ElectraGirl: Driving the Tesla Model S P85D

Saturday 13th December 2014

Oh – My – Goodness – Oh – My – Goodness – Oh – My – Goodness – Oh – My – Goodness!
My poor insides and my head, but really my poor insides. Why did I do it, why didn’t I think more before going ahead with this? When will it stop? Will it ever stop?!!

Tesla Model S P85D

Tesla Model S P85D

My sidekick told me that we’d been invited to the Paramus NJ Tesla Store and Service Centre opening on 11th December and asked should we go? Hmm, it’s a Thursday evening and nothing else is going on so why not? The Tesla events are usually good and we get to meet other Tesla owners (some we already know and some new ones) and also Tesla employees that we have come to know over the years.

The new showroom (gallery – I think that is what we call them now in NJ) was what I expected from Tesla, all clean and shiny and with a rather nice looking couple of ’S’s’ placed just so. The red really does look good for a Model S. Hmm could it be better than silver?

We chatted with some fellow Tesla enthusiasts for a little while, but then – and this is so important – we got the offer of going out for a test drive in the new P85D – so exciting.

The P85D is the latest version of Model S now available. It has dual motors and is 4 wheel drive. It weighs in at about 200lbs more than the regular Model S and you lose a small amount of range with the D, but who cares? I would still have 250+ miles of range – yet to be confirmed with the EPA.

The P85D has 691hp, 221 at the front and 470 in the rear. From a non- technical person – I think this is all good.
It does 0 – 60 in 3.2 seconds, much faster than I could ever need or want.
It has a top speed of 155mph, more than fast enough for me, who can barley make it to 65 on the motorway!!

My sidekick was the first to drive the car. I knew what was coming, the question was, should I have gotten in the car or not? Even after the event I am still torn as to whether I should have gotten in the car or not. Here’s why…

The Tesla P85D doesn't shout, Hey, I am considerably faster than you!

The Tesla P85D doesn’t shout about its abilities

The Model S P85D looks like a regular S to begin with. Opening the door and getting in the passenger seat was like returning to your favourite chair, it’s just right. Everything feels right and you know it’s where you belong… Again!

Seat belts on everyone – check! Car turned on – check! Into reverse – check!

Then let’s proceed. We headed out of the car park towards the open road, I was so not looking forward to the next bit! As we got closer to the main road I pressed my head back into the seat and tensed up knowing what was about to happen… And… Oh My Goodness, I was wrong, the acceleration was rather pronounced, even more than I thought it was going to be. What am I talking about? Well the feeling of where did my insides just disappear to? It’s unbelievable. The car just went. Phew, I thought, thank goodness that part was over with, now we can just drive it and see what it is like, right? Umm, I was so wrong. My sidekick slowed down on the highway – there was no one behind him (unfortunately for me) – and then proceeded to count down from three to one before placing his foot firmly on the accelerator again. Okay, so enough now, seriously, I can withstand one major acceleration, two at a push but now that is enough. I mean 0 – 60 in 3.2 seconds – insane. Oh, hang on a sec, I guess that’s why it says the car is in “Insane” mode… Really Tesla! This car is insanely fast.

It really says "Insane"

It really says “Insane”

Anyway my insides and my head were just recovering, when sidekick went for acceleration number 3…. Noooooo! Please no more. But then, there was acceleration number 4, number 5 and even with me pleading that, that was enough, he launched into number 6 through an ‘S’ bend… before we finally pulled over to let our fellow Teslatarian, that was with us, drive next. I thought, please let him just drive but apparently he’d also like to test out the acceleration… twice more… I’m not sure I can keep my insides, inside anymore. Next up, everyone in the car suggested that I have a drive, perhaps to make me feel better about coming out or because my sidekick, spotting that I was going a little pale, knew that I’d feel better at the wheel. Umm okay, I thought, at least I will be in control.

Ready to go

Ready to go

We all switched seats and I got into the drivers seat and was right back where I was last year when we had a two day loaner of a P85. This is the car for me. I have spent a year trying to tell myself why I don’t need or want one. I think I had just got there but now, I am back to square one – I would really, really like a Tesla Model S.

