Tesla P85D
Patrick Rall's picture

Elon's D Can't Hang with Dodge, Tesla P85D Slower than Hellcat Charger

Elon Musk has introduced his new Tesla P85D with dual motors, all wheel drive and the most impressive performance specifications in the electric vehicle segment, but while the Elon’s big surprise most certainly rocks the EV world – the high powered Model S still falls short of the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat while costing almost twice as much.

Earlier this morning we brought you the news that Elon Musk had finally introduced the world to his “D”, which happened to be the inclusion of a dual motor/all-wheel drive option to the Tesla Model S lineup. Included in this announcement was the high performance P85D, which features two electric motors, all-wheel drive and incredible performance numbers of 691 horsepower and 687lb-ft of torque. These figures make the Tesla P85D one of the most powerful sedans in the world. This led to the masses of general EVangelists and Muskers alike to hit the internet and proclaim yet another victory for the all-electric brand. Click here for a closer look at the details on the new dual motor Tesla Model S lineup.

Some of the Teslarati have even gone so far as to insist that the new Tesla P85D will beat the new Hellcat Charger. One particular post on a Tesla forum caught my eye:
“The Tesla Model S p85D is at the top of the chain even in the wet where no other cars can match it, not even at the drag strip using the Dodge 707 horsepower Hellcat line due to lackluster traction and no instant torque. Lastly Tesla finally has a real top speed of 155 rather than a slower 135.”

While this is one of the more extreme posts in terms of foolishness, his sentiment is being echoed around the internet – from forums to Facebook – so I figured that it was best to look at these two cars head to head.

model s front

Comparing the Tesla P85D and the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
I want to start by pointing out the fact that the new Tesla P85D and the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat aren’t anywhere close to being in the same automotive segment so there are always going to be obvious differences between the two. The P85D runs strictly on electric power while the Hellcat Charger burns gasoline (and a whole lot of it), but I can guarantee that not a single Charger Hellcat buy will care for one second that their car uses more fuel than the Tesla Model S. In reality, the only people who care that the Model S uses no gas are Model S owners. No performance car owners in America ever think “oh man…I wish that my car didn’t use any gas like the Model S”. The performances times are impressive, but the vast majority of people in the performance car world couldn’t care any less about EV technology.

Hellcat Galleries:
Live images of the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat debut
The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat in TorRed
The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat in Sublime

Of course, the P85D is all wheel drive while the Hellcat Charger is rear wheel drive, which creates another inconsistency in the comparison. However, because the performance capabilities are similar, I am compelled to look at how they size up against each other. Also, if Tesla’s fans are going to make claims about their high priced electric luxury car being faster than the fastest sedan in the world, someone should definitely check to see if that is true.

Spoiler Alert: It is not true.

P85D Shines in 0-60
I will start by pointing out that based on the preliminary numbers from both companies, the Tesla Model S P85D should be quicker from 0-60 than a stock-tire Charger SRT Hellcat. The all wheel drive P85D is expected to hit 60 from a stop in 3.2 seconds while it takes the Charger closer to 3.5 seconds (Dodge has not issued official figures yet). So thanks to the instant torque and incredible traction of the all-wheel drive electric drivetrain, the Tesla will likely beat the Hellcat Charger to 60 miles per hour with a competent driver behind the wheel of both cars. In fact, that 0-60 time will probably allow the P85D to beat any sedan in the world to 60 thanks to the 691 horsepower and monster figure of 687lb-ft of torque.

Unfortunately for Tesla fans, that is where the advantages end as most races are longer than just 0-60.

