There are two ways to make big power. You can either take a large-displacement internal-combustion engine and add forced induction, or you can install a giant battery and two to four electric motors. In a new drag race video from carwow, we get a peak at the pros and cons of each approach.
In it, the 1020-hp Tesla Model S Plaid takes on the 1600-hp Bugatti Chiron Super Sport. While those numbers are far apart, remember that this is an acceleration test, and the torque figure is more illuminating. Here, they're closely matched. The Tesla produces 1050 lb-ft while the Buggati makes 1080 lb-ft. Based on numbers from our friends at Car and Driver, the Bugatti is also lighter: 4587 lbs vs the Tesla's 4828.
This Tesla also has the Track Pack. You'd think that'd be an advantage, but it's unlikely to matter here, as the owner has put the street tires back on the EV. The better brakes won't help with straight-line acceleration, and the extra aero likely adds drag that'll slow it down.
The results are instructive. The EV unsurprisingly gets a better launch, both from a standstill and from a roll. There's no delay in delivering peak torque, and no downshifting to worry about from a roll. But gasoline and horsepower tend to pay off at high speeds, which is why the Bugatti ends up winning both races. Especially in the half-mile roll, you see the Bugatti struggle at first and then charge past the Tesla on its way to a 206-mph run. The Tesla runs out of steam in the low 180s.
Still, there's an argument that the Tesla put on a more impressive showing. While the Bugatti does pull off a victory in both races, it also costs millions more than the relatively attainable Plaid. Plus, it did it without producing any tailpipe emissions. EVs may not be quite as fast as the most potent internal combustion cars, but they're going to bring similar levels of speed to a much wider audience.
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