Home editor's blog on evs & phevs Tesla Model S: Smooth, sporty and silent

Tesla Model S: Smooth, sporty and silent

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Tesla Model S No. 1984 looking sharp set against a bright white wintry backdrop in Boulder, Colo. [Photo by Christof Demont-Heinrich]

editors-blog-entry3Most likely, fewer than 10,000 people have ever had a ride in a Tesla Model S.

Today, I, and my mom – along with my brother, who’s the happy new owner of Model S, No. 1984 (yes, that’s really his Model S number) – took a quick spin in his brand new metallic blue Model S up Boulder Creek Canyon this afternoon.

No, I didn’t get a chance to take a turn behind the wheel, though Thomas promised me a future opportunity.

We were under time duress – Thomas had to zip off to a concert he was playing in (he’s a professional cellist) – and we only had about 15 minutes. And Thomas wanted a chance to show off the car to us before putting someone else behind the wheel.

Smooth & Sporty
He’s also only had the car for about 10 days, and, in fact, only put about 40 miles on it in that time (this is primarily due to the fact that Boulder has had two snow storms in that time).

We put about 5 or 6 of those miles on it today.

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The Tesla Model S plugged in in Boulder, Colo. [Photo by Christof Demont-Heinrich]

My first impressions of the Model S Performance version after riding shotgun in one for 15 minutes: It’s smooth, very smoooooth. Both in terms of the ride and in terms of the looks of the car.

It’s also got a very sporty suspension and feel – yes, you can get a good sense of this from the passenger seat. So, in two words, my initial impression of the Model S: Sporty and smooth.

“It had a very comfortable and luxurious feel,” said Mom.

Quiet ride
Another quick impression based on our short ride: The Model S is refined and feels pretty high tech, especially for someone who’s been driving around in the same Acura Integra for 21 years ;-) and it’s also very quiet.

Indeed, mom’s first response when I asked what her overarching impression of the Model S: “It was so quiet, it scared the liver out of me” (yes, she really did say “liver” ;-) )

But, while the Model S is smooth, sporty, luxurious and refined, it also feels like a “normal” car. That’s not a knock on the Model S – and I don’t think Tesla would see it that way either. Just the opposite: The stereotype of electric cars is that they’re abnormal, weird, geeky, impractical cars for nerds.

A ‘normal’ car
The Model S clearly defies this stereotype. In so doing it leaves the anti-EV crowd speechless: If you’re an anti-EV guy, what are you going to say about an EV that makes no compromises, and, in fact, surpasses traditional gas cars, while also passing, with no problem, as a “normal” car, albeit, a normal high-end sports car?

Yeah, as I discovered recently when a work colleague dissed EVs, some people’s anti-EV views are so deeply embedded apparently nothing will move them from gas. However, after today’s ride, I think a good number of EV skeptics will be persuaded by the Model S. That is, of course, if we can get enough of these folks a ride in one. With fewer than 2,000 Model S on the road, it’ll take awhile to get there.

But get there we will. In the meantime, I’ll consider myself fortunate to be among the small number of people who’ve already cruised around in the smooth, sporty, luxurious, and beautifully normal Model S.

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The high-tech driver's cockpit in the Tesla Model S. [Photo by Christof Demont-Heinrich]

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