Continuing a theme from earlier today, we need to remind you to read beyond the headline.
Especially when someone like Tesla boss Elon Musk makes a claim that seems too good to be true.
You’ve probably heard by now that the Tesla Model S Plaid can hit a 0-60 mph time of 1.99 seconds. But the gang at Motor Trend found that there are a lot of strings attached to that time.
The whole thing’s worth a read, but the short version is this — Tesla wanted MT to test on a surface specifically prepped for drag racing (meaning stickier than regular roads). Furthermore, the car needs to be placed into a drag-strip mode and a launch-control mode needs to be engaged. And you need some time to make this all happen — the drag-strip mode needs eight to 15 minutes to precondition the powertrain and brakes.
So, in order to reach the time Tesla and CEO Elon Musk claimed, you need to accommodate for the special setup.
Tesla tried to claim that any Plaid owners seeking speed will actually use that setup at the drag strip, but MT points the car doesn’t have the safety gear necessary to run at those kinds of speeds, and the launch-control’s timing requirements would leave any driver in the lurch anyway.
To be fair to Tesla, Motor Trend did point out that car still hits 0-60 in close to 2 seconds on a less-sticky surface and that it was consistent in terms of returning fast times. And the previous 0-60 record holder at the magazine was also a Tesla.
So the Plaid is not, in any way, slow. It’s one of the fastest-accelerating cars on the market. Yet Elon Musk overstated the claim because … well, we can only guess why. Probably because under 2 seconds sounds better than “slightly above 2 seconds” and Musk likes to boast.
Still, it’s an unnecessary distortion of the truth. Zero to sixty in almost two seconds is still goddamn fast. Those numbers are almost unfathomable.
Musk needn’t have stretched the truth. Thank God Motor Trend — yes, Motor Trend, of all places — had the resources to poke holes in his claim while keeping perspective. Musk may have misled, but the fact remains the car is ludicrously fast.