Tesla S – 10 Things You Need to Know

We were fortunate to be shown the Tesla S, the all electric performance sedan from the good people in Silicon Valley, California.

To those new to the Tesla S, we compiled the top 10 things you need to know about the car.

The Ten Things You Ought to Know About the Tesla Model S

1. It’s Fast & Powerful: It does o-60mph in 3.2 seconds with the Performance edition and 5.4 seconds on the Standard edition with a Top Speed of 120-155mph. The electric motors generate a whooping 382bhp to 418bhp power with a maximum torque of 440-600Nm.

2. It’s Driven by Electric Motors: three phase, four pole AC inductor motor with copper rotor. It has a drive inverter with variable frequency drive and regenerative braking system. It runs on a single speed fixed gear box with 9.73:1 reduction ratio.

The Performance edition had dual motor, driving the front and rear wheel with the front offering 221 hp while the rear offers more than double that at 470hp giving the car a total of 691 hp. The all wheel drive is specially designed to work with the suspension for power and handling.

3. It Goes The Distance: Most all-electric vehicle gives a range of between 30 – 130 miles between charges. Some examples below:

  • Nissan Leaf: 130 miles
  • Toyota RAV4 EV: 103 miles
  • Mitsubishi Miev: 100 miles
  • BMW i3: 80-100 miles
  • Citroen C-Zero: 93 miles
  • Fiat 599e: 87 miles
  • Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive: 85 miles
  • Volkswagen e-Golf: 83 miles
  • Chevy Spark EV: 82 miles
  • Ford Focus Electric: 76 miles
  • Smart ForTwo Coupe: 68 miles

Some manufacturers get around the limitation with a range extender or an on-board petrol or diesel powered generator that charges the battery when low to keep you going for a bit more.

The Tesla S overcomes this with a massive battery pack built under the floor of the vehicle giving it a range of up to 240 miles with the standard 60kWh battery and up to 312 miles with a higher capacity 85kWh battery.

  • Range: 240 – 312 miles

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4. It’s Fully Loaded: all manner of kit and gadget you can think of for a car is included. To start, there is a great big screen to replace all the controls in the car. The 17-inch dash board screen provides everything from rear view mirror for reversing to Google Map on full screen. A built-in 3G sim provides the console with software updates. It provide controls for heating, climate control, satellite navigation, radio and more.

In the safety department, there are 6 airbags; head, pelvis airbags in the front and two side curtain airbags. Three point safety seat belts for the drive and passenger, Three, three point safety seat belt for the second row and two 5 point seat belts for the optional seat in the rear if fitted. There are three second row ISOFIX attachments for child seat that lets you have up to three child seats, two with ISOFIX and one with top tether and belt.

You can control the car remotely via Tesla Mobile App for Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android devices to heat or cool the cabin to your preferred temperature before you start your journey. Also when locked the door handles sinks into the body making the car that bit more aerodynamic and secure.

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5. It’s Roomy: There is plenty of space inside the vehicle given its wide and long wheel base with nothing but electric powered motors and battery. The interior cabin space is said to be more than the BMW X5 SUV with plenty of room for 5 big adults. A pair of optional rear facing bucket seats can also be fitted to the rear to bring the total number of passengers to 7. Although, we tested the seats and it seems to only be big enough for a child or a very small adult. To get in, you open the rear boot door and step over the bumper into a bucket floor and watch your head as you close the boot door It does come with 5-point seat belt.

  • Dimensions: 4970 (L) x 2187 (W) x 1445 (H) mm

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6. It has Plenty of Luggage Space: As the battery is built into the floor and electric motors drives the wheels directly, there is nothing under the bonnet. This space is turned into a luggage space giving you plenty of room for your luggage both in the front and back (boot) of the car.

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7. Loads of Incentives: The UK and governments around the world offers tax incentives for environmentally friendly electric cars to help with purchase and ownership. Here are the list of benefits or incentives if you are in the UK:

  • No Road Tax
  • GBP5000 UK Government Grant for every Model S
  • 0% Benefit In Kind for  a company purchase until April 2015, after which BIK will be set at 5%
  • 100% First year write down Allowance for company purchase until April 2018 for expenditure incurred
  • Exemption from London Congestion Charge
  • No showroom or luxury vehicle tax

8. Charging Time: from flat to full, charging time varies depending on the on-board charger configuration; a single or optional dual chargers configuration and the type of outlet used; a 230V 32A Type 2 outlet or  400V 32A 3-Phase Type 2 outlet. An estimate of the charge time is shown below.

  • 20 hours with a standard home plug (adapter included),
  • 10 hours with a government subsized wall charger* costing GBP95,
  • 5 hours with an optional dual charger that costs GBP1900,
  • 45 mins with Tesla Supercharger planned  for service stations on the M4, M1 and M6.

A Tesla App is available to check the state of charge remotely. You can also set a charge program using the touch screen to take advantage of the low electric tariff at night available from certain utility companies or system. Set the schedule and the car will charge during those hours where it is economical.

11. Running Cost: As an all-electric zero emission car you would enjoy grants and tax benefits from the government. Suffice to say, the car will also be exampted from road tax. Charging cost varies depending on the tariff. On the average rate of GBP01.3 per kWh ( you see this on the electric bill), it will cost around GBP7.72 to charge the 60kWh battery and around GBP11.00 to charge the 85kWh battery.

For maintenance, a 4 year or up to 80,000km service plan is available for EURO2000 exclude VAT.

The annual service plan includes Annual inspection (or every 20,000km), replacement parts like brake pads and windshield wipers but doesn’t include the tyres. Apart from this, you get the system monitoring, remote diagnostics, software updates and with that new features. It has to be taken at the time you bought the car or within 30 days from delivery.

There are no fuel filters, oil changes, cam belt changes, spark plugs or MOTs, the only service required is the routine check up each year or every 12,500 miles either at the Service Centres or with a Tesla Service Ranger.

10. Warranty: You have to know that you are covered, and with the Tesla S, you get

  • limited warranty for up to 4 years or 80,000 km, whichever comes first on the vehicle;
  • 8 years or 200,0000 km, whichever comes first on the battery and drive unit for the 60kWh battery model
  • 8 years, unlimited kilometer battery and drive unit warranty for the 85kWh battery model

For peace of mind, the battery warranty also covers damage from improper charging procedures.

*The Model S comes with a Type 2 to Type 2 connector. Hereby you can charge with a wall-box at home. Under the OLEV subsidy, up to GBP1,000 incl. VAT of the installation costs are covered by the government.