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Old 05-16-2013, 01:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Drove a Tesla Model S Performance

I got to drive one yesterday. Let me say, I want one. Badly.

For a four door sedan, it has the get up and go of something with two less doors, and quite a few cylinders with turbo or superchargers. I mean, 4.2 seconds from 0-60 MPH. And I really pushed it when I was rolling at around 20 MPH, and was at 65 MPH in two seconds. Not kidding. I only wish that I could have set up a video camera to show that this isn't an exaggeration. I expected that since there isn't a transmission, there isn't the gearing changes that we are used to in gas and diesel motors.

I went into the test drive with a degree of understanding about driving an electric vehicle, what with the immediate slowing down, not a slow coast. I knew that since there was no real transmission, in a traditional sense, the more I pushed on the accelerator, the more power was sent to the motor, the fast it spun, and the faster the vehicle went. But until you actually drive one, you don't quite get it.

And the comfort was wonderful. They are a luxury vehicle, so they are supposed to be nice in the first place. But fairly simple as well. Touchscreen in the middle allows you to select all sorts of things to change and the like, plus it runs a GPS navigation at all times, and there is a camera for seeing behind you as well.

For everything about it that I was impressed and making me want this more and more, there were two drawbacks to the car. First off is the cruise control. It wasn't on the steering wheel, which I am used to. Most any and all cars that I have driven that had cruise control had the buttons and such on the steering wheel. It does have the stereo controls, and I think some other stuff (Looked like I could control Bluetooth from the wheel).

*FUN FACT - Speaking of the steering wheel, Tesla's use a Mercedes Benz steering column and wheel. Seems that Tesla makes some electrical components for MB, so MB trades them with steering wheels.*

The second drawback is the rear window. When you look through the rear view mirror, the rear window takes up around 50% of the viewable space. The top 25% is the top of the body around the window (It is a hatchback overall), and the bottom is the bottom of the body around the window (In the model that I drove, with it's 12 speakers, I could see two of them). So it makes the rear view mirror less usable than I would like. But since my rear view mirror had come off on my car a quite a few years back, and I have been used to seeing behind me by my side mirrors or actually turning in the seat to look back, it wasn't as big of a deal for me.

So, with a Model S Performance at $87,400, and all of the bells and whistles on it bringing it easily to $100,000, could this be worth it to you as a luxury car? I would say yes, if you have that kind of money for one. Because the US Government is giving people who buy one a $7500 discount off the bat, and in my state, there is no sales tax. So if you go and buy a new MB, BMW, or any of the other luxury sedans, not only are you spending less for something (I actually wanted a Porsche Panamera before learning more about this car, and they start at around $78,100 for a base model, head up to $161,1000 for the top of the line, and that does not include any extras), but it is cheaper to "fill it up" (Currently around $6.80 to completely fill the 85 kW battery from empty to full, in my area. The 85 kW battery is good for up to 300 miles, but has an EPA certified 265 mile range), there is no taking it in for tune ups or oil changes, and if you choose to get it filled at the Tesla Supercharger station, it's completely free. Takes around 30 minutes, and there are more and more of them popping up in my area.

Actually, funny thing, while out and about, I saw four others in the area. One was charging at the mall where they have a showroom, and the other three were on the road. Seems that around 1000 have been sold here in my area alone.




Mine was white like this, and that is your key. You can push the back to open the trunk, push the front to open the hood (More storage space there), and it works on how close to the car you are. If you get past say 15 feet, the car locks it's doors. Once inside that range (And I am not sure the exact range), it unlocks them. I imagine that it, or the car, can be programed so that when you get close enough, it only unlocks the drivers door, not all of them.

And the door handles slide into the body when it is locked, or when the car is put into gear. The shifter could be a bit better placed, it is on the left side of the steering wheel column, and a center shifter would be nice. But not really needed. I man, you click it down, you are in drive, and off you go, never to touch it until you either need to park, or go in reverse.

Sorry, I am going on and on about this. I think that I feel in love with a machine in a way that I never knew possible. It blew my mind with how responsive it was, how well it handled, the innovations that overall are rather simple, and all of the room and features.
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Old 05-16-2013, 02:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I live in the Bay Area and have seen several around myself,very sexy beast,reminds me of a cleaner Aston Martin
My friend was contracted to help design the motor control sytem for it,he was very impressed with their QC,build quality and performance
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Old 05-16-2013, 02:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I saw one of these when I was in Seattle last year. Wife wondered why I was getting all giddy over this weird looking blob of a car. My main concern, as with all plug-in electric cars, would be running out of juice away from a charging station.
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Old 05-16-2013, 03:23 PM   #4 (permalink)
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those cars are dead sexy . . . and so way far out there ahead of everything else. I mean really, the only sci fi thing they don't have is the ability to fly

if I was stinkin rich I would be buying one right now
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Old 05-16-2013, 03:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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those cars are dead sexy . . . and so way far out there ahead of everything else. I mean really, the only sci fi thing they don't have is the ability to fly

if I was stinkin rich I would be buying one right now
If I was any kind of rich, or even financially stable, I'd probably be trying to buy one.

I've wanted a Tesla since the first Wired review...
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Old 05-16-2013, 03:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Only a matter of time

I test drove one in Chicago in March and I am currently working hard to get my finances where they need to be for me to buy one.

I agree with all that you said in the review.

Couple of extra things to throw in

the 260-300 mile range is for the highest capacity battery and will decay over the course of time I believe they say that at the end of its usefull life (8years?) they estimate it will be 80% of that or less. For me this is not an issue I have three locations that I travel to each day and the fartherest one is 120 miles round trip so even at 80% that is 200-240 ish.

Also realize the range is also No AC, No Heat, No Radio, NO GPS bare bones and not jack rabbit starts and stopps as well.

As far as service they currently have a plan that you can buy at the time of purchase that includes annual inspection, replace ment of parts like brake pads and wipers (Not includeing tires) you can also get ranger service which means they come to you and it is 2400 for 4years 50K miles or 4800 for 8years 100K miles. For me living outside of the range of a Tesla store that is a key element.

If and when I get it will update my impressions hope by the fall I can order one and have by end of year.
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Old 05-16-2013, 04:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by HurtCow View Post
I saw one of these when I was in Seattle last year. Wife wondered why I was getting all giddy over this weird looking blob of a car. My main concern, as with all plug-in electric cars, would be running out of juice away from a charging station.
It's not really any different than if you had a small gas tank. Although I suppose that at least with a gas tank somebody can ferry you a jerry can.
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Old 05-16-2013, 04:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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It's not really any different than if you had a small gas tank. Although I suppose that at least with a gas tank somebody can ferry you a jerry can.
The difference being that you can stop at a gas station almost anywhere and refuel. Can't exactly fill a tesla up at any old gas station.
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Old 05-16-2013, 04:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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There's a 42 minute video on Tesla (done by Discovery?) that is pretty much all about this car. Seems pretty nice, but what's the cost of a new battery after the 8 years and what (environmentally) does it take to make one? I'm no treehugger, but I still do what I can to take care of what I can.
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Old 05-16-2013, 04:57 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Just keep a generator and and jerry can of diesel in the boot.
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