What’s Inside?, a highly popular YouTube Channel, got to experience the Tesla Plaid Model S. I was also in the car, but I didn’t realize who was in the front seat at the time. It wasn’t until Eli Burton told me well after the ride was over that I found out who that was. Dan, the host, shared his experience in the video below and it was pretty neat seeing my own reactions from a different perspective. I’m grateful that I rode with Dan and Eli and that Dan included my reactions in his video.
I don’t have a camera setup like Dan has and only had my iPhone 7 to document my own experience, so am rather grateful that my experience is included in Dan’s video. And the way he blended my voice during the beginning was fun, too. And, yes, that’s me saying, “Oh, s****!
You can also see me (teal-haired lady) behind Dan as we were getting into the shiny new vehicle. The first thing I noticed was that new car smell as we strapped in and took off. “The Teslas are racing over there and it is so fast,” Dan says excitedly in the video. After putting on a plaid mask that Tesla gave out (yes, I got one, too), Dan shared footage of the redone racing track at the Fremont factory.
“They have a redone racing track right here where they have the plaid lights all set up. They’re going to let everybody get inside these cars and take test drives around. It’s going to be a fun night. So I’m going to bring you along for the ride, show you what’s new, and give you my thoughts as a Model S owner and a Tesla owner.”
After Elon left the stage, Dan shared his thoughts: “I currently have a Tesla Model S. It’s the 2020 model. It’s a fantastic car, but I will be honest, after watching some of the things with the exterior and the interior of the changes that they did with this Plaid version, it makes me think that maybe I need that.”
Dan noted that the air-cooled seats were fantastic and said that the screen system, the computer chips, and how they worked are “really, really good.”
He also said that he loved the air vents and how they function and that you can sit in the back seat and actually be comfortable. I can verify this since I sat behind Dan in the back seat. For most of my life, I’ve been obese (childhood obesity is a major problem here in the U.S.), and although I’ve lost a lot of weight over the past couple of years due to a much healthier lifestyle, I still have a ways to go. Sitting in the back seat of cars has been a struggle for me, but I was comfortable in the Plaid — didn’t feel cramped at all.
Dan also spoke about the better range. “I’m always the person that likes to have better range over better performance. If the Model S Long Range has the seats, has all of the different features, other than maybe the carbon engine and the super fast side of it, I could see myself getting a long range Model S.”
The Test Ride
“I’m about to go into the fastest car in production history,” Dan said as he, Eli, and I got into the vehicle. Dan asked our driver, Michael, how many rides he could give before he would get sick. Michael said that he does this all day. Dan then gives a better view of the display than my camera picked up. “This is all new, the heads-up display. All the Model 3, Model Y people that hate the display, look at that. It looks sick!”
Michael asked us if we were ready and told us to hold on tight. As we approached the plaid lights, I remember feeling a rush of excitement when Michael explained that we were going into Cheetah Mode. Tesla’s Cheetah Mode or stance, whichever you prefer to call it, is where the car’s front end crouches when launch control is activated — much like the crouch a cheetah takes before it goes after its prey.
“The front settles down and then holds itself down so you get continuous front friction,” Dan explained as Michael told us to lean our heads back. “Everybody ready?” Michael asked. I nodded as the others said yes and Michael floored it.
— Johnna Crider, The 1 and Only (@JohnnaCrider1) June 11, 2021
It really was as if we were taking off in an airplane — but much more intense. Elon Musk explained earlier in the day that the peak acceleration of the Plaid Model S is over 1.2 Gs and is 20% faster than falling. For those who don’t know the details of a g-force, this is a measure of acceleration and 1 G is what we feel due to the force of gravity.
Peak acceleration is over 1.2 g’s, which is 20% faster than falling
— Elon Musk, the 2nd (@elonmusk) June 18, 2021
“I literally felt like something was pushing me against the back of my chair,” I said. And it did. Honestly, as I watch the video, it doesn’t do justice to the experience. You have to feel this rush for yourself to understand just how intense and fun it truly is.
“So, during acceleration, you get about 1.3 to 1.4 G, so you’re effectively getting pushed back harder than you’re sitting down,” Michael explained to us.
“I know I said that I want a Long Range Tesla, but maybe I need Plaid Mode!” Dan said. Yes, Dan, you need Plaid Mode.
After we got out of the vehicle, Tesla employees gave us this fun little informational card about the Plaid Model S:
On it is a graph showing the ¼-mile acceleration time of the Tesla Model S Plaid compared to three other vehicles. It was dated May 11, 2021, and these stats were logged at the Famoso Dragstrip where Jay Leno broke the world record in the Tesla Model S Plaid. The vehicles and times are as follows:
- Model S Plaid: 9.227 seconds.
- Chiron Sport. 9.4 seconds.
- 918 Spyder: 9.7 seconds.
- Taycan Turbo: 103 seconds.
- Hellcat: 10.8 seconds.
Dan Shared More Thoughts On His Experience
“I guess I know what Plaid Mode is now. With a Tesla, usually, you get that initial launch, and it’s like, whoa! And then it just kind of lets off. It’s still picking up and going faster and faster, but not at the same rate as what this does.”
I’ve experienced a 0–60 mph rush in a Model 3 Performance before and I can agree that the Plaid experience is unlike any experience I’ve ever had in any vehicle.
“That initial boom that you get that throws you in the back of your seat, you continue to get it more and more as he continues to go forward,” Dan further explained. You can watch Dan’s full video here.
As I’ve said before and in other articles, my experience with cars is very limited. I never learned how to drive and never really had access to a car to learn. Here in Louisiana, you have to take a state driving course if you’ve never driven before and I’m currently saving up for that while taking a few lessons with a friend when she has time.
That aside, I’ve had test rides in fun vehicles here and there before and I often use Uber when it’s available (lately, there’s been a driver shortage for both Uber and Lyft here). Throughout all of my life, I can honestly say that being in a Tesla is vastly different from being in a regular fossil fuel car. It’s even much different from being in other EVs. I’ve ridden in a few EVs at different events here in the state, and they are designed very differently. But the Model S Plaid is even vastly more different.
In my initial article documenting my experience in the Model S Plaid, I didn’t include some of the details that Michael shared — and, honestly, this was because I was caught up in the moment. Also, my audio didn’t pick up Michael’s information as clearly as Dan’s did.
I will say this to end this article: the Plaid Model S was the best Tesla — and vehicle — I’ve ever ridden in.