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Old 18th June 2013, 21:25   #1
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Default Tesla Model S: First Impressions

Hey folks!

Long time I haven't posted on TBHP. Now is the time to come with a first T-bhp ownership review of the Tesla Model S . The world's best electric car and in my opinion, after spending time with it, very well the best car in the world. It has already received the best car of the year accolades from various reviewers. Tesla is one company that I have been regularly following. CEO Elon Musk is a brilliant mind and Tesla is going to be THE car company that will pioneer the future of automobiles.

I live in the beautiful state of Colorado. My uncle here just bought the Tesla after a 5 month waiting period. It started in January when we were visiting a mall in Denver which also hosted the Tesla showroom. We had already heard a lot about the car and my uncle had been researching and reading a lot about Tesla already. When we saw the car in real and had a little tour of it, we were mind blown by it! The tech in the car is easily the most advanced I have seen.

Our Tesla is the 60KWh model, which gives a range of 230 mi (370 km) with full charge. Max. power is 225 kW (302 hp) and Max. torque is 317 lb·ft (430 N·m) @ 0-5000 rpm. The Tesla goes from 0-60mph in 5.9secs to a top speed of 120mph (190km/h).

Some options that were added on this car are Supercharging (more about this later), leather seats, panoramic sunroof, active air-suspension and a rear parcel shelf. With all this, the on-road price came to be about $75,000 (without rebate).

Tesla Model S: First Impressions-dsc00342.jpg


Design, Interiors and Build

Tesla Model S: First Impressions-dsc00294_edited.jpg

I find the Model S to be the most beautiful sedan in the market. From the side mirrors to the door handles, and the entire car profile is designed to reduce drag. When not in use, the door handles retract into the body, streamlining airflow. When a driver approaches the vehicle with the key, the handles slide out and unlock with a simple touch. The all glass panoramic roof blocks 91% heat and can be retracted with a simple swipe of the Touchscreen.

Tesla Model S: First Impressions-dsc00341_edited.jpg

The headlights have DRLs which look beautiful and give the car an immense presence from far. The sweeping roofline is very well designed, giving the car a beautiful side profile. Tires on this car are standard 19 inch. One can opt for the 21inch performance wheels, which give better handling but are not so good in the long run.

Tesla Model S: First Impressions-dsc00337_edited.jpg

The interior is as luxurious as it can get. From the door handles to the button-less dashboard, it is simply an outstanding design. A work of art. Build quality is easily at par with the more luxurious cars like the 7er/S/A8. Every touch in the car feels rich. No cost cutting anywhere here. There are just two buttons on the dash, one for the glove box and another is the caution/parking light button. The 17 inch screen in the middle is neatly incorporated and is an ease to use. More on the screen and tech later.

Tesla Model S: First Impressions-dsc00344_edited.jpg

A special mention about the door handles. To reduce drag, they are always inside retracted in the body. They automatically retract out when you unlock the car. If you are in the vicinity, the handles can also be retracted out with a gentle touch on the handle.

Tesla Model S: First Impressions-dsc00333.jpg

Interior space is in opulence. Leg room is huge even for a 6 footer. Easily one of the more spacious cars in the segment. The front seats are bucket seats which nicely wrap around and provide great comfort. Rear seats are also comfortable, though they could do with more thigh support. The sweeping roofline does restrict headroom. A 6 footer will surely touch his head on the roof.

Tesla Model S: First Impressions-dsc00348_edited.jpg

Bottle and cup holders are surely missing in here. There are just two cup holders in the car, which are covered by the armrest when not in use. Well, but there is a lot of space otherwise. There is a trunk and a "frunk" ;-) The front trunk (frunk) is very useful as it can hold a lot of luggage. The rear trunk huge!! So big that Tesla provides an option for rear jumper seats. So lots of space in there!

Tesla Model S: First Impressions-dsc_0671_edit.jpg



Chassis

The Model S is mostly made out of Aluminium giving it a light weight. Batteries make up the floor of the car, and are water-cooled to maintain consistent temperatures. The entire chassis is only as much as you can see in the below picture. Our car has Active Air Suspension, which raises the ride height from "Very High" to "Low" to help you deal with lumps and bumps in the road. The car automatically adjusts to the "Low" setting at highway speeds, and back to "Normal" at lower speeds. The suspension is a Double wishbone, virtual steer axis coil spring front suspension and independent multi-link coil spring rear suspension. The car comes with Anti-Lock disc brakes (ABS) with ventilated rotors.

