A Closer Look At The Tesla Model S

During the last Dot Com Pho meetup, we had an opportunity to check out the 2012 Model S by Tesla Motors. I got a lot of comments and questions about the car, so I figured I’ll give you a closer look at what many are calling the car of the future.

The Tesla Model S is the only premium sedan engineered from the ground up as an electric car. It’s not the first electric car, but it’s the only one I would consider buying. What sets the Model S apart from its Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf competitors is the driving range. While the Volt and Leaf can go only 40 and 100 miles on a charge, the Model S can go from 160 to 300 miles (depending on battery pack) before needing a recharge. The Model S will also be the world’s first premium luxury electric car when it goes on sale in mid-2012.

Tesla Model S

Tesla plans to produce 20,000 Model S annually. The company has taken more than 4,000 reservations for the Model S in North America and Europe. The base US Model S with a 160 mile battery pack has an anticipated base price of $49,900, after the $7,500 federal rebate. The 230 mile battery pack will cost $10,000 more. Add another $10,000 on top of that to go to the 300 mile battery pack. Is it worth spending another $20,000 to add 140 miles of range? Only you can decide that. The first 1000 cars will be top of the line Signature editions. If you want to be among the first to own a Model S, be prepared to pony up over $70,000.

The Model S can seat up to seven people (five adults and two children). How is that possible? The truck features a couple of rear facing jump seats that pop up like the old Griswold station wagon. The kids should have a blast waving to the cars behind. Imagine what the grandparents will think when you tell them you put the kids in the truck?

Tesla Model S

Should you fill the Model S with seven people, you can still take home the groceries by putting it into the second truck. The electric motor that powers the Model S sits between the rear wheels. This allowed the Tesla engineers to create a second truck under the front hood. The Model S has more than twice the storage space of an equivalent BMW 5 series sedan.

Think of The Screen as a 17″ iPad

Tesla Model S

Model S is equipped with a 17-inch touch screen infotainment cluster with wireless internet access allowing connected navigation, internet radio and points of interest. On the unit I saw, the display looked extremely busy. I can’t imagine using it while driving. Hopefully, Tesla will add voice commends to the list of Model S features.

Slim Profile Battery Pack Under The Floor

Model S Flat Battery Pack

The battery pack for the Model S is located under the floor and is combined with the body structure. The pack contributes to the overall torsional stiffness, providing an unparalleled stiffness-to-weight ratio amongst production vehicles. The pack integration augments the strength of the passenger cabin, allowing the Model S to earn the highest crash safety rating. The pack improves underbelly and wheel well aerodynamics and lowers the center of gravity for better handling.

Charging the Model S is as simple as plugging it into a wall outlet. Mind you, it will take up to 30 hours to recharge a depleted battery pack with a 120-volt outlet. The charge time reduces to eight hours if you use the 220-volt outlet that powers your washer/dryer. Alternatively, you can install the Tesla 240-volt high power wall connector in your garage and charge up the Model S in only four hours. Tesla is also working on a 480-volt charger that can recharge the batteries in 45 minutes.

Instant Troque = 0 to 60 in 5.6 Seconds

The Tesla electric motor that powers the Model S sits in between the rear wheels and is nearly three times as efficient as a gasoline engine. The instant troque of the motor, combined with the single-speed gear box, enables the Model S to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in only 5.6 seconds, making it faster than any other electric vehicles except for the Tesla Roadster.

The innovative packaging, with the motor and power electronics tightly integrated to mount within the rear sub-frame module, results in more usable cabin space and a center of gravity that is lower than any internal combustion vehicles.

Planning a Trip

While a 300 mile range is a decent, it still requires planning if you want to take a long trip. The best way to plan a long trip is to recharge at the local RV parks, since they use 220-volt outlets. Rent a small RV space for the night, plug the car in, stay over at the nearby motel and your Model S will be fully charged by morning. If you try to recharge the car with the 120-volt outlet from the motel, you could be waiting one full day and one full night before the car is fully charged.

If you’re traveling through California, you’ll be in electric car heaven. Many malls have EV charging stations in their parking lots. San Francisco is installing at least 90 new charging stations in city-owned parking garages for electric vehicles to juice up. Best of all, It’s free! Not only can you recharge your car for free but green vehicles are also allowed to use the car pool lane with only a driver.

Your Chance To See The Model S

The Model S Design Prototype is making its way around the US and Canada so you can get up close and personal with the future of automobiling. The car was in Seattle last week. Its next stop will be in Vancouver at the EPIC Sustainable Living Expo. Then it will head to Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Boston and South Florida. More cities will be added.

