21 Apr 2015
Tesla Model S Review
I was fortunate enough to have a Tesla Model S for 4 days, one out of the first 12 shipped to Australian customers. During this time I was able to run it through it’s paces too see exactly what makes so many people excited for it’s arrival here in Australia.
During this time I tested as much as I could; the driving, handling and of course the really cool central console that looks like a massive iPad.
This car goes like hell.
It’s one thing I cannot get over after driving the Model S. Hitting the accelerator and being launched at a speed that felt you were on a roller coaster, was simply amazing. You can see plenty of videos on YouTube that show just how fast the Model S launches from the line:
The car in this video is the Model S P85 – the sports version of the Model S.
The handling is really fantastic. The steering feels sporty and direct. The ride is firm and provides plenty of feeling when cornering, yet it’s also very comfortable and cruiser-like. This is helped by the electronically controlled ride height and suspension, which can be changed to your liking using the central console.
The central console is probably the most notable and stand-out thing in the Model S, from first entry. It gives you access to a host of features and is full of lots of customization’s to make any geek happy.
After creating an account you can set the car up the way you like and it remembers your options. So for example, your significant other has their own preferences on seat position and steering wheel position, all they have to do is ‘sign in’ using the central console, and everything in the car automatically moves to their pre-set position. This is a pretty significant development towards cars being more like other devices in our life that we can personalize.
I would like to see a feature where you place your phone on the flat surface between the front seats (with no handbrake or gear levers there you’re left with plenty of room to place stuff) and the car recognizes that’s your phone and automatically signs you in. This could be done with NFC.
Being fully automatic does feel strange. You only have to walk towards the car and the whole thing turns on. You can’t hear anything, but the console switches on and the engine is ready. Once you get over that feeling it becomes second nature to just step into the car and drive off without worry.
What really separates this car from others for me are all the little details. For example, extra lights illuminate the direction you are turning towards. This is especially useful when I drive around my suburb as there are very few street lights to help you see into the next road.
If I could buy any car, would I buy the Tesla? To be honest, if I was living in America where there are plenty of service stations, I actually would. But in Australia there are only 2 charging stations, both of which are in Sydney. So unless you plan to only drive your $100,000+ cruiser around Sydney all the time, then I don’t see much point to it.
Thing I like:
- Easy to drive, light steering and very comfy ride
- Free internet radio
- Lots of safety features that come standard
- User accounts that remember your custom settings
- Amazing futuristic dashboard
Things to improve:
- Better tactile feedback on the screen
- Also Better contrast ratio; looks a bit dull (consider OLED)
- Radio reception was poor (although free internet radio does blanket over this issue)
- Some kind of implementation of voice control for activating car features