Consumer Reports Tests Braking, Handling, Acceleration Of Tesla Model S P85D – Video


Tesla Model S P85D Tested

Tesla Model S P85D Tested

Unlike most other media outlets, Consumer Reports purchases its own cars for reviewing and testing purposes. This eliminates the possibility that an automaker could perhaps provide the media outlet with an example of a car that performs better than one bought at the local dealership or, in Tesla’s case, store.

It’s for this reason that Consumer Reports’ testing is often viewed as the most genuine and accurate.

In this video, Consumer Reports puts the Tesla Model S P85D through various tests and finds it doesn’t quite live up to the claimed numbers, at least not in the acceleration category, but the testers are still blow away by how quick this car truly is.

“Consumer Reports put the electric Model S P85D through the same tests other cars undergo at its track as part of its overall assessment of Tesla’s performance sedan. See how it fared in three key tests, along with its fuel efficiency figure.”

It should be noted that Consumer Reports tests acceleration without rollout.  This typically results in 0 to 60 MPH times that are several tenths of a second slower than say MotorTrend’s results, or even results published by the automakers.

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49 Comments on "Consumer Reports Tests Braking, Handling, Acceleration Of Tesla Model S P85D – Video"

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“Consumer Reports tests acceleration without rollout”
What’s rollout? The car isn’t starting from a stand-still?

Edmunds has a good explanation of Rollout here (about halfway down the page): Note that Edmunds doesn’t use Rollout either in their 0-60 times, but do in their 1/4 mile numbers. From Edmunds: A Few Words About Rollout The term “rollout” might not be familiar, but it comes from the drag strip. The arrangement of the timing beams for drag racing can be confusing, primarily because the 7-inch separation between the “pre-stage” and “stage” beams is not the source of rollout. The pre-stage beam, which has no effect on timing, is only there to help drivers creep up to the starting position. Rollout comes from the 1-foot separation (11.5 inches, actually) between the point where the leading edge of a front tire “rolls in” to the final staging beam — triggering the countdown to the green light that starts the race — and the point where the trailing edge of that tire “rolls out” of that same beam, the triggering event that starts the clock. A driver skilled at “shallow staging” can therefore get almost a free foot of untimed acceleration before the clock officially starts, effectively achieving a rolling-start velocity of 3-5 mph and shaving the 0.3 second… Read more »

Interesting. So essentially, if the driver stops immediately when the front of the tire blocks the beam, he can accelerate for the width of the tire, before the beam is no longer blocked, and the timer starts.

I’m not sure why they use this method if it causes confusion. There would be lots of other ways to do this.

I think it is to allow the vehicle to do a little bit of tire slip on launch and not get penalized in the time.

I have never been in the drag race scene, so that is just a guess. The buff books use it so that can put the lowest number possible on the cover, so you snag it on the way through the airport (<– guilty).


I just looked up Edmunds’ P85D test, and they get the same ‘non-rollout’ results as Consumer Reports. So when you read that a P85D can go 0-60 in 3.1-3.2 seconds, just realize that is WITH rollout.

From Edmunds:

Flip the switch [to Insane mode] and the P85D’s 0-60 falls from 4.3 seconds to 3.5 (3.2 with 1 second [I think he meant foot] of rollout as on a drag strip) and the quarter-mile time drops from 12.4 seconds at 113.5 mph to 11.8 seconds at 113.3 mph.

Rick Danger

That ‘splains it – thank you Jim!


“. . . of this bogus practice.”

Bogus is an apt description.


Some fringe Tesla owners (here and other countries where 1′ rollout not as common) are up in arms about the misleading stats for this luxury *sedan* … baha. Don’t get them started on the 691HP. Good gosh, they don’t see it in testing and feel ripped off.

I wish they wouldn’t have said the “87 MPGe” at the end. Ugh.


I agree. that number completely depends on the electricity rates in your area. that is like saying miles per dollar for gas which also makes no sense. gas prices vary wildly in different geographical areas.


MPGe has nothing to do with electricity prices, it is a pure energy equivalent measure.

I am no fan of MPGe, but how else could they have gotten the efficiency part across to laymen?

inf MPG?

