Sleek, luxurious, powerful. These are not adjectives anyone associates with the average hybrid vehicle. But the Tesla Model S is far from the average hybrid vehicle. The aforementioned words, among others, can be easily used to describe this stunning and athletic car made by California-based Tesla Motors.
As of 2013, the Tesla Model S—classified as a full-size electric five-door liftback—is in its second model year in the United States. Soon after Tesla started production of the Model S in the United States in 2012, sales were brisk. Understandably Tesla has since decided not to tinker with what makes the car click.
The Model S is split into two main trims: the base model and the higher-level Performance. The rear-mounted electric motor on the base model generates 362 horsepower and 325 foot-pounds of torque, while the motor on the Performance trim produces 416 horsepower and 443 foot-pounds of torque. According to Tesla, the Signature Performance variant can go from zero to 60 mph in a blistering 4.2 seconds. Standard on the Model S are rear-wheel drive and a single-speed transmission.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the vehicle at a combined fuel economy range of 89 mpg to 95 mpg, depending on the kilowatt-hour rating of its lithium-ion battery pack. Even though other electric cars like the Ford Focus Electric and Mitsubishi i-MiEV are more fuel efficient, these are still very impressive numbers for the Model S. The EPA also estimates that the 2013 model can go up to 208 miles on a charge with the 60 kWh battery pack, and Tesla reports that the car’s drag coefficient is 0.24, which makes it the best in the market in this regard. For a segment of the market that is not exactly renowned for performance, the Tesla Model S has precise steering, firm ride feel, and athletic handling. The optional air suspension enhances comfort when driving on rough roads or bumpy terrain.
The Tesla Model S is also notable for its high-quality cabin. Designed to accommodate up to five passengers, the interior of the Model S has an ultra-modern feel. Customers can actually increase the seating capacity to seven by opting for jump seats in the cargo area, though these are best for children or younger passengers. The highlight of the Tesla’s interior is arguably the 17-inch touchscreen display, which houses the car’s most important electronic controls. Standard interior features on the car include dual-zone automatic climate control, stability and traction control, a backup camera, and a seven-speaker stereo system with two USB ports and Bluetooth audio and phone connectivity. Customers can add automatic keyless entry, navigation system, power liftgate or panoramic moonroof, among other options.
Sporting a sleek yet aggressive design, the Tesla Model S shows off a gaping front grille, and it rides on 19-inch alloy wheels. Standard exterior features like rear spoiler and fog lights add to the car’s aerodynamic feel. Tesla provides the option of HID headlights, a power trunk lid, and 21-inch alloys.
Aesthetically pleasing and gorgeously powerful, the Tesla Model S is a prime example of a hybrid vehicle that provides the automotive luxury experience. Apart from rivals like the Lexus GS 450h—the hybrid version of the Lexus GS sedan—few full-size vehicles can match the Tesla’s enviable combination of power, luxury, and comfort.
Chip Stetson writes on green technology, solar power, computer security, computer software, AI, futuristic technology, gadgets such as the kensington ipad bluetooth keyboard, gizmos, the tech industry and other similar issues.
Image credit goes to Jimmy Tyler.