- Automotive Makes & Models
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
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
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.
Do you Believe in Electric Cars?
What Would it Take for You to Drive a Tesla Model S?
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.
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:
- 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.
- Only about 1% of all vehicles tested by the NHTSA achieve 5 stars across the board.
- 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.
- 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.
- Without a gasoline engine block in front, the Tesla Model S has a considerably larger "crumple zone" to absorb impacts in a crash.
- 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