The Tesla Model S Plaid came into existence in 2019 to eclipse the world land speed record for a production electric vehicle set by a Porsche Taycan in August 2016 at the historic Nürburgring race track in Germany.
It succeeded -- unofficially. But because this specially modified Tesla Model S Plaid didn't follow the rules, the Taycan still rules the roost. The Taycan's record to beat: Seven minutes and 42 seconds over one lap at Nürburgring. The Tesla Model S Plaid's hand-stopped lap time: 7:23.
From unofficial record breaker, the Model S Plaid is now a mainstream production EV with a fan base thrilled by its exploits at Nürburgring, and wanting to see how fast Tesla's first three motor EV can really go.
The Model S Plaid became an official Tesla EV Tuesday after CEO Elon Musk took the wraps off this baby at the company's "Battery Day" event in California. It's now the highest performance version of Tesla's flagship sedan with its motors generating a combined 1,100 horsepower.
The tri-motor, all-wheel drive Model S Plaid has a top speed of 200 mph (320 km/h) and can rip past the quarter-mile in less than nine seconds. It can jump from zero to 60 mph (0-97 km/h) in less than two seconds from a standing start. No Tesla production EV can accelerate faster.
In contrast, the fuel guzzling Dodge Challenger SRT Demon specialized drag racer gets to 60 in 2.3 seconds. It can do the quarter-mile in 9.65 seconds. The Plaid beats this racer handily on both counts. It also has a 520 mile range.
And, as Musk intended, the Model S Plaid will be the direct competitor to its archrival, the Taycan Turbo S.
Tesla is now taking orders for the Model S Plaid, which starts at $139,990 before options.
During Battery Day, Musk confirmed deliveries of the Model S Plaid have been delayed to "late 2021." Tesla first said it intended to bring the EV to market within this year. Tesla fanboys were expecting Musk to reveal a lot more than the few details he let slip at Battery Day.
In hindsight, however, not being remembered as being part of the fiasco that was Battery Day 2020 will probably be good for the Model S Plaid. The event was so underwhelming and disappointing it led to Tesla's stock cratering by 10% Wednesday.
Musk's failure to reveal a new EV battery, or any news about the alleged "million mile battery," erased more than $50 billion from Tesla's market cap, now standing at $354 billion. Musk, however, did reveal plans to produce a cheaper, lower-cost battery that might just lead to lower prices for future Tesla EVs.