Tesla took to the track at Laguna Seca Raceway (or WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, if you prefer) and set new lap record (unofficial) for a four-door sedan, with a pre-production Model S built around a new "Plaid" powertrain. The prototype vehicle is even faster goes even faster than what current Model S vehicles can achieve in "Ludicrous" mode.
"Some personal news. We lapped Laguna Seca in 1:36.555 during advanced R&D testing our Model S Plaid powertrain and chassis prototype. That's a second faster than the record for a four-door sedan," Tesla stated on Twitter.
Electric vehicles (EVs) have grown up fast in the past several years. Earlier this month, for example, Porsche debuted its Taycan Turbo S, another four-door sports car that is sort of a rival to the Model S in the high-end segment. The Taycan Turbo S boasts 750 horsepower and can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just 2.6 seconds.
Yes. To be clear, Plaid powertrain is about a year away from production & applies to S,X & Roadster, but not 3 or Y. Will cost more than our current offerings, but less than competitors.
Tesla's lap record shifts the focus back on the Model S. Elon Musk has also thrown shade at Porsche, vaguely saying the Plaid powertrain will be available in the Model S, Model X, and second-generation Roadster, and will "cost more than our current offerings, but less than competitors." The Taycan Turbo S will cost $185,000.
The Plaid powertrain consists of three electric motors. Not many other details are available—just that Tesla is testing a new chassis as well, and set a new lap record with the design, albeit an unofficial one.
"We were not officiating while the Tesla was testing on the track. Official records only happen during sanctioned events where a sanctioning body is officiating," a Laguna Seca spokesperson told CNBC.
Still, Tesla captured the speed run on video and posted it to YouTube for all to see. While it is not an official time, it is impressive nonetheless.
How about those names, though? Fans of the cult hit Spaceballs will recognize Ludicrous and Plaid as insanely fast (and humorously designated) hyperspace modes. If nothing else, Tesla deserves a hat tip for the nod towards geek culture.