Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
How Did a Nissan Leaf Beat a Tesla Model S in a Race? (cleantechnica.com)
76 points by luu 36 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 108 comments



Car mods aside, 2014 vs 2019 aside, Tesla driver might just be a bad driver. The only way to know is to swap the drivers and have them race again. If Nissan Leaf wins again, then it's the better car.


not quite the best example. it's often the driver that knows their car that wins, not the car or the driver in a random car. the better driver could lose in a car they aren't used to even if it is a "much better" car.


I cannot agree more. There's terabytes and terabyes of GoPro and grainy Russian dashcam footage out there of people doing things that they could not do in any other vehicle on any other track/road. Practice really does help.


They should invite F1 world champion rivals Hamilton and Vettel (or the next generation Leclerc/Verstappen) to come race. That would be a fun showing and put this question to bed. The skill difference between 2 world-class drivers would surely be less than between 2 uncalibrated drivers like the ones we see here. The Leaf driver could be much better than the Tesla driver for all we know.

The Leaf driver is a car journalist who was able to keep up with a Porsche in a less powerful car. [1]

The Tesla driver is Jitosho Hikari, who is a rally car driver. [2]

[1] https://www.reddit.com/r/cars/comments/bgz0nj/a_former_assis...

[2] https://www.ewrc-results.com/entries/52859-ark-sprint-300-20...


As I've always been told when I raced Autocross and straight drag: "The best car mod is the driver."


How good of a driver do you really need to be in a car that doesn't have gears? Just push the pedal to go... Reaction time is the only factor I can think of


No. Not at all. Picking the apex, at what speed to approach the turn, how hard to brake, when to accelerate out and how much, knowing the limits of traction of what your driving, and I’m sure much more. It’s very involved, and requires thought and decisions on top of reaction speed.


>> how hard to brake

Easy answer: Always as much braking as possible. There is no light braking in racing. You want to maintain full speed until you absolutely have to slow down. You brake as late as possible. The skill is not in judging how hard to brake, but when to begin braking. Watch F1 with the telemetry on the screen. Throttle goes up and down in corners. Braking is always either full-on or nothing.


Well you usually want to do trail braking where you smoothly let off on the brakes as you start to turn, and then slowly apply the throttle. At least if you are racing with relatively normal cars.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpYU_6pz-44

Watch the brake and throttle indicators. He is off the brakes long before committing to the corner. And whenever he is on the brakes it is total. If you gradually move from braking to throttle you will take the turn too sharply. You set the speed before the corner so that during the corner the tires work only on turning. Then you apply the throttle as much as possible on the way out. Braking during the first half of a turn is done for some specific turn geometry (decreasing radius turns, or a car with higher acceleration than braking ability) but is generally a bad habit.


The on-screen braking indicator across the halo has been controversial as it doesn't show the various braking pressures - it's either on or off. It's misleading.

Trail braking is pretty common I think, especially without anti-lock brakes as in F1. Without it then there would be lockups at every corner as the aero effects reduce with the rapid loss in speed.

https://www.brembo.com/en/company/news/formula-1-how-hamilto...


Watch this video, particularly the brake pressure in the last half of the lap:

https://youtu.be/eloZhdIyyv0?t=69

It is true that the braking plot-line looks a bit like an step function, but it never is, there's a huge difference between taking half a second to press the brake and it being machine-like and taking just some milliseconds.

It is even more pronounced when releasing the brake pedal. There you can always see a slope.


Ya, slope, not half-way braking. Applying or releasing a pedal smoothly is different than braking at 50%. The pedal always moves quickly between 0 and 100. You don't see the driver braking into some corners at 50% and others at 75%. If the driver only pushes the pedal to 50% and then backs off, that is almost certainly a mistake. Throttle is variable. Braking is all-or-nothing.


I would argue the pedal was pressed 60%, 30%, 40%, and 80% in the last four pressings.

Honestly, watch the video.


HN is slowly becoming like reddit, people are downvoting a factually correct comment because they disagree. Because they don't know the topic they're disagreeing about.


