With the recent revelation that Tesla are giving discounts on their yet to be unveiled new Roadster to Tesla owners with more than 10 referrals, the subject turned to evolving electric performance. More specifically, how much acceleration is too much.
If you’ve seen videos of people scaring the shit out of their family members and friends by doing hard launches in Tesla cars, then you’ll know how violent they are. Even the lowest spec Model S cars have far more acceleration than is necessary, but when you get into the sub 3 second 0-60 times, it starts to become dangerous in my opinion.
With the new Roadster, we’re probably looking at sub 2 seconds for 0-60, which in my view should only be accessible when the car knows it is at a race track / drag strip or in the relative safety of private property.
Unsurprisingly, this view is unpopular with many speed freak Tesla owners and fans other than myself who immediately rifle off a list of reasons as to why I’m entirely wrong. But let’s be honest, the P85D with insane mode was already extremely fast. But now they’ve gone so much further with the P100D Ludicrous. That car is capable of around 2.3 seconds to 60 in ideal conditions. That is crazy enough, but the Roadster as a sports car will be even crazier.
Tesla are trying to be all things to all people with the same car. They want to be the fastest, the safest, the most fun to drive and have the best self driving features. That in itself is a great thing, and as a driver I appreciate that sometimes I want to drive, and sometimes I would love to be driven around by the car. But when it comes to performance and safety, the only way you can truly have both is to limit the performance when being driven on public roads. Tesla cars know where they are and can adjust suspension settings depending on their location. It would be easy to make insane and ludicrous modes location aware.
I don’t think it would be right to do this on current models because owners bought the cars under the impression that they would always have insane and ludicrous modes available anywhere. But on newly built cars that have 0-60 times lower than 3 to 3.5 seconds, I think they should strongly consider making those modes track only. On current cars, they should take a more serious approach by strongly promoting these modes as designed for track use, rather than goading drivers into potential dangerous driving by asking if they want their mummies. It’s funny, but probably not the best idea.
It isn’t entirely unprecedented for Tesla to make changes in this vein. They updated the software to limit the number of ludicrous launches people could do lifetime before the power would be permanently lessened. They also did a similar thing with supercharger speeds for drivers who are very heavy users of rapid charging in order to protect the battery packs.
Something will inevitably have to give at some point. If Tesla don’t act first, then some kind of law will likely be brought in for fast cars in road use. It seems unlikely that authorities will turn a blind eye to extremely fast cars once the focus squarely turns to making autonomous cars and the road network in general as safe as it can possibly be for everyone.
I’m not a killjoy telling Tesla to stop making fast cars. Make them super fast, but be fast on track and keep them sensible on the roads.