This is my honest, unsolicited and non-compensated opinion.

A colleague and fellow car enthusiast recently had the opportunity to take his neighbor’s Tesla out for a spin.  He informed me that scoring a test drive was as easy as asking – so I asked.   And I drove it.  And I was rather that surprised by the experience. 

While I am no Mario Andretti or regular contributor to Road & Track, I’ve had my share of cars of all shapes and sizes.  I will, however, always be a sports car lover first and foremost.  The thought of a Lexus, Tesla, or any type of sedan has always held very little appeal.  Factor in the notion that electric cars generally lack acceleration and you end up with virtually zero interest on my part.  Despite this, given that many have discussed how the Tesla is like no either electric car produced in the world, I said “why not see what all the fuss is about.”

Haven’t heard any fuss?  – I promise you will.  And I’m here to tell you that you should believe the hype.  I don’t see how anyone could take a good look (let alone a test drive) and walk away anything but flabbergasted (first time ever dropping that f-bomb).  Apparently, I could not hide my “Tesla Grin” throughout the experience. 

An up close and personal examination of the exterior, in my opinion, reveals no cause for finding a new religion.  It’s a decent looking sedan.  But then you try to open the door and the handles futuristically slide out when they sense your presence thanks to this nifty key fob thingy that looks like a tiny Tesla and lives in your pocket.  No need to stick it in the ignition either.  It knows what you want.  Next  you see the interior.  The thing you can’t help but notice first if you have the gift of sight is the huge screen in the center of the dashboard.  It’s huge (deliberately repeated for emphasis).  It does everything you’d like it to do and then some.  There’s a rear camera that comes up, allowing you to save your neck for turning to look smugly at envious people staring at your sweet ride. OK – enough.  It’s nice – it has a modern interior with lots of cool bells and whistles. You get it.

Acceleration.  Let’s talk about it already, shall we?  But it’s electric, you say.  It weighs about 5,000 pounds you say.  It runs on batteries for Pete’s sake.  Pete doesn’t know torque, apparently.  I was driving the Model S, which is blessed with 415 HP and 443 lb-ft of torque.  The key here is the torque though.  The torque (and they mean ALL of this torque) is instantly available between 0 and 5800 RPM’s.  In a nutshell - this means you hit the gas and it GOES.  You get thrown back - in an awesomely violent way!  It’s rather fantastic.  Ethan likey.  You can read here about how it smokes a BMW M5, and if you want to learn about the impact of torque this is a pretty well written mini lesson. 

As for the practicality of getting a fully electric car with no gas option – it depends on how you will use it.  Batteries have a range of either roughly 200 or 250 miles (the latter costing an additional $10k, pushing the car’s price into the $80k range, and it can easily climb from there).  For a more in-depth review, check this out.  But why not just carve out an hour, click here to schedule a test drive - and live a little!

Thanks to the team at the Tesla showroom in the Roosevelt Field Mall for making my test drive possible.

Sep 16, 2013 Posted in | , , , | 0 Comments »

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