The Tesla Model S is an engineering triumph – an exciting, pricey, electric dream
Introduction to the Tesla Model S
The Tesla Model S is Tesla’s first mass produced electric car.
Built from the ground up as an EV, it is truly a pioneering car. The current version of the Model S has exceptional performance and features. It’s the benchmark electric vehicle that other manufacturers aspire to.
- The longest range of any EV
- Fantastic performance
- 150-200 kW supercharger global network
- Future-proof via over-the-air updates
- Autopilot driving assistance
Tesla Model S – Range
The current Model S is available in two configurations:
- Long Range
The Long Range version has the longest range on a single charge of any EV on the market. It can do roughly 341 miles on average. That’s a heck of a long way and should lay any range anxiety you might have to rest. It has a 100 kWh battery.
The Performance model also comes with a 100 kWh battery, but has a slightly shorter real world range of around 330 miles. That’s still a very long distance and puts it in second place behind the ‘Long Range’ Model S in the best range charts covering all electric cars in the market.
What does the Performance model give you over the Long Range model? Basically a bigger rear axle motor. This means the Performance model has a 0-60 mph of a remarkable 2.4 seconds, compared to the Long Range 0-60 mph of 3.7 seconds.
Please note: Tesla have a habit of changing the specification of the Model S – and the pricing – often quite dramatically from one day to the next.
Tesla Model S – Price
The Tesla Model S price is from £78,690, including the PiCG grant. Here are the various prices:
- Long Range: from £78,690
- Performance: from £93,290
If the cost options of the Tesla Model S has caused you to fall off your chair, remember Warren Buffett’s famous piece of wisdom: “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” In other words, the price of the Model S may seem very high, but if you value greatly the driving experience and all the other features and benefits, then you can justify the price…at least to yourself.
In fact, the cost of the Model S (Long Range, especially) has come down considerably this year. This is probably due to the arrival of the smaller Model 3 which starts at £39,490. The Model 3 is so impressive that Tesla has needed to adjust its pricing for both the Model S and Model X.
Tesla Model S – Key Specifications
Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S – Autopilot
Tesla has developed an incredible ‘self-driving’ feature for its cars called Autopilot.
It allows you to sit in your Tesla, in the driving seat, and have the car drive you. For example, you can be on the motorway and the car will automatically steer, brake if the vehicle in front is slowing down, and accelerate back to a pre-determined speed if enough space opens up in front. This version of the self-driving software is called Autopilot and comes included as standard.
A more comprehensive version of the software is called Full Self Driving Capability. This version can even change lane for you, overtake, and deposit you back in the lane you were in – all with no input from the ‘driver’. Tesla has spent many hours developing the software and it’s truly incredible. Full Self Driving Capability costs £5,800 extra.
Autopilot with Full Self Driving Capability also provides you with:
- Autopark: the car will park itself
- Summon: your parked car will come and find you in the car park – we kid you not
Now, it’s worth pointing out that you must – by law – have your hands on the wheel at all times while driving. Autopilot reminds you of this if it senses your hands are off the wheel.
Tesla Model S – Optional Extras
The Model S is an advanced-tech car and comes with lots of great equipment as standard.
As with all car manufacturers, you can configure your EV, choosing optional extras (at a cost), tailoring it as you so desire. Here are the options you can select:
The standard (no cost) option is Pearl White Multi-Coat. You can also have Solid Black (£1,450 extra), Midnight Silver Metallic (again £1,450 extra), Deep Blue Metallic (also £1,450 extra), or Red Multi-Coat (£2,500 extra).
All the models come as standard with 19’’ Silver Wheels. If you would like 19″ Sonic Carbon Slipstream Wheels – it’ll cost you £1,450 extra. For the ultimate 21″ Sonic Carbon Twin Turbine Wheels, it’s a mighty £4,400 more to pay.
For the Long Range model, the standard colour is ‘All Black’, but you can also choose either ‘Black and White’ or ‘Cream’ for £1,450 extra.
For the Performance model, all the options above are available. In addition, you can also have All Black with ‘Carbon Fiber Décor’ for £450 extra, or Black and White with ‘Carbon Fiber Décor’ for £1,900 extra.
Autopilot & Full Self-Driving Capability
As mentioned above, the Model S comes with Autopilot self-driving capabilities as standard.
To get Full Self-Driving Capability – really advanced autonomous driving – you need to pay £5,800 more.
Who is the Tesla Model S for?
The Tesla Model S is a high performance, 4-wheel drive, spacious, 5-seat hatchback.
It’s aimed at discerning customers who have deep pockets. If you roll up in a Tesla Model S, you’re making a statement – I may have money, but I’m also modern, up-to-date, and want to do my bit for the environment.
The Model S is a very popular among company directors and looks the business in the corporate car park. With very low, or sometimes zero, benefit in kind rates (BIK), the Model S is highly tax friendly.
Perhaps surprisingly, it is also a perfect family car. It has room for 5 adults in comfort, a huge boot, and can ferry you up and down the country with ease.
Tesla has cleverly installed a fantastic network of really quick charging points around the world. These superchargers are now rated at up to 150 kW – much faster than the standard 50 kW from other manufacturers. They allow you to recharge very quickly while you are having lunch and get back on the road with plenty of range in the battery tank.
New Version 3 superchargers are gradually being rolled out that will allow 200 kW charging in the Model S.
You may find a second-hand Tesla Model S with either 2-wheel drive, or 7 seats, or both. Older versions of the car had more variations. There were also different battery sizes, such as 60, 70, 75, 85 and 90 kWh.
The Tesla Model S is not cheap, but if you want the ultimate EV driving experience, Tesla is still the leader of the pack.
- If you would like more information about EVs in general, please see our main Electric Cars page.
- For specific details about the Tesla Model S itself, see the main Tesla UK Tesla Model S website.
- Otherwise, please scroll down to the Reviews section below for independent analyses.
Tesla Model S – Reviews
We have trudged round the web and brought all the best video and text reviews to you here.
Click on the links below for independent reviews of the Tesla Model S from well-known car reviewers:
Tesla Model S 100D
> Fully Charged Live
- Reviewer: Robert Llewellyn
- Organisation: Fully Charged Live
- Date published: 30 June 2017
- Length: 17 minutes 13 seconds
Tesla Model S P100D
- Reviewer:Mat Watson
- Organisation: Carwow
- Date published: 4 February 2017
- Length: 11 minutes 19 seconds