Not having to wait is a luxury. Ideally, the less time you spend doing something unpleasant, the more time you have to do something worthwhile. But it never quite works out that way.
The Tesla Model S P85D is built on the mantra “Waiting is for losers.” Equipped with an electric motor churning a whopping 691 BHP(Brake Horse Power), it makes anything with an internal combustion engine look like poultry. The brainchild of Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk, can reach up to 95km/h in less than 3.2 seconds of which 1.4 seconds just from the rear-drive. It is very very quick from 0 to “lose your license”. Tesla added a 221 horses electric motor to the front wheels that works with the powerful 470 HP rear motor for the 4 WD.
From a stop, the one-speed P85D has all of its 686 pound-feet of thrust at the ready. Power delivery is immediate. It’s like driving a sports car in the lowest possible gear with the engine revving right at the torque peak, all the time! Floor the accelerator, and the car jumps ahead on a surge of massive power. Power at the speed of thought, there’s no waiting, no down-shifting, and, really, no effort. The price starting at about $71,000(in the US) is definitely beyond the average household’s reach. Range anxiety will always be a concern for any pure electric, but the S is definitely a refreshing interpretation of just how super a modern super-sedan could be.
The electric silence is odd yet soothing. All you hear is your wheels screeching. The big battery pack in the floor acts like a giant lithium-ion mattress and muffles out road noise. An accurate and responsive electric power-assisted steering system offers three weights, from light to heavy. No matter the mode, the steering effort constantly changes!
After living with the Tesla for a few days, differences between it and fuel cars become apparent. You don’t start the Model S, you simply get in, place a foot on the brake, and select a direction of travel. Getting out is the same deal. No need to shut anything off, simply walk away. Lift off the long pedal and regenerative braking not only returns electrons to the battery, it also uses the electric motors to slow the car to an extent that “one-pedal” driving becomes possible! In most driving situations, the brake pedal is only necessary for a complete stop or an emergency. And unlike other EVs and hybrids, the Model S’s brake pedal only actuates the brakes. Since the pedal doesn’t control both friction and regenerative braking, the pedal feels linear and normal, because that’s what it operates—normal brakes!
Another interesting experience to the car – Autopilot! Autopilot will accelerate, brake and steer for the driver, provided you’ve got your hands on the wheel. It uses a vast army of sensors and cameras to guide the car. Up front, there’s a radar unit and a camera to read the lines on the road. These work with 12 long-range ultrasonic sensors that project 16 ft (4.8 m ) in every direction around the car, in order to build a clear picture of what’s sitting beside and behind you at any speed.
Thankfully, it’s easy to take control if the system makes a mistake or doesn’t act as expected. If you touch the brakes or pull the wheel, the system cuts out straight away and logs what the driver did to correct the error. Every time you need to manually take control details about what the driver did and where they did it are sent back to Tesla, where they’re sent out to the rest of the Autopilot equipped cars on the road through a firmware update! Essentially, it means Tesla’s cars shouldn’t make the same mistake twice.
Although it’s just an extension for the Radar Cruise Control for now, Autopilot points to the future of autonomous cars.