Setting off in the Tesla Model S P85D was just wonderful, the car felt so solid and so glued to the road. No super acceleration for me, just driving it, the way I would on a daily basis. Enjoying all the car has to offer, until some silly idiot tried to pull into my lane without looking and without indicators either – Silly man! Then, another car pulled out from a side road in front of me and decided that 25 miles per hour is more than fast enough on a three-lane highway. So, a good sample of daily driving in New Jersey then! My sidekick, in the passenger seat was egging me on to pull out and overtake – do I have to? I can drive at 25mph too. But, with the insistence that I do, I indicated, checked my mirrors, and pulled out, accelerating gently but, even with my gentle acceleration I could feel what the car offered and what it could do. Safely round the slow moving car, I pulled back into the inside lane and continued driving. I love it, I love everything about the car… I guess I had better get back to work and start saving!

Only the space between the wheels in lost on the Tesla Model S P85D

Only the space between the wheels in lost on the Tesla Model S P85D

On our return to the Tesla Centre we reluctantly left the car, and took a quick peek at the front boot to see what space the second motor has taken up, it turns out that it’s not that much really and anyway the rear boot is huge enough!

Feeling Queasy

Feeling Queasy

Back inside the Centre, I needed to sit down. Oh My Goodness, my insides were still churning and my head was fizzing. That was one too many accelerations for me. I have a delicate disposition at the best of times, I can’t go on roller coasters and even the flight landings at Newark airport make me decidedly ill (but only at Newark airport – weird right?).

While my sidekick whizzed around talking to people about the P85D and other Teslatarians who had also been out that night in the car, I sat quietly waiting for the planet to stop spinning without me.

Dear Father Christmas,

I was wondering if there was any possibility, even a teeny tiny one, that I might be able to put a Tesla Model S P85D on my Christmas List this year. The car is absolutely amazing. I’m not sure if you have had the opportunity to drive one yet, but you would love it and it would make a great run around for you when you don’t want to get the reindeer out or they are just having an off day. It’s so quiet and smooth and with the 4 wheel drive option it would be excellent up there in the North Pole. I love electric cars and this is the one car that I would love to have. Do let me know what you think….

Many thanks for all that you do to make dreams come true, you are one super amazing chap.
Wishing you a very Happy Christmas with your family and friends,


The folly of trying to video the acceleration of the P85D:

[youtube id=”FlliUr9r6FU” align=”center”]

What would be on your Christmas List?


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  • Augustine Dashie


  • Stephen Noctor

    Great article, thanks!

    • Michael Thwaite

      “It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.” – Ferris Bueller

  • Dennis Pascual

    How was the motor noise from front motor? Some of the early P85D folks mentioned motor noise as being an issue.

    • Electra Girl

      We noticed it but I wouldn’t consider it an issue. We had just arrived in a Tesla Roadster after all.

      • Dennis Pascual

        As the “sidekick” of a Roadster driver myself, the Roadster’s noise is part of the charm. Not so charming in the Model S… Tesla prides itself on the soundproofing of the Model S.

        • Electra Girl

          The motor noise is noticeable on acceleration but not really there when just cruising along. It’s not even as loud as sitting in the back of the ActiveE.

    • D. Harrower

      The consensus seems to be that the noise is more noticeable, but it’s a more attractive noise than the motor in the non-D cars.

  • MisterEman

    Um…you actually GAIN range with the dual motor AWD P85D. The standard 85 kWh RWD range increases from 265 miles to 295 miles for the 85D. The P85D improves on the P85 range, going from 265 miles to 275 miles. That’s one of the coolest things about the new dual-motor AWD Model S: you get even more power AND a greener vehicle. Plus a safer one, given electronically controlled AWD. Another way that EV’s are superior to ICE vehicles.

    • MarcDaniel Erasmo

      The P85D can get 285 miles at constant 65mph. But with a mixture of city driving and highway driving it results in 250 mile range. The highway range is higher on the P85D than on the P85 while city driving is lower than the P85. nnFor long distance roadtrips ,the higher highway mileage is more useful, and with daily driving you still have over 200 mile range.

      • Electra Girl

        As I don’t own one yet, I took the 250 mile range from TeslaMotors.com. However, I too had heard the claims of greater range due to efficiency. I still think it’s amazing that such a powerful car doesn’t come with an efficiency penalty.

        • SkyHunter

          85 KWh / 250 miles = 340 watt hours per mile.nnnICE just can’t touch that.

      • So says TESLA, but they’ve had to drop that number due to the EPA. We’ll know for sure in a couple months when the new ones get delivered and sufficiently posted about on YouTube

        • D. Harrower

          EPA numbers are a mixed bag due to them adjusting their testing methodology. A retest of a RWD Model S would also result in different numbers under the new scheme.nnUpshot is, as MarcDaniel said, increased highway efficiency at the expense of city range.

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