He’s been on the hunt for a while, but our good friend the Tame Geek has finally managed to track down a Tesla. Here’s his review which was first posted over on the Tame Geek ‘site.A little of background if you don’t know why this car is important. In 2008 during the global financial apocalypse, it was more than the banks that took a hit – the American car industry was decimated too. During this time a chap called Elon Musk assumed control of a company he had invested in called Tesla. As CEO and product architect, he has been the most outspoken car company boss in recent memory. The thing is; he keeps his word. The product roadmap for Tesla brought the Roadster, the Model S, the recently launched Model X, and next years Model 3 to market and has spurred (scared) other manufacturers in to rushing forward with their electrification plans.
So with that background, you can see that this car is not only important in general, it’s important to me. I’ve been waiting to get behind the wheel of one of these for what feels like forever.
What is it?
The car as tested here is a Tesla Model S 90D. With Tesla we have new kinds of ‘engine’ designations to learn, so with this one, we have a car with dual-electric motors, hence the ‘D’. The 90 stands for the kWh (kilowatt-hours) of the battery. This number relates not just to power, but to range as well. So our Tesla is an all-wheel drive car, with a reported range of 346 miles per charge, and a 0-60 mph time of 4.2 seconds, with a sticker price of £81, 450 (excluding government incentives. Starting price of a Model S is £57,750 excluding incentives). Oh yeah and an equivalent 417bhp and 485ft-lb of torque, and a top speed of 155mph.
What is it like as a car?
Like someone doing a really good impression of a celebrity. The Model S has borrowed some design cues from its Audi, Mazda and Jaguar competitors, which give it a distinctly European look and that is quite refreshing for an American car. At the crux of it, the Model S doesn’t feel like an American or a European car. It feels like a truly ‘World car’. A machine that would fit in anywhere and removes the bias of borders.
One of the nicest things about the Model S is the fact that some of the design details that are present are the kind of things you only see on concept cars and never in real production models. One of my weaknesses, frameless doors, are present, as are the door handles that slide in to the bodywork when the car is locked, or in motion. On the inside, we have a centre console area that would be filled with buttons in most cars but in the Model S is filled with high-definition display.
Said display is again filled with the kind of things the manufacturers have spent years talking about but never following though on to a great level.For instance, other cars have modems built-in, but the Model S uses it’s for access to Google Maps rather than a proprietary sat-nav and music streaming from a premium Spotify account (courtesy of Tesla). I thought that the big screen would have been more distracting, and a bit less useable than it was, but after many software updates it seems to be really quite practical. The design could use a little less skeuomorphism to be fair, but hell – this is one of the first cars in the world to have an upgradeable dash. (more…)