The Math Behind The Tesla Roadster's 0-60 MPH Time Is Complicated


Is Elon Musk's 0-60 mph in 1.9 seconds claim really possible?

Tires. They can make all the difference as to how fast a car can accelerate. For example, the Dodge Challenger Demon has its own specially developed tires that not only handle its claimed 0-60 mph in 2.3 seconds at the drag strip, but are also street legal. So when Elon Musk announced to the world that the new Tesla Roadster, due in 2020, can make the sprint to 60 in 1.9 seconds, many were skeptical, while others were thrilled. Fortunately, the Roadster prototype shown was wearing a set of super grippy Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires.

However, is that 1.9-second time even possible, despite the tires? Jason Fenske from Engineering Explained is back with his latest video and be ready because it’s a mathematically complex 12 and a half minutes.

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One of the interesting issues Fenske tackles is whether or not Tesla’s stated acceleration times start from a complete standstill, or from the industry standard rollout of one-foot. Remember, all of the manufacturer and third party 0-60 times don’t begin until the car in question has accelerated one-foot forward. But are Musk’s claims technically possible? Do they defy the laws of physics? Of course it’s possible for a car – any car – to achieve rapid acceleration given it’s appropriately engineered to do so. At this time, however, Musk’s claims can’t be validated. They’re simply words and numbers. That’s it. So until either Tesla and/or a third party tests the new Roadster, nothing’s official.