Consumer Reports Track Science: Tesla Model S P85D Versus Challenger Hellcat – Video


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Consumer Reports puts some real numbers out there to compare the Tesla Model S P85D & the Challenger SRT Hellcat.

The video above provides some info on each car and then electronic gizmos are put into each vehicle…. For science!

Tested is acceleration and G-forces on both vehicles to see which one comes out on top.

When you see how each car launches (the Model S seamlessly sprints away) it is a dead giveaway which vehicle is tops in this test..

Consumer Reports also files full written report that you can find here.

Hat tip to Jim I!

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32 Comments on "Consumer Reports Track Science: Tesla Model S P85D Versus Challenger Hellcat – Video"

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S C I E N C E ! 😀

Dey luvs dem some o’ dat Model ‘SPEED’…

“in about a quarter of a second you are over a G … that is something that is not automotive.”


Is the Hellcat really shifting twice in the first second, and putting out negative g’s for an instant during the shifts? That is crazy. I can see why the P85D beats nearly any car with a transmission for the first couple of seconds. “Not automotive” indeed.

Shifting twice within one second does not sound plausible. What I think is happening is that the Hellcat’s tires are slipping and spinning, which means the car loses traction.

You’re probably right. In the linked video below starting at 4:30 a Chrysler driver gets numbers similar to Consumer Reports (4.6-4.8 secs) and the driver talks about the Challenger Hellcat having trouble hooking up, even with launch control on.

The 8 speed automatic transmission in the Hellcat shifts in 160 milliseconds. Go watch this Jay Leno Garage video of the Hellcat. See the burnout shown at the beginning and end of the video and count how many times it shifts within one to two seconds. Impressive! Of course the Tesla does not have nor need a transmission.

Thanks for the info. So those first two down-spikes in Consumer Report’s first second or so probably are shift points. That makes sense why Tesla has such an advantage in the first 30 mph. Can you imagine if Tesla perfected a reliable 2-speed transmission and kept the 1-G force going for four seconds?

I know Tesla tried to put a two-speed transmission into the Roadster, but the torque kept blowing the transmissions. I personally don’t think anyone needs more speed than a P85D can produce, but if Tesla makes an AWD Roadster 2.0, can you imagine the acceleration with a two-speed transmission?

To be fair to the gasmobile, the Hellcat should win any race lasting 30 seconds or longer. Maybe even 15 seconds or longer. Great as the Model S is, it’s not really a sports car.

More like 11 seconds to 12 seconds…

Since CR has the data, it can just calculate the area under the curve or take a integral of the curves and it would produce the speed vs. time curves. Integrate that curve would produce distance vs. time curves which will tell you exactly when the Hellcat catches up and passes Tesla…

Telsa is designed and geared for the “street” light to light, NOT designed for the race tracks.

As awesome as Tesla Model S is, its fan club needs to stop make the claim that Model S is superior performance car unless their “performance goal” is only drag racing to 60mph…

Model S is superior performance car!

On the legal street, NOT on the race track.

So, it also points to the question, if it is designed to rule the “street”, then why bother with that much performance for the legal street driving?

As long as performance is only measured in straight lines.

It is a superior performance car on the streets that 99.99% of all drivers drive on. Sorry for the confusion.

Talking performance and street driving is almost oxymoron…

Those kind of performance are designed for the tracks…

Since you mentioned 99.9% of us. Well, 99% of us can’t afford a P85D either…

Did you look at the G-force graph? After 3 seconds it’s all Hellcat.

With drag radials, the Hellcat or any high powered RWD car — EV or ICE — will be competitive off the line.

The Tesla has short legs so to speak. With a single gear, you have to make compromises and they chose to sacrifice accelerataion past 60 mph for more acceleration under 60.

What? Only to 60mph! No quarter mile test here.

30 is the new 60.


Only for PEV fans..

Not bad for CR’s “amatuer” understanding…

But CR didn’t explain how the Hellcat dominates the Tesla after about 3 seconds in G forces all the way down the track.

This is why Tesla would win all the short races but lose the longer ones.

That is simply due to 3 things:

1. Instant torque of EV motor
2. Ultra higher gearing ratio which also contributes to torque reduction after 43mph and power reduction after 71mph…
3. AWD of the Tesla vs. Hellcat’s 2WD.

Thermal limits are a huge issue on the Tesla, right? The pack, motor, and power electronics all get hot when producing 500+kw.

Probably NOT. I would think the motor and motor drive would be the first ones to “overheat”. At nearly 500kW, almost 20% of that power (100kW) will be burned up in the motor and motor controller (at least). That is about 100 stove burner for typical home electric hot plates… That is a lot of power to dissipate with such small surface area.

Battery might have slightly better capabilities due to more cooling surface and more coolant.

Then again, I don’t know if Hellcat can sustain that power all day either. Maybe FCA has designed it to handle the cooling all day… I don’t know for sure.

Dogdge tested the Hellcats on hot days for 2 full laps around the racetrack. I also know some motors are also tested for full WOT for 24 hours straight.

Good to know. It ought to be…

Probably extra large radiator, oil cooler and larger capacity fluids…

Another interesting calculation would be to integrate the two “G force” curves and see at what time the two intersects.. That is basically the area under the curve. That tells you when their 0-speed is equal.

Then if you integrate the speed curve again, you will find distance and see at what point the car would pass each other.

Then again, I might expect too much math out of CR guys and its readers…

“Then again, I might expect too much math out of CR guys and its readers…” a lot more people than that is my guess.. As an amateur racer of e12s and e30s (and a glorious day with the 1 series M) straight line acceleration is fun, but exactly that, if it harms the car’s overall balance at the track (the v10 M5 comes to mind) then it is no longer interesting. I think CR’s viewpoint here, the reference of “not automotive” is that grin-causing acceleration stops being fun at a given point. Being able to be at the speed limit, half-way through the 4-way stop sign intersection is ‘not automotive’. You -can- do it but you look like a teen with a new license in a hyper-horse ICE. The Tesla simply goes that fast with little exterior drama – it’s a bit like teleporting to the opposite side of the intersection, compared to a Saturn five’s launch. One can obviously take you to the moon, but a bit unhandy for groceries. I am biased, in that I really like the looks of the SRT, but the cop-magnet-factor made me switch to mom&pop-mobile (screaming four door sedans) way, way back. The… Read more »

I am NOT taking away anything from Tesla, just the point that its 0-30mph performances is a trade off for higher speed..

ICE cars can be made fast too in 0-30mph. Change the gearing ratio and let the engine rev up and then drop the clutch….

It will never match the instant torque of an electric, and this is why more and more muscle cars integrate one or more elctric motor(s)

“It will never match the instant torque of an electric, and this is why more and more muscle cars integrate one or more elctric motor(s)”

It doesn’t have to.

Drop the clutch at 3,000 rpm can effectively achieve the similar results.

Also, it is absolutely pointless to talk about instant torque without talking about gearing ratio.

There’s no point in a Hellcat for a street car and no point in a model S for a track car. Comparing them is just stupid teenage day dreaming.

Well said.

A Hellcat and a P85D?

I thought consumer reports was mainly about dishwashers and blenders. It seems like they’ve found a way to have some fun with their job.