(Picture sourced from the internet)

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Powertrain

The heart is a three phase, four pole AC induction motor with copper rotor. It comes with a Drive inverter with variable frequency drive and regenerative braking system. There is a single speed fixed gear with 9.73:1 reduction ratio. The car is a rear wheel drive, making it a lot of fun to drive. More on the drive later.

The Drive

Now comes the most awesome part. Till now electric cars have always been boring, ugly, impractical, and not so fun to drive. All of this changes with the Tesla Model S. The motor is so addictive, just one push on the pedal and there is instant torque that will push you back into the seat! That feeling of peak torque at 0rpm cannot be just explained in words. You silently zoom to 60mph in no time. At first, it was really a very weird feeling to zoom to such high speeds silently. The only noise is the tire noise.

Since the Tesla has a fixed gear drivetrain, the moment you leave the gas pedal, the car decelerates. You don't have to apply brakes if you are slowing down to a traffic light. Only at the end while stopping, you have to put your feet on the brake.

Handling is another area where this car really shines. The steering, though electric, is perfectly weighted and gives a good amount of feedback. The car points exactly where you want. Flawless handling on the mountain roads. This can easily rival the 5 series when it comes to handling.

The tires that come with the car are Goodyear tires. They are not the best tires out there. Good amount of road noise travels in the cabin. I guess the car could do with better tires.

Overall, the Model S is great fun to drive. Never has an electric car been such a performer! And that instant torque One has to experience it to believe it.

Efficiency and Range

The car is rated at 230 miles by Tesla. My uncle installed a 240v charging point especially for the Tesla. A High Power Wall Connector is installed on a 240 volt circuit, which supplies with up to twice the amperage as an outlet. The advantage of this shows up with the twin chargers that Tesla provides. It gives 62 miles per hour of charge (vs. 31 per hour with regular charger).

The Tesla is recommended to be always connected to the charger whenever in the garage.

Tesla Model S: First Impressions-dsc00280_edited.jpg

Supercharger: Tesla Superchargers provide half a charge in about 20 minutes and are strategically placed to allow owners to drive from station to station with minimal stops. As per Tesla website, the supercharger coverage is as follows:

Today – 8 stations
Summer 2013 – 27 stations
Fall 2013 – Most metropolitan areas
Winter 2013 – Coast-to-coast travel
2014 – 80% of the US and Canada
2015 – 98% of the US and Canada

Superchargers are located near amenities like roadside diners, cafes, and shopping centers. Road trippers can stop for a quick meal and have their Model S charged when they’re done. And yes, Supercharging is free


Regenerative Braking

The regen in the Tesla works flawlessly and a gives a huge amount of charge. Here's an example of how beneficial it is.
We went on a short 70 mile trip to Rocky Mountains. Up-hill, the car used quite a lot of charge. The car was using on an average 600Wh/Mile. So after climbing about 5000ft in elevation, the energy graph showed about only 60miles of charge left.

Now while going downhill, the regen kicks in. And energy is so effectively regenerated that the car was charging all the way down. This is how the energy graph looked while going down:

Tesla Model S: First Impressions-dsc_0631_edit.jpg

Projected range of 999 miles!! That's the efficiency over 15miles. The final energy graph showed like this:

Tesla Model S: First Impressions-dsc_0627_edit.jpg

As you see, we gained charge and the projected miles now showed as 106mi


I will let you guys enjoy some pictures now. Some pictures were taken by my uncle. My next post will give an overview of all the high-tech gadgets in the car. Stay tuned!

Tesla Model S: First Impressions-dsc00334.jpgTesla Model S: First Impressions-dsc00335.jpgTesla Model S: First Impressions-dsc_0621.jpgTesla Model S: First Impressions-dsc_0622.jpgTesla Model S: First Impressions-dsc_0625.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 24th June 2013 at 13:27. Reason: As requested
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Old 18th June 2013, 21:25   #2
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Now coming to the tech in this gorgeous car. This car was designed and made in California, so it is not a surprise that it has the best tech among all the cars in its segment.

Tesla Model S: First Impressions-dsc_0639.jpg

Firstly, the screen. In the early stages of the car, some said that it will be difficult to use a touchscreen while driving. But Tesla has managed to do a great job with the user interface. The touch icons are big and placed in good areas so it is easy to memorize the placement of each icon, and quickly bring up useful information without looking away from the road. The 17-inch touch screen defaults to a two-window display. The driver can configure it to show a single screen, and can easily swap the windows.

