The Tesla Model S is a Gorgeous Electric Car but You can’t take the Path Less Traveled in It

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 11th, 2013

Week in Review

The joy of the open road is taking the path less traveled.  How many of us taking a drive on a beautiful summer’s day turned down some country road on a whim?  Just because the scenery was beautiful?  Or because there was something interesting down at the end of that road?  That is the joy of the open road.  To travel without plans.  Where the driving is as good as the destination.  If not better.  This is what the electric car, though, cannot give us (see Tesla Model S receives near-perfect score from Consumer Reports by Eric Evarts posted 5/8/2013 on Consumer Reports).

There, we said it. The Tesla Model S outscores every other car in our test ratings. It does so even though it’s an electric car. In fact, it does so because it is electric…

The electric motor delivers impressive power, right now, and it is impressively efficient. The Model S uses about half the energy of a Toyota Prius every mile, and it has more than twice the range—about 200 miles—of any other electric car we’ve driven. Still,  you’ll have to plan ahead for longer trips; you won’t be taking it on a spontaneous jaunt from, say, New York to Cleveland any time soon. You won’t make it. Even with Tesla’s optional High Power Wall Connector, it takes about five hours to charge. On a standard 240-volt electric-car charger, it would take about 12 hours…

We paid $89,650 for our Model S, with the biggest available battery, the most seats available, and the fastest available optional chargers. Then we still had to pay another $1,200 for Tesla’s High Power Wall Connector.

That’s a lot of money.  And for what?  A range of 200 miles?  Which is something like 2-4 hours of driving time.  With stops of between 5-12 hours to recharge between those 200 miles.  That just doesn’t cut it.  The Model S is a gorgeous car.  But it has one serious flaw.  The joy of that beautiful car comes from driving it.  Not sitting at a charging station admiring it.

Cars are meant to be driven.  To take to the open road.  To go wherever that road may take you.  And when the weather or mood strikes you, you take the long-way home.  Instead of the 2 hours on the interstate you take the rambling secondary roads.  And get home when you get home.  Sometimes 4 hours later than you planned.  Because you could.  This is what people want from a gorgeous car.  They want to see the world from it.  Not just the commute to work.

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The Luxury Tesla Model S impresses with Performance and Range

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 24th, 2012

Week in Review              

The Tesla Model S is some car.  And it’s electric.  With the performance of a gasoline-powered sports car.  Although without quite the same range (see Elon Musk: Tesla Model S Is About ‘Breaking A Spell’ by Hannah Elliott posted 6/22/2012 on Forbes).

The Model S is impressive. It fits seven people and will go 0-60 miles per hour in 6.5 seconds at a cost of $49,900 after $7,500 in federal rebates (that’s with a 40 kWh battery and160-mile range). An $84,900 85 kWh Performance variant gives a 300-mile-range; a $97,900 Signature Performance version adds such niceties as Nappa leather interior, exterior carbon fiber and special wheels. Top speed on that puppy is 130 miles per hour, with a 4.4-second 60mph sprint time. Each variant comes with an eight-year, unlimited miles guarantee…

Well, that 4.4 sprint time will beat a 5-Series on the track. The sub-$100,000 MSRP will beat the Aston on price. The 300-mile drive range beats Chevy Volt’s 40-mile max. If production ramps up as much as Musk has promised—20,000 produced annually–this could be the start of something big. Stay tuned.

A 300 mile range is greater than the Chevy Volt’s 40 mile range.  But the Volt has something the Tesla Model S doesn’t.  A gasoline engine.  After that initial 40 miles the Chevy Volt hybrid can switch over to the gasoline engine.  And continue driving on the gasoline engine.  For a very long time.  And when it runs low on gas it can quickly refill the tank.  And drive again for a very long time.  Unlike the all-electric Tesla.

The Tesla is no doubt a gorgeous car but it’s not for traveling the country in.  At least, not without a lot of planning.  And a lot of rest times scheduled for recharging.  Limiting a stress-free day-drive to about 125 miles one way.  Depending on the speed limit that might be about an hour and a half of driving.  This should get you back without a recharge.  If you want to take a chance of being without transportation for awhile to recharge you could go closer to that 300 mile range.  If you’re willing to pay an additional 70% for the extended range, of course.  If not you’ll have to settle for that 160 mile range.  Or a round trip to someplace about 60 miles away.

The all-electric car is really only for short commutes.  A short drive to work.  Plug the car in.  A short drive to lunch and back.  Plug in the car.  And the drive home.  Where you will, of course, plug in the car.  If that’s you this car is for you.  If you want to pack the family into the car and travel cross-country you may be better off in a hybrid.  Use the gasoline engine to get where you’re going to.  Then putter around when you get there on the battery.  With a full tank of gas.  Just in case.

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