Tesla Model S

Tesla’s Flagship

Base MSRP: From $74,490
Configurations:

  • Long Range Plus – From $74,490
  • Performance – $94,490

Destination Charge: $1,200

Reviews of the Tesla Model S

Overview

Performance: Electric vehicle, 100-kWh battery, 518 horsepower
Mileage estimate: 102-105 mpge

Price estimate: $74,490 to $94,490

Warranty: 4 years / 40,000 miles
Drivetrain warranty: 8 years / unlimited miles                                                      Roadside assistance: 4 years / 50,000 miles

The original Tesla electric car

Intro

Tesla automobiles continue to be a marvel, a veritable rolling monument to technology.

Under the somewhat eccentric leadership of CEO Elon Musk, Tesla is out to change the automotive industry. One might say that has already been accomplished. Tesla has certainly made an impact in a big way as more auto manufacturers delve into the electric vehicle (EV) arena and many of them are experiencing successful transformations.

It’s certainly not a stretch to state that the Tesla Model S is the forerunner among luxury electric vehicles. It was quite the package when introduced to the U.S. market in 2014. The five-passenger luxury sedan was crammed with technology, was extraordinarily fast, had terrific range before a charge was required, and featured an innovative appearance – as well as a fairly high sticker price.

The initial price tag didn’t scare off car buyers and still hasn’t. Tesla sold 16,698 Model S vehicles in 2014 and sales has ranged roughly between 25,200 to a high of 29,421 (2016) over the past four years.

The 2019 Tesla Model S arrives with a few changes. The most significant one is Tesla decided to drop the smaller battery package and go exclusively with the 100-kilowatt (kWh) battery, making it standard in all four trims (base Model S, Extended Range, Performance, and Performance with Ludicrous Mode). Tesla also introduced a new pricing structure this year in regards to upgrades.

Nothing has changed when it comes to range. The Model S still leads the way among all EVs, traveling approximately 335 miles (310 in the base model) before requiring a charge. Tesla is the definitive leader in this department. Behind the Model S is the Model 3 with a range of 310 miles, followed by the new Model X sport utility vehicle that has a 295-mile range.

Car shoppers new to the Tesla brand should be aware that buying the latest model doesn’t mean changes won’t arrive later that same year. Unlike traditional manufacturers, Tesla doesn’t observe model years, instead it provides updates whenever they are ready.

So, don’t expect a Model S that was built in January of this year to be the same one produced in July. It will keep evolving because Tesla continues automatically making significant software and hardware enhancements year-round. And the regular updates should make the car even better – at least that’s the theory.

Features

Although not a fan of this new concept, the Model S can be driven in autopilot mode. Autopilot costs $3,000 and the cruise control enables the Model S to steer, accelerate and brake automatically for other vehicles and pedestrians within its lane.

We prefer handling the driving duties and were wary of employing the “look mom, no hands” method. Even with autopilot, the driver needs to remain engaged with the steering wheel – one pinky finger is enough. When going totally hands free, note that within a few seconds a verbal message will ask the driver to reengage with the wheel.

There’s a huge 17-inch touchscreen that covers much of the dashboard and is angled toward the driver for easier access. At first it seems intimidating – too much to learn in regard to infotainment, vehicle settings, climate system, etc. Despite the advanced technology, Tesla has managed to simplify the crisp, clear, and bright instrumentation so the learning curve isn’t nearly as daunting. The 12-speaker, premium audio system is first rate and comes with satellite radio.

Exterior Style

We haven’t even mentioned the Tesla Model S is one cool-looking vehicle as well, characterized by an extremely long windshield and stylish front end. The Model S has retractable door handles, which don’t appear until the key fob is within close range. Another distinctive feature is the recharging port is hidden in the taillights. In regards to recharging, Tesla has a large network of its own charging stations throughout the U.S.

Vehicle Power and Speed

Indeed, the speed is ludicrous, clocked at 0-60 mph in 2.4 seconds with a top speed of 155 mph, making the Model S faster than any luxury-performance sedan in existence. The Ludicrous mode upgrade costs roughly $15,000 and using it too often definitely reduces the mileage range.

Performance

The Model S is super quick, yet slows down just as quickly. When one simply takes their foot off the accelerator, the vehicle rapidly decelerates, thanks to its highly efficient regenerative braking system, a terrific feature that is appreciated when going at high speeds because the Tesla cruises along the road so quiet and effortlessly.

What remains the most intriguing aspect of the Model S is speed. It’s off the hook. Tramp down on the accelerator and you’re in for quite a treat. It has 519 horsepower and travels 0-60 mph in a crazy fast 4.1 seconds. Yet more daring individuals may want to occasionally experience the “Ludicrous” mode, which is aptly named.

The Model S has fantastic driving refinement, delivering a smooth and safe ride that one comes to expect from a luxury vehicle. The turning radius is fabulous and the Model S really grips the road, providing an enhanced feeling of driver confidence when navigating along challenging, curvy roads.

Conclusion

It’s hard not to become a fan of Tesla after driving one of its vehicles even once. The Model S is an intoxicating vehicle that provides tremendous enjoyment in multiple ways, especially the stunning performance. It’s an extremely cool-looking vehicle that’s even cooler to drive.

– J.W.

Interested in other Tesla BEV options? Check out the Model 3, Model X, and the latest Model Y

Additional info about the Tesla Model S:

First-Time Tesla Owner’s Comprehensive Beginner’s Guide: www.InsideEVs.com

Tesla used a variety of technical advances to increase Model S range to 400 miles by Charged EVs Magazine

Manufacturer details: www.tesla.com/models

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Videos of the Tesla Model S

Recommended Power Level of Charging Station for Tesla Model S = 48A

Vehicle Acceptance rate: 9.6kW – 19.2kW

Depending on Battery Size

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