Modern cars don’t often interest me. Modern cars costing £50,000 interest me even less. Given my usual purchasing budget is less than £500, there’s not much point even thinking about cars that cost one hundred times that.
Yet a car costing £50,000 – or £63,480 for the one I’ve just configured on the company’s website – has got me properly hooked! Yes, it’s the Tesla S.
People bleat on about the fearsome performance. That doesn’t interest me. The base model’s 0-60mph time of 5.9 seconds and top speed of 120mph are already too much. Performance isn’t what makes a car great. I must admit that I find the asking price rather hilarious too, especially given that the options list is enormous. You’d expect a £49,000 car to include things like an alarm, heated door mirrors, keyless entry and other toys entirely standard on a Nissan Leaf costing a fraction of the cost.
I digress. What interests me is how it looks. It’s almost bland. I actually find it quite beautiful. It’s unadorned. It isn’t shouting “look at me, I’m an electric car!” It’s even ignoring the current tiring trend of looking aggressive and razor-edged – a style that’s slowly ruining a great many fossil-fuelled machines. It looks honed. Purposeful. Not outlandish. I like it a lot. Even the Nissan Leaf is guilty of trying to look a bit too much like an ‘exciting future car.’ The Tesla Model S just looks like a sculptor started with a block of granite, and just finessed away until this lovely, aerodynamic shape was left.
It’s pretty dull inside too, to the level that you really need to order the tan leather, just to ensure you don’t fall asleep climbing aboard. There seems to be a wopping great i-pad in the middle of the dashboard though, so at least a tech-numpty like myself could keep myself amused trying to work out how that works for several hours without having to drive anywhere at all.
Like the Leaf though, the Tesla seems to be very well thought out as a car. That’s what excites me. Far more so than the increasing number of ‘electric versions of normal cars.’ Even when they’re factory jobs, they still seem a bit ‘converted.’ Here is a manufacturer saying ‘no, this vehicle was always an electric car. We deemed it acceptable to not even bother considering an internal combustion engine.’ Tesla even attempts to defeat the old issue of Range Anxiety. The standard model, the one I’m ‘going to buy,’ has a range of 240 miles. Crap compared to a big-tanked modern perhaps, but better than my Citroen 2CV. Or the fearsomely thirsty Rover P6B V8 I used to own. The posher Teslas can apparently do over 300 miles on a charge. The company has even been demonstrating a two-minute battery change system. Yes, CHANGING the battery, instead of charging it. I’ve been bleating on about this idea for some time. It seems the only sensible solution to me. I would share the video of this happening, but it’s scarily American with far more excitement and hollering than is truly acceptable.
These are very exciting times. The future is happening, but with hybrids all the rage, there’s still no firm idea of where things will go. I warn you now. I may bleat on even more about electric vehicles tomorrow. Normal service will be resumed shortly.