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Test drove a Tesla Model S and it felt like a simulation

Julian next to Tesla Model S

While on vacation in Germany a few months back I test drove a Tesla Model S. It's quite an amazing car.

The Good:

Styling: the styling of the car feels like Maserati crossed with Mercedes. In fact, a lot of the knobs and switches are the exact same ones used in Mercedes cars. 

Instant throttle response: you press down on the pedal, the car accelerates instantly. With any normal car there is a delay while the engine revs up. The electric motor, however, has no delay between the driver giving the command the car accelerating. It makes the car feel very very fast.

Corner: is amazing. The 540kg battery (containing 7104 individual 18650 battery cells) is underneath the floorboards, giving the car a very low centre of gravity. As a result, it feels very secure in corners. Accelerating out into traffic from a T-junction is absurdly quick. In any other car you need to wait for a gap in the traffic then carefully pull out. In the Tesla it feels like you can pull out right behind another speeding car taking a 90-degree turn and accelerating up to at 50km/h in less than a second.

Configurability: using the 17" touchscreen, you can control almost every aspect of the car. For example, you can change how stiff the steering wheel feels with the push of a button: comfort, standard, or sport. The steering is electrically assisted mechanical, enabling faster actuation than traditional hydraulic or mechanical systems.

No petrol/gas required: the car runs entirely on electricity. You plug it in, charge it up and go. Zero pollution, and substantial cost savings, especially if you sign up with a power company that gives you cheaper off-peak rates for electricity and you set the car to only charge itself at night during off-peak times. Or, if you install solar panels on your root, you can charge your car for free with the power of the sun.

Tesla Model S charging

The Bad:

Price: while fun to test-drive. At starting price of €78,000 (in Germany), that is way too expensive for me. It's a luxury car, meant to compete with the Mercedes S class, not something for regular people. Tesla's mainstream car is the upcoming Model 3. Let's see how good that one is when it comes out.

Windscreen: the windscreen seems narrow and visibility out of the car isn't great. It's like looking through a small viewport rather than a large windscreen. The Tesla Model X fixes the issue by including a giant panoramic windscreen.

Simulation: the combination of the small windscreen, the lack of any noise and the instant throttle response, and lack of lean during corners makes the Tesla feel like driving a computer simulation of a car. I had to keep remind myself that I wasn't sitting in car-simulator, but was driving an actual car on an actual road.

Size: it's a long car. The Model S is longer than most other cars and sticks out of a normal parking space. Good if you want to carry lots of stuff, but bad for tight corners in cramped city streets. 

Tesla Model S long car 

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