We need to challenge the “laymen”. If they would have said “Miles per kWH” and maybe compared it to another EV, that would at least get the readers minds thinking.

By saying MPGe, people will think it’s only 50% more efficient than the new Prius.

Gas efficiency and electric efficiency should be kept separate IMO, and the sooner everyone starts doing this, the quicker everyone else will learn what a kWh is.

Fair enough, but comparing the Model S to the LEAF (Miles per kWh) would make it sound like it was an inefficient vehicle. That really isn’t fair.

You have to compare Model S to an S class, 7 series, etc. Maybe cost per 1000 miles of fuel would be better?

Michael Will

Miles per kwh is the best metric for me, because it’s a small enough number to compare and expresses bang for the buck.

I get between 4 and 5 miles per kWh out of our e-golf if driving efficiently, 3.5 when having fun and not caring about consumption.


Josh said:

“Maybe cost per 1000 miles of fuel would be better?”

Hard to see how. The price for electricity will vary by where you live, and in many areas will depend on what time of day you charge the car.

If you’re comparing to a gasmobile’s fuel cost it’s even worse, since gas prices can vary so much from season to season or even month to month, not to mention what state you live in. A new car may sit on a dealer’s lot for months, so the fuel price printed on the EPA sticker may be long out of date when a customer looks at it.


Josh, the EPA sticker already calculates fuel costs in 2 other places on the Monroney sticker. The MPGe doesn’t need to include fuel cost, just like MPG for gas cars do not include fuel costs.

The window sticker for the P85D shows an estimated annual fuel cost ($700 dollars) based upon 15K miles at 12 cents per kWh.

It also has a comparison of fuel costs for 5 years worth of typical driving compared to the average car that gets 23 MPG ($8,000 in savings over 5 years).

You can see one here:


kdawg said:

“Gas efficiency and electric efficiency should be kept separate IMO, and the sooner everyone starts doing this, the quicker everyone else will learn what a kWh is.”

Well said, kdawg.

As they say: “Begin as you mean to go on.” If we get people used to using the ridiculous metric “MPGe”, then they’ll never get used to using miles/kWh. If this thinking had prevailed at the start of the motorcar revolution, when most people were either walking or, at best, using horses or horse-and-buggy for transportation, we’d still be using some ridiculous metric like “miles per bale of hay”!

Everybody, including EV manufacturers and the EPA, needs to stop trying to act like plug-in EVs are gasmobiles with a few peculiarities. PEVs are a different form of transportation, thank goodness! We should celebrate and emphasize the differences, not try to mask them or pretend no significant differences exist.


Nothing wrong with MPGe. It’s a relatively straight-forward way to measure the efficiency of an electric vehicle and it is more comparable to gasoline cars than using a miles/kwh measure.

The comparison of the Prius to a P85 D is fine. Here we have a world-class performing full-size sedan twice the efficiency of the Prius. That is a hell of a statement. And comparing it to an A8 or something also makes the point, where the Tesla comes out 3-4 times as efficient.


MPGe is a mess because no one understands it. Try asking around, and you will see.

I understand MPGe. It is very easy. It is the actual number of miles that you can drive your pure EV on 33.7 kWh’s of electricity. It is just a way of eliminating battery size out of the equation when comparing the efficiency of electric cars to each other. It simply pretends that all electric cars have a 33.7 kWh battery (the equivalent of a 1 gallon gas tank in terms of BTU’s. Both contain 115,000 BTUs). But you don’t need to know any of that stuff about BTU’s, or even consider the term “gallon” at all to understand MPGe for pure EV’s. You simply need to understand that if you could “fill up” each EV with exactly 33.7 kWh of electricity, the MPGe is a DIRECT measurement of how many miles you would go on that charge. Higher MPGe rating means it is more electricity-efficient than another EV with a lower MPGe. The benefit of MPGe is that it already includes the inherent efficiency advantage over ICE engines right in the rating. It does not include any price advantage of electricity over gas, but then again, MPG for gas, Liters per 100 Kilometer, miles per kWh, etc don’t include… Read more »

Told ya so :). But thanks for the energy lesson. Most people are looking for economic terms, w/o the massive detour.


