The latest Tesla sedan touts two electric motors and an all-wheel-drive system.
If any car represents the wave of the automotive future, it has to be the tesla s. with the federal government mandating the gas mileage average double in the next 10 years, it is evident that more electric-powered vehicles will be needed.
Tesla’s four-door sedan represents the present highpoint of this genre, with a long range before a needed recharge of high-tech batteries, yet with plenty of performance in a silent way. And Tesla is not resting, because two more models will be out shortly â€¦ an SUV with falcon wing doors arriving late this year, and in 2016, a much less expensive sedan with good range.
Starting at just above $71,000, the “base” S model features a 380 horsepower motor with a single speed transmission and a range, between recharges, of 208 miles. Acceleration is in the high performance category with a 0-60 time of 5.9 seconds, yet the gas mileage equivalent is in the 90s.
To extend the range and the speed, various upgrades are available. The latest is the P85D, which has two electric motors that drive both the front and rear wheels with a combined horsepower of 691. To say the least, power now shifts to exotic, supercar level with a 0-60 time of a mere 3.2 seconds.
Upon entering the vehicle, another high-tech pinnacle is reached. Of course, the S has a special remote “key,” and when in range, the door handle pops out to greet you. And the most obvious difference between the Tesla and the rest of the automotive world is a gigantic, 17-inch, iPad-like video screen in the center of the dash. Since the car is connected to the Internet and has Wi-Fi, multiple functions are controlled by the touch of the screen: media, navigation, calendar, energy, controls, camera and phone. Want to check the stock market, check the rear camera view, listen to a song that you do not have on any of your own devices, or receive voice directions with a map on the screen, not a problem.
Added to all of these features is one your iPad does not have: a split-screen to see two features at the same time! And with the appropriate app on your smart-phone, you can remotely set the interior temperature before you arrive to the car (an electric motor runs the air conditioning).
Even with all this exotica, the mundane is handled easily. Th ere is plenty of room front and back. And because of the small, electric motor and batteries built into the chassis, there is a front and rear trunk. For larger families with kids, optional rear facing, double seats can be purchased on some models.
To achieve 0-60 time in 3.2 seconds, simply punch the acceleration button marked “insane,” instead of lesser “sport” mode. And, in actuality, the acceleration is nothing like the time indicates, since torque in instantly available an electric motor. Hitting the throttle insanely will, thus, take your breath away!
Everyday driving is an exercise in silence with not even any tire noise. Added to its power is an air suspension, which readily adapts to the road surfaces. Safety concerns are handled by eight airbags in the S.
Bottom line: The automotive future is here, and now, with this Tesla. Besides practical interior features, is the ability to have multiple worlds: performance, “fuel” economy, and a real carrying capacity.
TESLA S VEHICLE
5-PASSENGER, 4-DOOR SEDAN, OPTIONAL 2-CHILD SEATS ON CERTAIN MODELS
PERFORMANCE: BASE: 0-60 IN 5.9 SECONDS; P85D, 0-60 IN 3.2 SECONDS
RANGE: FULLY CHARGED: BASE, 208 MILES; P85D, 253 MILES CHARGING TIME FOR MAX POWER: 8 HOURS
PRICE: BASE: $69,900; 4-WHEEL DRIVE, $105,670, PLUS TRANSPORTATION COSTS
Photos courtesy Tesla Motors