This new Tesla can reach speeds that are no joke.
One of Elon Musk’s Tesla Model S Plaid cars has apparently set a new world record for a quarter mile by a production automobile — with comedian Jay Leno behind the wheel.
The retired late night host and car junkie managed to race one of all-electric vehicles down a California dragstrip in a blistering 9.43 seconds, according to a clip from Leno’s show that he previewed on CNBC Friday.
That time tops what had been acclaimed as the best quarter-mile time by a stock, factory-made car, when a Dodge Challenger Demon — featuring a gas-guzzling 840 horsepower supercharged V8 engine — clocked a 9.65 quarter mile, according to duPont Registry.
“It is now the fastest production car you can buy — faster than any Ferrari, faster than any $3.5 million Bugatti,” Leno told host Shepard Smith, referring to legendary sports car makers whose fastest cars can do 9.8 and 9.7 second quarter miles respectively, according to duPont.
The Model S Plaid can go zero to 60 mph in 1.99 seconds and tops out at 200 mph, Tesla claims. Musk, Tesla’s CEO, has called the Plaid the “quickest production car ever made of any kind.”
When it comes to acceleration, electric motors have a leg-up on combustion engines because they do not require shifting gears, which causes energy loss. Gear heads call this advantage “instant torque.”
Tesla started delivering the Model S Plaid on Thursday, according to Reuters. The four-door sedan currently starts at $123,990, making it Tesla’s priciest vehicle — and $50,000 more than the standard Model S.
Tesla was planning to release an even more expensive long-range version of the Model S called the “Plaid Plus,” but Elon Musk canceled it last week, writing, “Plaid+ is canceled. No need, as Plaid is just so good.”
Leno seems to agree — and was stunned by how much punch an electric vehicle can pack.
“$130,000 is a tremendous amount of money,” said Leno. “But to get the same performance from an internal combustion engine, you probably have to spend in the case of Bugatti $2.5 million, or Ferrari close to $1 million.”
“Plus I had the air conditioner on,” Leno quipped.