EV racing against ICE.... NOT

EV racing against ICE.... NOT

I was reading an article today,
It got me wondering about a few possible racing options.

At a track near me on specific days they allow the public to come to the track and run the 1/4 mile against other people/cars. They usually put cars in classes to make it fair. I do not know how fast the performance Model S can run the 1/4 mile but I think it would be fun to find out. Sadly I can't afford the performance version (wife wouldn't let me get it) Do you think they will ever allow the electric car to compete directly against the ICE counter parts? I think they should.
I am sure Roadster are being raced. Might need to run this one buy that section.

Other thought.... in five years from now with advancements in batteries and swap tech I think the electric car could easily compete in all racing venues against ICE vehicles. Both types of vehicles will have tire considerations and similar fuel needs altho different types. I know they will never be in the US Indy 500 because that race has rule sets to only allow a very specific ICE and drivers have to only know how to turn left :-) what about all the other races?

In reference to the above article, do you think Tesla should start designing their own race car?

mwu | January 18, 2012

Yes, I think Tesla should design their own race car. I doubt they'd do it until Model S / X take off and the company really solidifies its income.

Once they do solidify their income, I think a good high profile race could get them a lot of attention. One I would be interested in seeing them compete would be the 24 hrs of Le Mans. The race focuses on reliability in race conditions over a 24 hour period. Ranking is based on distance covered over the race period. If you don't finish (aren't moving at a minimum speed when the time is up), you don't place. It's more difficult than it sounds to complete the race since these vehicles are being pushed much harder than most vehicles ever get pushed and they are pushed that hard over the entire race period.

If Tesla could manage to finish that race (not to mention place in it), they would get serious press and marketing opportunity out of it. There are multiple classes of vehicles that are run in that race, so Tesla could choose their entry point. They don't have to run LMP1 (the highest class which are usually custom built vehicles that are very expensive to R&D) if they don't want to.

BYT | January 18, 2012

I say they take a Model S and try to place with that, no special design needed other then a quick swap trigger for the battery at a few stops. I watched a documentary on the SPEED channel recently and car companies would spend too many resources on building a race car. What if Tesla said we are doing this race with a stock car and not even worry about placing but just completing. Wouldn't that in itself be a huge accomplishment? With the few moving parts, I think they can do it.

brianman | January 18, 2012

It would also be interesting to do it with reject material from the assembly line. So the part cost would be neglible.

Just take 3 of the demo cars from the store circuit out of circulation to participate in the race.

brianman | January 18, 2012

Using the Roadster chart as a guide...

Demo car 1: Full throttle, lots of stops for battery replacement.
Demo car 2: Max distance (~17mph), fewest stops for battery replacement.
Demo car 3: Normal driving.

Sudre_ | January 18, 2012

I was reading thru the FIA's electric car entry specs and noticed something kinda odd, "Its specific sound signature (spectrum, noise level…) and suggestions to enhance this signature (using mechanical vibrations and aerodynamic sound);"
In other words if you want your electric car in the race it must make a cool race car sound.

Looks like you had to have your application in by Jan the 17th so it's too late for Tesla to enter for 2013.... unless they already have.
"....before 5 p.m. CET on Tuesday 17 January 2012"

stephen.kamichik | January 18, 2012

TM may consider developing a race car as a prelude to the design of a super EV sportscar to replace the roadster.

mwu | January 18, 2012

I don't think it would be safe going 17mph down the mulsanne straight with other vehicles on the track racing down it at 200+ mph. Yes they're trained and professional drivers, but they're also racing at night, usually in the rain, and at those speeds, 17mph might as well be standing still in the middle of the track.

It would be interesting to see what kinds of technical adjustments Tesla engineers would think of to save energy in a race situation.

For instance one thing Porsche has done for a hybrid vehicle was to use a flywheel to store the energy instead of a battery. A battery incurs losses, but makes sense for longer term storage of energy. In a race, you only need to store energy for a moment ... store it to slow for a turn and then restore it to accelerate out of the turn. Under braking, Porsche's flywheel would spin up taking the kinetic energy from the car and moving it to the flywheel (up to around 40k rpm if I remember correctly), then on the acceleration out of the turn the flywheel's energy is converted to a burst of electricity to power electric motors at the front wheels (a "normal" ICE drives the rear). Combined, the two electric motors provide 160 HP out of turns in addition to whatever they're squeezing out of the rear engine. They get more than 90% efficiency on that due to the construction of the flywheel. Something like that on a Tesla with a beefed up PEM and motor could provide a more race-oriented regenerative braking without needing both an ICE and electric motor.

Robert.Boston | January 18, 2012

If you can do battery swaps in <5 minutes, and you can swap batteries almost anywhere, then the optimal strategy will be to drive as you can safely manage. No need to conserve energy! Le Mans drivers are not worried about their mpg, and neither should a Tesla competitor. (Again, if and only if battery swaps are possible and fast.)

I think taking a stock Performance Model S would be perfect. When the AWD system comes out, slap a Model S chassis on that and, off to the races!

Teoatawki | January 18, 2012

Model S chassis body.

mwu | January 18, 2012

AWD on a Tesla performance oriented vehicle would be impressive.

I don't know much about the rule specifics, but it seems to me that the 24 hours of Le Mans would have some fueling / pitting limits / requirements preventing too frequent stops to keep to the spirit of the race (racing with a focus on reliability).

Brian H | January 18, 2012

The battery swaps, at specially designed robot stations, take under 1 minute.

JOHN HOLLINGSWORTH | January 18, 2012

With the rules this year and last years avg fuel consumption the Audi will have a max range of 109 miles.

mcornwell | January 18, 2012

Anyone care to guess 1/4 mile time for the performance version? I'm going to say 12.9 seconds @ 111 mph...

Timo | January 18, 2012

Robert.Boston Le Mans drivers are not worried about their mpg, and neither should a Tesla competitor

Drivers should not, but teams certainly do. That's why diesel cars are so high up in the lists, they need to refuel less than gasoline cars. Fuel consumption affects car weight and distance before they need to make a pit stop to refuel and in Le Mans cars those are not 4sec F1 stops (though they are still fast).

Racing with BEV requires really powerful regen. Without that your range is too short. Battery swap probably only way to make stops fast enough.

You could wire the racing battery for something like 2000V and charge it too with something like 300A (600kW), but that would require a bit different connector than civilian cars (which should not be a problem). 100kWh takes then 10 minutes to recharge. Slow, but not impossibly slow for endurance race like Le Mans. With all the unnecessary weight out and average speed of 200km/h battery would last over a hour of driving.

brianman | January 18, 2012

Roadster Sport, 12.643s @ 102.89mph

R35 GT-R, 9.05s @ 166.66mph

modified '66 Chevrolet Nova, 6.95s @ 209.10mph

It would indeed be nice to see the Sig Perf at sub 13 seconds...
11.9 @ 117.2 -- Porsche Panamera Turbo S
12.4 @ 114.7 -- Cadillac CTS-V
..but I wouldn't put money on it.

Timo | January 18, 2012

I'm pretty sure Model S performance can get sub 13 sec 1/4 mile time: it has better torque curve than Roadster, so it accelerates at the higher speed before hitting the diminishing returns RPM. 4.4 0-60 is not that far from 3.7 sec Roadster Sport time, and 0-60 is just the start of the strip. Model S Performance top speed is 130mph which is faster than Roadster Sport, and I bet it gets much closer to top speed at the end of the strip than Roadster.

It loses at the start, but wins at the end. Question is does it have enough strip left to catch Roadster before the end line.

My bet: 12.3 secs @ 118mph.

qwk | January 21, 2012

There is very little chance of the model s sport running 12's. If I were to guess the sports will be around 13.5 at the very best. The trap speed will also not be very high, probably around 95-98mph.

mcornwell | January 21, 2012

The performance model will definitely be going faster than 95-98 at the end of the 1/4...

Timo | January 22, 2012

Considering that Model S has quite a lot higher peak torque RPM than Roadster it very likely will have higher speed at the trap. It might lose to Roadster by time (Roadster has faster initial acceleration) but not by top speed (Roadster hits RPM of diminishing returns before 60mph, Model S at 75+mph).

Sudre_ | January 22, 2012

I have a feeling there is going to be fact to which one is faster in the 1/4 mile soon after the first few performance Model S' roll off the line and get to customers.

Timo | January 22, 2012

It will be one street rocket either way. Definitely fastest car of its price and size class onto roads as long as we keep speeds close to legal limits.

qwk | January 23, 2012

"definitely faster"

Lol. What do you base this off of? Sounds like a very uneducated guess, since the roadster barely breaks 100mph in the quarter. You have to remember that a 300 mile Model S is going to weigh over 4k pounds.

mwu | January 23, 2012

Either way, it's a pretty impressive 4k pounds to break 60Mph in 4.4s.

As long as the handling is decent, I think where it'd really shine for car enthusiasts who have an interest in racing is in AutoX where you can really capitalize on the instant torque coming out of turns. I'm not sure what class it'd be placed in, but as long as it's in a class with other cars that are of similar weight and size I think it should compete well.

Timo | January 24, 2012

@qwk, I guess it is based on same thing I'm basing my guesstimate: the higher top torque RPM. Roadster barely hits 100mph because it is already at diminishing returns RPM at 60mph. It barely accelerates at all at 100mph. Model S performance does accelerate at much higher speed than Roadster based on figures I have seen before hitting that RPM (and also based on it having higher top speed of 130mph, which means either higher top RPM or longer gearing, I believe latter is right).

Is it faster than Roadster on quartermile is another question entirely. If you look at the Cadillac CTS-V end time and Roaster end time you see that Roadster loses only 0.2 secs to Cadillac even that Cadillac is 12 mph faster at the end line. If you look at the Roadster data strip it shows that it is already going at 87mph at the half way of the race, that means it accelerates only 15mph at the rest of the race (though at that speed that last 200m takes only five secs even without acceleration at all, which would give you 13 sec end time considering that Roadster hits that half point at bit under 8 secs).

Thing is that I believe Model S Performance being faster than Roadster at highway speeds where it really counts (passing acceleration).

I guess we will see soon what the real performance is. Just need to wait about half a year and someone takes it to the race.

qwk | January 24, 2012

Timo, you can't compare an ev trap speed to an ICE trap speed. The Ev will always be limited because of the power draw at higher speeds. You need a massive battery to get the kind of power needed to imitate Ice power after the 1/8th mile, especially with a single speed gearbox.

Timo | January 24, 2012

It doesn't matter, ICE car needs to change gears which weakens torque at wheels, the same happens in BEV by losing torque at the engine. Question is only which loses torque faster.

Roadster is not build for fast quartermile, it just has fast 0-60 time. Model S is better at that. IIRC there is over 20mph difference between Roadster and Model S torque/power curves before you hit the RPM of diminishing returns (Roadster max power RPM tops at 53mph, Model S at 75mph). That gives Model S a clear edge at higher speeds. 4.4 secs at 60 is not that much weaker than Roadster Sport 3.7 that you can't expect over 100 mph speeds considering that fact. I expect that Model S Performance is going closer to 90mph at the half way, maybe even over, and quite clearly over 100mph at the speed trap.

I expect Model S Performance to beat Roadster Sport at quartermile and definitely get under 13 sec time at speed trap. It loses to Roadster at the first half but wins at the second.

brianman | January 24, 2012

"I expect Model S Performance to beat Roadster Sport at quartermile and definitely get under 13 sec time at speed trap. It loses to Roadster at the first half but wins at the second."

