This Is Why The Tesla Model S Plaid Can't Reach 200 MPH

Electric Vehicles / Comments

But there's still plenty of speed to tap into.

The Tesla Model S Plaid has been making headlines everywhere. Jay Leno recently set a confirmed, official quarter-mile record in the car, while Unplugged Performance has built a special race car from the EV. Prior to either of those events, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the car will read your mind. It's an unlikely technological advance, but before that truly comes to fruition, Tesla has another technological update to make. The Model S Plaid is claimed to have a top speed of 200 mph, but on Tesla's configurator, you'll find this message: "The indicated Plaid top speed requires proper wheels and tires which will be available in Fall 2021." But that's not the reason the Plaid can't do 200 mph yet.

2021 Tesla Model S Plaid Rear View Driving Tesla
2021 Tesla Model S Plaid Driving Front Angle Tesla

According to Tesla, the necessary wheels and tires actually are available. The standard wheels are the 19-inch 'Tempest' wheels, while 21-inch 'Arachnid' wheels are available as an option. The 21s are those required for the 200-mph top speed to be made available, and Tesla says that these wheels (which come with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires) have been validated at 200 mph. But still, Plaid models with these wheels can only hit 163 mph at this point. A software update rolling out sometime "in the future" (presumably in the Fall) will resolve this, but it is strange that Tesla cites the wheels and tires on its configurator, instead of a software issue.

2021 Tesla Model S Plaid Wheel Tesla
2021 Tesla Model S Plaid Rim Tesla
2021 Tesla Model S Plaid Front Bumper Tesla
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As for the smaller Tempest wheels, no top speed has been claimed here, but we assume it's probably the same 163 mph that the fully loaded model is currently limited to. This shouldn't bother Plaid owners much, since there are very few places where going 200 mph is socially acceptable and responsible, but they'll be looking forward to the update nonetheless. In the meantime, the most exciting part of any car and particularly an EV is its acceleration. With 1,020 horsepower at your disposal and the ability to do the quarter-mile in just 9.24 seconds at 152 mph, we're sure Plaid buyers won't be bored.

2021 Tesla Model S Plaid Driving Front Angle Tesla
2021 Tesla Model S Plaid Side Perspective Driving Tesla

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