|Tesla Model S. Images courtesy of Tesla Motors.|
Power for the Models S comes from an array of batteries that are attached to an electric motor. Maximum output is an impressive 362 horsepower and 325 pound-foot of torque, while models with the optional Performance package produce a healthy 416 horsepower and 443 pound-foot of torque. Like other electric vehicles, the full torque output is available from a standstill, meaning the car can launch forward with an exhilarating amount of speed. In fact, the 2012 Model S can accelerate from 0 to 60 MPH in just 5.6 seconds. A single speed transmission sends power to the rear wheels.
Tesla gave the Model S a modern four wheel independent suspension setup, with double wishbone suspension in the front and multilink suspension in the rear. An air ride system helps soften the movements of the car even further, delivering an enjoyable riding experience, even when the driver is taking the Model S through a series of tight turns.
Charging the Tesla Model S can be done either with a regular household 120 volt electrical outlet, or with a 240 volt outlet. Tesla offers an at-home charging station that facilitates the 240 volt charging option. Charging the batteries all the way takes about five hours with the 240 volt electrical connection, or overnight if charging with a 120 volt outlet. A driver can go up to 300 miles on a single full charge, going 55 miles per hour the whole way. The car doesn’t use fuel, but it does achieve an EPA estimate 88 miles per gallon equivalent in city driving and 90 miles per gallon equivalent in highway driving.
Inside, the 2012 Model S provides seating for five, or with an optional two rearward-facing jump seats behind the second row to make it seven. Like with internal combustion vehicles, occupants enjoy amenities such as air conditioning, heated leather seats, a stereo system and Bluetooth connectivity. The driver interacts with many of the car’s features using a 17 inch touchscreen mounted in the car’s center stack. From this touchpad, the driver or front seat passenger can see how much charge the batteries have left as well as estimate how much further the car will drive under present conditions. Cargo is ample, with one trunk in the front and one in the rear, making it a pleasant car to take on the open road (as long as you stop for charging when necessary).