Friday, January 11, 2013

First Impressions: Tesla Model S


Times they are a changin,’ it used to be driving a Porsche or Aston Martin would get heads turning on the sidewalk. Today, only heads full of grey hair snap to attention at the sound of a grumpy V-8, the younger generations won’t lift their heads from vital smart-phone attention for anything less than a full electric vehicle (EV). It’s the eco cars that are now all the rage, yet the Tesla Model S is a car that grabs everyone’s attention.

Tesla has created an all new driving experience with the Model S, starting from scratch in redesigning the automobile as a whole. It’s not the anemic EV stereotype but a sleek and mean rocket, overflowing with tech and sports a sexy look. It won’t just be science geeks wanting a rip in this ride.

The coolness factor gets turned to eleven with touch operated door-handles, and a dash void of any dials or buttons, just a 17-inch iPad-like interaction interface that controls everything one would want with the car, fully adjustable to the user with steering wheel controls. With a key fob the car turns on by sitting in the driver’s seat and off by getting out. Best of all, the S cures range anxiety, getting 257km with the base, opt for the more expensive 85kWh battery and that number improves to 480km. It is the first road trip capable EV.

The beautiful thing about electric cars is their ability to make the exercise of driving relaxing. The smooth propulsion of electric power will actually calm you in the worst congestion yet will shoot your body full of excitement on a clear road. The S shoved me into the seat back like nothing I’ve ever driven and corners nearly as well. However, it’s also practical with two massive trunks and seating for up to five adults and two children.

I end with this; there are few modern cars that I would buy, and furthermore, I loathe automatic transmissions. However, Tesla has created an all new joy of driving with the Model S and I yearn to one day own one.

Specs:
Price: $ 64,500 base, $ 114,300 as tested
Engine: Rear-mounted, three phase, four pole AC induction motor, RWD
Power: 416 hp, 443 lb-ft
Weight: 2,223 kg
 
Range: 257 km with 40 kWh battery, 370 km with 60 kWh battery, 480 km with 85 kWh battery

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