissions at this point.

Sorry but the entire electric car argument falls apart right there: We don't need Musk to solve multiple issues at the same time if that means we take longer to transition to electric cars. If he would have just focused on a super cheap car with pretty long ranges and that's it: no self driving, no stupid fast speeds and no other additional gimmicks, we would be much better off.

But if anything, all of this initiatives and push demonstrate exactly why Capitalism cannot solve an issue that as a system it created itself when it comes to climate change: the priority wasn't the environment and sorry to say but the best voice out of the tech bro Neoliberal generation which is Musk is also failing miserably at the exact same spot: just getting sidetracked with not-as-urgent to quite frankly useless tech just for bragging rights and profit seeking.

In fact I am quite sure that the only reason Tesla is so profitable is because it is taking advantages of all of the subsidies offered to "green" initiatives and wasting it all on "LMAO car go shhh!! 60 in 2 seconds and drives itself!" instead of solving the one issue they're getting all those subsidies for: MAKE LOTS OF CHEAP ELECTRIC CARS FOR EVERYBODY, NOW. We can manually drive em, slowly, just make the damn cars.
 

mbk34

Posts: 175   +118
I agree with you on performance, it might be fun once but after that I'd just want a car to get me from A to B. I suspect they provide the performance because you make more profit from a performance car than from an ordinary sedan and it doesn't cost much more to add that performance. They need the profit to expand their business.

I understand they're currently planning a $25K Tesla which is far more affordable than the Model S. I suspect the ultimate goal though, of having self drive cars, is that people in cities won't even need to own a car because they'll press a button and a self driving car will appear on their doorstep and take them where they want to go. Sure, we have Uber at the moment but self drive cars with no driver and little to no running expenses will be cheaper. If we're not manufacturing 2 or 3 ICE cars for every family then strain on the environment will vastly reduce. We'll also individually save a tonne of money on depreciation, maintenance and finance by not having cars sitting in our drives. Obviously that might be a way off yet, especially in the US.
 

sreams

Posts: 163   +254
...the premise of electric cars should be "We need this tech to replace our dependence on fossil fuels"

Except that this is only accomplished if you *also* convince those who value performance and not the environment to make the switch. If every EV is a Nissan LEAF, that ain't gonna happen. Whether he's accomplished it or not, Elon's goal has been to make a car that's just better, so that there are nearly zero excuses not to transition to EVs. Sure, fewer people will buy the more expensive Model S, but halo cars serve a purpose. GM sells a lot of cars *because* they have a Corvette. Porsche sells a lot of SUVs *because* they are known to make performance cars.
 
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sreams

Posts: 163   +254
"you get 0-60 mph speeds of 1.99 seconds, a quarter mile time of 9.23 seconds and a top speed of up to 200 mph (with the proper wheels and tires, which won’t be available until fall 2021)."

So it can't do any of this until the fall technically? 🥱
Pretty sure the tire requirement is just for the 200mph top speed.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 515   +857
Except that this is only accomplished if you *also* convince those who value performance and not the environment to make the switch. If every EV is a Nissan LEAF, that ain't gonna happen. Whether he's accomplished it or not, Elon's point has been to make a car that just better, so that there are fewer excuses for not transitioning to them.
"Those who value performance" can honestly go race V8 trucks on the weekend: the only reason we have such culture of people demanding performance was precisely because of the incredible push by car manufacturers on past decades and we now know what it is doing to the environment.

Sorry but if billions might die because of the insistence on things like uselessly powerful gas cars, we don't need to be subtle or caring to them: We need to be heavy handed and tell em "Yeah, those should be illegal to drive on cities, you don't like it well CRY MORE: we're not turning the planet into an oven just to respect your "freedom" to pollute"
 

sreams

Posts: 163   +254
I read someone elsewhere who said that for real world driving, the 0 to 60 mph time is less relevant than the 0 to 30 mph time, and even small EVs excel at that due to their high low-speed torque.

If the Tesla is only 2 seconds to 60 mph it must practically teleport straight to 30 mph.
It gets to 150mph in 9 seconds.
 

sreams

Posts: 163   +254
"Those who value performance" can honestly go race V8 trucks on the weekend: the only reason we have such culture of people demanding performance was precisely because of the incredible push by car manufacturers on past decades and we now know what it is doing to the environment.

Sorry but if billions might die because of the insistence on things like uselessly powerful gas cars, we don't need to be subtle or caring to them: We need to be heavy handed and tell em "Yeah, those should be illegal to drive on cities, you don't like it well CRY MORE: we're not turning the planet into an oven just to respect your "freedom" to pollute"
We live in reality. You may not like that performance is prioritized by many buyers, but you aren't going to undo that in any reasonable amount of time. The quickest path to mass EV adoption is to convince everyone that they are better based on current perceptions. Anything else is slowing the transition... which could result in billions dying, as you say.