Driving the Tesla Model S P100D in Monaco
At the Siam, in Monaco, I've driven one of the fastest accelerating cars in the world.
The Tesla Model S P100D is one of the fastest accelerating cars in the world. That's a fact, not an allegorical figure. Officially, in Ludicrous+ mode (yes, that's actually what it's called) it goes from 0 to 60 in 2,5 seconds. That's Bugatti Veyron SS territory.
For the sake of argument, let's say that whatever carmakers claim these days must not be taken literally. Well, that's the end of the facts and let's begin with the feelings because, with four people including me at the wheel, the P100D explodes forward with such a thrust, a relentless and violent celerity. It glues you to your seat and your ears hurt, you feel like your face is struggling to keep them attached to the side of your head. There are many fast cars in the world but those are bullets, this is lightning. Partly, that's down to the 539 HP and nearly 1000 torques but chiefly that's because electric cars have no friction, no hesitation. You press the pedal and the car goes, 100 % of its available torque and speed transferred on the road immediately.
Whatever else you may think of Musk, he's a genius. Born in South Africa, he left Stanford after two days and founded PayPal which he later sold for a sum so big it makes your eyes weep. I would've gone to Vegas to live the billionaire lifestyle, we'd all have done it, but he didn't. He kept his "hustle", moving his vision to a few ideas that were mocked from the get-go. I've been told, over and over again, by each and every single one of the dozens Tesla representatives I've ever spoken with, that the company wants to "accelerate the conversion to electric cars". I've driven the first Tesla, the Roadster S, in London in 2010 and that was their message then. It never changed. Who's laughing now? The Model S is already one of the best selling cars in Holland and Norway, not in its category or segment, overall.
The giant touchscreen. Photo credit: Gianfranco Giachetti
A lot of people have a downer on electric cars and I don't know why exactly, maybe they're missing the point. Look, never mind efficiency and emissions, batteries aren't really that "green", the range is still a bit of a problem and yes, I am missing the sound of an engine while I'm driving, but very few cars on the road give you that incredible thrill because, as we know since we're given the official data, the 0-60 time is incredible but the 0-30? That's something else. You simply aren't prepared for it. High performance electric cars are, first and foremost, mostly nice to drive and very very quick. And that's what I like about them. Efficiency, to be honest, ain't my priority. Not yet, not now.
You can calculate the cost of charging on the official website
You can also calculate the range
Mind you, there's no getting away, this is the present and it looks to the future, because electric cars will get better and, as with all new technologies, the real question is, do I want to be the first or do I want something that's perfect? The Model S isn't perfect but it already has a relatively extended range that you can calculate with a certain precision (see the picture, you will find that on their website), the -supercharger- points aren't exactly everywhere but they're diffusing rapidly which means that today you can go on long trips with a Tesla, you just have to plan it, but in the not-too-distant future you won't even need planning.
Photo credit: Gianfranco Giachetti
If you can afford to spend $ 70,000 on your second car, I can think of a few reasons why you shouldn't own a Tesla and many reasons why you should. In the mean time, if you get the chance, get behind the wheel of a Model S, buckle up and give it the beans. It's exhilarating.