Recently, England’s AutoExpress ran a number of high performance cars against each other in an 1,800 meter drag race. For those of you who are metrically challenged, that’s about a mile and an eighth – the length of many horse races.
One of those races featured a 416 horsepower Tesla Model S P85+ versus a TVR Tuscan S with a 400 horsepower straight-six engine. When you watch the video, you will clearly see the difference between torque and horsepower. And had it been the all-new Tesla Model S P85D with the Dual Motor Drive system, this race wouldn’t have even been that close, as the top-performing Tesla sprints from 0 to 60 MPH in just 3.2 seconds.
The Model S, like all electric vehicles, has gobs of torque when starting from rest. In the first part of the race, it leaves the TVR in the dust thanks to 100% of its available torque searing the pavement. But horsepower is what you need for high speeds, and after the TVR got its RPMs going, it nipped the Tesla at the finish line by a margin of just 0.6 seconds.
Does this settle the discussion about which is better – high torque or high horsepower? No, of course not. That’s a debate that will rage for many years to come. All this race proves is that, when it comes to getting off the line in a hurry, the electric Tesla has it all over its gasoline powered rivals, leaving behind the notion that electric vehicles have to be slow and boring.