Tesla’s record supercar
Tesla unveiled its new electric-powered truck this week, at an event where Chief Executive Elon Musk sold his truck as safer, more reliable and not to mention, better for the environment. That wasn’t the big news for motoring fans. Musk, in a very Steve Jobs-like, ‘‘Oh, and one more thing’’ moment, introduced the Tesla Roadster. The $293,427, all-wheel drive supercar goes 0-95 kmh in 1.9 seconds, making it the fastest production car ever. Oh, and it tops out at more than 400kmh. Why does speed matter? Automakers have been sponsoring racing teams since the beginning of the automobile. Manufacturers have seen the merit in the ‘‘Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday’’ marketing formula; recent studies back up those beliefs.
Fast halo cars like this are aspirational vehicles created for shoppers. We spend time gawking at the slick luxury dream cars in the showroom and end up buying sport-utility vehicles or ordinary sedans.
When Musk first rolled out the Tesla Model S P100 ‘‘Ludicrous Mode’’ in 2015, reports noted that ‘‘100kmh in 2.8 seconds is crazy fast.’’ For a fraction of the cost, the five-passenger, four-door sedan was competitive with the likes of Lamborghini, Bentley and Porsche. It was not long before videos of the Tesla Model X P90D Ludicrous – a bulbous, ungainly SUV – was shown smoking a Ferrari F430 in a drag race.
Pure electric cars like the Roadster have several inherent performance advantages, most notably immediate peak torque and a single-gear transmission. That’s a large part of the reason why these cars tend beat their gasoline-powered competitors in drag races.
The same day Musk was rolling out his Roadster, the Wall Street Journal reviewed the brand new 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 (price, $477,186 as tested) with the question ‘‘Is this the fastest streetcar ever?’’ The answer - 0-60 in 2.7 seconds - was almost. But within six hours, once the Tesla Roadster was introduced, it wasn’t close.
Other supercars are suffering similar fates. The $1.9 NZD million McLaren P1 hits 60 in 2.7 seconds (tweaked versions can reach 60 in 2.4 seconds).
Tesla Roadster 2 goes from zero to 95kmh in under two seconds.