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You must be living under a rock if you haven't noticed electric vehicles' rise in all market segments. What was once a gimmick now is a mainstream technology with more and more manufacturers starting to introduce competent EVs with better features, more extended range, and more practicality. We can safely say that electric vehicles are here to stay and that gasoline and diesel-powered cars and trucks finally have a proper alternative.
When the EVs first started, pioneering companies like Tesla knew that, to get the car-buying public's attention, their models need to have some specific "party trick" that everybody will talk about. Since electric cars cannot produce engine sound and look like any other vehicle on the road, the solution had to be found in the way they drive. Engineers realized that acceleration could be that feature that everybody will remember. Since electric vehicles have the potential to be extremely quick of the line, Tesla fully exploited that fact making its cars very dynamic and introducing, much-publicized and extremely fun, Ludicrous Mode. Today we will tell you all you need to know about it but let's start with a short technology lesson.
Ever since the EVs become common street décor, sports and muscle car owners started getting embarrassed by ordinary electric cars in stoplight drag races. The reason is the fantastic acceleration even if the vehicle is not equipped with a particularly big battery pack or powerful electric motor. In order to produce the most power and torque, a gasoline-powered engine needs to rev up to a certain point. Then the power is sent to the driving wheels over the transmission, which results in loss of energy and prolonged acceleration times. In the case of the electric motor, maximum power and torque are available instantly and since there is no transmission, delivered directly to the driving wheels. The result is back-snapping acceleration available in a matter of milliseconds which frightens all performance car owners.
Of course, not all-electric vehicles are lightning-quick, and some manufacturers are deliberately choosing to limit their models to more moderate acceleration figures. This is done mainly to preserve the range, drive train components, and reduce tire wear. Economy or base-spec EVs have "normal" 0 to 60 mph since they are not designed to be drag-strip monsters but everyday commuter vehicles.
When the Tesla Model S was first introduced in 2012, the market was amazed at how well-engineered and designed this car was. Even though it was not the first Tesla model, the Model S was a very competent luxury sedan with unique features, advanced technology, and an impressive interior. However, what was even more astonishing was its performance. The early Model S was capable of reaching 60 mph in just over three seconds, making a lot of Ferrari and Lamborghini owners very nervous.
Even though those acceleration figures were already more than impressive, Tesla engineers knew that Model S is capable of doing much better and introduced a special hardware upgrade package called Ludicrous Mode. The Ludicrous Mode was first available on P90D models, equipped with dual motors and an all-wheel-drive train. The package included different software settings and few hardware tweaks needed to maximize the battery pack and electric motors' potential. When it was first introduced, Tesla Model S P90D launched with Ludicrous Mode's help achieved 0 to 60 mph time in just 2.8 seconds, making it quicker than many hypercars!
However, although the 2.8 seconds sounds amazing, Tesla didn't stop there and offered Ludicrous Mode on its top model, P100D, which posted even better acceleration times. In 2017, P100D, on a test track, achieved an astonishing result of 2.28 seconds from 0 to 60 mph time, making this Model S the quickest production car in the world. Just recently, in January 2021, Tesla discontinued the Ludicrous Mode and removed it from the options list on the brand-new Model S.
On cars equipped with this feature, owners will find several levels of engagement. There are two main options – Ludicrous and Ludicrous Plus. The plus feature is more aggressive, maximizing the battery usage and activating the launch control, essential if you want to achieve the best acceleration times. The Ludicrous Plus also warms the battery to a specific temperature in order to extract every last bit of power from it. The battery temperature is very important, and if you live in cold areas, it could take some time.
However, there is a third level of performance, and it is called Ludicrous Plus with Warp Mode. The Warp Mode is a cool, easter egg feature that engages in cool graphics on your central console but also enables the system to heats the battery even more. More heat in the battery will result in more performance, and the independent test showed that you could post slightly better 0 to 60 mph and quarter-mile times if you engage in the Ludicrous Plus with the Warp Mode.
There is no denying that owning a Tesla equipped with Ludicrous Mode is immensely entertaining since the feel of the sudden surge of power and incredible linear acceleration is so addictive. However, there are a couple of things you need to know before you enter your Model S in next week's drag racing event at your local drag strip. First of all, Ludicrous Mode puts additional stress on your drive train components, tires, and battery pack, which can result in failure if you don't follow the manufacturer's specifications and guidelines.
You have to know that engaging in Ludicrous Plus or Ludicrous Plus with the Warp Mode will bring the battery temperatures to the maximum, and Tesla's software will limit you from using this feature too often. You will have to wait at least 10 minutes between the runs in order to stabilize the battery pack. You need to understand that making the cargo that fast is putting enormous stress on all components and the launch control software.
Also, driving it in the most extreme setting will result in a low range since the car will use more power to achieve performance than to cover the distance. In some cases, just a couple of blistering fast quarter-mile runs will slash your range in half. So, be careful if you are a long way from home or a charging station.