Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA ) set out to kill the image of electric cars as golf carts. And it succeeded -- at least in the eyes of anyone who's taken a Roadster or a Model S test drive. Both cars will pull you back in your seat. But how do they stack up against their gas-guzzling peers? After a visit to Zero to 60 Times, some of the results are a bit surprising.
Tesla's first electric car, the 2008 Tesla Roadster, set a pretty high standard: zero to 60 in 4.6 seconds -- not bad.
The 2011 Tesla Roadster 2.5 S hit 60 in just 3.7 seconds.
Tesla Model S Performance
The large body on the Model S doesn't slow down Tesla's performance much. The 2013 Model S Performance hit 60 in 3.9 seconds. The company's slowest version of the Model S, the 60 kWh, hits 60 in 5.9 seconds.
2013 Ford Mustang GT 5.0
Zero to 60 in 4.5 seconds -- slower than both the Roadster and the Model S Performance.
2013 BMW M550d xDrive
Zero to 60 in 4.8 seconds -- again, slower than both the Roadster and the Model S Performance.
2013 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible ZL1
Zero to 60 in 4 seconds. You guessed it: slower than both the Roadster and the Model S Performance.
2013 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG
A handcrafted 6.0-liter bi-turbo V12 with 621 horsepower, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz is equipped with some serious muscle. Still, at zero to 60 in 4.3 seconds, it loses to both the Roadster and the Model S Performance. Not to mention you'll be paying more, too.
2014 Porsche 911 GT3
Luxury sports-car maker Porsche is tough competition for anyone. Its 2014 911 GT3 gets to 60 in an impressive 3.3 seconds. But for a large sedan, the Model S Performance trails remarkably close behind at 3.9 seconds.
Green or not, Tesla's electric cars can perform
There's been a lot of debate about whether electric cars really are better for the environment. Fool contributor Katie Spence makes a great case against battery-electric vehicles as "green cars." But is Tesla's "green" image the only factor propelling the company to success?
As the debate rages on, Tesla continues to rack up noteworthy accolades. Motor Trend named the Model S its 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year by a unanimous vote. Consumer Reports gave the car a 99 points out of a possible 100, the highest rating it has ever given. And now the car has received the highest safety rating ever among sedans, minivans, and SUVs in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's history.
Whatever people believe is the greenest option, there's no denying the Tesla's recent success. If it can continue to deliver top-notch technology on wheels like the Model S and the Roadster, Tesla may continue surprising the world -- green enough or not.
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