One day in the future, every list of iconic cars must include the Tesla Model S. It’s that important, and that good. It’s also very popular, as it’s selling just about every unit it makes. In fact, some dealerships in several states such as California, Texas, and Missouri are complaining about Tesla’s direct selling methods, because even without a massive advertising campaign Tesla has no problems selling its cars.
So here’s an overview as to what it would be like to own a Tesla Model S.
If you like your data the no-fuss way, then here are the specs in a nutshell:
• Engine: 310 kW AC Motor
• Power: 416 HP / 443 LB-FT
• Transmission: Single-Speed
• 0-60 Time: 3.9 Seconds
• Top Speed: 130 MPH
• Drivetrain: Rear-Wheel Drive
• Curb Weight: 4,647 LBS
• Seating: 2+3 (+2 optional)
• MPG: 89 MPGe (EPA)
• MSRP: about $70,000 (base)
The primary reason why the Tesla Model S has received such critical acclaim (apart from its smashing good looks) is that it doesn’t use any gasoline at all. That means there are no fluids to think about except for your windshield wiper. You don’t have to worry about falling asleep in the garage while the engine is running, because there’s no carbon monoxide emission that will kill you or pollute the environment.
And then there’s the power. You just plug it in your socket before you sleep, and in the morning it will all be fully charged. It’s then ready for about 260 miles of riving (this changes depending on how you drive, just like gas-powered cars).
As for your energy consumption, there are three points to consider:
• One long term review had the car using up 333 watt-hours per mile, but the official EPA estimate is 350 watt-hours per mile.
• The engine is about 85% efficient. This means that for every 100 kWh you get from the power outlet, only 85 kWh goes to your engine.
• Your car also uses up power when you’re not driving it. It can use up about 1 kWh a day.
But all in all, you can spend about an average of 5.3¢ a mile. And that’s just one-fourth of your fuel expenses when you drive a comparable gasoline-powered car.
Driving the Tesla Model S
There’s no key or ignition switch. If you have your fob with you, then it will detect your presence. The handles will pop out and illuminate. Then when you sit down, the car knows this and starts the car for you.
You then go about driving it. It can go quite fast, so you have to temper the way you step on the accelerator pedal. And it handles like a dream.
The dashboard may look stark, and that’s intentional. What you get instead is a 17-inch touchscreen that provides you with the info you need, like your speed and the temperature. The touchscreen is very easy to use, so much so that there’s no need for a manual. It’s just intuitive.
Safety and Reliability
Let’s put it this way: Consumer Reports gave it 99 marks out of a possible 100. This is one of the highest ratings the magazine has ever given out for an automobile. And that’s all you need to know about how reliable it is.
As for its safety, you may want to take the word of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This independent government organization gave it a 5-star out of 5 overall rating, because it got 5 stars for every individual test category. And if that’s not enough, it set a new record for the lowest possibility of passenger injury ever achieved in the government tests.
Tesla also fixes what needs fixing. Sometime ago 3 Tesla cars caught fire (no one was injured), but 200,000 cars catch fire every year. One of these incidents involved a driver who crashed his car at 110 mph, yet survived without a scratch. Nonetheless, Tesla upgraded the car so that the possibility of another fire is virtually nonexistent.
Is it perfect? There’s no such thing as a perfect car, however. You can just take a look at the price tag—it’s a luxury car. Add some the nicer options and you can easily go past the $100,000 mark.
Then there’s the problem with the refueling. It can take a while, so you may want to eat lunch while it recharges. And that’s if you plan carefully for long trips so that your route takes you through a refueling station.
Finally, there’s the lack of noise. This thing is very quiet, and sometimes that’s not really a good thing. When you’re on the road or trying to park your car, some people may not be watching out for vehicles. They may be relying on hearing the car first, and that means you’ll have to be especially vigilant with your use of your horns. Also, at first you’ll be confused yourself, and you’ll wonder if the engine died on you—it’s really that quiet.
So is it a great buy? I don’t know about you, but a lot of people already think so. So you better get in line.
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