Elon Musk reiterated, on stage in front of the production lines of Fremont (California), that the new Model S Plaid was indeed the fastest production car in the exercise from 0 to 60 mph (0 to 96 km / h) . In just 1.99 seconds, the passengers in the sedan are propelled and acceleration produces a greater G-force than during a free fall. However, very strict conditions must be met to hope to establish such a figure. Our colleagues from MotorTrend were able to find out during an exclusive trial.

In an article, the journalists returned to this exercise carried out on a specific test track accompanied by Tesla’s public relations. As a title, the specialized site marked with an asterisk the figure of 1.98 seconds, the time they were finally able to achieve, but “Under very specific conditions dictated by Tesla”. What follows is a very detailed account of the difficult organization of the event. Here are the key points.

Accept the conditions, or leave

To put things in context, MotorTrend was lucky enough to be accepted by Tesla to test the new Model S Plaid and its three electric motors in preview, even before the event on June 10. Obviously, the program to follow was going to be dictated by the manufacturer, but the habits of the American specialized site generally led the team to test the cars on a test track common to all models, at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, in California.

“During the planning, Tesla requested that we do not use our usual facilities. After many round trips, we proposed to secure the use of an automotive testing ground where we carry out the tests of the year. Tesla then told us that we had to accept his offer to host us at the Famoso Raceway near Bakersfield, CA, or we could just forget about it. We accepted “, they tell in their article.

Tighter still, Tesla’s teams went further on D-Day of the car’s acceleration test. “Tesla informed us that our driver would have to drive the car only on the surface prepared with VHT (a strongly adhesive resin editor’s note). But after further on-site negotiations and a pre-run by Tesla’s own test driver, we came to an agreement: As we prepared to run our tests, the teams in charge of the Model S Plaid have got a phone call and suddenly our options were again to drive only on the VHT covered surface or to leave ”, they added.

Other conditions

At the same time, the journalists’ test showed that the acceleration of the Model S Plaid could only be achieved at the end of a procedure requested by the car. The first step: switch the sedan to “Drag Strip” mode. Once activated, you will have to wait until the batteries and motors are ready. “Over the next 8 to 15 minutes (time required varies), the car pre-conditions the powertrain for strong acceleration, heating or cooling the battery as needed and cooling the engines.” can we read in the article of MotorTrend.

Finally, once on the verge of releasing the watts, the journalists explained that the procedure to press the brake and the accelerator required to wait in this configuration for the time of 9 seconds. An automatic system that prepares the Model S Plaid in its “cheetah stance,” as Tesla proudly dubbed it. With all these elements, less than 2 seconds will indeed be achieved (MotorTrend recorded a 0 to 96 km / h in 1.98 seconds). On the other hand, to expect to reach the maximum speed, it will be necessary to respond to another problem.