Faithful readers of AutoblogGreen may be well aware of the high-performance abilities of electric drivetrains on the drag strip (see White Zombie, Black Current and Lawless Rocket for examples) but sadly, many others haven't yet gotten the torque-rules memo.

Enter Stuntbusters. Finding some time in their busy Cadillac-crashing, gas-bomb-car-flinging schedule, the Speed program decided to conduct a couple experiments that might help spread the word. They throw up a Porsche Carrera S against a Tesla Roadster in a one-on-one race to represent the modern era. A second contest puts a classic 1969 Camaro against the battery-powered Type 65 coupe replica from SSI Racing.

Now, perhaps this isn't the most scientific test, but winning over the masses isn't about dry facts and figures. It's about emotions. And there's nothing like a little drag strip drama to help stir it up. So, which cars win? All you've got to do is hit the jump to find out.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 72 Comments
      black08mustanggt
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why no times? Oh thats right because its a sham and providing something you could verify is just asking too much.
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 3 Months Ago
        @black08mustanggt
        you can look up quarter mile times for both the tesla roadster s and the porsche 911 carrera 4. on paper they are about the same but in practice you wont have to execute perfect gear shifts with the tesla
      goodoldgorr
      • 3 Years Ago
      What they didn't put to test it's an hydrogen fuelcell electric car. Theoritically a fuelcell is lighther and more powerful then a battery car with the same start of the line acceleration but have all the other advantages too for the 1/4 mile track, regular track with range. The future is fuelcell for car racing as far as i know. It didn't been done because for now fuelcell have only been experimented in regular cars only.
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 3 Months Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        theoretically pigs can fly
        Roy_H
        • 3 Months Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        A fuel cell does not put out much amps. For drag racing a fuel cell would have no chance. The only thing that fuel cell may have going for them is quick fill up like gas, but with no pollution.
        pmpjunkie
        • 3 Months Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        You mean that fuel cell car that is also for sale like the Tesla Roadster and the 911? Yeah, they should have totally included that.
        Timo
        • 3 Months Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        Lighter maybe, more powerful, no. Not if you use batteries that are really suitable for drag racing. Best FC currently are quite far behind in power density compared to best batteries. In order to build FC drag racer you would need at least as big FC as batteries + fuel tank.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Months Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        Who makes a fuel cell sports car? oh yeah, nobody.
      fefifofum
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'd like to see that again with a GT-R, it costs less than the roadster so it's a fine comparison. I doubt the EV would be taking home the win then. Also how about some lap times instead of just a straight line, all that battery weight is going to hurt the roadster.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Months Ago
        @fefifofum
        Lol, battery weight never hurts you when you have a 2-3x torque surplus over what you're racing, dude. :) The roadster is about 2800lbs anyway.
          Richard Gozinya
          • 3 Months Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Weight always hurts, especially in the corners. It's why sportbike makers are always trying to make them lighter. Anyways, the test was heavily weighted in favor of the electrics, given that the Carrera costs 30k less. More interesting to see how the Roadster would do against something that costs about the same.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Note that the Roadster has a single gear (or possibly two), and is set up so that it has great acceleration from the start, but the top end isn't that fast. To get more power at the top end you could either crank up the voltage or add a gear box. Also, the Roadster is Tesla's first car. Some time in the future (at least 4 years from now, they say), they are going to build a new Roadster using the latest battery tech, and all the experience that they had gained building their other cars. When that car shows up, it's going to shake up the game! Yeah, this test is set up to play to the electric car's strengths, but at least it will show the world that "EV" does not mean "Golf Cart".
        Timo
        • 3 Months Ago
        Correct. As you hear from the video that strip is not full quartermile. I'm guessing 1/8 mile stretch. At that Roadster is very fast because of initial acceleration, but it lacks the high RPM torque to keep accelerating at the next 1/8 mile of the full race, so it would have been close call against that Porsche in full quartermile. 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S gets around 12.7 sec quartermile time, Roadster Sport record (from NEDRA site) is 12.64 secs. Normal Roadster would lose that race. I'm not sure where they got Roadster HP, it doesn't correspond to Tesla site.
      marcopolo
      • 3 Years Ago
      Must be an American thing! I don't really see the vaild comparision. The Porsche is a car designed for road holding and high speed travel over a winding distance. Inventing a 1/8 of mile race, where the best attributes of the Porsche are unavailable seems pointless, almost like a reverse of Top Gears treatment of the roadster. Still, as I say, It may be an American thing, like 'monster truck' racing.....
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        Thank you, token forum contrarian. Your work here is done.
          marcopolo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          @2WM Like I say, it must be an American passion to 'race from lights to lights'. I remember a Jan & Dean song about 'Dead Mans Curve", about just that kind of race. I'm not knocking drag racing, but it just doesn't translate outside the US much!
          pmpjunkie
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          @marco since you like numbers, here are some from the "haters of all electric /s" Top Gear: 1:28.9 Porsche 997 Carrera S (very wet) 1:27.2 Tesla Roadster (mildly moist) 1:26.2 Porsche 911 Carrera S (997) (damp) seems like they are eye to eye on the non american thing (twists and bends)
        marcopolo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        Good grief! I seem to have stirred up a hornets nest of EV drag racing fan's ! Actually, since the fastest Porsche is now a hybrid, and EV superbikes at racing venues like the Isle of Wight and Pikes Peak , are really exciting to watch, I suppose EV drag racing is a natural development ! But hey, I sure don't want my my lack of appreciation for drag racing, detract others from enjoying what is obviously a popular and effective display of EV ability! In fact, just to show I'm open minded, I shall be sure to accept an invitation to attend the National Electric Drag Racing Association at Bonneville, Salt Flats, when I visit the US in September! (I'm sure that once I see an EV racing event, I'll get as excited as you guy's, and become a fan! )
          Noz
          • 3 Months Ago
          @marcopolo
          perhaps because your comments are so stupid?
        BipDBo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        Everyone knows that while the 911 is a great handling track car. With its heavily rear bias weight distribution, though, it''s also a very capable performer on the strip, especially on the shorter 1/8 mile where traction is so critical. Yes, monster trucks are American, and yes, they kick ass.
        Ford Future
        • 3 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        This IS America, we Race from Street Light to Street Light.
      DRstrangelove
      • 3 Years Ago
      No wonder nobody watches speed.
      black08mustanggt
      • 3 Years Ago
      Not exactly. At 1/4 mile the 911 is doing 10 more MPH. The Tesla has run out of steam and the Porsche is going to walk away from here on out. Also the PDK transmission will shift for you and produce the same if not better times.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wanna race ... Wanna win ... Run Electric!
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      nice : ) and that's just the beginning. neither of those represent the ultimate in electric propulsion. things haven't actually progressed since the tesla roadster. there is huge untapped potential in EV performance. make a 2 seater 600kg electric racer with say 130kg A123 batteries in it and 60kg AC induction motor and push it to the limit and there is no series produced car that can follow it. veyron doesn't even come close. it's a trivial exercise. just noone doing it. Ian Wright, you dropped the ball and ran it over with a big rig : )
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Batteries have progressed.. there are things that are far better than A123 now. How about some 50C batteries? :) http://www.ecedra.com/thebatteryshop.html These are not vaporware, have seen them in person and they are the real deal. I currently run their less energetic sister cell. Other than an electric Camaro ( oh come on ECDRA guys ), nobody has stuck these into something truly aerodynamic yet. Gas embarassing world records are waiting to be set.
          usbseawolf2000
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Dave, Power Density - The amount of power (kW) per kg of battery. That cell can make 22.2 Watt (3.7V x 6A) at 1C. At 50C, it is 1.11 kW. Energy Density - The amount of energy (kWh) per kg. For the same cell, it has 3.7V x 6Ah = 22.2 Wh. You can run 22.2 Watt light bulb for an hour. If you drain it at 50C (1.11kW), you'll empty it from full in 1.2 minute! At 60C, you'll go from full to empty in 1 minute.
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Davemart: when i say 'powerful and light cells', i am referring to the 50C ones which are intended really for drag strip racing more than anything else. Now in terms of a car you can live with? plenty of options that are notably better than A123 in every way. Look up: Dow Kokam High energy & High power cells ( easy to get info, and now finally these are rolling out to the hobbyist market ) LG Polymer cells ( if you can find any info ) EIG cells ( should be able to find specs online ) All mentioned cells are notably volumetrically and gravimetrically smaller than A123s, which have a big disadvantage of having a 3.3v nominal voltage. Dow Kokams take my current vote, being safe, able to deliver thousands of cycles, and having a pretty good C rate ( around 5C-8C ), AND having the density of the exploding RC Lipo packs that i'm so fond of. A123 is old news!! NMC is here to kick butt.
          jeffwishart
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          @usbseawolf and DaveMart, Energy density is actually Wh/l, not Wh/kg. The latter is specfic energy. The same goes for power density (W/l) vs. specific power (W/kg).
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          I meant performance electric cars for sale. and I probably wouldn't put a 3.7V cell in a series produced car. shorter life and might be risky. I like the robustness of lifepo
          DaveMart
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Thanks usb. I was clear on the difference between power and energy, but foggy on simply multiplying Ah by Volts to arrive at energy. So putting the numbers in on a cell level these batteries get around 130Wh/kg, which is better than on the present Nissan/Leaf which runs at about 100Wh/kg. The quoted 500 + cycle life still sounds of concern though, but perhaps that is at 100%DOD and 50C, so that under more gentle treatment it would get the thousands of cycles 2WM refers to.
          DaveMart
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Hi 2WM: Perhaps you could help me out here by explaining to me the energy density as opposed to power density of these cells - sometimes the lack of an engineering background sucks worse than others. You mention thousands of cycles but the link only seems to show in excess of 500?
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Why not? don't you like light weight and small size? You obviously haven't specced out anything recently. There are 3.6-3.8v nominal cells that are safe as A123 and last thousands of cycles as well, at 25%-33% less weight and about 33%-50% less volume. A123's are good but better things really have came along.
      Joeviocoe
      • 3 Years Ago
      Built my Ark... waiting for the Flood from Autoblog (gas version) readers...
      EJ
      • 3 Years Ago
      Until you drive an EV, you really can't appreciate the immediate, wide torque curve and zero shift lag. EVs can be driven much faster, much more easily. On local curvy roads I regularly humiliate the average driver in their M3s and 911s in my lowly Leaf with it's smooshy suspension. Give me a purpose built EV on a platform like the M3, and you better bring Vettel as your chauffeur.
        Ele Truk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EJ
        Well that's just it, the ICE horsepower is PEAK, when it's fnally revved up to that sweet spot. The DC motor has all that horsepower from 0 RPM.
          jkirkebo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ele Truk
          Nope, at 0 rpm even an electric motor developes exactly zero horsepower. It has loads of torque, but horsepower is torque times rpm times a constant. Multiply anything by zero and the result will undoubtly be zero.
          Ele Truk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ele Truk
          OK then, the ICE torque is PEAK, when it's finally revved up to that sweet spot. The DC motor has all that torque from 0 RPM. Better?
        Dave D
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EJ
        "Give me a purpose built EV on a platform like the M3, and you better bring Vettel as your chauffeur." LOL Definitely +1
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EJ
        by M3 you mean the cast iron garbage truck BMW M3? steel is heavy and weak. it can be quite a bit better than the M3 junker
      TruthHertz
      • 3 Years Ago
      This was an 1/8th mile run. That makes it clearly an advantage for the torque rich electric cars. However, I believe that the 1/4th mile would have had the Porsche closing in on the Telsa but not winning and then the 427 passing the kit car like it wasn't moving near the end.
        Joeviocoe
        • 3 Years Ago
        @TruthHertz
        That second race... she was a crap racer. She let up off the accelerator in the beginning. It was obvious that she wasn't prepared for the torque. I am not sure the 427 would have caught the Kit Car EV in a 1/4 mile with a real driver behind the EV's steering wheel.
          Ford Future
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          "It had so much power I COULDN'T FLOOR IT".
          Nick
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          She makes up for it with good looks tho.
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 3 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Prolly got a little scared about flipping backwards. Seems like it could have been that kind of car.
        BipDBo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @TruthHertz
        If the Tesla had a 2 speed gearbox like it was originally designed to have, I'm sure it would have no problem holding its own against the 911 on the 1/4 mile or track.
          JP
          • 3 Months Ago
          @BipDBo
          Tesla didn't build the two speed transmission you know, they had at least two transmission companies make the attempt. Hardly Tesla's fault.
          Richard Gozinya
          • 3 Months Ago
          @BipDBo
          Maybe, maybe not. Given that Tesla couldn't even manage a two speed transmission, yet other companies doing electrics don't seem to have any problems with even 6-speed transmissions, it doesn't speak highly of Tesla's engineering prowess. Certainly not living up to their name.
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