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Business Insider wrote a great article that goes through what makes Teslas accelerate so fast off the line.


Following is a transcript of the video.

Spectator: There it goes.

Narrator: 2.4 seconds. Passenger: Wow! Narrator: That's all it takes for this Tesla to reach 60 mph from a standstill. That's quicker than a Bugatti Chiron, the fastest car in the world, which takes 2.5 seconds to go from zero to 60. Tesla engineers worked for years to shave tenths of a second off the Model S Performance's acceleration time. So, what exactly makes it so good at accelerating so fast?

First off, electric vehicles will always be more efficient than your typical combustion-engine car. And the more efficient a car is, the better it performs. Gas-powered cars are filled with thousands of parts linking together different mechanical components to deliver the power from the engine to the wheels. To do this, the engine sends power to the transmission, which converts that power to usable energy through gears, clutches, and different electrical components before sending it to the driveshaft, which ultimately rotates the wheels. At every point in this process, there's a loss of energy due to the friction of the various moving parts. Electric vehicles are much simpler in part because they can accelerate from zero to their top speed without shifting a single gear. Since electric vehicles don't have to shift gears, all of the torque they can produce is available from zero rpm, or rotations per minute. This is what's referred to as instant torque.

Passenger: Oh, my God!

Narrator: But let's take a step back and talk about where that power comes from. The battery. EV batteries range from about 20 kilowatt-hours to 100 kilowatt-hours. This number represents how much energy the battery can store, also known as energy density. The 100-kilowatt-hour battery pack found in the Model S Performance makes 762 horsepower, which is on par with Lamborghini Aventador SVJ, but it's the power density of that battery that determines how much power can be delivered to the electric motor per second. The higher the power density, the faster the car can accelerate. Tesla declined to share the exact power density of its batteries, but a quick look at how the Model S Performance compares to other EVs will prove it is one of the most power-dense batteries in an electric vehicle available today. But power isn't everything. A car can only accelerate as fast as the tires can grip the road.

Traction is one of the most important factors when it comes to racing. If your tires can't grip the road, then your car isn't going anywhere. Tesla incorporates three features commonly found in other performance cars to maximize traction between the tires and the road, which allows the car to accelerate more efficiently. The first is all-wheel drive. Two electric motors at the front and rear of the car deliver power to all four wheels at the same time, which, of course, increases traction. Then there's torque vectoring. Tesla's software measures how well each of the tires are gripping the road and adjusts torque in the front and rear independently hundreds of times per second to ensure the tires are constantly achieving maximum grip and propelling the car forward. And, lastly, Tesla uses a tire with a tread pattern specifically developed to maximize contact with the ground.

So far, everything in Model S Performance, with the exception of Tesla's battery technology, can be found in other performance cars or EVs. These features together give the Model S a zero to 60 of 3.7 seconds, which makes its acceleration comparable to the Alfa Romeo Giulia or the Dodge Challenger Hellcat, both of which are impressive performance cars on their own. But the not-so-secret sauce that propels the Model S to supercar performance and shaves off another 1.3 seconds is Ludicrous Plus mode and launch control.

Ludicrous Plus mode preps the battery for maximum performance by heating it to precisely 122 degrees to improve power output by about 46 horsepower, according to DragTimes' recent test of the latest firmware update. The motors, inverters, and transmission can handle higher temperatures for a longer period of time before the car limits power to cool the car's components down, allowing the car to endure strenuous driving like drag racing longer. With launch control, the front suspension squats into a cheetah stance to keep force on the front tires more consistent to further improve traction. The axle is also preloaded with a small amount of torque, similar to pulling a slingshot back to build tension before launching a projectile. But in this case, the projectile is the car.

There isn't just one feature that can be attributed to the incredible performance of the Model S. Instead, it's a system that maximizes power and efficiency at every stage.

Passenger: I could do that every day. [driver chuckles] I need this every day, Brooks. Every single day. [both laugh]
 
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