It's not correct is the issue.


When ever I down vote a person I always try and leave a comment as to why I disagree. I really think this should be the norm of HN. Justify your answer. Otherwise I am left wondering if the people down voting are simply paid trolls trying to persuade public opinion.


Downvotes aren't to signal 'I disagree'. They're supposed to signal 'this comment is noise/doesn't contribute to discussion'.


>> Easy answer: Always as much braking as possible.

Too simplified. It requires a precise definition of 'as much as possible'.

Measured answer: You have to prevent the wheels to lock, so always brake just an infinitesimal bit below this locking point: now you have invented ABS brakes.

If it was just a matter of 'slam your foot to the metal', cars would never have needed ABS brakes.


Nope. You use the brake to help balance the car. Maybe not in F1 or something with limited suspension travel, but in Rally and/or production based cars like this you will left foot brake for balance. At least, close to the limit you will.


I don't believe that. If you slam on the brakes hard every time you need to slow down a bit you're going to go into a tail spin and die especially at f1 speeds.


Maybe if you're not into motorsport you should not comment on it. You're wrong. Especially in highly aero dependent cars like F1 cars, where you can achieve maximum braking pressure at top speed due to the down force. The parent commenter is also wrong, brakes in F1 cars are certainly not either full on or full off, the drivers trail brake into corners so although the driver begins braking at maximum force, they slowly release the brake as the car enters the corner and starts turning.


Yeah, there’s a lot of misinformation all around here. Not to mention that production cars have a lot different dynamics than an f1 car. They’re designed with very different chassis goals in mind, so they’re going to exhibition very different behaviors around a track.

I have a few days experience on track with an SCCA instructor. Braking late and at maximum deceleration is the basic idea, but braking can do lots of things and be used lots of ways.

A light application of braking is sometimes important, not to slow the vehicle, but just to transfer weight to the front wheels before a turn. Also, it is possible to use light braking to induce some rotation mid-turn, especially in an FWD vehicle like a Leaf that will likely exhibit significant understeer.

Driving a car around a real track is humbling for the first time. The first event I was at, some instructor was taking a few laps with his personal Chevy Volt, and he was effortlessly passing students in a variety of high dollar sports cars.


>> every time you need to slow down a bit

In racing that is not a thing. There is never a situation where a car needs to "slow down a bit". The goal is to stay as fast as possible as much as possible. That means either going flat out (either in speed or cornering) or be under maximum braking (to minimize time at lower speeds). If you are ever "a bit" too fast then you have made a mistake. You began braking too late. On the next lap you will alter your braking point, not adjust your braking pressure.

>> tail spin

Also not a thing under braking. "Tail spins", or to use the correct term oversteer occur when a rwd car applies too much power (or some 4wd). The back end slips. When you brake too hard entering a corner the front wheels will depart first, causing an understeer rather than a tailspin. The car will push forwards and fail to turn.


If you’re braking gently the F1 car behind you will absolutely pass you immediately and then brake hard to make the corner.

If you lose control under hard braking it means you chose to brake at the wrong point.


Sure, it is full on or nothing. It isn't so much how hard to brake, but how much.


The article mentions the Leaf driver had the screen set to constantly monitor battery temperature. I don't know Japanese, but I had Japanese auto-generated captions auto translated to English, and while it was mostly nonsense, the driver did seem to mention temperature throughout the race. There also appeared to be other videos of the driver racing a leaf interspersed with the main race. So the driver's knowledge is probably largely around exactly how hard he can push the car without the battery overheating.

This is also a problem for having the drivers switch cars. If they don't have the knowledge of the car they're driving, they cannot fully take advantage of it.


One way to reduce heat load on the battery would be to disable regenerative braking. There is probably a judgement call to be made as to how much juice is needed to finish the race.


shifting gears at the correct time is not even close to the most difficult part of racing. stuff like maintaining the balance of the vehicle and finding the best line through a turn is much more delicate.


