Electric cars have taken the market by storm. On top of various sustainability advantages, they have a powerful edge in the speed arena. Tesla Model S, the paragon of electric vehicles, has been ranked as a third-fastest accelerating production car on the face of the earth, as it goes from 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) in 2.5 seconds.
It has outpaced four-wheeled beasts such as Bugatti Veyron and Lamborghini Aventador. In fact, the only cars that can leave it in the dust, the LaFerrari and Porsche 918 Spyder, cost around $1 million and are not available for sale. So, how did Tesla manage to make its fairly heavy car so incredibly fast and explosive?
One part of the answer lies in the upgraded, bigger lithium ion battery. Its energy density determines how much energy it releases and the power density controls the amount of energy that goes in and out of the battery. The latter characteristic is responsible for the breakneck speed of Tesla Model S.
Namely, the P100D model has a reconfigured, top-of-the-line 100-kWh battery, which is responsible for the near-instant acceleration. It packs more cells than its 90-kWh predecessor in the same space. Bear in mind also that harnessing the electrons from a battery is much faster than getting fuel from a gas tank to a piston: They go along the wire, straight where they are needed.
On all fours
Tyres are the bedrock of Tesla’s superior and smooth performance. Newer models employ low rolling resistance and high-performance tyres that contain sound absorbing foam and are up there with the best tyres in the market. They feature top-notch grip, steering response, and wet performance, handling as much as 691 BHP.
Tesla has also developed concept tyres BHo3 coated with a layer of thermal piezoelectric material capable of converting the heat energy produced by friction to electrical energy. Finally, it should be mentioned that Tesla’s 5,000-pound weight helps its tyres grip the road better and that vehicles have an all-wheel drive, with the torque spread among four contact patches.
Quiet as a shadow
Image from tesla.com
As you may know, the electric motors do not have a clunky gearbox and a bunch of moving parts needed for internal combustion. As a result, they do not make the same noise. More importantly, their electronics are almost instantaneous: One does not have to wait for throttles to close and there’s no delay in power.
This has an impact on the maximum torque, the rotational force which is transmitted from the motor and turns the wheels. Namely, electric motors achieve anywhere from 0 to 4,000 revolutions per minute (rpm), while gas-powered motors fail to reach peak torque at very low or very high rpm. In other words, with cars like Tesla Model S, one can get the peak torque right away and does not need to accelerate to middle speed first.
Full speed ahead
Tesla can jump from a dead stop to 60 miles in an instant and this level of acceleration has stunned the world. The company is certainly riding the crest of the wave of energy innovation, but it also pays utmost attention to basic elements such as tyres.
Cutting-edge electronics are impressive all right, and Tesla remains at the forefront of mechanical innovation too. This car generates the same amount of torque at all rpm levels and propels the car forward faster than most of the pricey sports models out there.