Even With Just 50% Charge, Tesla S Plaid Is Faster Than Supercars

Critics say Tesla's sedan could only outperform with a full charge. They were wrong.
Brad Bergan
Tesla's Model S Plaid.Tesla

Tesla has come a long way.

In the age of Tesla's dominance via the Model S, the P100D, P90D, and P85D, all-electric vehicle critics usually suggested that Elon Musk's flagship sedan could only perform at 100% with a full charge. But this criticism seems to no longer hold up.

A new set of data from two separate Model S Plaid owners found that two of the new vehicles with batteries charged at 98% and 50% performed a quarter-mile (0.4-km) test run at roughly the same times, at 9.39 and 9.56 seconds, and 0 to 60 mph (zero to 100 km/h) in 2.42 and 2.38 seconds, respectively, according to an initial DragTimes YouTube video report.

In fact, the lower charge went a little faster.

Tesla's Model S Plaid has consistent performance at full versus 50% battery charges

In earlier criticisms of Tesla's Model S, it was stated that the vehicle's performance would likely drop once the battery's charge fell to roughly 50%. This was likely why Porsche emphasized the Taycan's ability to drive with consistent 0 to 60 mph (0 to 100 km/h) and quarter-mile run times independent of its charge. Tesla later claimed its new flagship sedan can achieve consistent performance ratings regardless of its charge level, and it seems we now have confirmation.

The video from DragTimes' Brooks Weisblat put the Tesla Model S Plaid's 50%-charge performance in the mid-9 seconds range for a full quarter-mile run. In other words, this is faster than some of the best supercars in the world, and substantially faster than the Porsche Taycan Turbo S, according to a Teslarati report. The Model S with a 98% battery charge reached 152.43 mph (245.31 km/h) at the quarter-mile mark, and the one with a 50% battery charge flew through the quarter-mile mark at a speed of 146.64 mph (235.99 km/h). This means, while the lower battery charge actually accelerated faster than the fully-charged one, the two cases are fairly evenly matched for top-speed, as well.

Tesla's Model S Plaid could have a new tagline

The YouTube host also tested other supercars on real-world streets, including the McLaren 765LT, the Ferrari SF90, the Porsche Taycan Turbo S, and the Lamborghini Huracan Evo. None of these supercars' quarter-mile times could best the Model S Plaid's, at a battery charge of just 50%. For example, the McLaren 765LT completed the run in 9.88 seconds, and the Ferrari SF90 did the same at 9.64 seconds. On the lower end of the spectrum, the Lamborghini Huracan EVO captured a 10.44-second time on the quarter-mile run, with the Porsche Taycan Turbo S dead-last, at 10.39 seconds. It looks like the Tesla Model S Plaid has a new tagline.

Tesla has come far since its heady days of startup obscurity in the 2000s. The automaker's flagship sedan was very due for an update, and, despite CEO Elon Musk's explicitly aged sense of humor (in the reference of "Plaid"), it seems the specs, too, have jumped ahead of the competition. Among other things, this means that Tesla has proved itself competitive with legacy automakers, even after the latter have pivoted to sustainable, all-electric goals. The next decade will almost certainly see all-electric vehicles transform the meaning of high-performance, as the industry becomes increasingly untethered to its fossil-fuel roots.

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