autoevolution
Car video reviews:
 

What's Inside a Tesla Model S Plaid: Rich Rebuilds Follows Sandy Munro

Sandy Munro crowdfunded the purchase of a Tesla Model S Plaid to tear it down and show what makes it the quickest four-door vehicle currently available worldwide. While he will take a while to receive the EV, Rich Benoit managed to get his hands on a new Model S Plaid and lightly disassembled it to show us a bit of the vehicle’s hidden elements, even if with a different focus. Munro discusses manufacturing. Benoit talked about acceleration times.
Rich Rebuilds Plays Sandy Munro With a Tesla Model S Plaid 8 photos
Rich Rebuilds Plays Sandy Munro With a Tesla Model S PlaidRich Rebuilds Plays Sandy Munro With a Tesla Model S PlaidRich Rebuilds Plays Sandy Munro With a Tesla Model S PlaidRich Rebuilds Plays Sandy Munro With a Tesla Model S PlaidRich Rebuilds Plays Sandy Munro With a Tesla Model S PlaidRich Rebuilds Plays Sandy Munro With a Tesla Model S PlaidRich Rebuilds Plays Sandy Munro With a Tesla Model S Plaid
The first thing that caught the attention of the Youtuber and his team was the perfectly flat cover on the battery pack. It seems to be an aluminum shell with extensive work to improve aerodynamics. The rear suspension is also completely different: it follows the same arrangement for the Model 3 and adopts aluminum arms instead of steel. Curiously, the H-arms in the back now carry warnings for people not to tow the car by putting any hooks on them.

The Model S Plaid also fixed where coolant nipples are, making them a lot less vulnerable than those on the Model 3. If you don’t remember, the Electrified Garage avoided replacing an entire battery pack on a Model 3 – which would cost $16,000 – by just fixing a broken coolant nipple for $700.

Unfortunately, it was at this point in the video that quality issues started to show up. The seal on a pump placed there was leaking oil. It seems to be in the transmission, close to the oil filter that these gearboxes have. A cover underneath the car is correctly installed on one side and completely loose on the other one. As Chad Hrencecin states, “it’s like they don’t finish stuff.”

Benoit then sees high voltage battery cables running underneath the rear motor. They are only protected by a plastic cover that could be theoretically hit or thorn by something on the road, exposing these cables. Hrencecin then shows Benoit that the plastic cap is more reinforced than the one on the Model 3, which should help protect these cables better. Benoit finds more oil leaks in the process.

The Youtuber and his team also found interesting things underneath the frunk covers. The air tank is new, and it is also a structural element of the body: it seems to work as a cross brace. Tesla also improved servicing the vehicle. Cabin filters are easier to access and far from moisture areas. Besides that, the cut loop is replaceable, which avoids having to switch the entire wiring harness as in previous Tesla vehicles. Benoit jokes that the Model S Plaid is so expensive Tesla may actually care to save it.

After inspecting other aspects of the Model S Plaid, Benoit and his team got the car to drag strip. Before putting the car to run, he and Steven Salowsky made fun of the steering yoke and of Tesla’s attempts to reinvent the operation of windshield wipers, “gear” selector, and even the horn.

The Model S Plaid pitted against a Ford Explorer and made the quarter-mile in 9.6 seconds. On its way home, the electric sedan presented issues and luckily made it to the Electrified Garage's door. Since it is still under warranty, Tesla would repair it. The technicians to which Benoit spoke said they have only heard about two other similar situations. Let’s hope it is nothing serious.

Video thumbnail


 
 
 
 
 

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories