DRIVEN: Tesla Model S
It’s not every day that a motoring scribe gets to test cars overseas without being on an international launch. With this in mind, you can imagine my excitement when, whilst in Amsterdam on a recent sojourn, I was invited to visit the mini factory/showroom right in the heart of one of the most amazing cities in the world.
First up was the orientation on the vehicle which was really entertaining and amazing at the same time. But when the Tesla representative offered a test drive, I jumped at the opportunity, having had my International drivers’ licence on hand.
I have to say upfront that it felt uneasy or perhaps a little uncomfortable driving a left-handed vehicle on the right-hand side of the European roads, which is a complete opposite to our models and roads in SA.
Sustainable energy is all the rage in Europe and it's clearly amazing just how many electric cars are on the European roads. On one day, I counted approximately 200 electric cars of most makes and models.
And if you thought that charging stations are going to be a hindrance to your ride or journey, then stop and think again. There are numerous charging stations littered throughout the city and on the outskirts of the scenic countryside.
South African-born Elon Musk had an incredible dream when he thought out the Tesla and whilst early productions began to falter somewhat, it was pleasing to see the operation is now in full swing, and the company is now posting very moderate profit margins.
Every Tesla vehicle is designed to be the safest and quickest vehicle in its class - equipped with the most advanced active safety features on earth, and capable of accelerating from zero to 100km/h in as little as 2.7 seconds.
Tesla also offers the world's first complete clean energy solution, allowing you to generate, store and use your own renewable energy.
I drove the Model S, which is built from the ground up as an electric vehicle, with high-strength architecture and a floor-mounted battery pack allowing for incredible impact protection. The traction and road handling are about the best I have ever driven.
Every Model S comes standard with the most advanced active safety features. The Side Collision Warning helps to avoid potential collisions with fast-approaching vehicles.
Being a fully-electric vehicle, I found the vehicle to be predicatively responsive when accelerating, so much so that you forget that you are driving in the city. But the braking dynamics of the car was equally pleasing and reassuring.
Tesla's models detect objects and automatically apply brakes to prevent impact. With a claimed unparalleled performance delivered through Tesla's unique, all-electric powertrain, Model S accelerates and decelerates with ease, says the automaker.
The vehicle comes with Autopilot capabilities designed to make your highway driving not only safer but stress-free. Now, how’s that for technology?
Tesla also claims that the Model S is built for safety, with all-electric architecture designed to provide protection from every side - the position and weight of the floor-mounted battery pack provides a very low centre of gravity, allowing for the lowest rollover risk of any car on the road.
There is no internal combustion engine in the Model S, so the crumple zone has greater opportunity to minimize occupant deceleration in the event of frontal impact.
The combination of a high-strength central pillar and an energy-absorbing sill structure provides exceptional protection to both the occupant and the under-floor mounted battery pack.
Talk about quick acceleration - the Model S sets an industry standard for performance. Tesla’s all-electric powertrain delivers performance in all weather conditions – with Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive and stunning acceleration.
Built around the driver
The Model S is built with best in class storage, seating for up to five adults and an expansive 17" touchscreen. Everything you would need to know and control is all on the screen.
Advanced noise engineering creates sound dynamics comparable to a recording studio, while the standard Glass Roof provides a spacious interior experience for every passenger.
Every element was designed with the driver and passengers in mind - with uncompromising aesthetics and ludicrous performance. A carbon fibre spoiler provides the Model S with incredible aerodynamics and the lowest drag coefficient of any vehicle in its class.
The automatic door handles auto-present upon approach and withdraw when closed. The 19" or 21" wheels gives you that enhanced handling experience and traction.
This is an all-wheel-drive vehicle that literally jumps from 0 to 100km/h in just 2.7 seconds. The kilometre range once the battery pack is fully charged is around 550km.
Warranty is a 4-year basic cover and 3 years on the battery pack and drivetrain.
This car will set you back an approximate R1.4m locally, if not more. It is all the rage in Europe. Hopefully, it will eventually arrive here locally.