What Is Tesla Launch Mode?

Available exclusively on Performance All-Wheel Drive vehicles, Tesla’s launch mode optimizes acceleration on surfaces with good traction.
Written by Zachary Morgan
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Just when you think you’ve discovered every fun easter egg in your Tesla, you stumble upon launch mode—the somewhat hidden feature that can launch your car forward like a roller coaster on suitable surfaces.
Designed with track drivers and racing enthusiasts in mind, Tesla’s launch mode was released in 2020 and gave drivers a neat new acceleration mode to use under certain conditions. It’s not meant for everyday driving by any means, but it’s a nifty little feature that can be very fun to use.
If you want to know how to activate launch mode—or you’re just curious as to when and where you’re supposed to use it—take a look at this guide from
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What is Tesla launch mode? 

Tesla’s launch mode is a driving mode designed to provide instant, optimized acceleration on surfaces with good traction. It’s similar, but not the same as Tesla’s ludicrous mode, which increases speed by diverting extra power from the battery to the engine. With ludicrous mode activated, a Model S can shoot from 0-60 mph in an astonishing 2.5 seconds.
Launch mode, though, is intended more for people who like to drive in places like closed circuit driving tracks, where there aren’t any other cars or pedestrians to avoid. 
The vehicle has to be at a complete stop to initiate the launch mode process, plus the brakes have to be warm and the wheel needs to be straight. That’s because when you take your foot off the brake pedal, launch mode will activate and shoot your Tesla forward like a rocket for a few seconds before deactivating. If you feel a
need for speed
and you’ve
gotta go fast
, then launch mode is for you.

How to turn on Tesla launch mode

Follow these steps to activate launch mode in your Tesla:
  • Make sure brakes are warm by driving around for a few minutes and using them a few times
  • Set the air suspension to Low
  • Set the acceleration level to Insane+ or Ludicrous+ (if available)
  • At a complete stop, shift into drive and ensure that the steering wheel is straight
  • Firmly hold down the brake pedal with your left foot, then completely depress the accelerator pedal
  • Within a second, a message should appear on the instrument panel that says Launch Mode is enabled
  • Release the brake, and the vehicle will launch itself forward
Sounds pretty fun, right? Before you go trying it out, though, here are a few extra things to keep in mind:
  • Launch mode significantly lowers the front suspension, meaning ground clearance will be affected
  • Launch mode is not available if slip start has been enabled
  • Launch mode is only available if the temperature is 37° F or warmer.

How long can you leave Tesla launch mode on?

Another cool thing about launch mode is that it won’t really affect your battery, because it deactivates itself after the initial takeoff. Keep in mind, though, that sharp acceleration like this can cause extra wear and tear on your powertrain and other components. 
We know it’s a lot of fun, but try not to get too crazy with launch mode!
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Which Teslas have launch mode?

Currently, launch mode is only available on the Performance All-Wheel Drive variants of the
Model S
and the
Model X
. It makes sense that it’s only available on some of the more premium Teslas, as it is a bit of a gratuitous mode that might not have much use for many people. Still, though, you can find forums of Tesla fans daydreaming about the day when the
Model 3
finally gets launch mode.

How to optimize your Tesla insurance

Whether you’re launching yourself off the line in a Model X or simply getting groceries in a Model Y, you should still make sure your Tesla is protected by a good
Tesla car insurance
policy. Well, getting a good quote from
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Yes it’s legal, but it’s only meant to be used in certain places like driving tracks. Using launch mode at a red light or any other time during daily driving could be very dangerous.
No, unfortunately only the Performance All-Wheel Drive versions of the Model X and Model S can currently enjoy this mode.
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