Tesla Model S Plaid Demonstrates How Drag Strip Mode Works

Video / 4 Comments

The high-performance electric sedan does more than just apply maximum power to the tarmac.

The Tesla Model S Plaid has a Drag Strip Mode designed specifically to make the car accelerate as well as possible in a straight line, and in a short but informative video, the EV maker's performance engineer, Chris Mayfield, explains how it works. It's not the quickest car in the world anymore, but it can still do the quarter-mile in under 10 seconds.

The Model S Plaid was Tesla's first triple-motor car, with those producing 1,020 horsepower and 1,050 lb-ft of torque and allowing for a 0-60 mph time of under two seconds. But power is only a tiny part of the equation, with some components cooled, others heated, and the suspension adapted.


Electric motors perform at their best when cool, so activating Drag Strip Mode switches on fans near the hubs. While batteries don't work well when they're too hot either, they can also suffer in cold weather. Thus, the car preheats the battery pack to reach its optimal performance bracket.

Once you're on the line and ready to go, the Cheetah Stance feature can be activated. This lowers the car, improving the center of gravity and helping it get off the line cleanly. You press the brake, mash the accelerator, and get ready to launch. At this point, you can feel the motors applying power to the wheels and locking them from rolling. Some other cars have similar suspension lowering capabilities, but this is unique in that the front is lowered most.

2021-2023 Tesla Model S Plaid Front View Driving Tesla
2021-2023 Tesla Model S Plaid Rear View Driving Tesla

Causing the front end to squat down "improves front axle traction so that when you launch, instead of the front of the car coming up and you lose traction off the front wheels, it actually holds the front of the car down as you accelerate, and gives you better grip all the way through the 0-60," said Mayfield.

It's a highly impressive system, but in the wrong hands, this extraordinary acceleration can be perilous. We've seen numerous examples of unskilled individuals getting caught out by the peppy performance, so if you find yourself behind the wheel of a Model S, keep your acceleration tests where Drag Strip Mode is intended to be used - on the track.


Join The Discussion


2021-2023 Tesla Model S Plaid Front View Driving
2021-2023 Tesla Model S Plaid Rear View Driving

Related Cars

To Top