The growing trend in the auto industry over the past decade has been a huge push towards electric vehicles over gas, and for obvious reasons.
Electric vehicles not only provide a substantial environmental benefit by moving away from the burning of fossil fuels and consumption of Earth’s finite resources, but they also provide a convenient and inexpensive alternative for those without substantial commutes, and who have the ability to charge their vehicles at their home or office.
The cost savings in charging your vehicle at home versus paying for fuel fill-ups can be substantial. Interestingly enough, electric cars also possess one huge benefit over that of comparable gas motors: instant torque. The question remains, however, how do they perform at a half-mile event, and what’s a better platform overall? Let’s break it down.
In a gas-powered car, the combustion engine is paired to in most cases, some form of transmission, with six to eight gears. A tachometer displays the engine’s revolutions per minute or RPMs, and relies on the transmission (or driver) to shift up into the next gear as speed increases or in the event of hard acceleration. In performance or sports cars, you will see the use of a dual-clutch transmission which aids in faster shifts, for race car-like performance.
For electric cars, there is generally no conventional transmission requiring the moving parts to be responsible for speed and acceleration. Instead, to put it simply, the batteries power electric motors that send torque to the wheels with no transmission, or middle man, in between. This means that mashing the go pedal throws you back in your seat with instant acceleration and immediate throttle response.
The quickest accelerating car MotorTrend tested was a Tesla Model S P100D. Through their testing, they found the Model S to do 0-60 in just 2.28 seconds. That tops the likes of a LaFerrari and Porsche 918, to name a few. The Tesla also recorded a quarter mile time of 10.5 seconds at 125mph, which is still on par with supercars and at the heels of hypercars.
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However, how does the speed continue through to a half mile? As you can see in the video above, Raj in his 2017 Tesla Model S P100D tracks a half-mile pass. 0-60 in 2.6, and a half-mile at 146mph.
The first quarter mile is fast (10.72 @ 123), but beyond that it seems to plateau. The half-mile trap speed would put it on par with a stock BMW M5 or Hellcat Challenger, despite it having a much quicker 1/4 mile than those cars.
Though the instant torque off the line puts the Tesla ahead of many opponents, it can’t quite match the horsepower of gas-powered rivals as they continue to increase in speed beyond the quarter-mile.
Don’t call the Model S a one-trick pony, however, as it is able to seat up to seven, get over 250 miles of electric driving, all while getting the kids to soccer practice with time to spare.
Perhaps electric isn’t the ideal platform for half-mile racing, yet, but with auto manufacturers coming out with a bevy of electric vehicles and supercars, only time will tell what happens next.