In a previous article, I shared Drag Times’ video of the Rimac Nevera. In short, it’s a very powerful car that has better numbers than the Model S Plaid, but it’s going to cost as much as 18 Plaids. Thus, us peasants will never get to drive one. On the other hand, numbers are just numbers. Theory versus reality often doesn’t end up where we think it will.
Fortunately, Drag Times talked the owner of their Turo-rented Plaid into letting them race it, head to head, against the Nevera. Here’s what happened:
(More stupid commentary by yours truly below the video)
The goal was to do a record run for both vehicles (in other words, to get the best time anyone’s seen for both). To do that, they made sure to give each vehicle every advantage, including being at 100% state of charge, activate any racing modes each has, and otherwise let the cars have the most ideal conditions for maximum takeoff power.
Both cars also prepared for the run by lighting up the tires to warm them up, so there’s little room to argue here.
It’s worth noting at this point that it’s hard to see on video the immense amount of power each car is laying down during both the prep phase and the race. A car that most people would consider to be scary fast (~400-500 HP) would be beaten hard by either of these cars. Because these are so close in performance, video has the odd effect of making the whole race seem slower because the other car isn’t getting roasted. However, these are both record-setting cars — the #1 and #2 production cars on the planet right now — so don’t let the video fool you.
During the first run, the Plaid initially pulls ahead (largely because the Tesla driver had a better reaction time), but the Rimac quickly closes the gap and then gains ground on it. Times for the first run were 8.65 seconds for the Rimac and 9.27 for the Tesla, which are both blisteringly fast.
In the second race, reaction times were more evenly matched (in fact, within a thousandth of a second), which resulted in an ever bigger gap and the Tesla being left even further behind. In the third run, results were largely the same, with the Rimac slowly but surely pulling ahead of the Plaid. Wide angle action cameras do exaggerate the distance a bit, with the actual gap between the cars being closer to around 4-5 car lengths.
What We Can Learn Here
As I pointed out in the first article covering just the Rimac’ runs, it takes a lot of dough to get in the seat of a Rimac Nevera. For the price, you could get 18 Tesla Model S Plaids, and still have enough money left for a modest cabin in the woods. All that for 5 car lengths in the quarter-mile. For nearly everyone, that’s simply not going to be worth it. The Plaid is within reach of the top end of the middle class, while the Nevera is something they’ll Nevera be able to afford.
We can’t quite call the Plaid a “people’s car,” but it’s sure a lot closer.
At the same time, though, it doesn’t make sense to get butt-hurt over this as a Tesla fan. To see the two fastest production cars on the planet be electric cars shows us that fossil fuels are being left even further behind now. Tesla’s mission (to accelerate the transition to renewable energy) is winning this race. It’s becoming undeniable that electric drive is the only kind of performance now, and almost nobody is taking internal combustion very seriously now when it comes to performance.
The only advantage gas has left at this point is weight and energy density. For the hardest handling scenarios and for things like towing a camper or boat, ICE is still hanging on as the winner at this point. As battery prices fall and energy densities improve, we’re going to see even that gap close up over time. And really, that’s all ICE has going for it at this point — that it’s a matter of time.
The other thing we need to see is how the Nevera performs on a twisty track. Will it beat Plaid there, too? Or will Tesla remain king of electric hot laps at places like Laguna Seca?
As I pointed out at the end of the last article, the race for the fastest vehicles is far from over. Other EVs are coming out that will be even faster, leaving even these torque beasts behind. It’s an exciting time in automotive history.
Featured image: Screenshot from the Drag Times YouTube video.
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