Weight Allows the Hellcat to Crush the P85D
The Tesla Model S P85D packs a ton of power but it also packs a ton of weight almost two and a half tons to be exact. The addition of the second motor and the all-wheel drive setup brings the Model S curb weight up to a Super Duty-like 4,936lbs and while the instant torque combined with AWD get the P85D off of the line in a hurry, all of that weight makes a big difference as it moves down track. According to the company, the P85D can run the quarter mile in 11.8 seconds. The rear wheel drive Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is certified by the NHRA to run the quarter in 11 seconds flat. While I understand that many Tesla fans and EVangelists might not know much about drag racing, but a lower number is better – so the Charger is 8 tenths of a second quicker (better) in the quarter mile.

charger hellcat

Next, as for the gentleman who posted the quote above online about how the Model S P85D gets a real top speed, this is another area where the Tesla falls short of the Hellcat Charger (and almost every other performance car sold in America). The new dual motor Tesla has a top speed of 155 miles per hour while the Charger Hellcat has a top speed of 204 miles per hour. The current 2014 Dodge Charger SRT can hit 175 miles per hour with “only” 470 horsepower and even the lowly Charger R/T will give the Tesla a run for its money in a high speed run. Of course, it should be noted that the P85D’s top speed is governed, because letting the car go literally as fast as it can would totally destroy the electric range…but that doesn’t matter in a race – slower is slower regardless of the excuses.

Oh, I should point out that the Tesla P85D costs $120,000 while the Charger Hellcat is expected to start somewhere in the mid $60k range.

So, to Tesla fans, congratulations – the brand that you adore so very much has designed one of the quickest cars in the world from 0-60. The Tesla P85D can also turn some impressive quarter mile times – particularly for an EV and a luxury sedan – but it isn’t the fastest sedan in the world so stop proclaiming otherwise. It isn’t even the fastest sedan in the country so stick to the fact that it is still the fastest and quickest electric luxury sport sedan in the world…and the only electric luxury sport sedan in the world.

Tesla continues to be the undisputed best at playing Elon’s luxury sport EV game. Golf Clap.

