What Is Tesla Plaid Mode?

If you’re planning on putting your Tesla Model S Plaid to the test on the racetrack, you’ll want to know about the model’s Plaid Mode.
Written by Ethan Moser
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
If you purchased a Tesla Model S Plaid with hopes of dominating on the racetrack, you’ll need to know how to activate the model’s Tesla Plaid Mode (a.k.a. Plaid Track Mode)—a function that drastically increases the model’s on-track performance capabilities. 
Following in the footsteps of the Tesla Model 3 Performance’s Track Mode, Tesla Plaid Mode was introduced at the start of 2022 as a key feature of the Model S Plaid. Plaid Mode was introduced in an attempt to achieve the fastest lap times for a production all-electric vehicle at Nürburgring in Germany—and it certainly succeeds. 
The 2022 Model S Plaid currently boasts the fastest acceleration of any car in production, accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in as little as 1.9 seconds! A great deal of that speed is courtesy of the all-new Tesla Plaid Mode. 
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If you’re not sure how to activate Tesla Plaid Mode to optimize your Model S Plaid’s performance, or you just want to know more about the Tesla Plaid Mode’s benefits, you’ve come to the right place. Here with a comprehensive how-to guide on Tesla Plaid Mode is
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What is Tesla Plaid Mode? 

Tesla Plaid Mode is a driver-selectable performance setting on the 2022 Tesla Model S Plaid that grants drivers the ability to freely adjust the car’s stability control, balance, and regenerative braking to maximize the S Plaid’s performance capabilities on the race track. 
Tesla Plaid Mode consists of five unique performance enhancements that optimize the model’s tri-motor platform and more than 1,000-horsepower output. These enhancements include Optimized Powertrain Cooling, Lateral Torque Vectoring,Adjustable Vehicle Dynamics, Adaptive Suspension Damping, and Performance User Interface
Let’s take a closer look at each of those in detail.

Optimized Powertrain Cooling

When you’re driving on a racetrack, your vehicle is going to generate a lot of heat. When it comes to the Tesla Model S Plaid, the majority of this heat is concentrated on the Tesla’s battery, brakes, and motors—which is less than ideal for racetrack-level performance. 
Tesla Plaid Mode helps to manage this build-up of heat and keep these components cool to achieve maximum track performance through optimized powertrain cooling technology. 
Plaid Mode drops the temperature of the S Plaid’s battery pack and motors by generating a large amount of chilled thermal mass that is cycled between the two components. This allows the vehicle to maintain a cooler system for longer while making laps around the track at break-neck speeds. 

Lateral Torque Vectoring

The next key feature of Tesla Plaid Mode is its lateral torque vectoring capabilities. Plaid Mode grants S Plaid drivers additional torque to the car’s front and rear axles. 
Lateral torque vectoring automatically adjusts torque split across the S Plaid’s rear wheels, which decreases the amount of time spent rounding corners. This function of Tesla Plaid Mode equips the model with faster turn-in speeds and cornering speeds, as well as harder acceleration while exiting corners—all of which contribute to the Model S Plaid being the fastest production all-electric vehicle in the world. 

Adjustable Vehicle Dynamics

Without Tesla Plaid Mode engaged, the Model S Plaid’s stability control systems limit tire slippage and maximize grip for safety purposes. On the racetrack, however, these stability controls limit the speed of the model. With Plaid Mode activated, drivers have greater control over the vehicle’s lateral movement.
Tesla Plaid Mode allows Tesla’s Vehicle Dynamics Controller (VDC) to evaluate steering angle as well as accelerator and brake pedal inputs to determine where S Plaid drivers want to place the car on the track. 
Plaid Mode permits a certain amount of tire slippage to increase cornering speeds and automatically adjusts torque split to give drivers even more authority and agility on the racetrack. 
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Adaptive Suspension Damping

Next up on Tesla Plaid Mode’s roster of capabilities is adaptive suspension damping. This feature reduces pitch during hard braking and fast acceleration. Plaid Mode rebalances the S Plaid’s damping to improve the car’s responsiveness and create a smoother ride while driving over bumps and rough terrain more quickly. 
Adaptive suspension damping sets the S Plaid’s ride height to ‘Low’ on drive-off to increase the consistency of dynamic on-track driving. While the S Plaid’s suspension typically automatically adjusts to increase driver and passenger comfort, Tesla Plaid Mode deactivates this feature temporarily to optimize performance. 

Performance User Interface

Finally, Tesla Plaid Mode offers drivers access to a ‘Performance UI’ or user interface. This digital interface provides racers with performance data in real-time, including vehicle thermal monitoring, lap timing, G-metering, and dashcam video picture as well as vehicle telemetry. All of this allows drivers to better understand and adjust on-track performance throughout a race. 

How to turn on Tesla Plaid Mode

To turn on Plaid Mode in your Tesla, simply follow these steps: 
  • Tap the ‘Controls’ icon on your Model S Plaid’s infotainment touchscreen.
  • Select ‘Pedals & Steering’, then select ‘Acceleration’.
  • Select ‘Drag Strip Mode’—this will precondition the vehicle’s battery pack by bringing it to an optimized operating temperature. This can take anywhere from 8 to 15 minutes. 
  • A message reading “Peak Performance is Ready” will appear on the screen when preconditioning is complete.
  • Press down on the brake pedal with your left foot while pressing down on the accelerator with your right foot to initiate “Cheetah Stance”—this will lower the front end of the car by approximately two inches to improve traction and anti-lift geometry during max acceleration.
  • After a few seconds, a message will appear reading “Cheetah Stance Enabled”, followed by “Ready to Launch”.
Once your Tesla Model S Plaid is ‘ready to launch’, Tesla Plaid Mode has been activated. From there, all you need to do is let off the brake, and you’re off to the races—literally!

Which Teslas have Plaid Mode? 

The only Tesla model that has access to Tesla Plaid Mode is the 2022 Tesla Model S Plaid—unsurprising considering the mode was specifically designed for the model. That being said, a similar Tesla Track Mode can also be found on the Tesla Model 3 Performance. 

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If you’re planning on tearing up your local racetrack in a state-of-the-art Tesla Model S Plaid—especially with Tesla Plaid Mode activated—it's vital that you’re covered by reliable
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With Tesla Plaid Mode activated, the 2022 Tesla Model S Plaid can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in as little as 1.9 seconds and reach max speeds of 216 mph—making it the fastest production all-electric car in the world!
No—only the Tesla Model S Plaid comes with Tesla Plaid Mode. That being said, the Tesla Model 3 Performance trim does feature a similar Tesla Track Mode. 
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