Then all they need to read is this sentence:

MPGe is the actual number of miles that you can drive your pure EV on 33.7 kWh’s of electricity.




Is that 33.7 kWh the electricity that was actually stored in the EV battery, or the electricity that originally came “out of the wall” to charge the battery? There is a difference.

Why? The typical EV charging process is only 80-90% efficient, so the total amount of energy that comes out of the wall (and that you ultimately pay for) is LESS than the total stored in the battery (about 10-20% less). This is another tricky thing for the “lay-person” to get their mind around.


Foo — It is based upon how much electricity it takes to recharge the battery. Just like consumers would experience in the real world charging their vehicles.


Benjamin said:

“Nothing wrong with MPGe. It’s a relatively straight-forward way to measure the efficiency of an electric vehicle…”

That’s a nice theory. In practice, if you actually look at the EPA’s MPGe ratings, they don’t seem to have much relation to how the efficiencies of different EVs actually compare to each other.

“…and it is more comparable to gasoline cars than using a miles/kwh measure.”

There is no rational reason to compare a gasmobile’s MPG rating to a plug-in EV’s miles/kWh rating. That’s not merely an apples-to-oranges comparison; it’s more like apples to couch cushions.


Pushi — do you actually have any evidence that the MPGe numbers are wrong? What do you base that claim on?


Evidence would be that you can have PHEVs with different AER and MPG, and the same MPGe. People’s distance profiles are different, and MPGe comingles the efficiencies.


MPG answers the fuel $$ question.
MPKWH (w/AER, All Electric Range) answers the fuel $$ question.

What I am saying is that MPGe does not.


…it is detached from cost.


MPGe does directly vary with vehicle efficiency while in EV mode. Hence the most fuel efficient vehicle is also the most advanced EV designed with pure efficiency in mind – the BMW i3, IINM at 124 combined MPGe, reflecting it’s awesomely low curb weight.

And, yes you can compare MPGe of an EV to MPG of a gas car. That’s the whole point. One gallon of gasoline equivalent of electricity has equivalent energy to 33.4 kwh of electricity. You put that much energy in the car, the MPG or MPGe is approximately how far you might expect to go, depending on conditions. A typical sport luxury sedan like an A8 or Porsche Panamera that is comparable to a high end Tesla will go about 25 miles compared to the Telsla’s 89.

kdawg — you have it exactly backwards when you say “We need to challenge the “laymen”.” EV’s are already challenge enough for the “laymen”. And WE as green car enthusiasts are the ones trying as hard as we can to get as many of these laymen out of ICE cars, and into green cars. Not the other way around. You don’t reach out to those buyers by challenging them right at the window sticker before they even open the door to get in one. That would be like a political party having a Hispanic outreach office in a high minority location, and then having a huge sign saying “You Must Learn English Before Entering” pasted across your front window. Not inviting. The window sticker on EV’s have to be as inviting as possible to gas car owners, not make them feel stupid in the middle of a car lot where there are a bunch of ICE cars with window stickers that won’t make a potential buyer feel stupid. If as enthusiasts, WE WANT mass market buyers to buy the cars we love and think are better than everybody driving ICE cars, we have to be willing to put some effort… Read more »

Nix, very well said! You took the words out of my mouth! As a professional, I would never try to overwhelm a “layman” with confusing, fancy-sounding terms, but try to reach him with words he can understand. That’s what a professional (or expert) is supposed to do.

The same applies to me: I honestly have barely any clue how an ICE works (which I freely admit), and if an arrogant mechanic would throw fancy words at me trying to impress me with his knowledge, I’d never come back to that place!

Mark C

I’m glad they mentioned the rollout part so that we need not expect twelve more “news flashes” when Elon Musk Tweets how it isn’t cheating the numbers because that is the magazine testers standard methodology.

Thanks also to Jim_NJ for the link to Edmunds where it is clearly explained.

3.5 sec 0-60 is still very fast, more than I’ll be needing (or buying) in my personal vehicle. Too much temptation for my blood.


“Too much temptation for my blood.”

I would have too many tickets.


Is accelerating (up to the speed limit) an offence?

I suppose it is at the police officer’s discretion to decide that you accelerated “too quickly”. But, if you didn’t exceed the speed limit then, technically, you weren’t ever going “too fast”.


They can try to charge you with “Exhibition of Speed”. Whether they can make it stick or not is another thing.

Consumer Reports didn’t mention the rollout, this article did. They should have at least mention that other publications use rollout, but CR doesn’t.


I’m not a fan of car reviews that come out of Consumer Reports. They’re usually very subjective and sometimes quite misleading. But these objective tests are solid and offer good evidence of the performance you can expect from a Model S.


Curious what tires were installed on their vehicle. Orignally, P85D’s came with high performance staggered tires, more recently it seems most owners have been receiving a square setup. At 0-60 times in the low 3’s, I would expect the rubber to make a world of difference.


Some say the Teslas won’t lap a race track without overheating. How about including a 25 minute time trial session in your testing to see what has to be done to the car to make it track worthy. Yeah, I know all about the argument that it’s a street car and not designed for the track and all that; nevertheless others, like Mazda, build cars that are ready for the track or street. Just wonder what it would take to make it run wide open on a track for about a half hour or if it can even be done; after all it’s a 4,600 lb car and at that weight it can eat up a lot of battery power, tires and brakes, etc.

What was that saying? Oh! yes!, “Race on Sunday, Sell on Monday.”


Your point?


So you want the Tesla Model S to be like a Swiss army knife; to do diverse things, all needing a different design, but do them all poorly.

I’d much rather have the Model S do what it was intended to do: Carry several passengers in luxurious, roomy comfort, while providing a driving experience and performance significantly superior to virtually all other production cars.

Racetrack cars should be designed to be racing cars. If you want a Tesla racetrack car, then it would be far better to modify a Roadster, not a Model S.


“Racetrack cars should be designed to be racing cars. If you want a Tesla racetrack car, then it would be far better to modify a Roadster, not a Model S.”

Exactly. Or better yet, wait for the 2nd Gen Roadster that Tesla has teased. That should be Tesla’s track oriented car, not their 5+2 seater.

It is funny, because if Tesla would have started with the Model X, nobody would have ever suggested that the Model X should be used on the track. But for some reason folks think the Model S (built on the same chassis, similar drivetrain) should be a track vehicle. It doesn’t make sense.


Surely the main problem with MPGe is that it might tell you how comparatively efficient your EV is Vs an ICEV but it tells you little or nothing about how much cheaper it will be to run than an ICEV. This is why it is confusing to laymen and know-it-alls alike.

I don’t think there is an easy, catch-all way to explain the cost of running an EV in energy terms, other than to say – a rather sweeping – 20% of what it would cost to run a comparable ICEV. MW


33.4 kwh of electricity (one gallon gasoline equivalent) at 12 cents/kwh is equal to a gallon of gas priced at $4.01.

33.4kwh * .12$/kwh = $4.01. Your cost per gallon gasoline equivalent may be higher or lower depending on pariticulars of your location and plan.


This is not the way MPGe works at all.

MPGe is based on energy equivalence, not any kind of cost relationship. The costs of electricity and gasoline could vary wildly, and independently, and it would not change MPGe.

And note that most EVs can drive MANY more miles on 33.4 kWh of electricity than any gasmobile can on 1 gallon of gasoline. (This is because an EV can use energy much more efficiently than a gasmobile.)

So, even if 33.4 kWh did always cost the same as 1 gallon of gasoline, you would still get much more VALUE out of your energy investment by using it in an EV. (This is because gasmobiles WASTE a massive amount of energy as heat and unrecovered kinetic forces.)


Foo — You completely misread his post.

The $4.01 is not based upon the price of gas. It is just the price of 33.4 kWh times 12 cents. Simple math, just multiply the two together. 12 cents is the national average that the EPA uses for window stickers.

You are talking past him, out of confusion, because much of what you say is implied in his post, and you are reading stuff into his post that definitely isn’t there.


The MPG of a diesel car and doesn’t tell you anything about the price difference compared to a gasoline car either. MPG isn’t a measure of cost, and neither is MPGe.

However, each window sticker has 2 OTHER sets of statistics that DO include cost information. There is an average cost for 1 year of operation, and another number that compares the cost over 5 years compared to the average ICE car.