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I drove the Hellcat (coupe) 2 weeks ago. Anyone who says that car does not have insane instant torque is a complete liar, or has never driven the car. Take foot off brake. Put foot on gas. More torque than a train. This whole "EVs have instant torque" thing is such BS. All modern performance cars make insane torque just off idle. It should be noted that the Hellcat I drove circled a track all day without a break. The Tesla is not capable of that from articles I have read (MotorTrend June 2014). On a race track with turns a Miata is more the Model S's speed. http://www.torquenews.com/1083/can-tesla-model-s-beat-mazda-miatas-time-around-racetrack. Maybe the new Model S "D" does not overheat after a lap or two. We'll see.
Max torque on the Hellcat is acheived around 4,000 RPM while the Tesla produces maximum torque at zero RPM. That's pretty easy to understand. I also appreciate how the writer conveniently forgot to mention the weight of the Hellcat at around 4,500 lbs, or two of my friends different from being exacty the same as the Tesla.
No, it's not BS, it's simple physics. It is IMPOSSIBLE for an internal combustion engine to have the INSTANT, full tilt torque of an electric motor.
Please stop pretending that gasoline motors don't idle. They do. They provide instant torque as soon as the gas pedal is pressed. More than most cars need, or can put to the ground. In a race situation, the driver uses that pedal to put the engine in the optimal torque spot. What happens to the torque in an electric car as its one speed transmission increases RPMs?
The instant torque is a reference to the torque-speed curve, as I'm sure you know. All cars, gasoline and electric, technically have instant torque *if* you take idle to be the reference point for the ICE car. But as I'm sure you also know the electric motor has maximum torque available at 0 rpm rather than somewhere in the middle of the rev range. So it's a question of semantics, really. I wouldn't call it BS because it is true by definition, which is why EV advocates so frequently tout it.
This story is about the Tesla P85+ now with dual motors. A performance sedan in the price range of about $140K. Every performance sedan at the price point of $140K has instant torque. As do most at almost any price point. You press the go pedal and the car will leap off the line. The torque is limited electronically in most cases. Even economical cars like the MazdaSpeed3 for example have so much extra toque at zero wheel RPM that they need to limit it. The days of a torque "curve" with regard to performance cars is long gone. Almost all of them now have a torque plateau that is available at just off idle. This is mainly due to forced induction, now almost (sadly) ubiquitous. The Model S is an amazing car, but its performance is almost commonplace among cars in of its type in its price range.
Clearly you are talking about any measurable level of torque, while everyone else is talking about peak level of torque. Tesla makes peak torque straight away, Charger doesn't. To make some sort of argument that the Charger makes some degree of torque straight away seems to deliberately avoid the issue here.
If ICE's get full torque at 0 RPM's like some are saying then why not change them all to automatics? There would be no benefit to drive a standard car if this was the case.
I think it is kind of hard to say at this point due to lack of information. The biggest issue is comparing tested scores with actual scores. For example, Tesla advertised the P85 as 416HP when in reality it was 436HP. It also had official 0 to 60 in 4.2 seconds but motortrend tested 3.9 seconds. Comparing Hellcat's tested numbers vs Tesla's advertised numbers is kind of iffy. We are going to need numbers from both to be precise on which one would win in a drag race.
It's hard to fudge up an 8 tenths difference in the quarter mile. I would agree if we were talking a tenth or 2...maybe even three...but theyre not going to make up 8 tenths with a little better driver.
That's the point. What if they don't have good drivers? A pro race car driver can squeeze incredible performance from a Charger SRT, but pretty much anyone can consistently achieve a 4.2s 0-60 time in a P85.
Not impossible. Take the 60kwh Tesla Model S. It has official 0 to 60 times of 5.9 seconds and was tested to 5.1 seconds. So there is a precedence for an 8 tenth difference.
Tesla smoked the Dodge!
Tesla also wins in the G-force department.
In a P85D you can't miss shift so it's easy to make up .8 of a second for the average driver.
The only way that the Hell Cat beets the D to 60, even with a 12 year old driving the Tesla is if you put drag slicks on the Hell Cat. Put the same drag slicks on the D, turn off traction control and it will again be lights out for this obsolete 19th century white trash car. It takes an extremely well versed driver to hit the Chargers claimed number of 3.5. Anybody can hit 60 in 3.2 in the D by simply flooring it, every time, consistency rocks! As for quarter mile and top speeds, gears will eventually easily display the permanent magnet electric motors, ultimate low end torque. This is what traditional heavy internal combustion motors have always and will always lack. By the way trains use electric drive motors because pure combustion engines lack the torque to start off with multiple cars, so in reality the D has the same torque as a train not the DE- throned Hell Cat!
Despite all the hype the D is just a S in drag. It does cover up X being late and Tesla's US sales in the tank though. However it still can't complete a lap at the Nordschleife while the Charger can run there all day. Performance EV is a twisted contradiction of terms.
Too bad the Hellcat seats two, can't handle the snow, and it feels like it's going to fall apart.
So.. make drag radials "stock" and you have a 2.9 sec 0-60 Charger!
I bet the P85D will beat the hellcat in a quarter mile...in Denver ;) It will also have more HP than it up there!
With Tesla 8 year infinite warranty and the fact it runs on electric I am going to save money on the long run. And seriously comparing a Gasoline and an Electric engine Is just sad.
Well at 65,000 you can purchase a lifetime warranty from Mopar for under 4 grand...tack on some features...let's say we are at $75,000. At 120,000 how many years will it take you to justify "saving money on gas" vs spending an extra 45,000 on a car?
More hype for the drag race video between the two!
I appreciate cars and I believe I have good taste. You cannot even compare this Dodge two door car against a comfortable and stylish four door sedan. It seems this article is more related to people interested in racing. You would need to wait for the new version of the Roadster then you have a car more geared towards racing. For the vast majority of men with good taste, 0-60 acceleration is what counts. It is the experience we get to enjoy everyday when we can accelerate having fun on the real world roads. Also style counts and both the exterior and interior of the Model S destroys the ugly Dodge. I can't even believe we have people out there to buy such ugly looking car.
You appreciate cars I see. But can't tell a four door car from a two door. The charger seats five people and has four big ole doors tha'ts why its called a sedan there big boy.
I stand corrected. After writing I realize the ugly Dodge is a four door sedan.
But let's conveniently ignore his comment about handling in snow.
I appreciate cars and I believe that you don't have good taste. I would never pass up a super charged Hemi over a plug in car. Additionally, this 4 door Charger in my opinion just Rocks - inside and out, and sounds like a bad ass American muscle car should. The Tesla looks like something a woman would drive and it sounds like a sewing machine.
1g of acceleration while hellcat has less than that,P85D offers more acceleration.
P85D offers more G forces In acceleration, and doesn't need to shift gears.