If you've never sat inside a Tesla Model S it's difficult to appreciate just what an enormous amount of space there is.

The powertrain and running gear take up a huge amount of the volume of a conventional car, which significantly impinges on the space available for people and things.

Take, for example, the 1977 Lincoln Mark V, probably the nadir of interior packaging. It was a truly vast car measuring more than 19 feet (5,850 millimeters) from stem to stern, and six-foot-six (2,000 mm) across the beam. The endless nose held a gigantic 7.5-liter V8 motor, while the trunk was big enough to sleep a family of four. And in between was a decidedly cramped interior that could barely accommodate that same family of four in overstuffed armchairs.

Things have got better in recent years, car designers developing some neat tricks to free up generous space in cars less than half-a-mile long. But it's always a compromise. Something has to give in the quest for space - usually looks or dynamics.

But Tesla managed to get around the problem with the Model S, a car that looks just like any other large, five-door hatchback to the uninitiated. Of course, we know different.

Because the Model S is an electric car, Tesla was able to think outside the box and developed a still-unique, skateboard-like separate chassis that contains all of the batteries, electric motors, control systems, suspension, and brakes. The body is simply bolted on top.

Lift the hood of a Model S and, instead of an engine, you’ll find a trunk bigger than that in most city cars. And there’s another trunk at the back, free from intrusion by suspension and axles, that puts many a SUV to shame. And, with no mechanical elements getting in the way, the cabin makes the inside of the huge Porsche Panamera look like a phone booth.

Tick the relevant box on the option list and the Tesla Model S can seat seven people. But how many can actually fit in there? Multiple Guinness World Record holder Carl Reese thought he would find out, and squeezed 19 of his family and friends in. An impressive effort.

You could do better, though. The world record for the number of people in a Mini stands at 26. You easily double that number in a car as big as the Model S.

It’s unlikely Reese’s record will be ratified as some of the participants were under 18 years of age. Still, he’s laid down the gauntlet.

Gallery: 19 people stuffed into Tesla Model S

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