What Is the Fastest Tesla?

Daniel Attoe
Daniel Attoe

Updated · Oct 06, 2022

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From 2035, you will no longer be able to buy a new gas-powered car in California. Slowly but surely, the age of the internal combustion engine in vehicles is winding to an end. EVs and hybrid vehicles will become the norm soon enough.

Electric vehicles are capable of accelerating quicker than most regular gasoline cars, but they aren’t always faster.

That said, a Tesla is no slouch, and you can clock up some pretty decent speeds. If you are considering hopping on the popular train and getting yourself one, you may be wondering, what is the fastest Tesla?

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Read on to find out!

What Is the Fastest Tesla?

The Model S Plaid is the swiftest Tesla in the world. In fact, even though cars like the SSC Tuatara and the Koenigsegg Jesko would have a word, the Plaid is the fastest production car, period.

Tesla is always looking at expanding its range of options. When the Model S made its debut a decade ago, the liftback flagship model made an immediate impact and effectively put the carmaker on the map.

Tesla has continued to upgrade that lineup. In June 2021, it rolled out a new version, the Model S Plaid, codenamed Palladium. It came with an upgraded interior, powertrain, and suspension, compared to the older generation Model S.

While revealing the car upon its launch, Tesla CEO Elon Musk claimed that it was the only production car that could go from 0 to 60 mph in less than 2 seconds. That boast certainly raised a lot of eyebrows among enthusiasts and experts.

The five-seater comes with an impressive 1,020 horsepower engine and a torque of 1,050 lb-ft. It has a 100kWh battery pack, and three motors power its wheels.

Impressive specs for a $140,000 car.

No, I’m not calling the Plaid a budget-friendly car. However, most of its rivals are hypercars and supercars that cost millions.

So, how fast does a Tesla S Plaid go?

In June 2022, the Tesla Model S Plaid set a new quarter-mile record, reaching 161.37 mph in just 8.83 seconds.

However, this is not a recognized world record.

As you probably know, car owners are always looking to beat official times and will tweak their cars, sometimes dangerously, to do that.

Tesla’s official data has the Model S Plaid doing a quarter mile in 9.23 seconds at 152.6 mph. To surpass that, the Tesla Motors Club member modified his car to lighten its weight. However, he did not alter the powertrain, ECU, and the car’s appearance.

As for top speed, Tesla promised it could reach 200 mph (322 km/h), and it turns out it undersold the car. In June, Guillaume André, the CEO of a Quebec-based company, reached a 216 mph (348 km/h) top speed.

Mind-blowing.

Tesla Models and How They Compare 

The Model S Plaid is the fastest Tesla, but how does it compare to the other models in other areas? We will compare it to Model 3, Model S, Model X, and Model Y in terms of range, acceleration, and capacity.

Range 

A car’s range is how far it can travel before it needs to be refueled. Obviously, for an electric vehicle like the Tesla, the range is how long it can go before it requires a charge.

According to the maker, the Tesla Model S Plaid has an EPA-estimated combined range of 348 miles. The range is estimated to be 353.7 miles for driving within the city, while it stands at 353.7 miles for the highway.

In contrast, the range for the base model of the Model 3 is 272 miles, which rises to 358 miles for the Long Range version.

The Model S, Model X, and Model Y have EPA-estimated ranges of 405 miles, 348 miles, and 330 miles, respectively. 

Several factors affect the range of electric cars. They include: 

  • the battery state of charge at the starting time
  • weather conditions
  • battery temperature
  • travel time duration
  • speed
  • wind power
  • road conditions 

While manufacturers like to talk up range figures, the reality is that these factors heavily influence how long a Tesla will go before you need to plug it in.

Acceleration 

If Elon Musk’s boast of the Tesla S Plaid reaching 0 to 60 miles in 1.99 seconds does not quite register, consider that it takes the Bugatti Chiron 2.5 seconds to accelerate to that distance. For context, the Chiron is a 1,479hp hypercar.

The fastest Tesla model has broken the sub-2.0 second barrier in testing, as Musk insisted it could. 

But there’s a caveat here. The car can only reach the figures released by Tesla under very specific conditions. For instance, it must be driven on a dragstrip prepped with grippy resin beforehand. No regular asphalt road for the Plaid. It also needs a complex set-up process.

The Model X’s body type belies its speed; it is the fastest production SUV in the world. The car’s official acceleration figures are 2.5 seconds for 0 to 60 miles. However, it completed that distance in 2.3 seconds in a test.

For its price tag, the Model Y is also impressive in terms of acceleration, with its ability to reach 0 to 62 mph in 3.5 seconds. This Tesla has a max speed of 155 mph.

Seats and Cargo Capacity

There’s not much to differentiate between the Model S and S Plaid when it comes to interior space. Both the regular version and Palladium are five-seater sedans. There’s plenty of legroom for front and rear passengers, with cushioning and support.

Behind the rear seats, you get about 28 cubic feet of cargo space. If you fold the seats, this space more than doubles to nearly 58 cubic feet. It is more than you get in most electric and hybrid cars.

The Model 3 also contains seats for five people but has a smaller cargo capacity than the S models - but not by much. It comes with 23 cubic feet of cargo space. That capacity is closer to 50 cubic feet when you fold down the rear seats.

As you can expect, the Model X, being an SUV, completely beats the above options in terms of space. It has two separate cargo holds, which combine into a maximum of 91 cubic feet. The EV can seat seven people.

Finally, we have the Model Y with combined 76.2 cubic feet of cargo capacity. It’s smaller than the Model X but still one of the largest among the electric and hybrid SUVs in that aspect.

Wrap Up

Tesla is the king of the EV, consolidating this position with constant upgrades and improvements.

What is the fastest Tesla? It is the Model S Plaid. This relatively new car boasts blazing-fast acceleration and a top speed that will have your passenger holding on for dear life. 

If you are a speed lover who can afford the $140,000 price, there isn’t any other production vehicle in the world that will offer you what you’ll get with the Plaid.

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Daniel Attoe

Daniel Attoe

Daniel is an Economics grad who fell in love with tech. His love for books and reading pushed him into picking up the pen - and keyboard. Also a data analyst, he's taking that leap into data science and machine learning. When not writing or studying, chances are that you'll catch him watching football or face-deep in an epic fantasy novel.

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