Why is the Tesla Model S Plaid called the Model S Plaid?

Elon Musk did not name the Tesla Model S Plaid in reference to the very useful blanket when you are cold in winter. This is a nod to a comic film, which parodies Star Wars.

On the Tesla configurator, you can buy a Model 3, a Model 3 Long Autonomy, a Model 3 Performance, a Model S or even a Model S Poster. Two of the three suffixes don’t really need an explanation: ‘Grande Autonomie’ means the car can go longer, while ‘Performance’ promises to go faster. But what is “Plaid”, which normally refers to an accessory to keep warm, rather than road services?

The origin of the word “Plaid” comes from a film called The Mad History of Space (Spaceballs in original version). Released in 1987, this parody of the Star Wars universewhere, for example, Jabba the Hutt becomes Pizza the Hutt, is directed by Mel Brooks.

A priori, Elon Musk is a big fan of the film, as long as he would have named his most expensive car in reference to the fictional speed reached by a spaceship during a chase. We tell you.

The Model S Plaid refers to a parody of Star Wars

In The Mad History of Space, there are three speed lights displayed on the dashboard of the villain ship: Light Speed ​​(light speed), Ridiculus Speed ​​(ridiculous speed), and Ludicrous Speed ​​(insane speed) — from slowest to fastest. In reality, the ship is going so fast, that one of the heroes writes ” They’ve gone to Throw Blanket! in reference to the pinnacle of performance.

The parallel matches the Model S Plaid well. The 100% electric car is equipped with three motors, claims an output of 1,020 horsepower and is capable of reaching 100 km/h in 2.1 seconds. According to tests carried out by MotorTrendTesla’s car tops the fastest electric cars — ahead of the Porsche Taycan Turbo S and the Lucid Air Grand Touring Performance.

For the record, the older generations of Model S already paid homage to The Mad History of Space, with the Ludicrous mode (which allowed to shoot down the 0 to 100 km/h in less than 3 seconds). The word “Ludicrous” is also the name given to a speed in the film.

Tesla engineers have gone so far as to reproduce the speed animation on the Model S Plaid screen when you engage the Dragster mode. In the film, Plaid’s cruising speed is so high that the stars become colored lines forming checkered patterns that you would find on a blanket—hence the name “Plaid”. It is also found at the rear of the vehicle, in the trunk, under the right rear headlight.

Plaid logo on the Tesla Model S Plaid // Source: Thomas Ancelle for Numerama

Designed to provide all the power available, Dragster mode involves preparing the car (warming up the battery, adjusting the chassis) and following a specific procedure: press the brake fully, press the accelerator pedal bottom, wait for the car to ‘go’ and release the brake pedal to ‘take off’. Yes, we insist on the word “take off”: the Model S Plaid is better than Space Mountain – famous Disney attraction that sticks to the seat.


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Why is the Tesla Model S Plaid called the Model S Plaid?