ChargedUp: Tesla Model S (EU 2013)

Following on from the Tesla Model S QuickCharge episode where Nikki and Mark gave their initial views of the 2013 EU spec Model S, we bring you their thought-out review after having lived with the car for three days.

Watch the video below:

The Model S is the electric car all others are held up to. The second car produced through Tesla Motors [NASDAQ:TSLA] it has received rave reviews from press all over the world – including the highest ever score awarded by Consumer Reports.

When buying a Model S, customers select from either a 60kWh or 80kWh model, these can travel an EPA rated 208 or 265 miles respectively. From this choice buyers then get to spec up the car as they wish, adding optional 22kW charging, SuperCharger support, tech packages, panoramic roof and so on.

The car as reviewed was a fully loaded P85+ Model S allowing Mark and Nikki to experience the Model S in the best light – and it didn’t disappoint. The Model S gave them breath-taking acceleration, sublime comfort and styling that drew everybody’s eyes.

The three days that they had the car were full of long EV drives, phone calls from excited friends asking what it was like to drive and fights over who could drive it.

The car as tested has a price of £100,730 – which includes the UK Government grant. A base model version of the car will cost just over £50,000 which places it in roughly the same price bracket as a fully-loaded BMW i3.

But what did Mark and Nikki think about the car?

They loved it. Who wouldn’t? But there were some issues with the car. For Mark, the size of the car was a big barrier. Coming from a two adult family with no pets or children, the Model S simply wasn’t built with him as a consumer in mind. He also encountered a few issues with the navigation system while driving the car. The first being the loss of maps on the main display as the car couldn’t maintain a strong enough data signal to stream the maps needed and the second being that he felt the SatNav didn’t offer enough direct feedback of where to go.

Nikki had issues with the steering column of the car – finding herself activating the cruise control while trying to use the indicators.

Where they both agreed however is that overall the car is a masterpiece. The issues encountered are small niggles which could be changed and fixed either in software revisions or when a model refresh happens. Both Mark and Nikki agreed that the Model S points the way for the ‘affordable’ Tesla (the Model E). If it is half as good as the Model S it will blow the competition away.

Mark gave the Model S 9 out of 10.

Nikki gave the Model S 10 out of 10.

Total score: 19 out of 20.

What do you think of Mark and Nikki’s review? Let us know below.


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  • Grant Thomas

    Good review. Would have been great to understand why the doubling in price between the entry level and the demo car. Also would have been good to know about lead times and delivery schedules; both of which I have found out this morning on the Tesla web site. nnnWould be good to understand the multitude of charging options and application in real life – what would it take to charge from home ? How long would it take? Can it charge from Chademo, Rapid AC, CCS Combo etc?

  • John Tamplin

    I also didn’t like the steering wheel, but it is the Mercedes arrangement (who is a partner of Tesla and supplies a number of components).nnnI’m not sure I understand Mark’s concern — is it that the car is too big for places he needs to park? Otherwise, I’m not sure what the disadvantage is of having the option to carry more people and more stuff. For example, even though ~80% of the time I am driving the car by myself, I like being able to do things like carry all my track tires inside the car rather than having to pull a small trailer like most other people at the track did.

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  • Richard Goldsmith

    I finally got my chance for a decent length full test drive in the model S 85, since my 10 minute introduction at the launch party. I agree with Nikki on a number of points: I too found myself using the cruise control stalk instead of indicators, although I suspect with ownership I would soon stop doing so. Having the drive/park/reverse on a stalk meant I was forever reaching to the non-existent centre-shift. I found the extra power ( over the Ampera ) of the standard 85 model just right, – only a little more than necessary but so much more controllable and quick to respond than the Ampera. I also felt it did not seem larger than my car in any great degree. I re-affirmed my first impressions of the traction control by flooring it over some spilled out gravel someone’s driveway and unlike the Ampera which backs off drive completely for a noticeable amount of time the Tesla controlled the slip but maintained as much power as it felt it could and continued to accelerate with no change of control input. So much faster acting and user friendly than the Ampera.nI hope they add gubbins holding pockets and places in the model 3 as well. I think I would miss them quite soon with ownership.nOn my wish list would be control of the regen levels like VW have done in the E-Up! With a spring loaded touch on touch off toggle. Using the screen is not an option if you want to vary it on the move. In defence of the Tesla, it is very easy to vary the regen with your right foot and the Kw display in the speedo is great for that. I like to learn the anticipation distance required to come to a stop by lifting off, but I suppose it would only matter when hypermiling, and with the range of the Tesla – who needs to hypermile it