Tesla has announced not one but two versions of the 2022 Tesla Model S Plaid, both of which promise to shatter the record for the world's fastest-accelerating car – petrol or electric.
Tesla says it will introduce the Model S Plaid and Model S Plaid+ sedans, both of which promise to overtake the drag-racing-focused 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon from zero to 100km/h – if Tesla's performance claims prove true.
In an earnings call today – coinciding with updates to Tesla's online configurator in the US and globally – CEO Elon Musk confirmed the brand's flagship Model S Plaid+ is on track to launch in late 2021, and will reportedly be capable of covering the 0-100km/h sprint in less than 2.1 seconds.
The secret to the performance of the Plaid+ is a trio of electric motors, sending a combined total of more than 820kW to all four wheels, assisted by torque vectoring and carbon-sleeved rotors within its electric motors.
Tesla claims a sub-nine-second time for the quarter-mile (402m) and a top speed of 320km/h. These figures match those announced for the Model S Plaid in September 2020.
If Tesla's claims prove true, the acceleration time of the Plaid+ would make it the fastest-accelerating production car to date – petrol or electric – comfortably surpassing the circa-2.4-second claim for the aforementioned Dodge Challenger SRT Demon (emphasis on circa, given an official 0-100km/h claim in metric units was not made official for the Dodge).
Convert both times to an imperial, 0-60mph (97km/h) measurement and the gap appears more definitive, with Tesla claiming a sub-1.99-second 0-60mph sprint time – the first production car to cross under the two-second barrier – versus Dodge's 2.3-second claim.
Include 'one foot rollout' – the one foot (30cm) gap on a drag strip between the car's starting point and where it begins to be timed, in which space a car can get up to speeds of around 5km/h, reducing the overall acceleration time – and the SRT Demon still can 'only' manage a 2.1-second dash.
The aforementioned achievement assumes the most conservative claim, and that the Tesla Model S Plaid+ will slot in just under the 1.99-second 0-60mph (or 2.1-second 0-100km/h) mark. The 'sub-' prefix attached to Tesla's claim suggests the car is set to go even quicker.
However, exactly how much quicker it will cover the benchmark zero to 100km/h sprint is unclear, and will likely remain so until production commences in late 2021, ahead of Australian deliveries in 2022.
The 'regular' Tesla Model S Plaid is no slouch either, claiming a 2.1-second 0-60mph sprint time from its 761kW-combined electric motors – a touch slower than even the most conservative claim reported by Tesla for the flagship Plaid+.
Prefer a high-riding body style? Tesla also offers the Plaid powertrain with its Model X SUV, where the three motors claim to launch the seven-seater to 100km/h from a standstill in 2.6 seconds – around a second faster than the next quickest SUV, the 3.6-second Lamborghini Urus.
Above: The current record-holder for the world's fastest accelerating car, the drag-strip inspired 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, complete with sticky rear tyres.
Eagle-eyed readers will note the Plaid and Plaid+'s acceleration times are both beaten by the 1.9-second 0-100km/h dash claimed by the Rimac C_Two – however, the Croatian hypercar has yet to enter production, nor has it been revealed in production form.
Tesla's own Roadster claims a 1.9-second 0-60mph (97km/h) sprint time in entry-level, rocket-less trim. However, as with the Rimac, that car is yet to enter production, despite being slated to do so in 2020.
For everything you need to know about the updated 2022 Tesla Model S Plaid and Plaid+ (and their entry-level counterparts), read our full story here.