Tesla Model S: Is It Really The World’s Quickest Car Ever?

Tesla Model S

Tesla was, is, and probably will continue to be a hot subject in the automotive universe. While it’s not the first electric car manufacturer out there, it’s certainly the most iconic one, largely due to its daring approach and numerous innovations it brought to the field. Tesla has revolutionized the world of electric vehicles already, and it has no intention of stopping anytime soon. However, while some of its achievements cannot be contested in any way,there are times when misleading facts and figures get thrown around by the media. Here’s the perfect example.

The plot

The Tesla Model S P100D was recently titled “the world’s quickest car ever” by several online new outlets and magazines.

The context

Claims about the Model S P100D being the fastest car ever starter appearing online after Motor Trend performed some tests using a Model S P100D following a software update the car received. While the update was supposed to cut down its acceleration time to roughly 2.5 seconds for 0 to 60 miles per hour, Motor Trend’s tests concluded a time of 2.28 seconds, which boosted the Tesla in the first position of the top, outclassing supercars such as Ferrari LaFerrari, Lamborghini Aventador and even the renowned Bugatti Veyron.

So, is the Tesla Model S P100D really the world’s quickest car ever? Let’s have a closer look.

“Quickest Car Ever” Explained

The terms “quickest car ever” are fairly vague, and consist of some variables. In the automotive industry, the quickness of a car is based on two main elements: acceleration and top speed.

Acceleration is usually measured by the time it takes the car to get to 60 miles per hour (100 km per hour) from a standstill. Some tests also include additional parameters, such as 0 to 120 miles per hour (200 km per hour), and 0 to top speed. The time is measured in seconds, and the lower it is, the faster the car is, and thus the higher spot it takes in comparison charts.

Top speed is another defining element of a car’s performance, and as it names suggests, it refers to the top speed the car is capable of reaching. Once again, the higher the figure, the better the car ranks.

Tesla’s Figures

Taking advantage of one key advantage electric motors have over conventional combustion engines – instant delivery of power, Tesla focused its advertising on the acceleration element. Tesla vehicles were never marketed as sports cars, despite their impressive performance, so their top speed was not a key selling point, but their acceleration was. The carefully calibrated motors that are driving the front and rear wheels of the car allow for the instant delivery of power to the wheels, so the car can accelerate really fast. Depending on the version, 0 to 60 mph acceleration can be achieved anywhere between an unimpressive 5.9 seconds, for the first versions, all the way up to 2.28 seconds for the latest version. An average acceleration within the 3 second ballpark is to be expected from most Model S Teslas.

The case in question, of the fastest Tesla, was achieved using the top-of-the-line Tesla P100D, a model that comes with 4 wheel drive and a 100 kWh battery, using the Ludicrous + mode. In case you’re not up to date with Tesla tech, the Ludicrous mode is a software option that improves acceleration times at the cost of reduced mileage. The Ludicrous + mode was an extreme version of the mode, available as a purchasable software upgrade.

Although the official numbers for the Ludicrous + are 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds, putting Tesla a little behind supercars such as Ferraris and Lamborghinis, tests carried out by Motor Trend have shown a slightly different result – the Tesla Model S P100D set in Ludicrous + mode can hit 60 in less than 2.3 seconds. It only needs 2.28 seconds, to be precise, officially making Tesla the fastest accelerating production vehicle.

Verdict

So, if the Tesla Model S really the world’s quickest car ever? It all depends on where you’re looking from. In terms of pure acceleration, it is outclassed only by the Porsche 918 Spyder, which pumps out an impressive 2.2 seconds for 0 to 60 mph. In terms of top speed, the Model S is not even in the top 15.

However, the Tesla Model S does hold some impressive records. If we’re talking about production vehicles, it is the quickest car in the world, as the previously mentioned Porsche 918 Spyder was produced in a limited series.

So, to be factually correct, no, the Tesla Model S is not the world’s quickest car ever. It is the quickest accelerating production car in the world, which is just as impressive.

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