Type: Electric Vehicle
Entering the first few weeks of the New Year, many drivers get itchy feet and look at changing their car. The decision of what car to buy is always a tricky one and can depend on several factors. The main factors for most people are budget, requirements, and then a style.
The MicksGarage.com Car Parts Experts have decided to take an in depth look at different car makes and models to give you a better insight into some of the best cars available on the market.
With the growing trend of eco-friendly cars such as Hybrid electric vehicles and fully electric vehicles (EV), we decided to pick a car in this class to take for a test drive. Let’s face it, most people are becoming more conscious of their carbon footprint, not to mention the savings EV’s can yield on fuel. With this classification, there was no question as to the car we would review. Tesla is considered by many as the best electric car available currently. It is at the forefront of the electric motor vehicle industry, combining both stunning looking cars and incredible technology, they are paving the way for the future of electric cars. So naturally, we wanted to see what all the hype was about! Are fully electric cars a feasible option for people to own? How can they justify the high prices?
Read on for our detailed review of the Tesla Model S and its spec...
On approaching the Tesla Model S, you are surprised by the sheer size of the car, coming in at a whopping 16 feet in length. Sporting the famous Tesla logo on the front the car has no grill unlike many other models in its class. Due to its size, the weight of the Model S we test drove was roughly 2.2 tonnes - that is slightly heavier than a Range Rover! The Panoramic sunroof comes as standard on the Tesla Model S, which is an attractive and pretty cool additional feature.
Tesla has taken a minimalistic “less is more” approach to the design of the car. Sticking more to what works well instead of overloading the customer with pointless options, there are a handful of interior and extra features to choose from when kitting out your new Tesla S. Colour wise, you have a choice of 5 to pick from, that being black, white, navy blue, grey and red. Finally the alloys you have a choice of silver or grey. My personal favourite choice was snow white combined with the grey alloy wheels. The alloy wheels come in either 19inch or 21inch, which look great under the car. Looking at the interior of the car, you can pick the headliner material, decor being the dashboard aesthetic and the seat colours. For the seats you can pick from cream, black or white. The black suede was my personal favourite and contrasted nicely with the dark wood grain and black seats. The minimal design may not be everyone's cup of tea, but we think it offset the vehicle very well.
Now for the question on everyone's lips “What is the range of the car and how long does it take to charge”? The range of the Tesla Model S I drove was over 500km fully charged. For any journey in Ireland and most road trips in the UK, this really would be more than enough. The car has a regenerative braking system which uses kinetic energy when slowing down to convert it to stored energy. This won't charge the battery to the levels you need, but it’s a great way of making use of the energy lost when coming to a stop. Having this braking system means you can get an extra few Km’s out of your journey, especially if your journey consists of a lot of declines. When it comes to charging the car, there are several options. At home, you can get a Tesla charger installed which can recharge your battery by roughly 80km per hour of charge. How much does it cost to charge a Tesla you ask? The cost of this would be in the region of €11 during the day or roughly €6 at night due to reduced night time rates. How long to charge a Tesla? This really depends on the method of charging. A second option (which should be seen as a backup only) is the three prong adapter which plugs directly into a regular socket. This is the slowest method of charging and should be used only as an emergency option, as it will usually charge up to about 10km an hour. When you are out and about there are several ESB charging terminals located around the country, from petrol stations to city centres there is a multitude of options. while they are adding more, there are still some limitations surrounding the number of locations. In the UK private companies are getting onboard meaning there are far more Tesla charging stations available, which is great for consumers. Tesla themselves have started to build supercharge terminals around the country. These can quick charge your Tesla to 80% battery in just 30 minutes which is an impressive figure.
Home Charging unit:
Tesla Supercharger terminals:
This car is all about technology! The tech hub lives within the 17-inch display unit in the front of the car. This is the focal point of the car, storing absolutely every feature and function. Whether it’s to use the built-in GPS or to change the air conditioning settings, the driver has full access to all aspects of the vehicle. At the bottom of the display are all the main features you’d expect to have knobs and buttons for in a regular car. For music, you are given a free year subscription of Spotify premium (nice!), accompanied by TuneIn which allows you to listen to digital radio stations. You also have access to podcasts if music isn’t your thing and you can search the web using the onboard WiFi, simply by swiping up on the display to open Google. You can also adjust the suspension of the car through the display, the car can even remember where the conditions of certain roads deteriorate, therefore adjusting the suspension to compensate for this. Within the Maps feature, it also notifies you of the closest charging station and even gives you buildings and hotels that have their own private charging stations as well. A great feature is the mobile app Tesla having, allowing you to drive the car without your keys, giving you the ability to unlock the car from anywhere in the world (This is great if some has lost a set of keys!) You can automatically turn on the climate control, so when it comes to cold winter mornings there is no need to go out and preheat the car. Finally, probably the most important feature, you can use the GPS to find out where you have parked your car so you don’t have to waste half the day roaming around looking for it!