Tesla Model S: First Impressions-20130615-21.18.30.jpg

The ribbon at the bottom remains fixed. It has the AC controls and speaker volume icon. At the left, you can always access the car controls which looks like this:

Tesla Model S: First Impressions-20130615-21.19.13.jpg

You can adjust suspension level, use the sunroof, change light settings; open/close doors,trunks, and charging port ; see trip data, modify display settings, and use the E-brake. The sunroof is opened or closed with a simple swipe on the screen.

Tesla Model S: First Impressions-20130615-21.18.44.jpg

The suspension has four modes (Low, standard, high, very high) + Jack. Since there is active air suspension in our car, a $1500 option, the car automatically lowers at high speeds for optimized aerodynamics and increased range. Pretty good feature to have on this car.

There are three modes for the steering: Comfort, standard, and Sport. The Sport mode gives better road feedback and the steering weight increases.

There is a fixed top ribbon, which shows the following menu options: Media, Maps, Energy, Web, Camera, and Phone. Simply drag any icon to bring it up in the top or bottom window. Driver personalization is pretty nifty in this car. It features this drop-down list showing the name of each driver. Selecting a name activates multiple personalization features, from seat position, door mirrors, steering rake/reach to favorite radio stations. One thing to notice here on the screen is that the Tesla that you see there looks exactly like the car you bought. :-) And any door that you open will show up on the image.

Web : The car has a built in AT&T sim card that gives the car 4G/LTE coverage. No subscription fee with unlimited data It's pretty fast where network is good but it's of no use once you are on a road trip on mountains or on country roads where even Edge data is rare to find. The car is equipped with Wifi, but Tesla hasn't yet released an update that could make the car connect to the Internet via Wifi only. Tesla is working towards making the car Wifi- ready. But browsing the web on a 17 inch screen is wow! UI is great and there is no lag, thanks to the Linux Kernel running inside.

Tesla Model S: First Impressions-20130615-21.21.41.jpgTesla Model S: First Impressions-20130615-21.24.02.jpg

Maps: Google maps are the default map option. You cannot install third party maps like Garmin or TomTom. If you are on a road trip, an external GPS is necessary cuz for google maps you need data coverage, which is not available everywhere. Also, the maps cannot be kept pre-loaded. May be a software update should fix this problem.

Tesla Model S: First Impressions-20130616-09.11.26.jpg

Media: There is Internet radio so you can browse over 30,000 channels that are present. Again, net connectivity is required at all times. The Tesla does not come with an Aux input, shockingly. There is just a USB port. You can also store songs in the built in hard drive, which does not have loads of space but can store upto 5000 songs I believe. An interesting feature of the car is that it detects whenever anyone exits the car and no one is inside and switches off the music and the screen. You get back into the car and the music will resume instantly from where you left it. Also, if you are inside and open a door, the music volume dims.

Tesla Model S: First Impressions-20130615-21.32.58.jpg

Camera: The rear camera turns on automatically when you pull into reverse. Otherwise it can also be brought up using the icon on the top. The camera provides a pretty wide angle view of the rear.

Tesla Model S: First Impressions-20130615-21.25.03.jpg

Energy: One can see all the energy stats in here. It shows energy consumption over 5mi/15mi/30mi and shows the projected range. It's good to have this screen in the lower window so that you can alter your driving style accordingly.

Tesla Model S: First Impressions-20130615-21.20.07.jpg

Phone: Phone works over bluetooth flawlessly.

Driver Instrument cluster: This is another small screen that shows all the information needed. When the car is switched off, this is how it looks.


Tesla Model S: First Impressions-dsc_0640.jpg

Otherwise the screen shows the speed in the middle, with the needle on the left showing the speed and the needle on the right showing the charge being used. To the left and right of the circle, you can bring up anything you like - maps, media, energy, or trip.

Tesla Model S: First Impressions-dsc_0629.jpg


Some more pictures

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Last edited by GTO : 24th June 2013 at 13:33. Reason: As requested
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Old 18th June 2013, 23:10   #3
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Awesome!! Looking forward to this thread.

Consumer Reports rated the Tesla S 99/100 !! Kinda crazy. That's the highest score they've given any car ever.

