My First Experience with the Tesla Model S

My wife and I were recently on a road trip vacation that had us visit Bellevue, Washington this past weekend.  We visited the Bellevue Shopping Center and to my surprise, there was a store inside showing the new Tesla Model S sedan.

Now, this is a car that I have been somewhat interested in seeing in person.  Not only does it represent a fairly major leap forward for EV (Electric Vehicles), it also can match up against many high performance super cars with a 0-100km/hr in 4.4 secs!

We entered the small showroom in the mall to get a closer look at the car.  Imagine my excitement when the sales representative asked if I would like to sit inside the vehicle.  The first thing of note.  The door handles are completely flush with the body moulding.  In order to open the door, you touch the door handle which activates a motorized mechanism that reveals the handle by extending it outside of the moulding.  That as well as providing a convenience light so that you can easily see it in the dark.  To open the door, you simply apply a bit of pressure to the door handle and it opens easily.

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Once seated inside, I adjusted the electric seat to the utmost rear, lower position.  Given my size, I find it difficult to comfortably sit in most cars as my head generally will touch the ceiling of the vehicle.  Unfortunately, this was also the case with the Tesla Model S.  While it is luxurious and very technologically sophisticated, it is not made for drivers over 6’6″ tall.  The sales representative was quite surprised that I did not fit comfortably and was only able to offer that they will have an SUV coming into the market as well.

The Tesla indeed did set a great first impression, notwithstanding the issue I had personally with not being able to sit comfortably.  The console is amazing with the vehicle being connected wirelessly to the Internet at all times.  The single, main LCD panel controls all functions of the vehicle, including GPS, climate control, media and even provides a full function browser.  The browser was set to use Google as the default search page and the sales representative quickly changed that stating, we are in Bing country here.

I hope that Tesla sells a lot of Model S’s.  They are generally appealing and nicely appointed.  At a base of $60k, it does represent a significant investment but if you equate it to a BMW M3 or other high performance vehicle, then it does seem like quite a value.  The only downside is the amount of time it takes to recharge the batteries.  The Tesla prefers a 220V / 40A outlet and takes about 9 hrs to fully charge itself.  Using a 110V standard outlet though takes significantly longer.  This makes it somewhat impracticable for long road journeys limiting you to 480km traveling at 88 km/hr.  Given that most highways you travel a brisk 110 km/hr, the distance would likely degrade to around 300 km.  Also given that most places, such as hotels would not offer anything other than 110 V, it really makes it challenging to use this vehicle for this purpose.  The Tesla is better suited to shorter durations and the safety of your own garage at the end of each day.


About Grant Fengstad

I’m a technology professional in the travel and transportation sector and have been very involved with the Internet for over 20 years.