One of the first people to purchase one of the early production models of electric car was Thomas Edison. It was a two-seater Baker, produced between 1899 and 1915, at a purchase price of $850. It had a range of 50 miles and a top speed of 14 miles per hour. Obviously things have changed over the past century, but that was definitely an inspiring start. Let’s explore the exciting features of the Tesla Model S to examine how far we have really come in the past 100 years.
Today’s Tesla Model S, the first premium electric sedan, seats up to seven passengers and sells for around $70,000. It has a range of 300 miles and a top speed of 130 miles per hour. The Tesla Model S is assembled in Fremont, California.
Buyers can select from three battery options:
60 kW – Range = 208 miles; 0-60 in 5.9 seconds. Mileage equivalent with this option is 89 miles per gallon.
85 kW – range = 265 miles; 0-60 in 4.5 seconds
85 kW Performance Pack – The Performance Pack has the same range as the 85 kW option but delivers 0-60 in 4.2 seconds, owing to a higher capacity drive inverter.
The Performance Plus pack features 20 mm wider rear tires, anti-roll bars, bushings, uprated dampers, all of which contributed to improved handling. The suspension in this option is different from its stablemates, with rear multi-link and front wishbones.
Inside the Tesla Model S
A tablet-sized touch screen on the center console controls everything from the ride height of the air suspension to the air conditioning, including the sunroof, audio system, demister and door release. In addition, it reveals information about the battery condition, satnav and energy consumption.
The car comes with AM/FM/DAB tuner but no CD player; however, you can stream music via USB or Bluetooth. With the optional Tech Pack, you get Bluetooth, wi-fi and a permanent 3G connection. With the Bluetooth connection, updating the system’s firmware takes only 5 seconds. On the other hand, if you connect the car to your home’s wi-fi, this process goes even faster. You know, on those occasions when you need a really fast update!
The interior of the Model S is bold, roomy, fresh and mega-modern. The car is generally attractive and comfortable. Headroom is sufficient for all but the tallest of passengers. The car is softly suspended, providing a comfortable ride for most, but perhaps lacking the bone-shaking thrill of a sports car.
The power port is located behind the left rear taillight. In terms of electric contacts, the Model S uses a proprietary electrical connector that is different from the American standard, although adapters are provided. The cost of running the Model S, at California electricity prices, is roughly 11 cents per mile, yielding nine miles per dollar.
The Tesla Model S is a first and foremost a true luxury car with the added economy and environmental friendliness of electric power. Tesla has brought the concept of a clean automobile out of the realm of sci-fi and tree-hugging hippies and into the here and the now.