Consumer Reports recently reveiewed Tesla’s Electric Super Car, the Model S P85D. In doing so, they broke their rating scale. Not surprisingly, responses to this ranged from the ecstatic to the conspiracy theorists. Tesla makes a line of very high quality electric cars. Most of these cars go quite fast, for relatively short distances before you need to plug it in and recharge. This has been seen as a major drawback to the company’s offerings, and, indeed to all all-electric cars no matter who makes it.
However, Tesla was able to improve the range of the Model S P85D to a little over 200 miles between charges, giving it an equivalent fuel economy of well over 80 miles per gallon. The Model S P85D is equipped with two high-torque electric motors that are digitally-controlled to feed torque to both the front and rear wheels. Strangely, for a sedan, the car seats seven people comfortable, with two up front, three in a middle seat, and two kids in an optional rear seat.
Although the “Base” Model S is quite quick, the P85D is even quicker, with 60 miles per hour arriving from a standing stop in just 3.5 seconds (The “Ludicrous” Speed Upgrade drops that to 2.8 seconds), which is better than many gas-powered supercars at half the cost. Even better, every ounce of acceleration is almost instantly available as soon as you tromp the pedal – the P85D delivers a staggering 1.02 g’s of acceleration in less than a quarter second. That’s about as fast as you can hit start and stop on a stopwatch. It’s also the acceleration force you’d feel jumping off a building.
Tesla puts lots of thought and effort into designing and building what many are calling the world’s first supercar. The suspension allows the car to corner precisely, yet feels comfortable. The braking system will stop you almost on a dime and help to recharge the battery while doing so. This is one way they were able to pump up the range to over 200 miles between charges.
They also addressed the safety systems shortcomings of previous models. The Model S P85D is now equipped with a number of cutting-edge safety features as standard equipment. This includes a blind-spot monitoring system as well as lane-departure warning, and forward-collision avoidance systems. There’s also an optional Autopilot package that provides some self-driving capabilities as well as active cruise control – the cruise control system automatically decreases speed if you’re catching up to the guy in front of you.
All this isn’t to say the car has some shortcomings. Tesla’s engineers had to work on the car before Consumer Reports was able to drive it because it broke on the trip from the factory to the testing center. Then there’s what to do when the battery runs out. Tesla has a number of fast-charging stations across the country which requires you to remain plugged in for about 30 minutes or so. if you’re done for the day, you can also plug it into the Tesla-supplied wall charging station in your garage.
Most of us are also going to complain about the fact that they didn’t think of putting Uber-Big Gulp cup holders in the car – You’re stuck with a large cup instead of a mammoth cup of soda. There’s also the sticker shock that all but a few are going to experience when they see the over $125k price tag with a couple of options thrown in. However, it must be remembered that a not unhealthy chunk of that price tag will be covered in tax rebates, time saved using the commuter/LEV lane, and the savings you’ll see by not having to hit the pump anymore.
Overall, the Tesla Model S P85D scored 103 points out of a possible 100 on the Consumer Reports scale, even with the high price tag and other issues such as not wanting to work when they wanted to test drive it. However, Consumer Reports was quick to point out that they weren’t raving about the car to tell people to go out and sell everything they own so they could buy one.
No. They were raving about the car because of what it means for the future of electric car technology. Imagine if someone makes a car that tops out at under 100 mph and accelerates up to 60 in a much milder five to eight seconds, using much less juice from the batteries in doing so. Chances are, that car might be able to top 300 miles in range, if not more. THAT is what they were raving about. The fact that this is a big leap on the path towards an all-electric car that one could feasibly take long trips with.