Should make for some great videos.

qwk | January 25, 2012

Timo, you definately haven't spent any time at the drag s trip, as your theory is 100% wrong.

Timo | January 25, 2012

What theory? You mean facts I listed? Haven't you seen a race where faster, more powerful car beats the other one at the strip after losing the start? I have. That's exactly what will happen in race between Roadster Sport and Model S Performance if my information about peak hp RPM is correct. Only question here is that does it catch up Roadsters lead before speed trap. It will go clearly over 100mph, but that might not be enough to catch up that lead. I believe that it does catch up and wins the race.

brianman is right, it will make some great videos.

I'm bookmarking this thread. Will return to it after we get some facts (which might take a while).

qwk | January 26, 2012

Facts? What facts? Lol

For every 100 lbs of vehicle weight (for vehicles aroud the caliber of the roadster) you can expect about a 1mph loss. The model S sport at MINIMUM will weigh 1300 pounds more than a roadster. That's 13 mph right there.

Like I said, EV's just don't have the top end of an Ice due to the battery.

Yes, we will definately find out when people run them at the track. Maybe Tesla will even release track times like they did for the roadster before any customers hit the track.

Timo | January 26, 2012

Model S Performance also has a lot more powerful engine. It has power to weight ratio in favor on it vs Roadster Sport. Weight difference would matter if the cars would be otherwise evenly matched, but this is not the case, not even close.

Your method of calculating that speed difference is like "well bicycle has nearly 4000lbs weight advantage, and every 100lbs means 1mph loss, therefore bicycle wins by over 40mph". We both know that that's not the case.

You also just plain continue to ignore the facts I listed:

1) Model S performance has higher top power RPM than Roadster Sport
- which means Model S performance keeps accelerating at nearly same rate to higher speeds than Roadster Sport. That difference is over 20mph.

2) Model S performance has higher top speed than Roadster Sport
- Which probably means it has even longer gear ratio than ordinary Model S which has same top speed as Roadster, and that probably means even higher acceleration RPM difference than point 1 mentions.

Those two combined and data from Roadster drag race tells that Model S will reach higher speed at drag race than Roadster (it has more than enough time and race length to do that). Roadster gets over 100mph, therefore Model S also gets over 100mph.

Volker.Berlin | January 27, 2012

Timo, for now I'd go with the assumption that all versions of the Model S have a fixed gear reduction ratio of 9.73:1. At least that's what the Options & Pricing page states.

For significantly higher acceleration, the performance model needs significantly more powerful motor (and adequate power electronics, obviously). At the same time, if the motor is also designed for higher RPM, that alone could be sufficient to explain higher top speed.

qwk | January 27, 2012

I didn't calculate the speed difference from heresay, it's from making 1000's of passes at an actual drag strip with an actual car.

Anyway, you are going to be very dissapointed when you see actual time slips, because it's obvious you have no clue what you are talking about.

qwk | January 27, 2012

BTW, top speed has absolutely NOTHING to do with actual trap speeds, unless you are limited by it(car has enough hp for a higher trap, yet is limited by a throttle stop or electronics).

Timo | January 28, 2012

How many BEV:s have you driven? None I guess.

Torque and where you start to lose it has something to do with it. Torque tells directly the force you have available for acceleration.

Roadster starts to lose torque before 60mph, somewhere around 50 mph. Model S goes up to 75 mph before starting to lose it. The fact that Model S performance and Roadster Sport are so close to each other at 0-60 times tells quite a lot about potential of the Model S. I bet at 75mph they are equal and at 85 Model S is faster.

Equal to that for ICE cars is a car that has less torque (vs mass) but shorter first gear to give faster initial acceleration, but needs to go to second gear while other car still goes in first gear. At that point the first car starts to lose in acceleration to second car. It has lead but not very long if they are closely matched up to that gear switching point.

This is why Model S goes way over 100mph at the trap. It might lose to Roadster at quartermile because of initial lead it has, but I don't think that will happen. Assuming of course that this info I have about top HP speeds are correct.

