The 2020 Tesla Roadster's surprise introduction came with some pretty tantalizing specs. One of them is Tesla's claimed 0-60 mph sprint in just 1.9 seconds, but another figure washed over the internet. According to Tesla, the Roadster will have 10,000 newton meters (more than 7,000 pound-feet) of torque. That's an incredible figure, but the devil is in the details and we need some context for that number.
Jason Fenske of Engineering Explained is here to break it all down. Tesla's figure boils down to 7,000-plus lb-ft of wheel torque. The unit is much different than engine or electric motor torque, which automakers measure with a dyno. Wheel torque is calculated with drive ratios, and Jason uses the 2018 Dodge Challenger Demon as an example. The Demon makes 972 Nm of torque, or the 770 lb-ft figure Dodge touts. Multiplying that by its first-gear ratio of 4.7:1 and also considering its final-drive ratio of 3.09:1 yields 14,000 Nm of wheel torque in first gear.
That figure, however, doesn't represent torque as we know and use it every day. We recognize torque at the engine, not when it's been multiplied through drive ratios.
Jason declares the Tesla Roadster's 10,000 Nm of torque claim is probably legitimate since it's actually measured in wheel torque.
He then goes on to use that number to figure out a number that Tesla hasn't shared for the reborn Roadster: horsepower. Jason makes some basic assumptions using known data (0-60 mph in 1.9 seconds, the quarter mile in 8.8 seconds) and some best guesses (a weight around 5,000 pounds, a gear ratio of 9.73:1) and arrives at a horsepower figure between 1,000 and 1,400.
We won't know Tesla's official specs until the Roadster is ready for an official launch. No matter what the final numbers are, this car will pin you back in your seat and perform like a supercar, at least in a straight line.