Chevy Volt Gets Out-Dragged By Tesla Model S

Who says eco cars are mainly about tame pursuits such as maximizing range and efficiency and being so sensible as to receive a gold star from someone like Ralph Nadar?

As competitive and fun-loving people are wont to do, owners of electrified cars are also turning up at local drag strips to see what their battery powered cars can accomplish.

That said, this quarter mile match-up video between a Tesla Model S that recently beat a Viper and set a world production EV record and a humble gas-electric Chevy Volt was anything but a fair contest.

It was recorded just the same by Drag Times and shows what a Volt – driven with a slow launch – is able to do. Because the Volt serves up 273 pound-feet torque from a standstill, some Volt owners report especially good acceleration from 0-30 mph, decent to 60. But a quarter mile needs more grunt than the Volt had to stay competitive.

 

In all, it’s not a bad performer, but not a rocketship like the Tesla is by comparison. A Model S also recently out-dragged a new BMW M5 to 100 mph when in the hands of Automobile Magazine, so any hopes of GM’s “Prius fighter” getting the upper hand were pretty slim.

As for the actual results, the Model S turned a respectable 12.562-second run at 108.34 mph compared to the Chevy’s time of 17.201 at 80.36 mph.

With a gap of nearly 4.7 seconds, we’d say it wasn’t really a race, and more like a demonstration run. Apparently it was all in good fun. The engine noise heard is of course from cars in proximity, not the two electric cars facing off.

Now, if someone can just post a drag race between the Rimac Concept One and a Model S, that could be entertaining indeed. The Model S was entered in the world record book by the National Electric Drag Racing Association (NEDRA) for its speed feat, but in existence in another part of the world is the fringe-lunatic Rimac. The Rimac is not yet in production, but is said to be pending a 2013 limited production launch and has also been called the fastest electric car in the world – estimated at north of 186 mph, not the 130 to which the Model S is limited.

Pitting the Rimac against a Tesla would of course be even more unfair, given the AWD Croation creation costs around 10-times more, and boasts 1,088 all-electric horsepower and 1,180 pound-feet of torque.

Even though it’s long-legged enough to top 300 kph, Rimac says the no-excuses Concept One will sprint from 0-62 mph in 2.8 seconds which ought to help it on its way to completing a quarter mile in a respectable amount of time.

The company also says lateral acceleration from the torque-vectoring supercar rolling on Vredestein Ultrac Vorti tires is an astonishing 1.4 g. (If you can believe it). All-electric range from the 4,300-pound car’s 91-kwh LiFePO4 pack is said to be a Model S-beating 373 miles (600 km) – (“realistic range” estimated at 310 miles (500 km). As for how they calculate “realistic,” we’ll have to see, but we’d expect using its speed potential overly much and achieving such range to be a case of one or the other, not both.

You can read more about that astonishing EV here, but coming back to the Volt, it does a great job for what it is, and is not as financially out of reach as the premier Model S costing 2-3 times more. The Volt is a step closer to a mass market vehicle leading away from oil, and GM wasn’t thinking of bragging rights for cruise night.

But Volt fans often say they’d love to see a high-performance Voltec model, and GM is actually bringing one out that has such a posture, this being the Cadillac ELR.

It’s one thing to race a $40,000 Volt against a $100,000 Tesla and excuse the Volt for not doing so great, but what about the aggressively positioned ELR? Its actual price is not known, and won’t likely be so close to six figures, but it does represent a high-performance image, for sure.

At its heart however is a powertrain remarkably close in configuration to the Volt’s. It puts out a bit more juice, but this is just to compensate for a couple extra hundred pounds or more.

So, how would it be if, a year from now, a video turns up of a Model S against an ELR, and the result – GM car gets creamed – is posted for its new tech halo?

Will this matter? Should GM have found a way to amp up its new ultimate extended-range EV to match the looks? Or will anyone pay the power deficit much attention?

Drag Times