Tesla is making history again with another record-breaking story: the world’s fastest accelerating production vehicle.
Tesla’s Model S P100D recently broke the Motor Trend’s all-time world record for fastest acceleration of a production car by going 0 to 97 kph in just 2.28 seconds.
The result was recently posted by Motor Trend on February 8th, 2017. Tesla’s record breaking car, the Model S P100D, is currently the fastest production car in the world.
Previously, the standard Model S had a reported acceleration from 0 to 97 kph in about 2.7 seconds. Now, the upgraded P100D model with the Ludicrous software update (which improves launch control) reduced the time to just 2.2755 seconds.
Motor Trend reports,
“In our testing, no production car has ever cracked 2.3 seconds from 0 to 60 mph. But Tesla has, in 2.275507139 seconds.”
Even Elon Musk commented on the topic.
Production Tesla Model S P100DL sets Motor Trend all-time world record to 60 mph in 2.27 sec https://t.co/sxALQrM5Ls
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 7, 2017
What makes the Tesla so fast
Under the hood, and trunk for that matter, are two motors which provide an incredible amount of force to all four wheels in a very, very short amount of time.
An electric motor uses energy much more efficiently and with many fewer moving parts in comparison with traditional petrol powered engines. The Tesla Model 3 comes in three variable configurations; Single motor, dual motor, and the p100D motor.
Tesla’s P100D AWD setup. [Image Source: Tesla]
With the dual motor model (and the P100D performance motor), the Model S digitally and independently controls torque to the front and rear wheels. Conventional all-wheel drive configurations rely on a complex linkage system to distribute power from a single engine to all four wheels. The Model S dual motor system simplifies the process by having two collectively lighter engines at the front and back of the vehicle. The close proximity to the wheel significantly reduces the number of mechanical parts. As a result of its clever engineering, the Model S is significantly more efficient than conventional AWD systems.
“Each Model S motor is lighter, smaller and more efficient than its rear wheel drive counterpart, providing both improved range and faster acceleration,” Tesla claims on their website.
With a focus on efficiency and battery range, the design and engineering team of Tesla implemented an advanced aerodynamic system to reduce the drag on the car. To reduce drag, a smart air suspension system actively changes the vehicle’s height to optimize efficiency. At highway speeds, the suspension system lowers the front end to reduce the frontal area where most of the drag accumulates.
The Model S also features variable vents which remain closed until. The front bumper redirects airflow over the battery’s flat skid plates to create a smooth, uninterrupted flow.
“The result is a seven seat sedan with the stance of a coupe and supercar aerodynamics” the Tesla report continues.
Though, despite all the clever engineering behind the car, it is not the fastest accelerating car in the world.
Difficulties in determining the fastest vehicles
Determining the fastest production car in the world is a difficult task. Many requirements must be met for a car to be considered a production model. There are also many difficulties in comparing claims of historical cases. Though there are a few reputable sources, there is no official authority to verify the claims of the maximum acceleration of a car. However, there are a few guidelines which must be met to be considered a production vehicle;
1. being constructed principally for retail sale to consumers, for their personal use, and to transport people on public roads (no commercial or industrial vehicles are eligible);
2. having had 25 or more instances made by the original vehicle manufacturer, and offered for commercial sale to the public in new condition (cars modified by either professional tuners or individuals are not eligible); and
3. being street-legal in their intended markets, and capable of passing any official tests or inspections required to be granted this status.
The (official) fastest 0-100 km/h acceleration – electric car
Though the fastest accelerating production vehicle is rather difficult to measure, determining the fastest accelerating electric car is much more easily done. The rules are much more simple; have a vehicle with at least three wheels powered entirely by an electric motor accelerate as fast as possible.
Currently, the record is held by a team of engineering students from ETH in Switzerland. The car in question is the Grimsel, and it is the fastest accelerating electric car on the planet.
In August of 2016, the Grimsel set the world record for acceleration of an electric car. In a short 1.513 seconds, the vehicle launched from 0-100 km/h over a distance of just 30 meters. The team beat the previous record of 1.779 seconds set the previous year by a team at the University of Stuttgart.
Under the hood of the fastest accelerating (electric) car
Surprisingly, despite the complex engineering behind the vehicle, the record-breaking Formula Student electric car was developed and built in less than a year by a team of 30 students at ETH Zurich and Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. The vehicle has set a new standard in lightweight design and electric drive technology.
The power of the vehicle comes from four powerful wheel hub motors capable of generating 200 hp and 1700 Nm of torque. A complex traction control system actively adjusts the performance of each wheel, giving the vehicle unprecedented acceleration. Even with four engines, thanks to carbon fiber technologies, the Grimsel weighs just 168 kg. However, the car will not go into large-scale production. Instead, it will serve as a research vehicle for engineers to better understand and improve the underlying mechanisms of cars.
Although the car is a one-off, healthy competition often times drives innovation. Through the human will to drive and innovate, technologies will consistently improve alongside efficiently, and of course, acceleration.
[Featured Image Source: Tesla]