- I used my own pictures for this post

With hindsight, the Tesla Model S P100D is still the best EV in the world

A review of the fastest-accelerating Tesla

43w ago

In factual terms, the Tesla Model S P100D is one of the fastest accelerating cars in the world. In Ludicrous+ mode (yes, that's the actual name), it does 0-60 in 2.5 seconds and that's Bugatti Veyron SS territory. I know, I know what people say. Porsche people are making it very clear these days that the engine in the Taycan (which I adore) is synchronous (=performance figures never fade or diminish), whereas most EVs, including Teslas, are powered by asynchronous motors but that's exactly the sort of thing you don't really notice in the real world.

Because of the architecture of a battery-powered car and because of the way they're built, the vast majority of EVs share the same basic flaws and the same basic advantages. One of the biggest advantages is the instant torque. You just can't match it. When you hit the gas, the P100D takes off like lightning, it just glues you to your seat and hurts your head, almost literally, and that's partly down to the 539 hp and 920 torques but also because of the way torque is harnessed and delivered at full chat: it's 100 % of all it's got, all of the time.

Full disclosure: I was fortunate enough to drive a variety of Tesla Model S versions and even though I actually drove this specific model a while ago, I'm talking about it now because I've recently driven the Taycan Turbo S and even that is not as fast as this. I know it can be on the racetrack, I know that Porsche actually proved it can be, but I still think this feels faster. And it has a much bigger range.

I re-read all my previous Tesla reviews and some of the things I said don't apply anymore. That's because Tesla has done something no one else thought to do (yet) by creating and improving its own infrastructure. As things stand, living with an EV on a daily basis can be a nightmare or just another day at the office and whether we care to admit it or not, that depends entirely on where you live.

The Model S is one of the best-selling cars in Norway, the only country in the world where the permeation of EVs in the market has exceeded 50%, which basically means that over 1 in 2 cars sold over there is fully-electric, and that means that if you want to drive this (or any other EV) in Norway that's not a problem. In London, Stockholm, Paris, Milan, Monaco, Berlin, Munich, Switzerland and bits of California. That's not a problem.

But these are the exception and the rule is that the infrastructure is still insufficient on a global level. I live near Florence and I know from experience that I could drive a Tesla as my daily, but I'd have a hard time doing the same with other EVs. That's because Tesla has its own network of superchargers whereas everyone else still relies on public networks.

At some point in the future, more and more people are going to admit that instant torque is a thing with EV, and it's fun. Pure, undiluted fun. And we're also going to admit that EVs are absolutely incredibly smooth. It's uncanny. This is a very heavy car, any Model S generally weighs more than 2,000 kg, but it floats on the road like it weighs nothing. It corners, drives, steers like it's made of whipped cream.

As for the bad sides, we all know that the lack of sound can be an issue but unfortunately, in the near future, more and more people are going to realize there's also another drawback: I've gradually come to the realization that all EVs broadly feel the same. Brutal acceleration with a V8, for example, feels nothing like brutal acceleration with a flat-six, you've got different ways to deliver power but with EVs you don't get that (for now, at least).

In terms of driving experience, the Model S P100D doesn't feel that different from an i-Pace or a Taycan or e-Tron. It's just faster. At least that's how I feel. I know that's not what most people want to hear, and I know that maybe this is only my personal perception but the fact of the matter is the EV technology is still new, still young. The nuances and shades of colours just aren't there yet. So with that in mind, my advice is: if you can afford it, buy a Taycan, because it's a Porsche. Alternatively, buy a Model S, because it is an unbelievably good car.

What do you think of the Model S? Let me know in the comments

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Comments (112)

  • As a petrol head I thought I understood just how fast a Tesla is. Watched all the videos of them eating supercars and drag strip beast for breakfast but last week I got behind a model S. We stopped for a car turning in front of him and after that car cleared, that model S launched like nothing I've ever seen in my life and was a spec in mere seconds.

    I've drag raced 10 second 1/4 mile cars, bikes that cover the 1/8th mile in the low 6s and never, ever ever have I seen anything like that. It's a freakin 4 door family car!

    Now, I'm sketchy about all this interconnected interweb car stuff but Mr. Musk, shut up and take my money.

      9 months ago
    • there's a tangible, technical advantage with instant torque. You can't match it. Even slower cars like for example the Twizy feel a lot faster off the line because of that. And I think the most impressive thing is that the Model S is very, very...

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        9 months ago
    • I can only imagine it's like sing the Millennium Falcon go into hyperdrive LOL

        9 months ago
  • One of the better looking even cars I think.

      9 months ago
  • I must be honest. I’m not into EV’s and don’t want them to be the only option for personal transport so maybe my opinion doesn’t count but for what it’s worth I think the Audi etron is a better option. Also as soon as there is a better fuel network in place the hydrogen Toyota will prove a better option too.

      9 months ago
    • The problem is that regardless of personal taste (I'd rather drive the Audi than the Model X, but I'd rather drive the Model S than the Audi), as things stand, Tesla still has the edge over other EV manufacturers for two reasons, one of which is...

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        9 months ago
    • Yes I have to agree that Tesla are ahead off the game at present and range is a definite issue for people who commute rather than live in large built up areas.

      I think it’s going to be interesting times ahead especially with battery...

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        9 months ago
  • 10 months later, I still believe the Model S is the best EV @tribe

      2 months ago
  • Of their present lineup, the S is the only one I'd have, and I'd have it gladly.

      9 months ago