As you might expect, dotcom billionaire and tech entrepreneur Elon Musk knows how to sell. His electric car company, Tesla, is barely 15 years old, but has stolen headlines around the world by embarrassing some of the most expensive and famous car marques.
The Tesla Model S P100 is an electric luxury sports tourer with dual motors, all-wheel-drive, four seats and a boot. The car has two modes of acceleration: Sport or Ludicrous. The advantage that an electric car has over its petrol-powered counterpart is that its power is available instantly. No gears to pass. No engine revs to wait for. It’s the reason that on the drag strip, the Tesla can achieve acceleration that beats heavily modified race cars.
A drag race is a fairly meaningless expression of a car’s overall ability, but in the luxury sports car market, top trump statistics count.
The Tesla Model S P100 is an incredible showcase for electric car technology. However, Musk has always maintained that his long-term strategic goal is to create affordable mass market electric vehicles. The Model S P100 might be the current poster child of the electric car market, but it is neither affordable nor mass market in the true sense of either term. Tesla has, however, succeeded in refining the look and feel of the car.
It looks right, feels right and drives right for its intended customer. People used to talk about the range anxiety, but even on this front, Tesla is making great progress. At a speed of 45mph in temperatures of 20 Celcius, the P100 squeezes 514 miles from a single charge. In freezing temperatures and with the car’s heater switched on, the P100 manages a respectable 300 miles before it needs recharging. The challenge for Musk is to transplant the range of this £130,000 machine into a car for the masses.
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