The Tesla Model S is a supermodel of a car: it’s fast and it’s smart and it’s reserved for the happy few.
The base Model S has a 60 kWh battery that has a estimated range of 230 miles at 55 MPH. Optional batteries can boost power and range. Still, the Model S is both the most functional and most stylish of the current generation of EVs. Boasting significantly more range than other commercially available all-electric cars, the Tesla sedan represents company founder (and head of Space X) Elon Musk’s gamble on the future of electric transportation. Whether it will pay off depends as much on outside market factors (the price of lithium, stock market fluctuations, etc) than on the car itself. But the car itself is a winner: with 260 kW versions returning up to 88 MPGe in the EPA’s combined city/highway cycle and still able to accelerate to 60 mph in less than six seconds.
Performance versions of the Model S, equipped with the 85 kwH battery pack and a 416 horsepower, 443 lb ft AC induction motor, are even quicker, managing to hit 60 mph in about 4 seconds flat. Plus, thanks to the packaging of the batteries within the car’s floor and the motor between the rear wheels, the Model S gains a sports-car like 17.5″ center of gravity and a 47/53% front/ rear weight distribution, making its handling feel responsive and capable despite its size.
It’s hard to consider the Model S independently of the single fact that everyone knows about it: it’s an electric car. But the key factor in the Tesla’s excellence is that it is one of the first cars in decades that doesn’t feel limited by previous interpretations of what a car is and what it should do. The Tesla Model S, for example, is the first hatchback to offer three rows of seats. It sits as low to the ground as some sports coupes yet has over 63 cubic feet of cargo space, as much as some SUVs.