The electric car comes of age with the Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

If you thought electric cars were all environmental piety and no fun, the Tesla Model S is here to make you think again, says What Car. Everything about it is “designed to indulge”, from the sleek looks to the impressive interior. The first thing you notice before pulling off is the total silence from the motor.

The next is the “staggering” response from that motor. Accelerating from 30mph to 40mph, for example, “happens in the blink of an eye” and the pulling is completely smooth as there are no gear changes: electric motors can deliver their maximum torque from zero rpm, so there’s no need for multi-speed boxes. It’s a smooth ride too: the car soaks up potholes with no fuss, handles well for something so big and heavy, and is very composed on the motorway too. This is a very desirable and capable car.

For 2017, Tesla has introduced new 100kWh batteries, which means the car can go further on one charge than ever before, says John Calne on The officially quoted range is now 381 miles – expect something like 250 in the real world. And the performance, especially for the range-topping P100D model, is, well, ludicrous: put the car into “Ludicrous Plus” mode, and you’ll hit 60mph from rest in 2.4 seconds – making it a serious rival for any performance car on the road. 

It is by no means perfect, says Chris Knapman in The Daily Telegraph – the range-topping model in particular is very expensive, the interior lacks the polish you’d expect from a luxury motor and parking is a challenge thanks to the car’s huge size. But the Tesla does address many of the drawbacks of other electric cars, as well as providing thrilling performance and class-leading amounts of space. And although far from cheap, it is very cheap to run and entry-level are no more expensive than an equivalent premium brand model. The Tesla “makes a compelling case for itself”.

Price: £132,700 (for the top of the range P100D model)
Power: 603bh
Torque: 713lb ft at 0rpm
Top speed: 155mph