IN THE eyes of most drivers, electric cars are slow, impractical machines guaranteed to run out of charge at the most awkward moment, leaving you stranded miles from home. The Californian upstart Tesla has a different vision — and it appears that vision has become a reality. The electric-car firm founded by the PayPal tycoon Elon Musk claims to have produced the world’s fastest-accelerating production car.
Called the Model S P100D, the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Tesla is said to hit 60mph in 2.5 seconds. If that figure is borne out by testing, it would make the emission-free eco-car faster in acceleration than any current production Ferrari, Lamborghini or Porsche.
Little wonder Tesla has coined “Ludicrous mode” as the catchy title for the setting drivers must select before the P100D will deliver maximum power and push passengers into their seats as it rockets off the line in complete silence.
Based on the Model S, a luxury saloon that has stolen drivers away from brands such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Porsche, and also available as an upgrade to the Model X people carrier, the P100D boasts the most powerful battery yet offered by Tesla. The name refers to the 100 kilowatt hour capacity of the battery, which sits under the floor of the car.
“The fastest car in the world that you can buy new is electric”
It represents a small but commercially valuable step up from the previous most powerful Tesla, the P90D. (That version can accelerate from 0 to 60mph in 2.8 seconds.)
Musk, never one to shy from the spotlight, immediately seized the opportunity for bragging rights, saying that the P100D could “beat a McLaren F1 — that’s nuts. The fastest car in the world that you can buy new is electric.”
Musk added that in future people will view petrol and diesel-powered cars as “quaint — not how you get around”.
However, the world’s fastest-accelerating production car does not come cheap. This Tesla will cost £114,200, though Tesla says P90D owners, and those with one on order, can upgrade to the P100D for $20,000 (£15,000) in the US.
Officially, the Model S P100D can travel 381 miles before the battery goes flat. Those who enjoy showing off their car’s Ferrari-beating performance in the traffic light grand prix will find it conks out rather sooner.