Tesla Model S 2013: Sporty 100% Electric Car

I Officially Have Electric Car Envy!

For years, I have published articles about the feasibility of electric cars, both hybrid electric cars and 100% electric cars. I have always wished for my own renewable energy car, from an environmental standpoint and to save money on our monthly gas bills. As I wrote these articles over the past 5 years, there was a part of me that wondered whether electric cars were truly going to be a reality, or if someone would again "Kill the Electric Car."

Unbeknownst to me, my father (also a former attorney) has been doing a great deal of research and work in the electric car and self-driving car industry. In Spring 2013, he received his sporty red Tesla Model S car. Since then, I have seen it, ridden in it, watched him charge it up, and talked to him at length about this amazing, futuristic vehicle.

My next car will be electric! I know that much for sure.

Car and Driver Reviews the Tesla Model S 2013

Tesla Model S 2013
Tesla Model S 2013 | Source

Quick Stats on the Tesla Model S

  • 0 emissions - 100% electric
  • 0-60 acceleration in 4.2 seconds
  • Up to 300 miles on a single charge
  • Seating for up to 7 (in a coupe!)
  • Max speed: up to 130 mph
  • Three lithium ion battery options (65 kWh, 85 kWh and 85 kWh (performance)
  • Warranty for battery: 8 years/125,000 miles (unlimited with batteries over 65 kWh)
  • You can plug the Model S into plug into a 240-volt outlet, standard 120-volt wall outlets, and publicly available charging stations. With a 240-volt outlet, the car can be recharged at the rate of 29 miles of range per hour. With a Tesla Supercharger, you can recharge up to 50% in 20 minutes.

From the Tesla website:

With a rigid body structure, nearly 50/50 weight distribution and a remarkably low center of gravity, Model S offers the responsiveness and agility expected from the world’s best sports cars while providing the ride quality of a sedan.

Unlike the internal combustion engine with hundreds of moving pieces that spark, pump, belch, and groan, the Tesla motor has only one moving piece: the rotor. As a result, Model S acceleration is instantaneous, like flipping a switch.

What more would you want in an electric car?

Fun and Creative Commercial for the Tesla Model S

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Rapid Electric Vehicle Charging Station along Interstate-5 (Washington-California) in the U.S.Ready to plug in and recharge the Tesla Model SFree re-charging for electric cars along Interstate-5 along the West Coast of the United States
Rapid Electric Vehicle Charging Station along Interstate-5 (Washington-California) in the U.S.
Rapid Electric Vehicle Charging Station along Interstate-5 (Washington-California) in the U.S. | Source
Ready to plug in and recharge the Tesla Model S
Ready to plug in and recharge the Tesla Model S | Source
Free re-charging for electric cars along Interstate-5 along the West Coast of the United States
Free re-charging for electric cars along Interstate-5 along the West Coast of the United States | Source

Riding in a Tesla Model S: Features and Fun!

Now, I might not be as enthusiastic about the Tesla Model S if I had not taken several rides in it last summer. And, of course, my dad was more than happy to show off the amazing features of this electric car!

The night before we went for a drive, he plugged in the Tesla to his own rapid charger in the garage. It doesn't take very long before the car is fully charged to drive on its battery alone - no gasoline required. My Dad laughed when he told me about taking the Tesla to a gas station to purchase fuel for his lawnmower. I think he enjoyed the irony....

Before we hopped in the car, my father showed me under the hood - which is as empty as a school playground in early July. The trunk was equally empty because the battery is nestled within the powertrain, between the four wheels of the vehicle.

Inside the Tesla Model S, its roomy, comfortable and fully a sports car. The door handles recede into the panels to provide for extra aerodynamics - a reduced drag improves mileage and increases range of the electric car. A huge GPS/electronic touchscreen display is easily viewed by driver and front-passenger. It offers multi-media options including the Internet, navigation, hands-free phone, HD camera to assist with safe back-up and maneuvering and an energy consumption monitor that tracks the miles you have left before needing to recharge.

While all of this is very cool to read about, there is nothing like actually riding in a Tesla. And let me just say that everywhere we went, my dad got questions about the car. He seemed truly happy to let all who asked all about the amazing features of the Tesla Model S, including but not limited to the cash-free commute!

We drove south 50 miles from Olympia, Washington to Centralia for a baseball tournament in August 2013. Even though we had charged up at home, my father showed me the free charging stations that are available along the interstate freeway.

My Dad's Tesla Model S 2013
My Dad's Tesla Model S 2013 | Source

Do you Believe in Electric Cars?

What Would it Take for You to Drive a Tesla Model S?

  • Don't need to convince me - I am sold!
  • I am concerned about range issues
  • Just give me about $75,000 and I'm game.....
  • I already have one
  • Not interested at all - I'm more of a purist
See results without voting
Plugging in the All Electric Tesla Model S
Plugging in the All Electric Tesla Model S | Source

Who is Tesla?

The Tesla Model S is named for the so-called "mad scientist" Nikola Tesla who worked with Thomas Edison in the early 20th century.

Born in Serbia, Tesla immigrated to the United States as a young man and then spent his life coming up with and patenting futuristic inventions. Among other things, his work is a foundation of today's modern alternating current electrical system (for example, solar energy is absorbed by panels as direct current and must be converted to alternating current for our household and commercial uses).

