Tesla Model S Plaid sets the production EV ‘Ring record at 7:35.579

Tesla's new tri-motor technological terror -- the Model S Plaid -- finally got its day at Germany's famed and feared Nurburgring Nordschleife. It managed to set the official production electric vehicle record while it was there -- even with that goofy steering yoke.

Elon Musk announced the record on his Twitter account on Thursday, and while the sheet of paper he posted shows two times, the official time that Nurburgring officials count is the slower of the two at 7:35.579, rather than 7:30.909. 

Tesla Model S Plaid just set official world speed record for a production electric car at Nurburgring. Completely unmodified, directly from factory. pic.twitter.com/AaiFtfW5Ht

-- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 9, 2021
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Delivered Tuesdays and Thursdays. Tesla posted a video of the run on Friday, and the Nurburgring posted the same video, but with onscreen telemetry. While neither of them looks (or sounds) very fast, that's kind of the reality of modern cars, especially modern electric cars.

The Model S Plaid produces 1,020 horsepower from its three electric motors. It benefits from an upgraded heat pump that helps reduce heat-based degradation in performance -- something that often plagues high-powered EVs. Interestingly, Musk also tweeted that he expects to see a modified version of Model S Plaid with "added aero surfaces, carbon brakes & track tires," but it won't come from Tesla.

He says he believes the aftermarket and specialist EV shops will take the Plaid to the next level. Whether that will happen remains to be seen. While this record is impressive, we don't expect it to stand for too long, thanks to increasing pressure from legacy car companies like Porsche and its excellent Taycan EV. A Taycan Turbo prototype set an unofficial lap time of 7 minutes, 42 seconds in 2019, and that's not even the highest current performance level of Taycan. 

Given Porsche's pride in its history of lightning-quick 'Ring times, we wouldn't be surprised to see a hotter Taycan -- maybe a GT -- knock Tesla off of its podium.

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