I took my first drive of an electric car when I got behind the wheel of the Tesla Model S. And it definitely won’t be my last. The vehicle delivers performance, excellent design and zero emissions.
The car we drove was the Tesla Model S P100D, fully kitted out and worth a cool $269,000 so we got to enjoy all the bells and whistles.
The entry-level Tesla Model S is $105,000 but a smaller and more affordable Model 3 is due to land in Australia in 2019 and will be priced around the $70,000 mark.
The 100 refers to the size of the car’s battery. In this case 100kWh which has a range of 613km.
There is also a 75kWh model as well with a range of up to 490km.
The benefits of driving a car like this are obvious.
Firstly, zero emissions. It’s an electric car and doesn’t even have an exhaust pipe because there is no exhaust.
There’s not even a radiator because the electric motors are built onto the car’s axels – one each for a dual drive model.
The car is also virtually silent. To start the Tesla, you simply press the brake pedal, put it in gear and off you go – and it’s oh so quiet.
Being an electric car, of course, means never having to buy petrol ever again.
Instead, the car needs charging, just like your mobile phone but on a much grander scale.
Drivers can find chargers are starting to pop up in shopping centres and airports with Tesla’s plan to build superchargers along the east coast of Australia for those who want to drive interstate.
Tesla’s superchargers, there are six at the Sydney dealership in St Leonards, can charge your battery fully in about an hour.
We connected the Tesla to our home power supply using the included cables and an extension cord. Charging at home can take up to 10 hours so it’s best to do it overnight.
Based on today’s electricity prices, fully charging a Tesla Model S at home would add about $10-$12 to your electricity bill. That’s a hell of a lot cheaper than the hundred dollars it takes to fill our fuel tank.
You can add those savings to the money you will save by not having to service the Tesla Model S. You heard that right – no servicing.
There are only 17 moving parts in the vehicle compared with more than 700 in a regular car.
You’ll still need to check your tyres and brakes occasionally, but that’s it.
There was far as performance goes, the Tesla Model S absolutely delivers.
The P100D that we drove can go from 0 to 100 km/h in just 2.7 seconds.
The instant power the vehicle can produce is absolutely stunning.
And the reason it can do that is because the motor is electric which means it can supply instant torque to really get up and go.
An internal combustion engine requires time to literally rev up to speed.
A Tesla electric motor, on the other hand, is instantly on and ready to go.
It’s also smooth and easy to drive and felt sure-footed on the road.
The car has a sleek aerodynamic design with beautiful lines and curved surfaces.
It truly looks like a car of the future.
But what really impressed us were the little things. There were lots of things that surprised and delighted us behind the wheel.
When you approach the car with the key, the door handles elegantly slide out for you to open the door.
The first thing you’ll notice inside the car is the huge touchscreen which offers complete control of the vehicle.
From here you can access navigation, your music, your phone, climate control and much more.
It is also possible to split the screen so you can have two features running at the same time one above the other.
On the audio side, the car’s built in stereo system sounded exceptional even though there is a better system buyers can opt for with the car.
The car also has its own 3G SIM card so the car can be connected on its own, and not just through your smartphone.
This comes in handy when using services like TuneIn radio so you can hear this all your favourite stations clearly.
The Tesla also has its own Spotify account so your catalogue of music at your fingertips can now be counted in the tens of millions.
It’s also possible, of course, to stream your own music and other music services through your smart phone which connects to the car via Bluetooth.
Speaking of connectivity, the Tesla can also connect to your wi-fi network when parked at home.
This way it can download any software updates directly through your broadband connection.
Another feature we liked was the ability to choose the cars suspension height and even choose locations where you prefer the car to ride higher.
For example, our driveway is a little steep so to avoid scraping the car, we set our home as a location where the car would need very high suspension.
Then every time we approached our home, the car would change to its chosen ride height so we could safely get in and out of our driveway.
There are autopilot and self-driving options for the Tesla as well so we could follow lanes and accelerate and brake based on the cars around it.
In traffic, the Tesla can sense not only the car ahead of you, but it will also see the cars ahead of that to detect potential dangers before they happen.
The Tesla Model S ticks all the boxes when it comes to style, design, performance and efficiency. This is the future of motoring.