Tesla’s Model 3 was disqualified from a race for being electric

Tesla has, once again, sparked controversy after its Model 3 Performance car successfully won second place in a time attack lap run. Turns out the Model 3 runs on an  unapproved fuel: electricity.

Tesla’s Model 3 Performance came under fire during the Global Time Attack Super Lap event in Buttonwillow, California, where its driver utilised a new track mode update to improve car performance. Thanks to the update, Tesla’s in-development electric vehicle won second place. When the Model 3’s driver, Cameron Rogers, stood on stage to receive his award all was well. In fact, an issue only arose once a disgruntled, lower-placing driver announced that the Tesla shouldn’t be allowed to win as “electricity is not listed as an approved fuel.” Cameron subsequently handed back his prize and walked off stage.

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Tesla is no stranger to grabbing headlines. Earlier this year UBS reviewed the new Model 3’s spec and stated it can’t make money. Then, just one month later, Musk got into trouble with the US Securities and Exchange Commission after tweeting he wanted to take the company private. For his flamboyant company announcement he was asked to step down as Tesla’s Chairman to the board of directors and pay a $20m personal fine.

Ultimately, upsetting the racing scene by beating fossil-fuel-powered cars isn’t the worst situation for Tesla. It’s a reflection that electric cars are just as capable as traditional petrol engines and, what’s more, the protest was made by another driver, not a regulatory body. The race organisers themselves had no issues with the Tesla entering.

Alongside Roger’s driving ability, the Model 3 did receive speed benefits as a result of a new update that Tesla released at the beginning of November. The update included a new track mode for the Model 3 Performance vehicles, allowing them to utilise a new cooling method that keeps the car running faster for longer.

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Rogers, when stepping down from his second place podium position, made use of the incident to shout “you can’t stop the future, man!” He might have lost second place, but I think getting to say that comment was a win itself.

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