But enough of this, as I said I have bookmarked this thread, I will go back to it once we have actual data about things.

petero | January 29, 2012


Rather than Lemans, consider Daytona. An “S” stock car, where battery range has parity with smaller gas tank and slower refueling for ICE cars. Maybe have some fun and make stock cars pass current 50 state emission standards, and have an oil changes.

Stock car racing and European sedan racing are immensely popular because they look like our own cars (barely) than say an Indy car or an Audi R18 TDI.

Timo | January 29, 2012

Elon said in one of the interviews that Model S battery swap is supposed to be able to do in less than five minutes. I wonder how much that takes, and how to tune that so that it can happen in less than one.

Race cars have quite a bit different requirements than ordinary street cars, they need to be tolerant for huge stresses, but only for short while, when normal street cars need to endure lots of different conditions several years, but less momentary stresses. I think it could be possible to build a really really quick swap for racing. No need to endure for a long time, just be fast and tolerant to high stresses for short time.

If you could do that in a minute and have enough juice in the battery to last more than 30 minutes at around 150-200km/h average speed before needing swap you get a competition to ICE cars.

brianman | January 29, 2012

"Elon said in one of the interviews that Model S battery swap is supposed to be able to do in less than five minutes."

Somewhere it used to say "1 minute" and another place it used to say "under 2 minutes". I can't seem to find the references to that anymore though.
VolkerP's post refers to the former.

qwk | January 29, 2012

I have driven a few bev's, although have raced none. What's that got to do with anything?

You are really coming up with some very weak arguments. I will definately come back to this thread in due time, just to watch you eat your words and useless math.

Timo | January 29, 2012

I have seen that one minute as well, just thought that it was an error or misunderstanding because it disappeared so soon after and nobody seems to refer that one. If that was true, then with proper equipment BEV racing could be done now.

Volker.Berlin | February 17, 2012

To add to the drag strip discussion:

A year from now, we'll see similar videos featuring the Model S vs M5! ;-)

ncn | February 18, 2012

Because of long charging times, long-distance ICE vs. BEV racing will have to wait until one of the races legalizes battery swaps. Races have really arcanely complicated rules.

Even then the ICEs will still probably win for a while, because of the energy density and fast refuelling of gasoline.

Currently BEVs are worse than ICEs at high-end torque mainly because most BEVs don't have a gearshift. A BEV with a gearshift could probably make up the difference in high-end torque.

Short-distance races, things will change much quicker. Someday in the next few years, as batteries get better and someone builds an EV with a gearbox, an EV will win the drag-race record.

stephen.kamichik | February 18, 2012

In essence the model X AWD system is a gear box set up. The rear motor is first gear, the rear and front motor together is second gear and the front motor is third gear. They could be manually controlled but most probably they would be computer controlled.

Timo | February 19, 2012

From autobloggreen site:

"How about some 50C batteries? :)"

Those batteries have huge power density, at 50C they produce 1.1kW / battery and one battery weights 170g. That means that just 100kg of those can output 647kW of power (continuous output).

You couldn't get far with those, but for drag racing that kind of battery would make insane electric dragster. In future it just gets better.

Brian H | February 20, 2012

Tesla tried, hard, to make an EV (Roadster) gearbox. They break. Too much torque. No manufacturer was able to make one strong enough.

Volker.Berlin | September 12, 2012

I just digged out a nice Roadster vs. Boxster Motor Trend video from 2010, still nice to watch:

Brian H | September 12, 2012

Volker.Berlin | September 12, 2012
I just digged dug out

One of the relic Anglo Saxon irregular verbs. "digged" does not exist as an English word.

stephen.pace | September 12, 2012

I really digged that video.

Robert22 | September 12, 2012

We all dunked it, thanks for posting V!

sergiyz | September 13, 2012

problem is, boxster still won by a very large margin...