3rd

Executive Cars

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

Key stats

  • Model/Engine size: Tesla Model S 100 kWh Long Range
  • Fuel: Electric
  • Range (WLTP): 405 miles
Tesla Model S

Summary

Building a car is difficult. Building a good car even more so. Tesla is a company that doesn’t do things by halves, so having made enough cash selling its modified electric Lotus Elise, it jumped in with two feet and decided to go straight into the very competitive executive car sector with its first attempt at designing a car on its own. Oh and it’s all-electric too.

The result is very interesting indeed. The Model S packs a substantial 100 kWh battery and dual motors providing all-wheel drive. Thanks to that battery pack it can cover a very impressive 405 miles on the official WLTP test and it can hit 62 mph from zero in under 4 seconds. Straight away it is clear that the Tesla is a very different proposition to most electric cars.

The performance is very strong; with 661 bhp and instant torque, acceleration is rapid. Refinement is a strong point with a very hushed cabin at legal speeds and good ride quality. The fact that it is cloaked in an attractive and original-looking body, with a unique-looking dashboard and a massive 17-inch touchscreen control panel, all add to the experience. The Model S dashboard is more practical than the Model 3 thanks to the addition of an instrument display screen, which is great. However every Tesla needs a quirk and in this case it is the adoption of the ‘yoke’ steering wheel which feels like an unnecessary change.

The Model S has its large battery pack in the floor of the car. This means that the weight is slung low and frees up a massive amount of space inside. Boot space is incredible with 709 litres with the rear seats up, 1,739 litres seats down and an extra 150 litres in the front boot.

The Model S shows what can be done with a blank piece of paper and vision. There are weaknesses, despite having a low centre of gravity and near 50:50 weight distribution it can’t hide the 2.1 tonne kerb weight or its physical size (2.18 metres wide) which in combination with steering which offers plenty of (artificial) weight but no feel does limit the desire to explore the high limits of grip.

Truly revolutionary cars don’t come around too often but Tesla has delivered at the first time of asking. The massive battery unlocks a range that allows the vast majority of drivers to consider the Tesla as their only car. Just don’t try recharging it from empty to full using a standard socket, but you shouldn’t need to, because the Tesla Supercharger network is excellent.

However if you do need to use other networks, Tesla’s decision to stick with its propitiatory charging socket means that you need a CCS adapter which caps the maximum charging speed at around 145 kW, and in common with other Tesla’s the peak charging speed is only maintained for a short amount of time. As a result the S charges quickly but isn’t the fastest on the market, which is disappointing given the price and focus on tech.

With 1% VED, no congestion charge, and fuel costs of about £4 per 100 miles, running costs are very low whilst the interior, boot space and performance are simply on a different level to the established petrol and diesel competition.  The Model S is a serious wake up call for the competition, but it is behind the curve when it comes to Ultra Rapid charging, with no ‘sensible’ performance models to fill out the range it carries a very big price tag, and for some the yoke steering wheel will be a step too far. It may have been the first but it is no longer the best executive EV.

Read our full Tesla Model S Review

Estimated real world range: 280 – 405 miles
Official range:
405 miles.
Official electricity consumption: 188 Wh/km
Battery pack: 100 kWh (gross) Lithium-ion , 8 year 125,000 mile warranty
Recharge time: 240v charge >48 hours; 7.4 kW 32A/240v home charger > 15 hours; 16.5 kW charger 7 hours; Tesla Supercharger infrastructure (200 kW) 10% – 80% 40 minutes.

Please note that CO2 emissions quoted for electric cars are not directly comparable to diesel and petrol cars. This is because CO2 emissions quoted are calculated by Green Car Guide and include the emissions created at the power station turning fuel (e.g. gas etc) into electricity and in transmitting and distributing the electricity to an end user. They do not include the actual production of the fuel (e.g. gas extraction and refinery emissions). Petrol and diesel emissions are supplied by car manufacturers and are based solely on the fuel burnt in the engine (tailpipe emissions) and do not include the production of the fuel or distribution to a fuel station. In practice this means that electric car emissions are over-estimated relative to petrol and diesel. For instance if an electric car, a petrol car, and a diesel car are all reported to emit 100 g/km CO2, the electric car actually has lower emissions.

Specifications Tesla Model S

  • Fuel economy, extra urban: N/A
  • Fuel economy, urban: N/A
  • CO2 emissions: Officially 0 g/km. Average UK grid electricity (405 mile range) 52 g/km; (280 mile range) 75 g/km
  • VED: First year £0
  • Weight: 2108 Kg
  • BIK Company Car Tax (2022/23): 2%
  • Price: £95,980
  • Insurance group: 50
  • Power: 661 bhp
  • Max speed: 155 mph
  • 0-62mph: 3.2 seconds
  • Torque: TBC