Tesla barely existed ten years ago, yet the company is currently selling its amazing Model S electric super-saloon in the UK, and you can now buy one from the new Tesla store in Knutsford. If you’ve not visited a Tesla store yet, here are our top ten reasons why you should do so.
In the ten years or so since Tesla appeared, the start-up has leapfrogged past companies that have been making cars for over 100 years. While traditional car companies have been working out ways for their new models to use petrol or diesel slightly more efficiently, Tesla has come from nowhere and produced the best electric vehicle on sale, and one of our very best 2014 cars of the year.
You can read our Tesla Model S road test, but why not try one for yourself? Head down to the Knutsford store and test the Model S on some excellent Cheshire roads. In fact you’ll probably feel that you’re in such a space age machine that you’ll believe that you can drive to America with no problems. The Tesla Model S looks fantastic, it’s quite simply amazing to drive, with vast performance, incredible refinement, and a huge range for an electric car. Of course it also has zero tailpipe emissions, zero company car tax, and costs only £8 or so for a full recharge for around 250 miles of driving.
The Model S has just two buttons on the dashboard, one for the hazard lights, one for the glove compartment. All other controls are on the world’s largest in-car iPad. This means that you (but preferably your passenger) can surf the internet when you’re driving, you can view massive, clear maps for navigation, but it’s capable of many cooler tricks, such as swiping the touchscreen to open the sunroof.
After you’ve carried out a test drive and proven that the car does have some form of (rapid) propulsion technology, try this: bet a friend to see if they can find the engine. Look under the bonnet. They’ll soon realise that it’s not there, as they’ll come face-to-face with a luggage compartment. Okay, so it must be rear-engined. Open the hatchback. Nope – no engine there either; just a large boot. Check Tesla hasn’t put the engine in the passenger compartment. No it’s not there. Tell your friend that the Tesla is powered by some secret space age technology stolen from America’s UFO investigation programme. They’ll probably believe you.
Show your friend the Model S. Tell them that it accelerates from 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds. Then proclaim that it has seven seats. They’ll tell you that you’ve gone mad. Capitalise on this and ask them how much they want to bet that it hasn’t got seven seats. They’ll probably say something like £100. Make sure that the car in the showroom is the seven-seat model and open the hatchback…
Most pure electric cars have a realistic driving range of approximately 80 miles before you have to recharge (based on our personal experience). In the Tesla Model S you can drive (in real life, not on the NEDC test) around 250 miles between recharges. And this includes motorway driving – which normally kills the electric car. The Model S is the first – and currently still the only – truly practical electric car.
The best thing about recharging a Tesla is that you don’t have to do it very often. But if you do need to drive more than 250 miles in one day then Tesla is installing Superchargers (which can give you 80% charge in around 40 minutes) on strategic routes around the UK. In other electric cars you always have to keep an eye on the car’s range; if you head out into the wilds of Britain in these EVs then you’ll probably need to recharge, so you’ll have to hope that the chargepoint has the right connection for your car and that you have the right membership card for the chargepoint. With Tesla’s superchargers you simply drive up and plug in. The connector is the correct type, and there’s no range of membership cards needed as recharging for a Tesla is free.
Not inspired by car dealerships that resemble tired used car lots? Instead, Tesla’s approach is more in keeping with an Apple store. If you don’t know Knutsford, and you’re wondering if Tesla has got the target market right in this part of Cheshire, take a look at the McLaren showroom next door. At the launch of the Knutsford store, Georg Ell, Tesla’s Country Director for UK and Ireland, challenged the McLaren showroom to a drag race between the Model S P85D and a McLaren 650S. We would be happy to pilot the Model S on behalf of Tesla when this time comes.
The current Model S is rear-wheel drive, but you can now order a Model S P85D with all-wheel drive. Very soon you’ll be able to buy the Tesla Model X, an all-wheel drive electric SUV. However perhaps one of the most exciting prospects is Tesla’s all-electric BMW 3 Series rival – due to have a range of more than 200 miles and expected to sell at around £23,000 in the UK if government incentives are still at the level that they are today.
Tesla is a pretty big, amazing idea in itself, but that’s not enough for Tesla’s founder Elon Musk. Having started his career with PayPal, which he later sold, he also runs SpaceX, which is now sending rockets into space, with the ultimate aim of taking people to Mars. Google and Fidelity have just recently invested $1 billion into SpaceX. Elon is also addressing the world’s energy issues, and is backing solar power as the ultimate solution.
Change is happening in the world at a faster and faster rate. There is also more awareness – at last – that we have to stop messing with our planet and its environment. Unfortunately over recent decades the American car industry seemed to completely ignore both of these trends, and the disastrous consequence for many US car companies has been clear for all to see. Tesla is now showing what can be done in the area of personal transportation with some bright, sustainable thinking.