Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk drove on stage at the company’s Fremont, California test track Thursday night, and as EDM-style music pulsed he clambered out of the driver’s seat of the fastest production car made: the 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid.
It’s first large-volume production car to clock a sub-2-second 0 to 60 mph time at 1.99 seconds. The impressive numbers don’t end there. It logs a 9.23 quarter mile — faster than the Dodge Hellcat Demon — and has a top speed of 200 mph.
Add the following to the list: 390 miles of range in the tri-motor configuration and 412 in dual motor form. The company also improved the recharging speed, Musk told attendees, making it possible to add 187 miles of range in 15 minutes using a Tesla supercharger.
“It charges so fast, it’ll probably be done by the time you finish having a cup of coffee,” he said during the event where the company delivered the first 25 vehicles.
Crazy power from a revamped set up
The quicker charging is impressive, but the performance numbers are difficult to ignore, even for Tesla critics. They all come because of the 1,020 horsepower the Plaid puts out.
Musk added that the 1,000-plus horsepower remains constant throughout the car’s acceleration to 200 mph. That’s made possible through an all-new battery back and the carbon-sleeved rotors on the motor. Not only do they make each one lighter — “you can pick this motors up with your hands,” Musk said — but they allowed engineers to improve the performance.
They spin at more than 20,000 rpms, in part because the copper coils can be wrapped tighter. This is achieved because of the new carbon-sleeved rotors, which essentially keep the coils from unwrapping do the centrifugal forces they experience turning so fast.
Not just speed, but performance
Going fast isn’t all about power. It’s also about how you cut the wind, and the new Model S Plaid features the lowest drag coefficient of any production car at 0.208. Musk noted while developing the car, the testing was done with the wheels turning to ensure that they didn’t create additional drag.
The car gets a new heat pump, which controls its HVAC system, that is more efficient. It gives the car 30% better cold-weather range, Musk said, and requires 50% less energy for cabin heating. But more importantly, the radiator’s been made larger to help offset heat build up from repeated runs at trying to beat the 1.99 second 0 to 60 time.
“You’ll be able to go on the track and just haul ass,” he said. “This car’s good over and over again, and it doesn’t get winded.”