How good of a programmer do you need to be in a language that only has two valid characters? Just press tab and space and go. Typing speed is the only factor that I can think of

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitespace_(programming_langua...


do you have any idea about driving dynamics? this was not a straight line race. It looks easy but racing fast on a track takes a lot of practice.


Jump to 30:00[1] for a summary of results. Leaf edged out the Model S by 7.441 seconds. Fastest lap was 1:52.271 by the Leaf; for comparison to more traditional cars[2].

What's strange is all this Model S thermal issue talk, yet the driver posted his fastest lap in the 13th. How can this be explained?

Then there's this remark from the article:

> Clearly, [the Leaf driver] was keeping an eye on the temperatures and adjusting driving accordingly to finish the race before power loss occurred.

...and this[3] depicting the Leaf gauge cluster with 42% remaining at the end of the race. Was the Leaf driver even really trying? His right arm occasionally chilling on the door sill and casual commentary throughout the race was kind of funny.

[1] https://youtu.be/N-9tBPObpHk?t=1800

[2] https://fastestlaps.com/tracks/sugo

[3] https://youtu.be/N-9tBPObpHk?t=1832


Around 27:40 it seems to be on his mind, but by then he'd already posted his best lap.

I think it is a bit unfair, though. The Leaf seems to have an advantage in the tires, and is several years newer.

I think the better race would be a TT on good AS tires in the same product range.


> Model S thermal issue talk, yet the driver posted his fastest lap in the 13th.

All that extra charge early in the race was weighing him down. Once he'd burned through most of the battery and lost the weight, the car got quicker. Every racer knows you don't start with more fuel than you need.

/s


For anyone else wanting to be overly pedantic, the weight difference between a fully charged P100D and a nominally depleted P100D works out to 39.281 Nanonewtons. Those weight reduction mods are really getting out of hand. /s


The Model S is basically the electric equivalent of a classic muscle car. High power at the expense of weight, and optimized for short straight line performance.

And like with classic muscle cars, it can be beaten on the track by a cheap light car tuned for good handling with a stiff suspension and good tires.


Wow this site just keeps refreshing on iOS + adblock, making it impossible to read or even attempt to disable adblock...


Something wrong with the safari engine then. No problem on windows or linux for me with firefox and ublock


I would sooner blame a badly-coded website than a browser though, especially given how most web development seems to be devolving into a "works with Chrome" monoculture.


Trust me, is there is webdev monoculture it is "worked on my MacBook retina with safari, so the problem must be on your end"


Same. I'm using brave on ios and the site is straight unusable.


I just read it fine on iOS using AdGuard as my blocker.


The leaf was pretty well modded, tyres and suspension to keep speed in the corners would both require less regen braking into the corner and less power to get to speed on the next straight, helping to nullify the lower power and passive cooling.


Should have put it up against the Tesla Model 3 with Track Mode.


And the Leaf is 4-5 years newer


Does that matter? It's still a LEAF, a sub-compact commuter car, up against what was billed as the quickest production car in the world just a few years ago. The best, newest LEAF has a single 214 hp motor dragging a battery-heavy car, giving it a 0-60 time slower than a Honda Civic. This "old" Model S has two high-performance motors delivering 691 horsepower. The 5-year-old Model S is still worth more right now on the used market than a brand new top-trim LEAF.


It isn't all about horsepower on a track. The Tesla is certainly MUCH faster in a straight line, but on a track you need to be able to maintain your speed through corners.


"Even before modifications, the LEAF has some distinct handling advantages. First, the car is much lighter. ... Or, in short, the LEAF’s battery weighs less per kWh than the Tesla’s, and it has fewer kWh."

As Lotus's Colin Chapman wisely observed, "Simplify, then add lightness." But I think we're still 5-7 years from the 400Wh/kg batteries needed to power a lightweight (1000-1200 kg -- think of a Miata) electric car.

A sad case in point is the new Porsche Taycan 4 passenger sedan, with a curb (empty) weight of 5,100 lbs/2295 kg, and gross (max) weight of over 6,300 lbs/2880 kg. The kinetic energy of one of these lead sled's at 150mph terrifies me.