The video below is from the Model S Alpha prototype. I spiced it up with some cool texts and a really appropriate sound track. Enjoy and be green!


60 thoughts on “A Closer Look At The Tesla Model S”

  1. Deepak yadav says:

    I love your posts on cars…….

    1. Zach Crawley says:

      Me too .. and ya know, for an electric powered car, this looks really nice compared to others.

      1. Especially those G-Whiz’s!

      2. PPC Ian says:

        Agreed! Awesome post an awesome car (for an electric car). I can’t live without a convertible however so I’ll have to pass on this one.

      3. Handbags says:

        I agree. This car is very hot. The curves, the shine and the color look perfect!

        1. Make Money says:

          Definitely has a good style to it that makes it more and more appealing.

    2. Looks like a Jag, a lot.

      1. Kevin Kimes says:

        I agree, it has a very strong resemblance to the new XJ, and the XF even moreso. Of course, if we look at enough different cars, we could probably say it looks like a lot of the modern sporty sedans. Even Pontiac comes to mind.

    3. We simply love all life style posts of John.

      Webinar like flippa is a cherry on cake.

      1. Handbags says:

        I agree. John writes great posts. John loves nice looking cars. When John started blogging I believe he used to have a photo of a car on the top of his blog 🙂 So yeah, cars is something he likes talking about too.

  2. fazal mayar says:

    Yeah John, we all love posts on cars have them more often. And eletrical cars is what we should have used since the beginning because of pollution but we may overrate the effects on poillution

    1. It still takes fossil burning fuels to recharge electric cars, they aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

      1. Kevin Kimes says:

        Hydroelectric and nuclear are solid alternatives to NG turbines and coal burners, with zero emissions. Nuclear just needs to be done where there are no tsunamis and earthquakes, and hydro of course requires a large powerful river.

        We’re not tapping anywhere near the potentially available hydro power. Ironically, that’s largely due to the self-contradicting environmentalists who worry about the impact on fish (even though we have fish ladders!), as well as opposing nuclear.

        1. Make Money says:

          It will take people that stand up to the overbearing environmentalist. Those people are being hardcore on the stuff because it is job security. Where as, if they let something that will help the environment, the need for them actually decreases slightly. Multiply that by multiple instances and boom, all of a sudden they are not needed at all!

  3. I am considering getting myself on the list for this car. It looks really cool, has a ton of features, and the price is reasonable.

    Great reference to the Griswold “Family Truckster” station wagon. 0 to 60 in 5.6 seconds is awesome for an electric car.

    Tesla is also working on a 480-volt charger that can recharge the batteries in 45 minutes. I would want this option. I am too impatient.

    1. I agree! Tesla have definitely innovated hard in this space, I’m looking forward to them releasing more models and becoming one of the bigger car companies over the next few years!

    2. PPC Ian says:

      I like the reference to the Griswold car too! 🙂

    3. I’m sure the charge is another $5,000 or $10,000.

  4. Make Money says:

    It is definitely cool and I think Tesla is going in the right direction but the prices are going to have to come down and the distances per charge are going to have to skyrocket before this hits mainstream as far as consumer purchasing is concerned IMO.

    1. They’ve only started making head waves in this industry, I think as technology advances and they grow to a bigger scale (through people purchasing these existing models) combined with their financing and deals which have given them that new production centre that we will see the price fall.

      Especially as they have started to license their technology to other manufacturers which will make this better for consumers in the long run!

      1. Make Money says:

        I am thinking as they develop more of an economies of scale and are able to spread costs out across various things the cars will improve drastically on speed, charge and cost. Until then though I just don’t see myself buying one yet.

        I have my reasons outside of costs as well. I want a better more refined product that can go further etc.

  5. Even thought it is an electric car it is good looking and a powerfull car (0-60 in 5,6sec).
    With these characteristics it certainly tops the competition but still the driving range is an issue compared to conventional cars

    1. Make Money says:

      It is no slouch, my main complaint is I want it to have better range. We will see where they go in the next 10 years. I think that is about how much longer I have before my current car eats it.

  6. Edgar says:

    thanks John for sharing, the car looks amazing. to bad is out of my prize range. ;o(

    1. this really is taking electric cars to whole other level. A really nice machine. It would be a real squeeze for 5 adults and 2 kids to fit in their though lol

      1. Agreed! Although the fact that they can say “an electric car which you can drive 7 people around in” really does sound eco-friendly.

  7. Alexis says:

    It looks amazing.Being an electric car makes it really really fantastic.

