Is Tesla Under-Selling Its Cars’ Performance?

Tesla Cars

While Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) has been accused of many things, under-selling was never one of them. Yet a recent story in Drag Times claims the luxury electric car maker is underestimating its 0-60 potential. The speed demons on the Drag Times staff recently ran their own tests with a Model S 60 kWh vehicle, bringing in results that might make Elon Musk and company revise their promotional materials.

Tesla has several versions of the Model S. Drag Times used the base model, a car with a 60 kWh battery that Tesla says produces 302 hp with 317 ft-lbs. of torque. The company claims the car goes 0-60 in 5.9 seconds, yet the Drag Times team ran three straight tests in which the S 60 went 0-60 in 5.1 seconds. Their team tested their car (with no performance package installed) with a full battery charge. It went 0-100 in 12.8 seconds, which also beat Tesla’s time.

Tests by the same team have revealed better results than what Tesla claimed its cars can do. When the tester kept digging, he saw the Model S 60 was showing 240 kW at the top end of its power measurement. Tesla has the power maxed out on 225 kW. Is Tesla gaming the system or actually underestimating its cars’ power?

There aren’t many explanations for why Tesla would claim the Model S 60 performs worse than its potential allows. Drag Times considered the possibility the base models are being released with more power than originally expected. The Model S 85 can produce 365 hp on 270 kW while the Model S 85 Performance can produce 416 hp on 310 kW.

The point of the experiment was to gauge what the regular Tesla driver could expect from a Model S. The electric car maker has assured customers it will expand the network of charging stations in the coming years, as well as introducing battery swaps that would deliver charged batteries in a matter of seconds.

Yet Drag Times is only concerned with performance. Drivers recently tried racing the Tesla and calculated that quarter-mile runs down the track would only cost about six cents per drag race. If the base Model S indeed comes with more power than expected, a press release will surely be headed the public’s way.

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