In a series of startling statistics delivered during a press conference at Tesla headquarters in Fremont, California, company CEO Elon Musk announced that the updates to the electric vehicle manufacturer’s flagship Model S Plaid sedan would make it the quickest production car on the market.
With a peak horsepower rating of 1,020, the Model S Plaid can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 1.99 seconds, zoom past the quarter-mile marker in 9.2 seconds at 155 mph, and reach a top speed of 200 mph. These, of course, are Tesla’s figures. Your results may vary.
How can an electric car perform like the Tesla Model S Plaid does? Tesla uses a new three-motor setup with carbon-sleeved rotors that allows the single-speed electric motor to operate at up to 20,000 rpm.
Keep the hard-charging to a minimum, and the Model S Plaid has a driving range of 390 miles on a single charge, compared to 405 miles for the Model S Long Range. Tesla says that a new module and pack thermal architecture allows for faster battery recharging, and depending on the Supercharger you plug the car in to, you can grab 187 miles of range in just 15 minutes.
The Model S Plaid’s improvements extend beyond performance. The interior is all-new and boasts a 17-inch touchscreen infotainment display mounted in landscape rather than portrait orientation. It includes a top-quality gaming system with wireless controllers, but you should only use it when the car is parked. Tesla also says it moved the front seats forward to increase rear seat head and legroom.
Drivers face a steering yoke instead of a wheel, equipped with thumbwheel and button controls. There are no stalks on the steering column, and there is no gear selector either. You drive, reverse and park using the touchscreen. Though Tesla has delivered the first batch of Plaids to customers, its unclear if the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given Tesla its seal of approval for the quirky design.
During the car’s reveal press conference, Musk stated that the Model S Plaid showcases what can be achieved with vehicles powered by sustainable energy. “We’ve got to show that an electric car is the best car, hands down…It really feels like you’re driving in the future.” Citing pinnacles of reputations earned through achievement, such as fast Porsches and safe Volvos, he said the Tesla Model S Plaid combines these attributes in one vehicle.
The 2022 Tesla Model S Plaid price is a lofty $131,190 (including a $1,200 destination fee). That’s $10,000 higher than the original estimate for the Plaid treatment, and the even more capable Plaid+ variant got the axe just days before the reveal.
The company’s Autopilot collection of advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) is standard, with Full Self Driving Capability a $10,000 upgrade. This is a misnomer, however, as the option remains a Level 2 ADAS requiring the driver’s full attention at all times.
You can order a new Tesla Model S Plaid now.