Tesla Model S Plaid Takes on Harley-Davidson LiveWire in Six-Wheel All-EV Drag Race


The Tesla Model S Plaid has the unofficial (just because there is no authority that could award it) title of the world’s quickest-accelerating production car, so you’d better bring something heavily modified if you’re going to be lining up against it in a drag race hoping to win. There’s just no point otherwise. Showing up in any other stock car and “giving it a go” makes as much sense as jumping into the sea and hoping not to get wet – it’s just not going to happen. And given how simple the whole thing is for the person in the Tesla, that means you can’t even rely on your potentially superior driving skills. However, there’s one more way in which the “quickest-accelerating production car” doesn’t necessarily spell “defeat” even before the race has started: competing in a vehicle that doesn’t fall into the “car” category. The Harley-Davidson LiveWire certainly qualifies as non-car, but then again, it’s not exactly the first vehicle that springs to mind when looking for ways to defeat the Plaid in a drag race. We were thinking more in the region of something with wings, a jet engine (or two), and radar-evading capabilities. All jokes aside, we all know the LiveWire all-electric bike is a great piece of kit, but, just like its gas-burning siblings, its acceleration capabilities are severely restricted by the small contact patch of its singular driven wheel. By contrast, the Model S Plaid will multiply that by four, giving it the kind of off-the-line traction the bike can only dream of. Not that we would have had any doubt over the outcome of this race anyway, but we’ve seen the LiveWire go against two other EVs before. On one occasion, the bike won by beating a Tesla Model 3 (and a Performance, no less), but it was comfortably defeated by a Porsche Taycan Turbo (no “S”), which stands absolutely no chance against the Plaid. The two protagonists of the race you’re about to see were well aware of the performance gap between the two vehicles so the Plaid driver agreed to give the guy on the bike the move. The only unknown here was the fact that the Harley-Davidson had had its rear wheel replaced with a larger one. However, since this is a 1/8-mile race, that should do more harm than good since a larger diameter means better top-end performance but worse acceleration. However, the result makes it crystal clear that replacing the wheel with the stock one would have had no remarkable impact.