The Tesla S P100D Performance weights 2250kg, which is almost the same as the Porsche Taycan. Giving the superb handling and breaking power of the Porsche, I would regard the Tesla as an even greater risk.


> The kinetic energy of one of these lead sled's at 150mph terrifies me.

The reality is that a semi-truck loaded up with produce is a bigger risk from the “turns my car into shrapnel in an crash” scenario.

Also, do you live in Germany or just near a bunch of extremely reckless and extremely wealthy drivers?


I'm speaking from a California perspective, so yes, we have fair number of poor drivers. But I have NO concerns with Porsches on the Autobahn. In fact, I had a Porsche up to 270kph between Stuttgart and Karlsruhe once. Thrilling, but kind of terrifying (and I was a pretty well trained autocrosser back then).


Kinetic energy rises with the square of velocity... and the Porsche is much more likely to be driving unsafely/like an ass than the truck, or in my experience, even a BMW...


> Kinetic energy rises with the square of velocity

That's all well and good but a fully-loaded semi-truck weighs 15x as much as a full-loaded Taycan. My rough calculations say a fully-loaded Taycan driving 150 mph has a kinetic energy of 6.5 MJ while a fully loaded (80 thousand pound) semi at 80mph has a kinetic energy of 23 MJ. In fact a semi at 45 mph still has (slightly) more kinetic energy than a Taycan at 150. I wasn't very good at physics so maybe I screwed this up.

But yes, the Porsche driving 150 is more likely to fly across a median to hit your family sedan head-on.


BMW drivers are the most common asshole drivers on the Autobahn, tailgating and overtaking on the right then pulling into the left lane into a way unsafe gap. Porsche drivers are some of the nicest.


1000 Kg at 150 MPH would terrify me! A little puff of wind and the thing could go airborne and 50 yards down the road land and create a smoking hole! 150+ MPH is GREAT to have, at 5000 to 35,000 feet in the air in a really solid airplane!


As a practical matter that’s true if the body generates lift. F1, Indycar, and Prototype sports cars go faster and weigh between 700 and 900kg depending on the series and spec. Since they’re designed to generate downforce when going forward they work out fine, gust of winds and all. Turning them around backwards at full speed is problematic so they have devices to disrupt the flow of air and loose the lift they’d generate at that angle. If those devices fail... that’s when things get a bit terrifying for the occupant.


To illustrate the point: https://youtu.be/e21ZjwZGjiQ


tires are everything in racing, and the leaf had aftermarket tires


The ability of the drivers helps too.

Maybe they should swap cars and do it again?


>> This Race Shows How Far Ahead Tesla Is

Only the most hardcore fanboy would see such a loss as as win. Ya, it was a new leaf against an old tesla. It might have been an unfair race, but this is still racing. A loss is a loss. The only answer to such a result is to bring out the better car for the next race. Until then, victory to the victors.


Anyone familiar with racing know if its okay if drivers hit the bumpy red/white edging on the track curves? Or does it slow down the car?

I noticed he was an excellent driver and still hit the sides a few times seemingly on purpose.


So long as one of the four wheels remains on the road, it isn't cutting a corner. It doesn't slow the car much on the inside of the corner as most of the car's weight is on the outside wheels, particularly with non-race cars that tend to lean/roll more. But you wouldn't see an F1 car doing this very much.


> But you wouldn't see an F1 car doing this very much.

You see it from every F1 driver on almost every corner of almost every lap. Have you ever even watched a single F1 race?


As a racer of stock and late model cars, it allows the driver to maintain higher speeds at entry and exit of corners by utilizing every bit of track available to you. It’s more beneficial to you when the track is utilized at its entirety.

On corner entry you hug the yellow line as close as you can with full speed and much less braking, on exit because of the speed and always trying to apply minimal breaking the car it’s harder to turn so you apply enough breaking to maintain the car in the track and get as close to the corner as you can.

Hope it helps.


You can use the change of dynamics from a curb to rotate the car around in slow corners. Watch the Monaco GP around the swimming pool and you'll see car by car clipping the sausage kerb at almost exactly the same point to get the front turned in.


Formula 1 drivers do it routinely. If it works better for the racing line then it makes sense to do it. You can see it happening in Charles Leclerc's pole lap from yesterday's qualifying at the Italian grand prix:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LCS-7gJ57s


Yes, drivers routinely clip the curbs as they go for the ideal racing line through each corner.


For example, a good lap around spa in an F1 car means getting a blind curb at the top of Radillion at about 310 KPH


The racing line tries to widen every curve. You go into the turn on the outside, right over to the inside at the apex, and come out of the corner on the outside again. Try and just clip the edging on entry, apex and exit.

You've driven a much shallower turn than the road, so can take it faster. :)


They're called berms and yes that's normal. Race cars will have properly tuned dampers and suspension to handle the high frequency oscillations generated when rolling over them. Drivers use the stripes to gauge corner entry, apex, and exit when taking a line.


For relatively spirited driving, especially in the mountains, how often do Tesla's overheat? Does overheating reduce drivability dramatically? I have read that it's the Model S inverters which overheat the most, since the battery pack is liquid cooled.


Never for me.


Given that a Tesla weighs almost 2.5 Tonnes, I don't understand the desire to race them? Surely it will just perform like a bus under braking and roll around?

They also don't have manual gearboxes, which is a turn off for me personally.


> Surely it will just perform like a bus under braking and roll around?

No. The center of gravity is extremely low because of all the batteries under the floor. It’s supposedly extremely stable under cornering.

> They also don't have manual gearboxes

If I recall correctly, they don’t have gearboxes in the traditional sense at all. They have single speed transmissions. But I might be wrong on this.


Exactly. They could fake a manual gearbox but it would always just be a fakery. There is no shiftable gearbox at all, so it’s not an automatic vs manual transmission. It’s just an electric motor.


It's still very heavy, which is what I meant by bus.

A Porsche 917K from the 70s can still outbrake some modern sports cars because of how light it is.


Yes, obviously it’s heavy. No, that doesn’t mean it feels like driving a bus.

A go cart is far lighter than a Lotus Elise. Would you expect the Elise to feel like a bus in comparison?


I test drove a Model S years ago. It definitely felt like a bus the moment you turned the steering wheel. There is no substitute for weight reduction when it comes to handling.


Go Karts are probably a slightly poor example given that they are probably the most direct driving you can get short of a cheap formula car


An Elise feels rather like a go-kart on steroids and amphetamines.


Doesn't matter. This is an old Model S which lost solely due to its poor thermals. The Model 3, particularly with Track Mode enabled, sees very little performance degradation due to thermals. Keep in mind Teslas' low center of gravity due to the skateboard battery design.

There is no need for a gearbox in a car with instant torque.


True, unless you want maximum efficiency. Interestingly the Formula E cars are reducing the number of gears over time.

https://www.hewland.com/formula-e-transmission-evolution/

One of the notable features of the new Porsche Taycan is the two speed gearbox.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20886641


It's about the feel. I like shifting and doing heel-toe


>There is no need for a gearbox in a car with instant torque.

Depending on the system's ability/need to keep the motor cool that may or may not be true.


Most electric vehicles- including all Teslas- have no need for a gearbox, as "first gear" is capable of 100mph+. Removing the gearbox reduces complexity and weight.

Some electrics like the Empulse TT have included gearboxes to make operators transitioning from gas vehicles more comfortable. However, this did not catch on.


As said elsewhere, if I were buying a car to drive I'd want a manual gearbox because of the sensation of driving it. I know why Tesla's don't have gearboxes


Ridiculous comparison on aftermarket tires. Tires are everything for lap times.


Nissan leaf — curb weight 1600

Tesla S — curb weight 2200

There are no other explanations needed


by drafting 2/3 of the distance in an 50km endurance race against 2014 Tesla S


[flagged]


What if I told you a 155 HP Miata that does 0 to 60 in over 6 seconds decimates a P85 around a track?

https://www.caranddriver.com/features/a23319884/lightning-la...

