It's a good thing that carbon-ceramics are now on offer.
Before you start readying your comments about how CarBuzz is anti-Tesla, allow us to preface this introduction by saying that we are huge fans of what the Tesla Model S Plaid can do. The electric sedan has now dipped into the 8s on the quarter-mile, and after a modified version of the car went up Pikes Peak quicker than the Acura NSX, anyone who doubts the capability of the super EV needs to have their head checked. However, while most automakers spend years on testing and development, Tesla has often been guilty of using its customers as guinea pigs for new software updates. Unfortunately, it seems that the hardware hasn't been thoroughly evaluated either, as the video below highlights.
The video comes from PlaidAF, a relatively new YouTube channel dedicated to one man's Tesla experience. The man in question is Todd, and he recently ordered a carbon-ceramic big brake upgrade from Unplugged Performance, the team that helped Randy Pobst achieve such a blistering time at the aforementioned Colorado hillclimb. Before fitting the upgrade, Todd wanted to evaluate the standard setup, and to do this, he and his friends took the sedan out for a couple of braking tests. Accelerating to around 100 mph and then braking hard to roughly 20-30 mph, we see that brake performance is relatively consistent initially, but with repetitive use, the pedal gets soft and the car's brakes start smoking. Getting out to inspect the brakes and record their temperatures, Todd finds that the brakes have reached 950 degrees Fahrenheit and are quite clearly on fire.
As Todd points out towards the end of the video, not every buyer will be jumping on the brakes from such high speed so many times in quick succession. However, this is a 1,020-horsepower EV weighing a whopping 4,766 pounds that was briefly validated as the quickest EV on the planet. This is a true performance car that you expect buyers to drive hard, but if after fewer than 10 hard applications of the brake (sometimes whilst allowing time for the brakes to cool), you find that your pads and rotors are on fire, that doesn't instill much confidence. Fortunately, there is now a carbon-ceramic option available directly from Tesla, but at a cost of $20,000, some feel that more capable brakes should have been the default offering. Now that we've had our say, you can go ahead and roast us. We'll then know what it's like to be a Model S Plaid's brakes.