Video: Tesla Model S Navigates The Nürburgring

The Nordschleife. The Green Hell. The Nurburgring. This massive race track located in the heart of Germany has become the place to set performance car benchmark, with the infamous North Loop consisting of more than 14 miles of twists, turns, and serious elevation changes.

So how does the Tesla Model S handle this famous race track? Not too well, as professional race car driver Robb Holland told Jalopnik. Just 3 minutes into hot-shoeing it through the Nürburgring’s North Loop, the Model S entered “reduced power mode” because of battery heat. Admittedly, Holland was pushing the 4,700 pound electric sedan hard, able to keep pace with a Porsche GT3 RS and laying down a final lap time in the ten minute range.

Indeed, battery heat issues remain the biggest obstacle to building an electric performance car. Despite having up to 416 horsepower (at least officially), the Model S can only go full-tilt for so long. The Saleen Model S has ambitions of improving track performance of the Tesla sedan, but it seems like completing a full lap of the Nürburgring at full power remains beyond the capabilities of the Model S…at least for now.

Despite all this though, Holland had mostly praise for the Model S, saying;

Now, I have had the pleasure of driving a huge number of cars, both on the Nürburgring and off, but this would be my first time in a Model S or any fully electric car. And I have to admit I was pretty impressed.

Yes, it was heavy. Yes, it had almost no mechanical grip. And yes, the steering was as numb as my jaw after a trip to the dentist. However, considering that the Model S is a brand new car, from a car company that didn’t exist 10 years ago, using technology that had (at the time of founding of the company) never been successfully mass produced on any large scale, I am suitably impressed.

In other words, it is a good start…but there’s lots of room for improvement as well. Seems like a fair assessment to me.



Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.