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Tesla tests Model S with an even faster ‘Plaid’ powertrain at Laguna Seca

Date published: 2019-09-12
Originally published: Here. Excerpt below.


Photo by David Bush / The Verge Tesla teased a prototype Model S that Elon Musk says can go faster than the “Ludicrous” speed the company’s cars currently achieve. The new powertrain is dubbed “Plaid” and is “ about a year away from production,” Musk tweeted Wednesday. (Both names are a reference to the Mel Brooks movie Spaceballs.) The Plaid Model S made its debut at Laguna Seca raceway, where it lapped the famous California road course in just 1 minute and 36 seconds. The new Plaid powertrain, which employs three electric motors instead of two, will be available in the Model S, Model X, and the second-generation Roadster. It won’t be available for the Model 3 or the Model Y, Musk said. It will “cost more than our current offerings, but less than competitors,” he added, a possible reference to the newly-unveiled Porsche Taycan Turbo, which starts at $150,000. (Though the new Roadster starts at $200,000.) As Tesla pointed out on Twitter, 96 seconds is about one second faster than the “record for a four-door sedan” at Laguna Seca. But this is where things get tricky. A spokesperson for Laguna Seca told CNBC that track officials “were not officiating while the Tesla was testing,” and that “[o]fficial records only happen during sanctioned events where a sanctioning body is officiating.” It’s a fast lap, but it’s not really an official record That’s a pretty standard approach when it comes to track records, though it didn’t stop Musk from claiming on Twitter that Tesla had set the new “record for fastest 4 door ever at Laguna Seca.” The Silicon Valley automaker also posted a video of the run to YouTube titled “Tesla Model S Fastest Lap at Laguna Seca.” The semantic confusion of this wording is cleared up in the video description: “We lapped Laguna Seca in 1:36.555 during advanced R&D testing of our Model S Plaid powertrain and chassis prototype — a second faster than the record for a four-door sedan.” To be sure, the Model S lap is nowhere near the fastest Laguna Seca l ...


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