I've been critical of electric cars, often bashing them for their lack of "soul". Stepping on the accelerator doesn't quite give the emotion I've been so accustomed to from a gasoline engine, especially those with turbochargers. EV cars honestly made me feel like I was inside an oversized, glorified golf cart, especially in their infancy. As the years went by, though, gas prices continue to climb and more interesting EV offerings have emerged beyond cars like the Chevy Bolt.
Today there are more than 15 new electric cars available at U.S. dealerships and charging stations are springing up like mushrooms in every major city - something that used to be a pain to locate. Sportier and more luxurious EV models are also getting into the hands of not just those looking to save the planet and cut their monthly gas bills, but enthusiasts who care about style and performance, which is the case for this 2019 Tesla Model S P100D.
TESLA AIN'T NO JOKE
I won't go too far in depth on the Tesla and its flagship Model S, but let's be fair... Since 2017, the Model S has been making headlines everywhere, whether you liked it or not. I was never a big fan of its rather boring design; however, the top-of-the-line P100D model has been outrunning any supercar or hypercar you can think of in a 0-60mph dash in just 2.3 seconds (2.28 seconds as tested by Motor Trend). It's quite ludicrous (pun intended).
Tesla's overall AWD performance has also received some good feedback from the motorsports community as well. In 2018, Mountainpass Performance campaigned a modified Model 3 in time attack, which recorded a 2:00 lap time at Buttonwillow Raceway during the annual Super Lap Battle (seconds faster than Evos and STis in its class). Last year, Tesla released a Twitter video of a prototype Model S lapping Laguna Seca Raceway in 1:36.555 (basically on par with a Nissan GT-R or Porsche 911). These are huge feats for a car manufacturer that hasn't even been around two decades yet. The Palo Alto-based company continues to gain momentum, not just with wealthy housewives and computer programmers, but with the enthusiast community. TDG is the latest player to jump into the EV game and they have some new and exciting parts that might pique your interest.
First things first about modifying electric cars: you don't really want to touch the electric motors (unless you're some sort of electrical engineering/computer programming genius). The Model S P100D already comes as a rocketship so what most logical tuners address are the suspension, brakes, grip, wheels, aero and weight reduction. TDG has developed two product lines for its Model S (which will fit all 2016.5 models and newer), which are the body kit and brake rotors.
The body kit is pretty straightforward, designed by Jon Sibal, made of 100% carbon fiber (not just an overlay), it includes the front lip, side skirts, rear diffuser and trunk spoiler. The entire package retails for $7,250.
The front and rear brake rotors have a bit more story behind them. Named "ULTRADISC", the rotors are slotted for better cooling; however, the biggest advantage comes from saving 22lbs. of unsprung weight when you change out all four rotors. This benefits the Tesla by improving handling, acceleration and braking, as well as reducing energy use. According to TDG, the reduction of unsprung weight is 8.4% resulting in almost 20 more miles of range.
Sharpening up the handling and further reducing body roll are KW coilovers. If you're privy to the Model S P100D, then you'll understand that TDG had to rip out the factory air ride suspension including the air compressor in order to install the coilovers. We imagine it's not what most Tesla owners would do, however, the TDG demo car is intended to be more of a track-capable sedan as opposed to a glorified grocery getter.
Last but not least are the Volk Racing TE37 wheels which, quite frankly, look damn good on just about anything. The stock Model S comes with 19-inch wheels and the loaded model comes with 21-inch wheels. TDG spec'd its TE37s at 20x9" front and 20x10" rear with grippier NT05s, which is a much more aggressive tire than the OEM equipment. We have to say, with the combination of the carbon lip kit, RAYS wheels and lowered KW suspension, this Model S looks pretty damn proper and is easily one of the better looking modified Teslas we've seen.
TDG joins a slowly budding market of Tesla tuners with brands like Unplugged Performance and T Sportline having already been established for several years now. As much as many of us hate or ignore electric cars (including me), they're not going anywhere. They're the future, they've got potential, and with new companies like TDG making some legitimate aftermarket parts, perhaps it won't be too long until we all start going to the dark side of EV.