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Old 18th June 2013, 23:53   #4
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Here's another interesting piece of news :

Tesla Battery Swapping Tech For Long Trips Without Charging Stops To Be Demoed June 20

Tesla previously acknowledged that it has built the Tesla S with a swappable battery, so the tech demoed on Thursday shouldn’t apply only to new models going forward or anything quite so cruel. Instead, existing Tesla drivers will likely learn exactly how the system works, which will probably involve adding battery swap stations to existing Tesla charger locations, allowing car owners to essentially trade their expended battery pack module for a fresh one on the spot.

http://techcrunch.com/2013/06/18/tes...emoed-june-20/

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Old 19th June 2013, 07:50   #5
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Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Test-Drives & Initial Ownership Reports section. Thanks for sharing!

Wow that is a first!

Congrats on the car.

I've been to CO & looking at the roads there you're sure to have a great time driving the car in the mountains!

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 19th June 2013 at 08:17. Reason: reported post by KarthikK :)
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Old 19th June 2013, 08:10   #6
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Default re: Tesla Model S: First Impressions

One word:
WOW!
She is an absolute beauty, especially in White!
My favorite feature is the massive touchscreen in the car as it is an absolutely unique approach to things and seems ultra futuristic.
Congrats on the car, and hope you have many awesome miles in it!
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Old 19th June 2013, 09:17   #7
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Now that's something which needs extra attention and loud wow.
very sporty looking indeed from outside. from inside, it looks futuristic from some sci-fi movie.
but it's ultimately one practical car on the road. Tesla is surely gaining ground on electric technology making owners life easier by continuously improving charging time and battery swapping alternatives.
this continuous support and dedication gives confidence to consumers, which shows in consumers reports rating 99/100 as mentioned by Rehaan here.
i'll be waiting for more updates about driving and gadgets.

thanks for sharing the experience.
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Old 19th June 2013, 09:34   #8
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Awesome. To me now, this is the only option I will consider when thinking of a family sedan over $70k, bar none. It blows away the Mercs and Beemers.
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Old 19th June 2013, 09:45   #9
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Congratulations on getting a piece of future tech, today.

A close friend just got his delivered a couple months back and he hasn't been any happier! Link (Behold the Tesla Model S)

Enjoy your ride and drive safe.
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Old 19th June 2013, 09:45   #10
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I was generally excited while reading this review, but I totally flipped over when I came to the regen braking part. Generating energy on the way down? That's the greatest thing I've ever come across. I want this car just for that!

Congratulations!
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Old 19th June 2013, 09:54   #11
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Amazing! Thanks for sharing this with us. Free supercharging? That's simply great!

More pictures please, the boot and the under body of the car if you can. Also, a video if possible.

Dark colours suit the Tesla well. The Model S in black looks awesome.
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Old 19th June 2013, 10:17   #12
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Thanks for the review. It is nice to know that electric cars are gaining practicality. I look forward to the day, when internal combustion engine is replaced by electric motors.

Not long ago, I felt hugely deflated by the NYTimes review of Tesla. Having driven and owned one, I would like to know your opinion about this review:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/au...anted=all&_r=0
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Old 19th June 2013, 10:24   #13
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Thanks for the feedback guys. I shall post more on the tech and gadgets later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashlil View Post
Thanks for the review. It is nice to know that electric cars are gaining practicality. I look forward to the day, when internal combustion engine is replaced by electric motors.

Not long ago, I felt hugely deflated by the NYTimes review of Tesla. Having driven and owned one, I would like to know your opinion about this review:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/au...anted=all&_r=0
Well, this was a huge controversy in the US. The review was deemed as a false one. Here's a whole explanation on the same: http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/most...iar-test-drive
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Old 19th June 2013, 10:40   #14
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Man, how much I envy you!

Tesla Model S has been my dream ever since I heard Musk discussing about it on so many tech forums. When I finally saw the car, I was completely blown away.

The whole impression of the electric car was changed by this beauty. Power, style, FTD, green quotient: you name it! Please keep this thread updated, would love to stalk you if I had a chance
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Old 19th June 2013, 10:41   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theragingbull View Post
The 17 inch screen in the middle is neatly incorporated and is an ease to use. More on the screen and tech later.
Hi theragingbull, congratulations for the car (so should it be called a gadget ), a nice and crisp review.

I will definitely be following your thread very closely to read your experience and more so to understand if this is the future.

On a slight Off Topic note, my company has developed the touch screen and I sure am proud of it.

May you cover lots and lots of green miles

Cheers.
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