The Test Drive:
Instantly when you sit into the car you are welcomed by the warmth of the heated seats, this is a nice touch especially on a cold winter’s morning. When you take off the surge of power is impressive and the G-Force puts you back in your seat. With such power, you would expect to hear the loud roar of the engine however all you hear are the tyres on the tarmac outside. For sound reduction the tyres have an added layer of foam, to help reduce the humming sound of the tyres, which is usually blocked out by the engine. The cabin is roomy with ample space to fit five people comfortably. The dashboard display is completely digital and cleverly displays a small avatar of the car itself. This display shows the driver the cars that are surrounding it, this is done through the use of 12 cameras located around the car.
I’ve heard so much about the assisted driving in the Tesla, so I really wanted to see if it lived up to all the reports. The onboard driving controls are based around the steering wheel. There is a regular stalk for the indicators on the left, a separate stalk on the right of the wheel for changing from drive, to neutral, to park, however, it is the 3rd stalk on the left side that really possesses the unique technology. By flicking this stalk once towards you it implements the assisted driving. This means the car will adjust its speed to the appropriate level depending on the speed limit and traffic around you. The car will also slow down if it notices the car in front of you slowing down. With two flicks of the same stalk, the car will go into Autopilot, which is an added extra. It's a strange sensation feeling the wheel adjust itself to the lane along the motorway. The lane change feature was the real eye-opening aspect of the test drive. Simply pushing up the indicator to change into the right lane the car manoeuvres itself seamlessly across into the other lane. Seeing videos on Youtube was one thing but to experience it first hand, really illustrated where the future of driving really lies. Disconcerting at first, for sure, but a surprisingly accurate and enjoyable experience of guided driving.
Easter Eggs: These are small features hidden in the car
Whoopy Cushion - Can be applied to any seat in the car, when a passenger enters and sits down, they are met with a surprising sound.
James Bond - This feature changes the visual display of the car to the famous Lotus Esprit that changes into a submarine in James Bond
Christmas – Instantly changes the music to a festive playlist. When indicating the sound resembles Christmas Bells
Atari Games - When parked you can play several Atari Classics like Lunar Lander
Romance Mode – The visual display turns into a fireplace playing soft music (seriously!)
Cow Bell – The most annoying Easter egg is the cowbell, once started it cannot be turned off until the tune is over!
Overall it was a surreal experience getting to drive such an amazing car. The technology onboard matched with its simple and sleek design has created a desirable car that would really make you consider swapping to an EV. Safety is at the core of Tesla’s vision. The Model S has received the second highest safety rating every record, coming second to the Tesla Model 3. Price wise the Model S start at 80k and continue upwards depending on the battery size of the vehicle. While it is an expensive car these are competing against other luxury car manufactures likes of BMW and Mercedes, so the price tag is to be expected. Currently, the Model S is the 2nd slowest depreciating car in the market so they really do hold their value. This is due to the fact that all its software can be updated, meaning a car from 2014 will have the latest updates. With grants and VAT reimbursement for companies, it is possible to knock a significant amount off that price tag, making it a potential option for some people. As time goes on the charging of these electric vehicles will become faster and there will be more locations to charge them in public also. Tesla are at the forefront of the EV market and it’s easy to see why. Their next green car is going to be the Model 3, which is expected to launch in 2020, it will see an increase in Tesla sales as the more affordable model will compete with the likes of the Nissan Leaf and other Electric cars that are targeted towards a lower budget!
We hope you enjoyed this review if you’d like to test drive one of these cars Tesla Ireland is based in Sandyford in Dublin. Tesla UK has over 15 showrooms so there is even more opportunity to see for yourselves the quality of these cars. If you have any further questions or would like us to review any other make and models of cars be sure to email us at email@example.com