Home > Uncategorized > One Big Step for Tesla, One Giant Leap for E.V.’s – NYTimes.com

One Big Step for Tesla, One Giant Leap for E.V.’s – NYTimes.com

AUTOMAKERS have a favored buzzword for promoting important new models: game-changer.

Excuse me, but the game is not so easily changed.

Put simply, the automobile has not undergone a fundamental change in design or use since Henry Ford rolled out the Model T more than a century ago. At least that’s what I thought until I spent a week with the Tesla Model S.

The 2012 Model S, a versatile sedan that succeeds the company’s two-seat Roadster, is simultaneously stylish, efficient, roomy, crazy fast, high-tech and all electric. It defies the notion that electric cars are range-limited conveyances.

While driving a Model S with the biggest available battery pack — 85 kilowatt-hours — on a restrained run through Northern California wine country, I was able to wring 300.1 miles from a single charge. The E.P.A.’s rating for equivalent gasoline miles per gallon is 88 m.p.g.e. in town and 90 on the highway, with a 265-mile range.

On a more enthusiastic romp from my home base here to Santa Cruz and back, I sampled what the 362-horsepower electric drivetrain was designed to do: bolt. Tesla says the car can zip from zero to 60 in 5.6 seconds and tops out at 125 miles per hour, but it was the silent, near-instantaneous bursts from 35 to 65 along the Pacific on California Highway 1 that best demonstrated the S’s otherworldly quality.

I managed to make that 207-mile round-trip with about 25 miles of battery charge remaining when I pulled into my driveway. I never gave a second’s thought to range, batteries or kilowatt-hours. I just hauled amps. It’s probably best for my driving record that I didn’t test the performance version of the Model S, which raises the ante to 416 horsepower — and a 4.4-second dash from zero to 60 m.p.h.

The Model S, which went on sale in June, is built in a Tesla plant in Fremont, Calif., where a Toyota-General Motors joint venture once made cars.

via One Big Step for Tesla, One Giant Leap for E.V.’s – NYTimes.com.

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