It's all about math and physics, folks. At least that's the soup that fills the head of Engineering Explained host Jason Fenske, which is why he's so easily able to explain scientific concepts to the average YouTube viewer. Recently, he posted a video going over the numbers produced by Motor Trend in its recent test of the Tesla Model S P100D, specifically the 2.28-second 0-60 mph time. It seemed that the magazine was able to exceed theoretical limits that Fenske previously calculated. That's not the case though, as we learn in the video above.
When Motor Trend and other outlets preform instrumented testing, they will often do a one-foot rollout during the 0-60 portion of the testing. This means that the timer recording the run doesn't start until the car has traveled about a foot. Now, this means that the car being tested will already by ahead of the game since it's not starting the clock while it's still at a standstill.
Before you cry foul note that there's a reason for this methodology, and it all relates back to drag racing. When you stage for a drag race, you trip an initial light beam that shows you've pre-staged before rolling forward a bit more and become full staged. When the light turns green (or actually, you should start before that happens or you're going to get slower times), you mash the throttle and rocket off down the track.
The timer doesn't start ticking away until your front tires clear that secondary staging beam. This is how you get that one-foot of rollout. Historically, this is how cars have been tested. So to continue stacking up current machines against those that have become data points in history, we have to use the same testing methodology.
That's basically how Motor Trend can record a 2.28-second blast to 60 mph. The entire run from a dead stop without rollout actually occurred in 2.53 seconds, which is still blisteringly quick but not quite physics defying.