Battle Royale: Dodge Challenger vs. Tesla P85D

By admin Mar 16, 2015

Jeff Neukom, Managing Editor


Five years ago, the thought of an electric car going toe-to-toe with a snarling American muscle car would have been ludicrous. If we’re being honest, the thought of an electric car beating a bike in a race was almost far-fetched.

Tesla Motor Corporations heard the snickers of us gearheads and they went to work to shut us up. Their P85D did exactly that, whooping up on the Dodge Challenger Hellcat, a car that was designed to be the epitome of everything badass.

Yes, an electric car beat a highly engineered, v8-powered monster. Color me disappointed.

Let the record state – I’ve never been much of a fan of the big, growling muscle cars with their gas-guzzling, big-displacement motors. I’ve always been a fan of smaller, more agile import cars.

Still, I was pulling for the Dodge Hellcat because I’m a diehard car guy, and I just can’t stomach the idea of putting an electric car in a category anywhere near that of sports cars.

The race, a quarter-mile sprint at the Palm Beach International Raceway, pitted new school versus old school. Let’s just say that the Hellcat was doomed from the start.

On paper, the Hellcat appeared to have the race locked up, with its supercharged, 6.2 liter V-8 making a whopping 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. Like most muscle cars, it was designed with straight-line races in mind.

Fans of the Fast and the Furious franchise know that this car is everything Dominic Torretto stands for and more. This car is exactly what you want to live out the “quarter mile at a time” philosophy.

The Tesla, powered by revolutionary electric technology, weighs a hefty 5000 pounds. It’s the epitome of a “sleeper” car, as innocent bystanders would never conclude its lurking potential.

It generates 691 horsepower, and a driver only has to select the “Insane” setting to unleash its full potential. When the green light flashed, the Tesla shrugged its shoulders and took off running. It went on to post an impressive 11.68 second run.

The Hellcat did not fare nearly as well. It bucked, burped and bumbled on its way off the line. It is important to note that the driver completely botched the launch, spinning his tires and appearing as if he had never operated a sports car before.

Expert drivers, like those at Car and Driver, have posted times of 11.3 seconds, showing that this car does require skill to operate. Hands down, the Tesla delivered a divine ass kicking.

Some might say that a car like the Tesla, a car that will record consistent times when asked, is a much better option than the difficult, surly Hellcat. While the Tesla is rapidly becoming the benchmark for green technology in automobiles, at least I don’t have to feel bad about dumping my old battery into a landfill.

Alright, alright. I’ll be a good sport. Congrats, Tesla. You’ve won this round.

By admin

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