Zero-to-60mph times are the benchmark for acceleration figures in America, as it’s very easy to grasp. You start the stopwatch when the car’s at a standstill, and measure how long it takes to hit 60mph. It’s a pretty well-known system, and one that has shone Tesla in a very good light previously.
But Tesla’s claim that the upcoming Model S Plaid reaches 60mph in just 1.99 seconds messes around with the formula a bit. On the Tesla website, there’s a little asterisk after the 1.99, and further down the page it adds the caveat that that figure was achieved excluding the first foot of rollout.
In other words, the first foot of the car accelerating isn’t taken into account, and by then the Model S Plaid has got to around 6mph. That means Tesla’s quoted figure is really from 6-60mph, which no-one measures to because, a) that’d be silly, and b) it’d be a lot harder to measure accurately. Even Tesla has only used this measurement for its Plaid versions; the standard versions are timed from 0-60mph like any other car.
Since the figure was published it’s also been revealed that Tesla achieved it on a drag strip, where the surface is coated in a sticky, glue-like substance to make it easier to warm your tyres and to provide more grip. Everyone else uses normal tarmac roads, as that’s what drivers will tend to use to get to places in the real world.
Tesla counters by saying that most of its customers will often use the Model S Plaid on a drag strip but, in the video, Jason from Engineering Explained shows why that probably won’t be the case.
His findings are based on MotorTrend’s test of the Tesla Model S Plaid and its unbelievable acceleration figures. MT didn’t subtract the first foot of rollout and pinned the accelerator on asphalt rather than a drag strip’s VHT glue.
We’ll leave the video to explain how fast the insane Model S Plaid actually is from 0-60mph, but it’s still the fastest car MotorTrend has ever tested. Those are some bragging rights, so why be misleading, Tesla? Why not be cool and under promise and over deliver like Porsche does?
Elon Musk also recently announced the longer-range Plaid+ models had been cancelled, as there was “no need” for them.
What do you make of Tesla’s slightly fishy 0-60mph time? Leave your thoughts below.