Many television viewers will know about the concept of a seven-second delay that allows producers to bleep any loose profanity during live shows before they make it to air. And we're imagining the driver of a Tesla Model S shooting down California's Buttonwillow Raceway may have cursed a bit once the electric vehicle's power limiter kicked in to keep the battery's heat down, because that added about seven seconds to the typical lap time around the 3.1-mile course, Teslarati says.

Power-limiter not withstanding, the luxury EV appeared to do pretty well around that circuit, which is located near Bakersfield and about 130 miles north of Los Angeles. One happy dude at Teslarati turned in laps as low as 2:19 and change, beat out a Porsche 911 in acceleration and managed to keep the car on the track. The Tesla topped out at 113 miles per hour, but all that speed consumed electricity at about three times the typical rate.

That means that, for the first 10 laps (which were the fastest), the 33 miles of actual distance used up 90 miles worth of range. And with the track's 240-volt outlets working to various degrees and Tesla's nearest Superchargers 50 miles away, there were some potential problems making sure the car could do all the driver wanted. But they're problems we'd love to have. Check out the 11-minute video of the escapade below.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 24 Comments
      Joeviocoe
      • 2 Hours Ago
      http://www.teslarati.com/tesla-model-s-performs-top-speed-run-german-autobahn/ The top speed of the Tesla Model S is known to be software-limited to approximately 130 mph which is in line with what Autoblog.nl saw when they performed their all out top speed run on the German Autobahn
      Smoking_dude
      • 2 Hours Ago
      Oh I really would love to own one. such a great car. :)
      Letstakeawalk
      • 2 Hours Ago
      So is Tesla planning to sue for libel?
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Hours Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        This is one guy at a track.... This is not a show with millions of viewers who (whether they admit it or not) get their opinions based on their reviews.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Hours Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Tesla lost their suit, obviously... But Tesla also never attempted to disprove Top Gear's statement regarding the Roadster's range on their track. Finally, we have someone who does take a Tesla to the track, and to nobody's surprise, the range is seriously reduced under track conditions. As the presiding judge commented, it's common sense.
          Rotation
          • 2 Hours Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          This was known months ago. http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/17581-Model-S-on-the-Track-A-Review 1.2Wh/mile.
          • 2 Hours Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Hi all. Yes, it's very much like a gasoline car. It may be rated for 300 miles of range, under normal driving conditions. On the track a tank would last about as long as a Tesla's battery. I went to Fontana Auto Club speedway, and the power consumption there was much higher, at about 5 miles per 1 actual mile driven, because the speeds are much higher there. I talked to guys running gas cars, and they were close to empty not long after I was. So the high level of energy consumption is expected on a race track. On the opposite side of it, if you are willing to drive 15mph, you can go over 400 miles on a single charge. So the power consumption is directly related to one's driving style.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Hours Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Common sense is not common. The battle is not about the perception that an EV on the race track loses substantial range... but that the Roadster lost so much that it died on the track. That didn't happen... and Tesla didn't need to "disprove" it, because Top Gear admitted it was "staged", only to claim that their show doesn't need to be factual, only "entertaining".
        jeff
        • 2 Hours Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        Top Gear had a script that was pre-written with the outcome determined BEFORE it was tested. The car was NOT out of power when they did the shot pushing it back to the garage... The ONLY reason they did not lose the car is that they are considered entertainment and not a news outlet...
      Joeviocoe
      • 2 Hours Ago
      The HUD readout gets as high as 138 mph @1:46 (during a turn), so I think it is not very accurate at that moment. So where did the driver "curse" at the limitation? The only time I hear anything from the driver is when that ricer spun out in front of him. "Being a fairly technical track, it won’t excite with high speeds" Plus with all the dust and sand being blown on the track.. the power limiter might be a bit conservative for this kind of racing.
        • 2 Hours Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        LOL, no I did not curse at it outloud. I realize of course it's not a purpose-built race car, but I did not expect power limitation to come on so soon. I went to Willow Springs and the Streets of Wilow before, and on both tracks it took like half a day before the power limitation kicked in. Not sure if it had to do with the fact that it was winter. So it was somewhat disappointing that it started limiting power here so soon. Also wish there was a way to tell if it's the battery, the inverter, or the motor that overheats. On Model S there are no gages to show that. I used the Garmin VIRB Elite camera with built-in GPS. And yeah, I noticed when you have rapid direction and/or speed changes, it goes out of whack for a few seconds. Not sure what to do about it other than getting professional equipment. Still, it's accurate for most of the track.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Hours Ago
          Eventually people will 'tune' EVs to push them beyond the current factory limits. If that includes software hacking or trial and error supplemental cooling... the car is still 100% stock. I doubt that the gassers on that track were 100% stock. So power limitation is something you might have to deal with until past warranty, or when tuning becomes commonplace or credible.
      jeff
      • 2 Hours Ago
      Why is anyone surprised that a car on the track gets worse milage than daily driving??? My Corvette used to suck the tank dry at about 6-7mpg on the track... However, it averaged about 18mpg on the street...