There's no need to tip any scales to destroy a portly luxury sedan with a lighter car.


To be sure, the C&D reference cites the following:

  RANK CAR (MODEL YEAR)               TIME
  136  Mazda MX-5 Cup Car (2016)      3:06.4
  209  Fiat 124 Spyder Abarth (2017)  3:16.9
  211  Tesla Model S P85D (2015)      3:17.4
  227  Mazda MX-5 Miata Club (2016)   3:20.8
  241  Mazda MX-5 (2006)              3:29.3
A bit unfair to compare the performance of a ND cup car to the P85D even if it does have a sealed 155 HP factory motor. But given the Fiata bested the Tesla by half a second, I'm confident a ND with modest ~$600 suspension upgrade on OE Potenza S001 rubber at VIR would meet the challenge...or maybe even a stock 2019 ND2.


I don't think it's unfair because it makes the engines are sealed, and the above comment is surely confusing power and quickness around a track.

I could easily have used the 124 as an example (I own one), but it's less known.

It also does 0 to 60 in over 6 seconds stock and is only at 164 HP stock.

If anything he Club number is suspiciously low

(The 2006 Miata, which non car people might not realize, is one of the heaviest, least Miata models ever made, also proving the point of how much weight matters)


> If anything he Club number is suspiciously low

On a relatively short test course in the hands of legendary racer Keiichi Tsuchiya, the ND[1] was 1.431 seconds slower than the Abarth[2] in best lap time comparison...seems about right when linearly scaling over VIR's length, and given the Abarth's better factory torque and suspension tune.

Otherwise, in general agreement.

[1] https://youtu.be/0bUzzpzmWJU?t=290

[2] https://youtu.be/0bUzzpzmWJU?t=483


I have driven both and lean towards the Model S a bit.


I'd expect more than "a bit" for the extra $45,000+. Tesla wins in the looks department, though.


When we first replaced our LEAF with a Model X, my spouse asked if we could go back to the LEAF. They never warmed up to the Model X, and we ended up trading it for a Volvo PHEV. It took me a while to understand why they didn't like it, but it finally set in with me that not everybody is enamored with how hard the Tesla tries to make everything so different.


The new Leaf has improved in the looks department. The previous version was rather... I don't know what words to use, but "meh" comes to mind.


To be fair, I don't think the Leaf looks bad. The Tesla just looks more like a "conventionally attractive" higher end sedan.


If you accept that the leaf looks like a happy little frog it helps :)


The real question is: Why does this matter?

Seriously.

Driving around almost any city in the US and the only metric you might care about is whether or not your car has VTOL capabilities. These comparisons are ridiculous.

Our urban design, traffic rules and substandard drivers training have ruined efficient traffic flow and speed. At least I can still go drive on a racetrack a few times a year.


> These comparisons are ridiculous.

Yeah, but they're fun. Overclocking consumer CPUs is likewise ridiculous, but most of us here read that content too.

I'm just happy that the notion of EV's as legitimate performance vehicles is finally breaking through.


Oh, absolutely, nothing wrong with fun.

The problem I have with the focus on 0 to 60 drag racing is that it says nothing about the quality, safety, driveability, real world driving performance, longevity, efficiency, suitability, reliability, features, range, autopilot quality, charging performance, insurance costs, repairability, repair costs, handling, etc.

In other words, it say nothing whatsoever about the things that actually matter for CONSUMER STREET cars.

I mean, back in the 80's I built a car (Pontiac TransAm) with a massive six litter V8 and equally massive supercharger sticking out of the hood that, quite literally, blew up both rear tires after --like a fool-- drag racing someone three lights in a row. And I do mean "boom!" and both tires blew up. I have no clue what the 0 to 60 was. All I know is that thing was a beast. And I also know it handled like crap on anything other than a straight line, it was a death-trap in an accident, and it was useless for anything other than behaving like a moron on public roadways. I am thankful that I outgrew that phase of my life very quickly.

