Electric cars lined up for REFUEL 2012

Tesla Model S smokes the Tesla Roadster at REFUEL 2012 electric car race

While the Tesla Model S has all the appearances of a luxury sedan, under the covers is the power plant of a sports car, as was proved last weekend when four Model S's took the top positions in a large electric car time trial race.

Despite this stellar performance at REFUEL this year, a record still stands from last years REFUEL race. Joe Nuxoll, who was a Tesla employee last year (he worked on the user experience design of the touch panel display), achieved a 1:50.883 lap time driving a Tesla Roadster, or almost a second faster than Sean Wheeler did this year with a Model S. In his spare time Nuxoll is a racing instructor, and one wonders what the results would have been had he driven a Tesla of any kind in this years race.

A perusal of the specs tells us why the Model S would be faster than the Roadster. First, the Roadster has an air cooled electric motor which is known to go into thermal protection mode after 1.5 laps or so, while the Model S has a liquid cooled motor. Beyond that the Roadster has a 302 hp (225 kW) motor capable of either 273 lb-ft or 295 lb-ft of torque, depending on whether it is the Sport model. The Model S has a somewhat beefier motor, 362 hp (270 kW), and 416 hp (310 kW) on the Performance model, giving 325 lb-ft (440 Nm) of torque, or 443 lb-ft (600 Nm) on the Performance model. This means the Model S simply has more power than the Roadster, and a liquid cooled motor to keep the power going for longer. On the other hand the Model S is a lot heavier a car (4,647.3 lbs versus 2,723 lbs. for the Roadster).

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Were they Performance models? Supposedly an even hotter version (Sport Handling Package, or SLT) will be released in Q1 or so.

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