A short biography of Tesla is beyond the scope of this hub, but I fully recommend the book above.

"Just Charge It" Electric Roadster Tesla Model S
"Just Charge It" Electric Roadster Tesla Model S | Source

Factors to Consider Before Buying or Driving a Tesla

Let's face it - pulling into a gas station is usually quick and easy. Many people wonder if they have enough time to recharge an electric car for daily use. There are also concerns regarding long driving trips. How far can the Tesla Model S go on a single charge?

[The answer is between 230 and 300 miles at 55 mph, depending on the size of battery]

As of the date of this article, government and private investors are installing new rapid battery charging stations across the United States. And, they are free (for now). Your Tesla Model S will tell you on its display screen exactly where the closest charging station is! In the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee and read a newspaper, you'll be on your way with at least a 50% charge!

If you use an electric car for commuting, many parking garages have reserved stalls with chargers so you can "fuel" up during the work day, or while running errands. Even some street parking areas are reserved for EVs adjacent to a charging station.

In the not too distant future, Tesla owners will be able to drive into a battery swap station and replace a depleted battery with a fully charged one in less time than it takes to fuel up at a service station!

Is $70,000 too much to shell out for one of these sweet Tesla Model S cars? Just wait until 2015 when a new model will be introduced at nearly half that price. Advancements in lithium battery production continue to decrease the cost of that component of the car, as well.

Tesla Model S is an Extremely Safe Vehicle

What About Safety of the Tesla Model S?

I am sure that some of my readers will have questions about the safety of the Tesla Model S, particularly after some news reports in 2013. Consider the following, however, from a Tesla August 19, 2013 press release:

  1. In 2013, the independent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the Tesla Model S a 5-star safety rating, not just overall, but in every subcategory.
  2. Only about 1% of all vehicles tested by the NHTSA achieve 5 stars across the board.
  3. Safety levels better than 5 stars are reflected in an overall Vehicle Safety Score (VSS) and the Model S achieved a combined record of 5.4 stars.
  4. The Tesla Model S set a new record for the lowest likelihood of injury to occupants, not only among sedans, but also SUVs and minivans.
  5. Without a gasoline engine block in front, the Tesla Model S has a considerably larger "crumple zone" to absorb impacts in a crash.
  6. The lithium-ion battery in the Tesla did not catch fire at any time before, during or after NHTSA testing. In fact, "no production Tesla lithium-ion battery has ever caught fire in the Model S or Roadster, despite several high speed impacts."

In short, the Tesla Model S appears to be a very safe vehicle. Not to mention a sweet, sporty ride!

© 2014 Stephanie Hicks

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Comments 14 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

I did a review on this car for a customers. Electric cars have come a long way in a short period of time. Pretty cool car.

Good job, Steph!

Have a great weekend my friend.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 2 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks Bill! Its fun having my Dad "on the inside" with respect to electric cars. He is soooo thrilled with his Tesla. You just might see him cruising around Olympia this summer. :)

Enjoy your weekend, as well!!


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

That is awesome that your dad has one and you can have such a close-up perspective of what the car is like. Excellent hub voted up and across, except funny.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 2 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks Flourish! It has been really great comparing notes about electric cars with my father the past several years. Cheers, Steph


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 2 years ago from California

Nice car. My only concern is the environmental impact of making the battery.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 2 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks tirelesstraveler! Research continues on recycling batteries, etc. I will write another hub comparing the environmental impacts of various forms of transportation, including internal combustion engines, mass transit, airplanes, trains and even bicycles! Its surprising.

But you have a good point - there are no convenient modes of transport that do not have at least some impact on the environment. The lack of tailpipe emissions from the Tesla Model S is a good start, in my opinion! Appreciate the read and the comment. Cheers, Steph


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 2 years ago from California

There are some really cool things they are doing recycling batteries, what I am wondering about is the original building of the brand new batteries.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 2 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

I can easily get that information! My dad is a wealth of knowledge and I also follow several EV news reporting sites. I'm excited to learn more and let my readers know, as well!


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

Sounds great. At the time of this writing, how much for a replacement battery? If sitting idle for a week, will it still be fully charged?


ijdmtoy profile image

ijdmtoy 2 years ago from Los Angeles

Have always wanted a Tesla, and am glad to hear about the new model that's coming out with prices comparable to a BMW 3-series.


DrBillSmithWriter profile image

DrBillSmithWriter 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

What fun! Not for me, but more power to them, trying to do the "right" thing, I think! ;-) Thanks for sharing this information… and the neat images! ;-)


RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 2 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

At this point I think my concern would be - what do you do when your charge indicator tells you you'll run out of power before reaching the nearest charging station. You can't just pull out a gas can and hitchhike to the next service station for a gallon or two of gas. Would you actually have to have the car towed? On the other hand, if I had $70,000 available to buy an electric car, I'd probably do it just for the fun of it.


Mark Tulin profile image

Mark Tulin 2 years ago from Santa Barbara, California

Good article on the Tesla. Liked your details and it answered some of my questions with regard to how many miles you can get on a charged battery and some of the specifications were interesting too. I also liked that you mentioned what might be coming up in the future with Tesla, a quick battery change. Thanks


jackclee lm profile image

jackclee lm 18 months ago from Yorktown NY

How many owners of electric cars will be repeat buyers? That will be the test...

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