  8. Tesla’s are cool! I loved when they were featured on Top Gear (shame they are suing them though) even knew what they did was a joke – it appears Tesla didn’t – although they are suing them after a few years of it airing!

  9. Are you serious, you have to pay $20,000 more to go 140 more miles. Sorry, that’s frickin’ ridiculous. That’s why electric cars will never replace gas cars. It ain’t gonna happen.

    1. John Chow says:

      It does seem like a lot for 140 miles extra range. As technology advances, that price should come down. Shouldn’t be long before we have 1000 mile range electric cars.

      Right now I think the main drawback to EV is charging time. Even with a 480-volt outlet it takes 45 minutes to charge vs. a five minute gas fill up.

      1. Yea, a 1,000 mile range is much more acceptable for the masses.

      2. Make Money says:

        Very true John! Not to mention the 5 minute feel up includes pulling into the station, pumping, going in and grabbing some chips and a soda, paying, then walking out and driving off!

      3. Ulf says:

        You americans can use the 45minutes to stuff your faces with hamburgers. You rednecks don’t understand that this car is not suited for ALL of you, but for the majority it will be perfect. But prices are still way too high.

    2. Handbags says:

      That is crazy. Way too much money. Only a Celebrity could afford something like that.

    3. Kevin Kimes says:

      That may be the only way they can remain profitable with this model.

      Electric cars still have a long way to go, but I definitely think we’ll “get there” within a decade or so, if the world lasts long enough 🙂

      I’m thinking for the work at home industry, those who make enough money to have a “get around town” car might do just fine having one of these in their stable. If our daily drive needs are usually just taking the kids to school, getting groceries, or going to church, this fits the bill. Just have a regular vehicle for longer hauls.

      1. Make Money says:

        This thing will be highly profitable for them in a couple of years at a significantly lower price. They just have to work on that whole economies of scale thing. They aren’t pushing enough yet, or have big enough factories yet to really get things moving in a manner that would cut production costs. Give it time though ;-P

  10. Looks completely like a Jaguar from back

    1. Yea, that’s exactly what I said. Nice.

    2. Actually it looks a lot like a Jag from the front as well.

  11. Techabouts says:

    It really looks cool

  12. John this post is showing that you are very much in love with this car

  13. fas says:

    But BMW and company will also launch cars in this range.

    1. John Chow says:

      I’m sure they will (as will other car companies) but they will be behind the tech curve and be playing catch up. Tesla is already licensing their technology to other car makers.

  14. It definitely looks good but the fact that it uses battery makes me wonder if it can lasts the same as gasoline powered machines.

    1. John Chow says:

      The battery pack has a ten year warranty so if you don’t plan to keep the car for more than a decade, you should be in good shape.

  15. Hotdogman says:

    Cool car, but I wonder how the battery pack will stand up in areas where they use lots of road salt in the winter. Electric cars are the future, but they aren’t accessible to the masses yet: too expensive relative to gas vehicles and not far enough travel distance. It’s a shame “second tier” companies have to be the innovators in alternative fuel vehicles; you’d think Ford and GM would have the resources to bring a viable, affordable electric vehicle mainstream.

    1. John Chow says:

      The battery pack is under the floor and is designed for quick replacement should it come to that. GM did bring out the Chevy Volt so that’s a step in the right direction.

      1. Yea, you can replace it, for $10,000! But at least it comes with a10 year warranty.

        1. Make Money says:

          $10,000 for a battery?!?!? Ouchies!

  16. I really like this car and I think in the next 10 years we will see more accessible prices for this type cars.

  17. lanh says:

    Wow that is hot!

  18. Impressive post on cars,i really love car…good shapes…

  19. Desk Bord looks amazing located under the floor,,,,Thanks for providing the information about Tesla Model Cars..

  20. Nick says:

    Electric cars is good, but not fun. Gas cars rulezzz. 🙂

  21. SiteStudio says:

    Amazing for an eco friendly car.

  22. Mind blowing post,that is really hot car but John i am completely agree…keep sharing for our information,thanks.

  23. flash game says:

    electric cars are ecofiendly and one day they rulez the world.

  24. Kevin Kimes says:

    I had to come back to this post.

    I realized that John Chow posting it – oddly enough on a site about making money online – has made me seriously consider buying one of these once I can afford it. Maybe I’ll get one next year or so.

    Tesla should pay John for this post!

    Working from home means most driving will easily be less than 140 miles round trip, probably almost always less than 140 miles in a day. Going to church, going to the store, etc.

    How nice would it be to do all that in a nearly silent car with no emissions? 🙂 Then I can have a regular vehicle for long trips.

  25. lanh says:

    Thats a nice car!

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