      Grendal
      • 2 Hours Ago
      Nice braking skills @ 10:05. You get a good feel for the quiet smooth acceleration after that incident too.
      Trent
      • 2 Hours Ago
      If Tesla's at a track were to become common place, I could see them adding a superstation or battery swap option at the track for continued use. Actually pretty impressive.
      mustang_sallad
      • 2 Hours Ago
      People need to be careful about statements like this: "That means that, for the first 10 laps (which were the fastest), the 33 miles of actual distance used up 90 miles worth of range." Someone might extrapolate and assume that the next 33 miles on the track would also subtract another 90 miles off the range - this is probably not the case. The range gauge takes into account recent driving in predicting remaining range, so while the initial range estimate before the 33 miles was optimistic since it didn't know it was about to go on a race track, the prediction after the 33 miles should be at least slightly more realistic for the type of driving that's just been done. It may still be on the optimistic side, but the car would likely at this point recognize that the energy/mile has gone way up and would take this into account. To eliminate this confusion, you should say "the first 33 miles used up XX% of the battery's SOC".
        Rotation
        • 2 Hours Ago
        @mustang_sallad
        I think it's quite clear that statement is based upon SOC, not the in-dash estimate. The in-dash estimate would drop like a rock. So yes, the next 33 miles would subtract another 90 miles range. Why do you think a 4500lb car which is applying 210HP on every straight (and that's after the limiter kicked in) would not see greatly diminished range? 85kWh goes fast when you're pressing the pedal down to the tune of 160kW over 50% of the time.
          mustang_sallad
          • 2 Hours Ago
          @Rotation
          I wasn't saying you wouldn't see greatly dimished range, that wasn't my point at all. My point was that when looking at the range gauge, it's important to remember that it's a factor of both SOC and recent driving efficiency. I don't think it's at all clear that these guys were calculating the range impacts based on the SOC, and the vast majority of EV drivers I've interacted with all go by range and not SOC. Heck I even have to remind myself about this fact in many of the EVs I drive, since a lot of manufacturers don't even display SOC.
          • 2 Hours Ago
          @Rotation
          By 'actual miles left' I refer to the rated range shown on the dashboard above the green bar. So that's rated range based on 55 mph normal driving. I find this to be the easiest way to estimate power consumption. So if I have 100 rated miles left shown, for example, and I know a particular track will consume 10 rated miles per lap, then I know coming on the track that I should not go more than 8 laps, to give myself a buffer. Or if I have 50 miles to drive to a SuperCharger, I want to make sure I have at least 60 rated miles left on the dash.
          mustang_sallad
          • 2 Hours Ago
          @Rotation
          okay, how did you calculate "actual miles left"?
          • 2 Hours Ago
          @Rotation
          That is correct. It was not based on an estimate but the actual miles left. So I started with 240 miles left and ended with 150 miles left. Driving the same distance at about the same pace would consume the same amount of energy (available range). I honestly did not even look at the estimate as it would be pretty meaningless.
      Rotation
      • 2 Hours Ago
      I'm not quite sure why he attributes staying on track to the traction control. I'm sure he realizes the are varying abilities of drivers, right? He seems like no slouch himself, so I would think he'd know this. The reports I have are that the power limiter begins after only one lap on Laguna Seca. A line appears on the instrument cluster to show the power limit. It is at about 160kW (210HP or something). If that car can go 100 miles on a track before recharging that's pretty impressive. The calculations I had seen from earlier make it about 2/3rds that distance. And of course virtually all of the time is spent in power limited mode.
        • 2 Hours Ago
        @Rotation
        Hi. The reason I made the comment about traction control is because I know for certain that if not for it, I would have gone off track a number of times. This was my first time on this track, and I had greatly underestimated its complexity. As a point of comparison, there was around 100 cars on the track that day, and pretty much every other lap a car would spin or go off track. So logically, assuming my skill similar to other drivers, the only reason I had not gone off track is because of the stability control system. I literally could not believe it recovered a few times where I'd come too fast into a turn. 100 miles is probably the upper end of it. When I went to Fontana Auto Club Speedway, which has much higher speeds, it ate 150 miles of range per 30 actual miles. So there it would last only 60 miles. Interestingly, it's close to what gasoline cars were getting, maybe a little less.
      lad
      • 2 Hours Ago
      Didn't look like he was having that much fun with all the nannies subtracting the feeling from the car...just aim and press. The track is more fun in a 240Z Turbo; but nevertheless, the car is impressively ghostly.
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