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Getting full performance out of a Tesla P Model & how to use launch mode

Last modified: 2019-11-06

5 min(s) read

Tesla P85, P85D, P85DL, P90D, P90DL, P100DL, Long Range Performance vehicles are the peak performance Models from Tesla, I’ve owned 3 of these vehicles and have raced all 3 of them at drag strips and other events around the UK, here is what I’ve learnt and the steps required to hit full performance.

If you own or have ever sat in any of the above vehicles you will know that these cars are stupidly quick off the line but did you know you probably haven’t ever hit full performance yet?

Remember to always drive within your limits and drive legally and safely on the public roads.

Steps for peak performance (all cars)

  1. Preheat the battery by charging it to 100% and aim to finish the charge just before you plan to use the car
  2. Turn on max battery mode – Hold your finger on ‘Max Battery’ and turn it on (45mins-60mins to fully heat, you can do this whilst the car is parked and locked)
  3. Turn on Ludicrous+ mode (if P100D / Long Range Performance) or turn on Ludicrous mode (P90DL/P85DL) or Insane mode (P90D/P85D)
  4. Ensure tyres are free of small stones and the ground is dry and free of stones/dirt etc.
  5. Ensure you’ve driven a bit and used the brakes to bring their temperature up
  6. Drop your suspension to low (if possible)
  7. Warmer weather is best and must be above 3 degrees C to Engage Launch Mode (Model S / X only)

Note: Remember a battery with a 100% SOC will not allow for any Regen braking so remember this if you’re used to regen braking. 

Steps for Tesla launch control

  1. Ensure Max Battery is enabled (minimum requirement, follow steps above for best performance)
  2. Come to a complete stop whilst in ‘Drive’
  3. Press & hold brake pedal
  4. Press accelerator pedal with other foot until it says ‘Launch Mode Engaged’
  5. Continue to hold the brake pedal firmly
  6. Within the next 8 seconds press & hold the accelerator pedal fully – You will hear the motors under pressure
  7. Release the brake pedal as quick as possible and within 4 seconds
  8. Go! Go! Go!
  9. Catch your breath…Repeat until sick (optional)

How does the Model S or X perform on daily driving?

It’s superb, probably the best car on the road for day-to-day driving with enough space for 5 adults and luggage, the AWD instant torque allows for effortlessly safe overtaking on two-way roads, smooth pulling away from traffic lights, fast acceleration to join faster-moving vehicles (e.g. joining a motorway) and finally the often overlooked performance in wet, icy or slippery conditions.

The car is either the 2nd (SP100DL), 9th (SP90DL), 18th (SP85DL) or 19th (XP100DL) fastest production car by acceleration in the world! So the Model S P100DL is faster 0-60mph than the Bugatti Chiron which costs £2,068,200.00 or the iconic Ferrari LaFerrari.

All Teslas above 80-100mph will be outperformed by the majority of petrol equivalents, simply because the Model S has one gear but how many days of the week do you drive above 80mph? It’s crazy to think this family car can even be compared to a Ferrari, Bugatti or Dodge!

Limitations of the Tesla for performance driving

All Tesla vehicles have intelligent battery management systems in place to not only heat but also cool the individual battery cells to ensure the longevity of the battery pack. For normal day to day fast driving on roads, you will rarely see any limitations but if you have a cold or hot battery the car will limit performance, you can tell this by a dotted yellow line on the energy graph.

After roughly 10-15 minutes of heavy driving, the battery will be at a high temperature and will require 1-15 minutes of cooling before the car will give full performance again.

What about around corners?

With the low centre of gravity in all Tesla vehicles, the cars have superior handling too many cars of similar weight, however, the Model S P100DL weighs over 2.4 ton compared with the nearest similarly powered production vehicle the Porsche 918 Spyder which weighs 1.8 ton, obviously these lower and lighter 2 seaters sports/hyper cars will perform far better around a track compared with a Model S or X. The beauty of a Tesla is that it can beat 99% of vehicles 0-60mph & also carry you, your family and all your luggage for 2 weeks away.

The Model S isn’t a track car due to this overheating of the batteries but as mentioned above this isn’t what a Model S or X is designed for.

What about Model 3?

Model 3 doesn’t have launch mode but it does have Track Mode, go to ‘Controls > Driving > Track Mode’ to enable. Follow the steps above to give extra performance, you just don’t have the ability to switch on Insane / Ludicrous mode etc or do launch mode.

Performance Mode

Press and hold the Telsa ‘T’ at the top of the touchscreen; then, when it asks for an access code, enter code “Performance”. This allows your car to mimic other cars, unfortunately, you can only decrease the performance.

Max battery mode (Performance Models only)

Turn on Insane or Ludicrous modes, below this you will see the words ‘Max Battery’ press this and a pop up window will appear, switch Max battery mode on. The car will heat up the battery to increase performance. This will increase battery use. It will take 5-60 minutes to heat the battery. After 10 – 15 minutes of hard performance you the car will showing ‘Cooling’ as the car cools the battery pack down.

Ludicrous Plus Mode (P100DL only)

Turn on Ludicrous mode. Hold your finger on the word Ludicrous for 5-10 seconds, the screen will show a brief light show emulating going through space. This box will then appear, pressing ‘Yes, bring it on!’ will start heating the battery beyond the above ‘Max Battery Mode’. When fully heated (extra 5-15mins on top of max battery mode) and at 100% SOC your car will perform at it’s peak performance.

Do you have the expertise? Share your knowledge!

Remember modifying your vehicle may invalidate part of your vehicle’s warranty.
Therefore, be careful and check with Tesla if unsure. Also any modifications will most likely need to be OK’d with your car insurance company.

To the best of our knowledge, these guides are correct and factual. However we take no responsibility if something does go wrong.

If you spot a mistake please ensure you alert us.