The Tesla Plaid and Innovator’s Dilemma

Since a child, I would read every car magazine cover to cover that I could get my hands on such as Car & Driver, Motor Trend, and Road & Track. And every article talking about a performance sports car would have the single most important number front and center in the article…and that number was the time it would take the car to accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in how many seconds.

That number that determined how fast the car was and how to rank which was the fastest car on the road. And for the past 60+ years, the sole focus of companies like Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Porsche was to churn out faster and faster production cars every year.

Tesla Plaid visiting the Porsche Experience Center in Los Angeles

I recently had the chance to rent the Tesla Model S Plaid over the course of 8 days and put on over 1,100 miles and that experience has blown my mind. The performance of that car is something I have never experienced before and mind you I have ridden/driven a ton of exotic cars. The Tesla Plaid has over 1,000 horsepower and can hit 0-60 MPH in 2 seconds flat. For context, there is NOT a single production car that has EVER been manufactured that can accelerate as fast as the Plaid.

It makes me wonder what all these high performance automotive companies have been doing for the past decade when Tesla came on the scene. My guess is they all have shades of Innovator’s Dilemma…they can’t let go of the past. In the history of the tech world there are numerous examples of companies dying because they didn’t innovate. In the automotive world, I believe we will see the same thing happen.

The days of the internal combustion engine (ICE) are over, you hear people talk about how electric vehicles (EVs) have no soul…I laugh. I’m sure those same people had relatives that said the same thing when we switched from horse driven cars to ICE. The ICE has no heart, it’s not a living thing like a horse…I will never switch!

Tesla Plaid in Beverly Hills

When I picked up the Tesla Plaid in Los Angeles and the very first time I hit the accelerator I could feel my heart rate take off. Over the next 5 days, every time I would get in the car I would have a smile on my face. In addition to the crazy acceleration, the car is packed with many tech features that make driving safer and enjoyable.

Again all the tech features I would have expected to come from a company like Mercedes and not Tesla. Whatever feelings you have about Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) feature you have to hand it to Tesla because they pushed the entire industry to look at the technology and offer similar technology in their cars.

Tesla Plaid visiting the Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta

Before heading to Atlanta I had booked a Porsche 911 as a rental for 3 days. But, after experiencing the Plaid in LA, I cancelled the 911 rental and instead got another Plaid. My wife was stunned, I’m a HUGE Porsche 911 fanboy but the Plaid has completely changed my thoughts on the legacy of ICE cars. Innovator’s Dilemma is real and we are seeing it unfold in front of our eyes. The companies that can look to the future and understand technology will win. The companies living on their legacy and fumes of the past will be like horses that are put out to pasture.

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