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The Controversial Tesla Model S Plaid – 0 to 60 in 1.99 seconds for real?

Lately there has been so much controversy surrounding the unveal event of Tesla’s ultimate Model S Plaid, apparently the fastest production car ever.
Well not so ultimate, if it weren’t for Elon to casually bail out of the “Plaid Plus” saying “Plaid is good enough” via an out of the blue quick tweet, a couple of days before the unveil event.

The Tesla Model S Plaid at the unveil event.

Anyway, let us take Elon’s word for it, because to me a daily-drive sedan rated at a 1020 peak horse-power that accelerates from 0 to 60 in 1.99 seconds* is itself phenomenonal.

But did you guys note the asterisk there? Hilariously, that’s Tesla’s way of saying conditions apply.
The catch here is that, the 1.99 seconds is reckoned only after a one foot rollout. That means, exactly how it sounds – chuck out the acceleration in the first foot the vehicle covers. A more precise translation of that would be around 6 mph to 60 mph in 1.99 seconds. And this is probably a thing that a few high performance car marques do and thereby it could manage to fall within the definition of ‘standard procedure’. But what’s even more inconsistent and imprecise here is that, Tesla doesn’t delete the first foot of acceleration for their base variants. In my personal opinion this was a manipulative marketing strategy, just for the sake of the 2 second-barrier bragging rights.
I mean even that asterisk was conveniently avoided in the main purchase page and that  probably played out a bit far.

Tesla avoided the asterisk on their main purchase page too. This is sort of deceptive.

So what is the actual acceleration from stand-still then?
That would be a 2.28 seconds, as tested by Motor Trend. They are literally the only independent authority, that Tesla permitted to drive and test the Model S Plaid.
That being said, 2.28 seconds is still extraordinary. For the record, Tesla Model S Plaid is the fastest production car that Motor Trend ever tested.
The only thing that I can never whole heartedly approve is their shady marketing.

Tesla Model S Plaid Yoke steering wheel

Anyway, the next part of the controversy is the Yoke steering wheel. The initial teasers were not a joke after all. This could be an actual pain in the ass for daily driving. You gotta make steep curves and turns pretty often, it ain’t F1 racing. There is a good reason why actual steering wheels weren’t ever replaced all these years. Apparently Tesla is all about breaking conventions and already set standards. And to be honest, this ‘pushing it to the limits’ is something that got Tesla going in the first place.
Also I wouldn’t want to make a complete judgement without actually driving a Model S Plaid. Probably things could work out way better than expected eventually when people  admit to a learning curve.

However Tesla’s innovation doesn’t end with that, they have replaced the horn, the blinkers and practically everything you could find in a driver’s cockpit, with buttons on the steering wheel. This is as weird as it gets. Maybe this could be the face of a more intense and modern driving.

Regardless of all this, something that really got my eyebrows raised is the automated drive selector. There is no P N R D for this car. Musk claims that the vehicle ‘guesses’ whether the you wanna reverse or go forward. Well ‘guessing’ doesn’t sound like safety!
I’m also kinda curious to see how the system would work out in parallel parking situations. Thankfully there is a manual over-ride option available on the humongous horizontal screen. Functionality wise, it would never be as straightforward as a normal drive-selector, with all the to and fro swipping involved in my opinion.
Which is probably why Tesla also added a set of what they call haptic buttons underneath the wireless charging portal additionally, that serves the same purpose. I can already imagine myself switching to those buttons in a number of situations.

Final verdict :
Despite all the controversy, the Model S Plaid is still the world’s fastest production car ever. Well, if you would wanna count in the upcoming Rimac Nevera, that would be a unfair comparison altogether.
For sure, once Rimac starts rolling out their electric hypercar, the Nevera, that would possibly dethrone Tesla with a 0 to 60 time of 1.85 seconds, but hey you gotta shell out a couple of millions for that. The Tesla Model S Plaid, just costs a meagre 122,000 USD (116,000 Euros in the EU) in comparison.
I have immense respect for what Tesla has achieved with their new flagship car. But they should have rather celebrated the car for what it is, than concentrating on deceptive marketing.

Nihar Hareesh View All

Founder, Content Creator at The Krankshaft.

2 thoughts on “The Controversial Tesla Model S Plaid – 0 to 60 in 1.99 seconds for real? Leave a comment

  1. I wouldn’t call it deceptive marketing. It’s more a case of doing what is standard in the industry for the cars that the Plaid competes against performance-wise. Motor Trend themselves always do their 0-60 tests of cars with a 1 foot roll-out so Telsa would be disadvantaged if they didn’t follow this convention.

    The fact that Tesla doesn’t use the one foot rollout standard for their slower cars is also more because reviewers don’t typically use that metric in comparisons, so Tesla would be amused of being shady if they did. They’re damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

    Also, Tesla doesn’t have a marketing department or do advertising relying instead on tweets and word-of-mouth so it’s not exactly traditional “marketing” either. 🙂


    • Granted their inconsistency with the metric calculations, but why would they not mention it on their purchase page? Even that fine print is avoided on their website, which could potentially confuse the well-informed too!
      If it’s not shady marketing, then it’s shabby marketing. However coincidentally they seem to get an edge with it. What do you think? 🙂


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