Words: Tahnic Murshed , Photos: Courtesy
Tesla’s never-ending quest to challenge boundaries continues and takes shape in the form of innovation that, quite frankly, no one has been able to touch. Eccentric CEO Elon Musk has carried the electric vehicle market as we know it singlehandedly on Tesla’s shoulders, that is, till recently. A vivid picture of the inevitable electric future has made its way around automakers’ tables, from where on the EV scene has been getting less and less monopolized by the day. In recent times we have been greeted with electric cars that have confronted Tesla’s flagships standing on their own grounds. What does this mean though? That Tesla is losing its edge, that it is time to drop the crown, that its success was meant to be short-lived? Not quite.
The Tesla Model S P100D ever since its introduction has not fell short at blowing our minds with how capable it is. While electric vehicles have their fair share of challenges, as a machine, the Model S is a marvel. As much as I try to make you picture it, I know I won’t succeed; and you’ll agree with me when I claim that the ludicrous acceleration is ineffable once you’ve been in one. However, the exclusive traits that the Model S moniker beholds have long since been challenged by successful competition. Porsche with the Taycan and its cornering prowess – a wondrous electric vehicle from the automobile maestro itself. More recently, new American startup Lucid Motors, with their EV, the ‘Air’, capable of a record-breaking 517 miles of range. And those are just two from the inevitably ever-growing basket of competent electric vehicles to come.
To this, Elon Musk had only one reply, which suffices it to say, was more than enough. “The only thing beyond Ludicrous is Plaid”, said Musk at Tesla’s Battery Day event. This was to introduce the new range-topping Tesla Model S Plaid, easing all your concerns about the end of Tesla’s all-extending advantage in most aspects one cares about in an EV. Enough chitter-chatter, this is what makes the Plaid special – 1100 horsepower, exerted from three motors to all wheels, capable of achieving a 0-60 figure of under 2 seconds and a quarter-mile of under 9 seconds, hitting 200mph flat out. Tesla went with the numbers game this time, and it does not end there. Remember the 517 miles of range from the Lucid Air? Time for it to get one-upped because even with all that power, the Model S Plaid estimates a range of 520 miles, courtesy of the automakers’ new battery pack technology. To top it all off, it did a lap time of 1.30.3 at Laguna Seca. “We’re confident that the Model S Plaid will achieve the best track time of any production vehicle – of any kind – two-door, or otherwise”, in the words of Musk himself. That is, after shaving off a few more seconds from this time, he believes. And if you do not, you are free to feast your eyes on the in-car footage of the aircraft (the audile resemblance is uncanny!) blitzing through the Laguna Seca.
Of course, none of this comes cheap, with a $134,000 base price staring at you for the Plaid, in contrast to the “regular” Performance trim’s $91,990. While this does seem to be contributing to the perpetually growing EV price tag dilemma, look at it this way: the Lucid Air Grand Touring with its 517 miles will deduct $139,000 from your bank account, and Tesla promises much more with a slightly diminished financial burden. Ultimately, this means that Tesla’s technology is still ahead in terms of efficiency, which is going to be one of the largest factors in outputting good, affordable electric cars to the masses. If theorizing is not sufficient for you, Musk promises a $25,000 Tesla in the forthcoming years. Till then, we have Plaid.