Tech Ride: 2012 Tesla Model S
Like most upstart car companies, Tesla had to go through the routine, take someone else’s design and tweak it. This is apparent in their original Tesla Roadster model which stood as just a modified Lotus Elise. What made this kit car different though was the use of the 53 kWh lithium-ion battery powering the vehicle. In terms of an electric vehicle, the Roadster stood ahead of its time, maybe too ahead of its time. Sales were a flop and Tesla struggled like many others, with money and quality issues, and even had to go through a messy lawsuit with the famed Jeremy Clarkson over some battery range issues (which they lost). So, what then does Tesla need after a vehicle attempt too ahead of its time, but some drive and determination? This is where the Tesla Model S comes in. In 2009, other upstarts like Fisker were hot on the heels of the electric car market. The Model S was unveiled, and to much surprise, it was a radical change from the impractical, unreliable Roadster. Since then, rich blokes from around the world have been standing in line to get their Model S, but money problems tended to delay production for a while. It took until now, in 2012, for the first Model S to be delivered. The question we, along with others, tend to be asking is "why someone would prefer a $57,000 electric sedan over the already tried and tested BMW 5-Series or Mercedes CLS?" Dig a little deeper, and you'll find that the Model S has some new technologies that some believe to be the future of motoring.
It’s Electric (boogie-oogie-oogie) The Model S (along with the Fisker Karma) are the only two full-sized luxury sedans that offer that electric drive, and if we’re to believe Al Gore, that’s what everyone will be driving before the Earth melts. Unlike the M5 or CLS, the powertrain on the top end of the Model S lineup is an 85 kWh battery good for a range of 300 miles at 89 MPGe, and a 0-60mph of only 4.4 seconds. This zero emissions vehicle is equal in comparison to the Nissan Leaf, which has been heralded as one of the most eco-friendly cars in the world. For those who don't understand how the eco-movement works, zero emissions equals more polar bears.
“The Dashboard You Should Expect”While all this eco-talk is nice, it’s not just a Leaf with a new pair of clothes. Tesla wanted their Model S to be a new standard in luxury, personal technologies and driving feel. Recruiting some former Mazda engineers, Tesla was able to design an interior they say is “built around the driver.” It comes complete with new technologies that also provide an ultra-luxurious aura. Starting off with it’s massive 17-inch touch screen display (just imagine an iPad in your center console). This high resolution center console provides a highly advanced touch screen integration system that allows the driver easy access to music, maps, wi-fi and all of the above.
As deliveries begin to take place on the Model S, Tesla is confident that they are the future of the EV. While we‘re not sure what the future holds for the EV movement, we can say that Tesla is presenting some pretty amazing new technology. From an iPad like center console to a 4.4 second 0-60mph time, it all sounds, well...great. We do know one thing for sure about Tesla as a whole though, American ingenuity has done it again. Take that Germans! See more of the 2012 Tesla Model S here