If you follow Tesla, you likely already knew that "Plaid" has something to do with acceleration. However, while many people think of Elon Musk's Plaid simply as a performance car or a specific mode for the quickest acceleration, it's actually something Musk talks about when it comes to accelerating the company as a whole, primarily via software successes.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is a huge fan of Spaceballs, and that's where the Plaid and Ludicrous references come from. The quirky and outspoken CEO also likes to share memes and talk in code at times, this way only some people will truly understand what he's sharing.
With that said, it recently came to light that Musk had much more in mind than Model S acceleration when engaging "Plaid Mode." As reported by Teslarati, Tesla recently spoke with the media at an event in China. Vice President of Global Software Engineering David Lau shared at the event that Tesla's Plaid Mode applies to software development as much as it does EV performance, though the two are obviously related.
A few of the topics at the event included, “Enabling Plaid Mode in Software Development” and “How Tesla’s Software Development Maintains Plaid Speed.” An attendee of the event shared some of Lau's words with Teslarati. The VP explained:
“Tesla has always been challenging tradition, challenging industry conventional thinking, and challenging its own comfort zone… This is indeed difficult, but as long as we keep pushing ourselves to continuously break through boundaries, there is nothing that cannot be achieved."
In moving from the already impressive "Ludicrous Mode" to the ridiculous "Plaid Mode," Tesla and Elon Musk are working to prove that they can continue to push the envelope. The goal is to be hyper-disruptive and bring new innovations to market that will transform the industry. Moreover, to do so at the speed of Plaid.
Tesla China reiterated Lau's words in a related press release, sharing that the company's teams "have a persistent pursuit of disruptive innovation and breakthroughs." They work in an environment that caters to engineers and attracts some of the top experts in their fields.
For Tesla to "accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy” at Plaid speed, it needs to develop successful new software and implement it as quickly as possible. Moreover, this also encourages rivals to step up their game.
Lau made it very clear in his presentation that Tesla really is a software company and a clear leader in the space. While the average person may simply see the company as an automaker, it goes far beyond producing EVs. Without the software, Tesla arguably wouldn't be anywhere near where it is today.