Tesla Model S receives near-perfect score from Consumer Reports
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Built from the ground up as an EV, this car’s overall balance benefits from mounting the battery under the floor and in the lowest part of the body. That gives the car a rock-bottom center of gravity that enables excellent handling, a comfortable ride, and lots of room inside. Plus, it has a front trunk where other cars’ gasoline engines would be, in addition to its large rear cargo space. This big luxury hatchback even seats seven, with its optional third-row jump seat.
Inside, the car looks like something Marty McFly might have brought “back from the future” in place of his iconic fusion-powered DeLorean. A giant 17-inch touch screen glows in the center of the dashboard, controlling everything from high-res Google Earth maps to opening the sunroof, setting the responsiveness of the regenerative brakes, and adjusting the suspension ride height. In all, the Model S worked better than we expected—especially being the first home-grown model from a brand-new car company.
The electric motor delivers impressive power, right now, and it is impressively efficient. The Model S uses about half the energy of a Toyota Prius every mile, and it has more than twice the range—about 200 miles—of any other electric car we’ve driven. Still, you’ll have to plan ahead for longer trips; you won’t be taking it on a spontaneous jaunt from, say, New York to Cleveland any time soon. You won’t make it. Even with Tesla’s optional High Power Wall Connector, it takes about five hours to charge. On a standard 240-volt electric-car charger, it would take about 12 hours.
Tesla does provide some ability to make long trips in the Model S– as long as they’re the right trips. Up and down California, from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, and between Boston and Washington, D.C., the company has set up a network of Supercharging stations – with free electricity – that can refill the battery halfway in a half hour. (To charge more than that at such speed takes longer and would damage the battery.)