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Sorry, Dodge - Tesla Model S P85D is quicker than the Charger SRT Hellcat

Though it is debatable which is the better performance car, one fact is indisputable: the new all wheel drive Tesla Model S P85D is quicker than every four-door sedan in the world, including the Torque News favorite Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

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Let’s get one thing straight from the start. Quick and fast are not necessarily the same thing, though the words are often used interchangeably. The newly unveiled Tesla Model S P85D with all wheel drive and the rear wheel drive Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat are both very, very quick and very, very fast. But one is quicker than the other, and one is faster than the other. We provide further perspective to a recent Torque News debate.

First: the Hellcat

Torque News is quite fond of the Dodge Hellcats, both the two-door Challenger and the four-door Charger. The Charger SRT Hellcat packs a phenomenal and loud 707 horsepower and 650 lb-feet of torque. It can make the 0-60 sprint in 3.7 seconds without drag radials, and a quarter mile in 11 seconds flat. The Charger Hellcat tops out at 204 miles per hour.

Tesla’s Model S P85D

The new all wheel drive system unveiled by Tesla last week is a truly remarkable example of what electric propulsion is capable of. The P85D adds a 221-hp electric motor to the front wheels to complement a re-tuned rear unit that is capable of 470 horsepower. Together, the system puts out 691 hp and 687 lb-ft of instantly available torque for some truly mind-blowing off the line performance. The drive mode that unlocks all that power? It is correctly labeled “Insane.”

Model S P85D has an official 0-60 time of 3.2 seconds, making it the quickest four-door production vehicle ever built. It can run the quarter mile in 11.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 155 miles per hour.

The most impressive part of the P85D is that adding a second motor and 221 horsepower actually improves the efficiency of the car. Despite an additional 291 pounds of weight, the unique efficiency curves of electric motors allow Tesla to optimize current flow on a time scale of milliseconds to keep the motors at a more frugal operating point.

Quicker, not necessarily faster

We will reiterate an important point: the Tesla is quicker than the Dodge. No internal combustion car, no matter how large the engine, can hope to compete with the P85D off the line. The fundamental characteristics of torque-speed curves mean that an all wheel drive electric car with 687 lb-ft of torque will fry any dinosaur-burner from a dead stop. That is reflected by the superior 0-60 time of the Tesla, and the advantage from 0-30 would be even greater.

Electric vehicles are limited by their batteries, however. Model S cannot sustain its maximum level of power as long as the Hellcat, largely because the batteries can only tolerate so much heat generation and obviously deplete quickly under high load. Hence, the Model S P85D’s governed top speed of 155 miles per hour.

That is why it is fair to call the Charger Hellcat a “faster” car than the new all wheel drive Tesla. It can go faster, and that is indisputable.

A deeper look

Model S also weighs more than the Hellcat, but not by a whole lot despite the heavy battery pack. The Tesla tips the scales at 4,936 pounds while the Dodge weighs in at 4,560 pounds. The greater power-to-weight ratio of the Hellcat lends it an advantage, though the aerodynamics of Model S are far superior.

Driving dynamics are also worth considering in any debate between the two cars. Tesla claims their new all wheel drive system will provide the “most capable road holding and handling of any vehicle ever produced,” and though that grandiose proclamation may not be verifiable, it is not misleading.

A powertrain that can instantly vary the torque split between the front and rear combined with the low center of gravity due to the floor-mounted battery and a perfect 50:50 weight distribution (vs. 54:46 for the Dodge) makes it hard to argue against the Tesla. The electric sedan is said to be able to post a very impressive 1G lateral acceleration.

The main advantage the Charger SRT Hellcat holds over the Model S P85D is its sticker price: the Tesla goes for about $120,000 while the Dodge is expected to be slightly more than half that. It also holds an advantage in any sustained high-speed driving, as Model S eventually has to limit the car’s output to protect the battery pack. However, if money was no object you would be insane (in this writer's humble opinion) to take the Hellcat over Model S as a daily driver on real roads.

The point here is that both cars offer truly incredible performance. Some people need the roar of a V-8 engine in their fast cars while Tesla drivers will tell you no sound compares to the thrill of flooring the accelerator in a Model S. But to each his own.

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JusSayin (not verified)    October 15, 2014 - 6:06PM

In reply to by Mahn (not verified)


The Hellcat's output was dialed back for practical reasons and because it already has more power than you can use below 70mph. The supercharger can move much more air and the engine assembly was tested to about 850hp. If you can unlock the ECU or bypass it with a full ECU replacement, you could change the SC and crank pulleys and gain about 150hp. After that it might not pass a 300 hour dyno test, but you wouldn't reach 300 hours of full throttle even if you went to the drag strip every Sunday for 20 years.

Better way to look ot the Hellcat is as a movie character. The engine is an air-breathing, rumbling, shaking, thing like a monster released from a radioactive cave. The cars are ordinary, but nuts via an injection of experimental chemicals (OK, it's just more air). Heck it even breathes through a hole it it's eye if they tried to kill it but it wouldn't die! The thing just about leapt out of a comic book.
Electric motors are efficient and, uh, they're efficient. While making a slight RC toy sound.

The vehicle it's in can't put all that power to the ground, but you can drive them just like a normal car and service them with common tools any Dodge dealer yet they're 200mph rockets.

Brian (not verified)    October 13, 2014 - 3:34PM

Charger official quarter mile time comes in at 10.8 seconds, beats the Tesla, top speed also beats the Tesla 202 MPH how is the Tesla the faster car? 0-60 big deal. Lost on the other 2 points!! Drag racing and Stock car track is where it counts. There is no official 0-60 sport that I know of!

ryan (not verified)    October 13, 2014 - 4:28PM

Entirely wrong..... 0-60 time for the hellcat charger was just recently established as 2.9 seconds.... do your research before you put out these articles.

fakekn8 (not verified)    October 13, 2014 - 4:29PM

The Charger does 0-60 in 2.9 seconds, which is faster than the Tesla. I won't link another site to your site, but google it and you will see.

cp (not verified)    October 14, 2014 - 9:29AM

When the Tesla runs out of energy and has to sit for an hour or so, we can stop fill up, grab a slurpee and go.

Jason (not verified)    October 15, 2014 - 12:38PM

In reply to by cp (not verified)

You're not taking into consideration the infrastructure that Musk and co are currently building. The future recharging stations are planned to have an automated battery swapping station, which conceivably would take about as long as I take when filling up at an interstate hiwghway truck stop.

Tesla is quickly blowing engine'd cars out of the water, knocking out aspect after aspect. You can be sore about it, or you can accept it for what it is, and be proud that he is putting the US back on the automotive map. Cars like the Hellcat are neat, but their niche is strip racing; it handles like garbage. The Corvette, Z06 or not, will always be scoffed at by the rest of the world, and Chrysler refuses to refine the Viper to anything more than "barely driveable." The remaining oodles of sports cars that come from this country perpetually chase the shadows of players from Europe and Japan. I remember when Ford's CEO refused to bring the Focus RS to America, citing the supposed lack of American interest in a turbo'd fwd hatch. Huh. The Ford GT was awesome, and it's always a pleasure to see one on the road, but the rollout was riddled with electrical gremlins and Ford refuses to make anything else like it. There is a reason that the likes of Car & Driver, Road & Track, etc. almost never place US sports cars above wheels like the 911 or latest Audi S series.

Tesla is the way forward for the US, as the big three have continually shown they will not put out anything that can compete with the rest of the world.

EC (not verified)    October 16, 2014 - 3:18PM

In reply to by cp (not verified)

Yes, but will Dodge give you the gas like Tesla will give you electricity? Also, you can be buying your slurpee while your Tesla is charging and you only need to about 20 minutes to get a half charge which will get you back onto the track to take on the next Challenger.

Hans H. Halfwassen (not verified)    October 15, 2014 - 8:22AM

The Tesla needs a SECOND MOTOR to accomplish it's feat. We're talking apples and moon rocks. It's not even a slightly realistic comparison. This is Gearhead 101. Go back to the drawing board boys and come back when you can do it with out a (really?) second motor. Then MAYBE you can try to put an electric car in the same category as what all the others that have come before you have done. Not even close. The things people claim. Ridiculous. The Hellcat stands ALONE.

Luke Ottaway    October 16, 2014 - 11:59PM

In reply to by Hans H. Halfwassen (not verified)

The claim that the Tesla is quicker than the Hellcat from 0-60 is not ridiculous, two motors or not. It's a fact, and the use of two motors is more impressive if anything demonstrating the versatility of electric motors. I'd like to see the Hellcat put an engine in the rear as well.

Stephen Pace (not verified)    October 17, 2014 - 11:32AM

In reply to by Hans H. Halfwassen (not verified)

@Hans H. Halfwassen: The fact that there are 2 motors or 10 motors is irrelevant. The size of the two Tesla motors combined are smaller than the single engine in the Hellcat. What matters in the end is speed and efficiency, something that electric motors do particularly well. The average consumer could car less what propels their car--they will buy the car that meets their use case in the most cost effective way, and in 20 years, that will be electric vehicles. Sooner than 20 years if gas hits $8/gallon.

mcopanzani (not verified)    October 15, 2014 - 12:58PM

Three things were not mentioned in this article about both cars.
1. yearly carbon emissions of both cars (Dodge emits about 6-8 tonnes of C-Dioxide/year depending on driving style) while Tesla when on solar can emit zero)
2. The cost of both cars were mentioned, but the true cost of ownership over say 8-10years was not.
Dodge needs about 4865L or 1287Gallon of fuel/year @ $3860-4000/year, so over 10 years you get an additional 38.6-40K in fuel costs over the sticker price so say 60K+38.5 that's $98.5K for the Dodge and about 127K for the tesla (it uses about $700 of electricity/year when on grid)
3. the electric car owners get the satisfaction of knowing that they are actually making a difference helping the environment.

I'll be getting rid of my Challenger srt and looking at the model-s or possibly the upcoming model-x.
Time for dinosaurs to start dying off.

Stephen Pace (not verified)    October 17, 2014 - 11:28AM

In reply to by brian (not verified)

@Brian: I can't speak for others, but I've kept my past two cars (Sentra SE-R, Lexus IS 300) 10 years each and I plan to keep the Model S for 10 years as well. In the case of the Tesla, I get the added bonus of proving everyone wrong who said the car or some major component like the battery won't last.

v (not verified)    October 16, 2014 - 2:31PM

Yea but the Tesla can be recharged for free. And the Tesla will beat this car from 0-60. Who cares about top speed unless your on a track. I'll take the Tesla

Byron Blue (not verified)    October 23, 2014 - 2:17AM

I keep my cars 8 < 10 years, currently my Camry Hybrid is 8 1/2 years old with a trouble-free 155,600 miles so far. After several such cars, the savings allow me to buy a Tesla now (to be delivered in 2/'15). The tesla will be much more economical to own than such economy cars due to its simplicity and availability of FREE fuel (-$2,000/yr.) due to solar power at home and at Supercharger stations. Also, there was no mention of the SRT's need for tune-ups, oil changes, and probable transmission service during normal ownership periods and certainly there would be need for further maintenance services in 8 < 10 years of ownership for equivalent mileages.

bigduke10 (not verified)    October 28, 2014 - 1:20AM


in your calculus you forgot to add the rate of return on the difference between the cost of the Tesla and that of the Hellcat when invested. If the difference of $67K was put into an CD at say 5 percent for 10 years the rate of return would offset the O&M costs of the Hellcat by -$26K. Therefore, TCO for the Hellcat would be $72k not $98. It remains more cost effective to own and operate the Hellcat. As for feeling warm and fuzzy about saving the environment. The carbon offset that these folk feel good about will offset that which I intend to dump into the environment when I purchase the Hellcat.

mababio (not verified)    January 1, 2015 - 9:57PM

In reply to by bigduke10 (not verified)

bigduke10, CD? 5%? Really? Show me what marker you invest in to get those returns today. I will buy a new Tesla every other year, and say thank you! :p