In this exclusive series of articles by David Spratt, he explores the electric vehicle (EV) options for specific business uses.
Part 2: Evaluating the Tesla Model S P100D electric car
What do you get when you mix an eccentric, Los Angeles-based, internet billionaire with the desire to build an electric vehicle with speed and acceleration to challenge the world’s top performance cars?
The answer is the Tesla 100S, complete with vegan leather seats and “bio-weapon defence mode” to keep the car’s air fresh in case of anthrax attack.
I started test-driving the Tesla S (P100D model) with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. Excitement because I knew this vehicle could take me from zero to 100kph in less than three seconds; and trepidation because of the $250,000 price tag and more personally the $5,000 insurance excess I agreed to when I signed for the car test.
After a week, the fear of crashing a car worth more than the deposit on a Ponsonby house had almost completely gone but the sheer thrill of an EV accelerating in Tesla’s infamous, “Ludicrous” mode remained days after I tearfully gave the car back.
So, what makes the P100D so special apart from its raw power? First is the range. This beast will travel from Auckland to Taupo and back on a single charge. That’s 600km.
Despite reservations about charging and spare tyres, the Tesla 100S is, bar none, the most exciting and innovative car I have ever driven.
There is a downside though. Recharging the 100kW battery from empty in your garage power point means a 36-hour wait. But for around $8,000 you can install a special Tesla charger at home that dramatically reduces this time.
After failing the home charging test, I resorted to Tesla’s free charging stations (there are six across the country, with many more to come). This will recharge from empty in less than an hour.
I also tried using the Counties Power free charger in Pukekohe, only to discover that the Tesla charging cable requires a special adapter to fit standard charging stations. As this adaptor was not provided, I skulked home and resorted to an overnight top-up before driving to town and the Tesla service centre, where the unfailingly helpful people charged my car and provided the adaptor.
No dirty hands
Speaking of not provided. The Tesla Model S has no spare tyre. Instead you push the help button, and someone turns up and changes it for you! This service comes free for the life of the car and includes towing you home if you run out of electric charge. Ah to be that rich!
When driving I felt safe and in control throughout, even around the challenging corners of Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges. Traction control, adjustable suspension and the stabilising weight of the Mosel S’s powerful batteries made for responsive handling and comfortable road feel, this despite the Tesla’s extraordinary performance characteristics.
The Tesla even comes with “Santa mode”: listen to Christmas carols and glimpse a sleigh pulled by reindeer on the screen while winding the car out to a top speed of over 250kph (in controlled conditions at Hampton Downs racetrack of course).
The bottom line. Despite reservations about charging and spare tyres, the Tesla S is, bar none, the most exciting and innovative car I have ever driven. With companies like Tesla driving change, the future of the EV is in safe hands.
I give the Tesla Model S an ecstatic 8.5/10.
*Thanks to Tesla NZ for providing the Tesla S model for trial. For all the specifications visit www.tesla.com