After much soul searching and anguish around my betrayal of my engrained petrol head status versus the future of transportation, use of fossil fuels vs renewable energy, in December 2016 I took the leap of faith and took delivery of a new all electric Tesla Model S 60D. How has that panned out for the first 3000 miles and what is it like to never stop at a petrol or diesel fuel pump again?
First of all, the drive of an electric car like the Tesla is a one of a kind. The silence only hindered by a small whine of the twin electric motors is both strange and enjoyable at the same time. The sound of your favourite music is clear and as it was meant to be heard and despite worrying about missing that roar of an engine, I can honestly say I have not missed it for one mile since. The regenerative braking system that helps to not only stop the car but re-charges the battery pack is an amazing feature and one that I would sincerely miss should it be gone tomorrow. The interior is good, not Audi great but good and the 17 inch touchscreen that controls everything in the car is the best feature by far. No more buttons or switches which again is a strange sight but not a missed one.
The big concern over range anxiety was my biggest fear…… Will I run out of electric on the hard shoulder of the M42 on my way to visit a customer or to pick up my daughter, but this for me is now a myth that has no basis in fact. The smallest battery pack in my car still does over 210 miles on a single charge and so this is more than adequate for 95% of journeys that I will ever take. If I need a top up, the growing and well spread supercharger network is perfect with an 80% charge possible in under 30 minutes while you have a coffee in the services and respond to some emails. This isn’t and never will be a concern for me and if it is, buy the large battery pack with over 300 miles range.
The performance is mind blowing with the slowest Model S hitting 60mph from a rocket like start in 5 seconds, right up to the performance 90 / 100D versions in under 2.4 seconds. My little 60 still feels faster than any other car I have ever owned so is more than equipped for any overtake or junction exit. The car has two boots due to no engine and interior space is vast and feels like a great place to sit and enjoy at any time, even in traffic where your Autopilot system takes over, accelerates, brakes and steers for you while you relax and take in your music and reduces the usual travelling stress while increasing your safety overall.
The biggest thing by far is the freedom you feel with the car. You are not only supporting the conversion to a sustainable and greener energy source for travel, but part of me feels that in a small way I am preserving the planet for my two year old daughter when she grows up, along with all of her friends and school peers. The feeling of never needing to spend £70 at a petrol station again to fill up is great and I genuinely believe that as the charging network increases and the range of these vehicles grows, this will be how all people drive day to day in the future. I feel a part of the development and mind-set change that is needed to make cars viable for the future when petrol and diesel become outpriced commodities.
Overall, there are some frustrations around build quality, slightly wonky door alignment and a few rattles, but overall a pleasure to drive and be an owner of. Am I swapping my holiday this year for two weeks conservation in Botswana and my brogue shoes for some hemp sandals….. No! Do I feel like I have a great car and that I am doing something towards a better future for the planet and its future inhabitants…. Yes! If the few of us driving these types of cars now help to develop these platforms for the future in the process then I feel proud to be a part of it.