It finally happened. After months of delays, Tesla organized last night a delivery event for the Model S Plaid. Customers are finally hopping behind the wheel of what is claimed to be the quickest-accelerating production car ever. The high-performance EV will do 0 to 60 mph in 1.99 seconds with a one-foot rollout and complete the quarter-mile in 9.23 seconds at 155 mph.
Can it do 200 mph? Yes and no. Allow us to explain. Tesla’s website now includes the following mention: “The indicated Plaid top speed requires proper wheels and tires which will be available in fall 2021.” In other words, while the range-topping Model S is capable to reach that impressive velocity, it can’t be currently done with the 19-inch Tempest or the optional 21-inch Arachnid wheels. The latter set costs an extra $4,500 and brings down the range from 390 to 348 miles.
What that effectively means is any Model S Plaid deliveries between now and this fall won’t allow owners to reach the claimed 200-mph speed. Details about what sort of wheels and tires are needed have not been provided by Tesla, but this temporary limitation to a lower top speed is an unpleasant surprise.
The car’s hefty weight is unlikely to be the problem since the Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible is heavier and it will still effortlessly do 208 mph. Perhaps the issue stems from a supplier, with Tesla currently unable to secure the necessary wheel and tire combination. However, with the company not willing to reveal the reason, all we can do is speculate.
Of course, not being able to go 200 mph for several months isn’t the end of the world. However, we are curious to see whether Tesla will charge customers extra for those wheels and tires or existing owners will be able to upgrade for free. The same logic can be applied to new orders – whether the price will go up once the wheels and tires will become available. We’ll have to wait until fall to find out.