It can hardly be argued that the Tesla Model S P85D – the high power, all-wheel drive variant of the world’s most winningest electric car – set the world ablaze with its performance when it debuted late last year. 691 HP, a 0 to 60 time of just 3.2 seconds – these figures have no business belonging to a horseless carriage with electric motors in place of a proper petrol-fueled engine.
So, perhaps it makes logical sense that the folks at Green Car Reports would call on Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk to remove the speed governor on the Tesla Model S P85D, so that someone might perform a test of its top speed. The website is eager to know: is the top-tier Tesla the fastest (highest top-speed) sedan in the world today?
We can’t help but approach the subject with a large measure of skepticism. As Green Car Reports correctly notes, the very impressive 0.24 drag coefficient of the Tesla Model S P85D might indeed lend the car a tremendous advantage. After all, overcoming aerodynamic drag is a far bigger challenge at higher speeds than, say, mitigating the rolling resistance of the tires, or parasitic loss to driveline components.
What’s more, with effectively no transmission, driveline losses ought to be kept to a minimum, as well.
But the lack of variable drive ratios is a much bigger hindrance than it is an advantage. After all, electric motors like those used in the Tesla Model S P85D make peak torque very early in the rev range, before rapidly falling off. Since power is a product of torque and RPM, the electric drive motors would both likely be churning too fast to produce enough power at higher vehicle speeds.
That said, we would love to see the uninhibited top speed of the Tesla Model S P85D for ourselves, and would love even more to see the car prove us totally wrong.
So, Mr. Musk, how about it?