This week I made an appointment to test drive a Tesla Model S. It's one of only two models that the Fremont, CA company produces. I must admit it, I was extremely enthusiastic and couldn't wait to go. I made an appointment at the closest showroom which is at the Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall in Scottsdale, AZ. Let me clarify, it's not really a showroom, it's a storefront in the mall. There's only room for two cars in the store, but they also have three cars available in the adjacent garage where they perform the test drives. When Gavin, the Tesla employee, asked me which car I wanted to drive, I immediately told him the high performance car. But that little voice in my head (my wife who was standing next to me) told me otherwise. She told me that we wouldn't be able to afford the high performance model so why bother. Unfortunately I had to abide by her rationale. Though I whispered into Gavin's ear and told him I'd be back to test drive the other model at a later date.
The difference in the two is power. The base Model S goes from 0 to 60 in 5.9 sec. and the P85 model goes from 0 to speed ticket in 4.2 seconds. The car is sleek on the outside; very sexy. The designers really took every bit of the design into consideration. When's the last time you looked at a car and told the driver that their car had sexy door handles? Well not only will you hear that OFTEN, but you will be able to tell your curious friend that the door handles retract back into the car when the door is locked to increase aerodynamics and reduce drag. When you approach the car within 5 feet, all four doors unlock at the same time. I asked Gavin if you could make only the driver side door open and he said no. Something tells me that it probably can be done with a software tweak. One of my wife's concerns with the car was whether or not I would be able to fit into the driver seat. At 6'5" I'm all legs, but I actually fit in quite nicely. Not only that, but when my wife drove the car, I sat behind her and had plenty of leg room. Not too many luxury cars can claim that! When you sit there, the most noticeable part of the car is the huge display that sits on the dashboard. It's a 17" screen and gives you a lot of good information such as where the closest super charger is, full internet access, music, navigation controls, and Google maps. It also has a Garmin GPS that pops up when you want turn by turn directions.
I've driven a lot of great cars in my time, the Tesla is right up there as one of the most fun. No ignition switch. No push button starter. Just push the lever down to Drive and touch the accelerator. The car is quiet and can only be heard when you substantially accelerate. One of the weird things that took a little getting used to was the braking of the car when I took my foot off the accelerator, it automatically reduced speed and ironically I never once used the brake. I never needed to! The real fun in this car is the acceleration - it was pure exhilaration! The torque is amazing. You feel like you're taking off in a rocket or you're on an amusement park ride. It was awe-inspiring. I loved driving the Tesla Model S!
The base price is around $69,000 but don't expect to walk away with that price; especially if you purchase the P85 model. The latter has a range of 300 miles whereas the base model has only a 230 mile range. However that's more than twice any of the other electric competitors out there. Go test drive this car and you'll understand why this is the future!