Tesla claims the Model S Plaid is so fast, it can out accelerate a $3.6 million Bugatti Chiron hypercar. Many people don’t believe this because the numbers doesn’t add up. The Plaid makes “only” 1020 hp compared to the 1,500 hp of the Chiron. The Plaid is also 500 pounds heavier than the Chiron. On paper, the Chiron should mop the floor with Plaid. However, in real life, the opposite happens. Watch the video to see the beat down.
How Is It Possible For Heavier and Less Powerful Car To Be Faster?
The first reason is the hp rating itself. The 1500 hp of the Bugatti is peak power – it makes that only at a certain RPM. Anything below or above that engine speed, it makes less power. This is why the car has a 7 speed transmission – to get the engine back to its peak power as quick as possible. Peak power isn’t as important as power “under the curve,” and for most of the rev range, the Plaid is making more power than the Bugatti.
The electric motors in the Model S Plaid have a much wider power band. It’s so wide that it doesn’t need a multi-speed transmission. The car can go from zero to its top speed of over 200 mph in 1 speed! So while the Chiron is making 1500 hp only at 6,700 rpm, the Model S Plaid is making over 1000 hp once it goes pass 60 mph and continues to make over 1000 hp all the way to its top speed.
The second reason is hp isn’t what really accelerates a car. You really want to look at the torque figure, and here lies the true reason for the Plaid’s speed. The Chiron makes 1,180 lb ft of torque vs. the 1050 lb ft for the Plaid. But the Chiron is peak torque available only at a certain RPM, while the Plaid’s maximum torque is available from zero RPM.
The last reason is Tesla is simply sandbagging – the Model S Plaid makes way more than the 1020 hp and 1050 lb ft of torque that Tesla claims.
Uptown Autosport put a Model S Plaid on their hub dyno and measured 1101.2 hp and 905.4 ft lb torque at the wheel. If we allow for a 20% drivetrain lost for all wheel drive vehicles, it means the Plaid motors are really pushing out 1,376 hp and 1,132 lb ft of torque!
The end result of all this? Not only was the Plaid able to beat the Bugatti in the drag race, it beat it in the roll race as well. Not bad for a 4-door 5-passenger family sedan that gets over 100 MPGe.