Today I go to the race track a few times a year to drive fast on road courses, where real performance has very little to do with 0 to 60.

Which also brings up another important point: Most people are far more likely to kill themselves and others with a car that can accelerate as fast as some of these electrics do. People don't have the training and, therefore, lack the reflexes, to instinctively know what to do when a car gets away from them and they find themselves sideways staring at a bunch of people on a sidewalk.

Do we want electric cars to be compared along this axis? No. Beyond reasonable performance, say, 6 seconds, it's irrelevant and possibly a dangerous trend.


A while ago I had to stop at a stoplight on the highway, and somebody stopped in the lane next to me. When the light turned green I stepped on the gas in my Toyota Camry Hybrid, but the other guy left me like I was standing still. Didn't see much of his car except the Tesla insignia on the back.


Drag racing is one thing that electric cars, all of them, can do very well. The limiting factor is often not how much power can be produced but how much power the rear axle can handle before snapping. But electric cars are heavy, at least if you want a battery big enough for more than a couple laps at a time. They are breaking records based on their acceleration advantages, not cornering abilities.


Exactly. And even worse when it comes to handling --which can be super important in real-world accident-avoidance scenarios.

I mention on another comment that I go to the track several times a year. Aside from that, I have taken several high performance driving/race driving classes. They are lots of fun and you learn a ton.

During one of our sessions the California Highway Patrol was conducting training for their cadets on the same track (Willow Springs). They were driving massive powerful Dodge Chargers. We were driving small turbocharged Toyota-modified race cars with barely 200 HP.

The Chargers were brutally powerful when compared to the Toyota's. Absolutely hands-down blew us away on the main straight on the "Streets of Willow" course. There was nothing you could do if you entered the straight right behind a Charger, they pulled away from you with resolve.

However, once they got to the corners the situation was laughably reversed. Their handling is so atrocious when compared to a small nimble car that they simply could not keep up with the little under-powered Toyotas. The delta in performance was far greater, noticeably greater, than the delta in 0 to 60 performance on the straight. I mean, the only way to put it is those cars were absolute dogs in real road course conditions.

This is why the focus on electric car 0 to 60 comparisons, in my opinion, are pointless. They say nothing about anything of real value for the actual daily-driver application of these cars.

Here's an example: An electric self-driving car needs to swerve in order to avoid killing a kid who just ran onto the street after a ball. The 0-to-60 metric says nothing about this vehicle's lateral transient response; the ability to quickly move laterally. What will save that kid's life isn't how fast this car can accelerate, but rather how fast it can decelerate or change lanes, or both.

More to the point, it is widely known that Teslas don't do well at all in road-course conditions. This is where, as I understand it, Porsche has focused their differentiation. I don't know if there are any independent real-world road-course tests yet, but their marketing push seems to speak to the idea that their focus was to develop an electrical system that would not suffer a performance drop after a couple of laps. It remains to be seen if and how they may have achieved this feat.

As a side note, if I was king I'd make it a requirement to have every young driver go through a weekend actually learning to drive on a race track. I did that with my son when he was 17. Nothing can explain what you feel when you see your son in front of you doing 120 mph about to enter a turn. The kid, after several sessions, became an excellent driver. He has missed turns and gone off-road and had such experiences as exiting a high speed turn sideways (and correcting it). Above all, it took the "need for speed" completely out of him while driving on the streets and he is far more capable than probably 99% of those around him. I completely trust him with my sports cars because I know exactly what kind of a driver he is.


BTW, I like Teslas, very much. We will probably purchase one, if not two of them by the end of the year. I'd simply prefer non-sensationalistic comparison rather than the opposite. Yes, they should include 0-to-60, of course, but they should include far more than that in order to reflect real-world usage. For the overwhelming majority of buyers, drag racing isn't a comparison vector --by far.


Even if all of that were better, more people would drive and you’d still end up with congested roads.


> Why does this matter?

Just because the Tesla Model S is marketed as a performance car and being beaten by a much cheaper Nissan Leaf undermines the marketing bluster.




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: