“We designed it as an excellent car for car enthusiasts,” said Peter Rawlinson, vice president of Tesla Motors start-up design company, at the Detroit International North American Auto Show three years ago, and introduced the debutant Tesla Model S. that the young company from Silicon Valley will become a competitor to the masters of the global automotive industry, and its electric car will receive the title Car of the Year from the American magazine Motor Trend and will become the winner of the consumer rating satisfaction, scoring a record for the last decade, the score - 99 out of 100.
Sporty appearance, solidity of a limousine, spaciousness of a minivan, environmental friendliness of a bicycle - is it possible to combine the incompatible?
Sportsedan Tesla Model S states: you can. Unlike many automotive brands, Tesla Motors developed and designed the Model S in-house.
The model uses many new design solutions, various systems and components.
Until now, to attract customers, exterior designers of electric vehicles tried to emphasize their “electrical essence”, while the authors of the Model S went the other way. The public noticed and appreciated it. Former Chief Designer Wayne Cherie, a judge at Motor Trend, noted the “slightly cautious and conservative” look of the car, outlined the beautifully executed, emphasizing design proportions, harmony and elegance of lines. True, the “face” of the sport team disappointed him. “The front end missed the opportunity to create a brand,” he noted in the magazine’s pages.
The first evidence of technological innovations handles, recessed into the door and moving out after touching them.
The interior of the car is extremely spacious, although the roof "hangs" in the back seat. The floor is unusually smooth: the usual half-humping hump, hiding exhaust pipes, gas lines, etc., is absent. The decoration used leather and wood. There is nothing superfluous in the interior, including there is no traditional variety of places for storing trifles: the model's designers explain that the pockets are eventually stuffed with things, and the interior looks sloppy. The seats are unexpectedly high for a sports car, which will appeal to those who prefer a “jeep” landing.
The machine starts up automatically, responding to the driver, sat down at his place. The dashboard is not replete with sensors and shows only the main: speed, battery status / possible mileage on the remaining electricity and a couple of indicators. There are no buttons, switches, levers on the front panel - here a gigantic 17-inch touchscreen occupies the central place, displaying the work of all the necessary and not so much systems with which the car is stuffed: air conditioner, navigator, audio, etc., up to steering and mode of operation of the brakes. Another difference from competitors is that Tesla Model S is always on the Web using SIM, and car applications are preinstalled like Google or a web browser.
Management of electronic technologies through a single computer module makes it possible to easily expand the range of functions of the car, and if necessary, update the software. For example, an application is provided as an option, allowing you to remotely turn on a heater or air conditioner. Panoramic sunroof, also offered as an option, "obeys" the touch of the screen.
Compact electric transmission gave the car another advantage. Since there is no engine in front, the bags now fit under the hood. In the traditional trunk, in turn, you can accommodate two passengers: there is a recess for the legs, and as an option small seats are offered. True, only children will feel comfortable there, and an adult will have to sit bent and leaning his head into the sloping roof. The luggage volume is 150 liters in front and 745 liters in the rear, but if you add up the second row of seats, the total capacity will be 1,800 liters.
The model is equipped with all traditional means of passive safety, including eight airbags. The driver and passengers are also protected by a reinforced roof.
Model S is available in four versions. Three come to Finland: with batteries with a capacity of 60 and 85 (for two configurations) kW / h, providing a power reserve in the NEDC 375 and 500 km driving cycle, respectively.
Lithium-ion batteries are assembled from the company's nickel-cobalt-aluminum cathode cells at a plant in the city of Fremoit, California.
The creation of batteries accounted for the bulk of working time: because of the explosion hazard of materials, Tesla Motors employees were forced to experiment a lot with cooling and layout. The company guarantees a battery of 8 years / 200,000 km, a car for 4 years / 8,000 km.
The power of the base transmission with a 60 kW / h battery is 302 hp. and 430 Nm of torque, in Perfomance (85 kW / h) - 416 hp and 600 Nm. Depending on the variation, the Model S accelerates to a hundred in 4-6 seconds, the top speed is 190-210 km / h.
This is a record for electric vehicles.
Thanks to the electric drive, the car has excellent driving characteristics: fantastic smoothness, excellent maneuverability and the complete absence of noise.
The standard Model S package includes a “home” 220V charger. Other options are available as an option, including the Supercharger. If you can recharge from a regular outlet for 30 minutes for a trip of 27 km in length, then with the help of the Supercharger at the same-named mini-filling stations - 320 km. Refueling time may seem long, but Tesla says that stopping on trips is usually not short: people often do warm-ups or snacks.
For those who do not want to wait even half an hour, there is a paid possibility of a full replacement of batteries. The whole procedure takes a half to two minutes.
The main consumer fear is the ability to not calculate the charge due to the limited number of filling stations. Therefore, in the homeland, Tesla Motors started building stations, promising to open 100 outlets across the US for charging batteries by 2015.
The first one and a half years of sales of the model did not go without embarrassment. At first in the USA and Mexico the car batteries caught fire, then in Norway electric cars refused to refuel.
However, such trifles fans Tesla Model S is not embarrassed: new, so a little mess up. A similar situation was with the iPhone, when the first "apples" burst in the cold screens. And nothing, all fixed. So Tesla - finish, but for now it is necessary to suffer.
Despite the cases of battery ignition, the NHTSA security service has confirmed the highest level of electric vehicle safety. At Tesla, as noted by officials, the risk of fire is still five times less than that of cars with internal combustion engines. In the aggregate, all representatives of the Model S have traveled 100000000 km in a variety of conditions and have never been in a serious accident.
As for Norway, the Americans are convinced that the reason for interference during charging is the problems of the local electricity transmission network, typical during a period of high demand, that is, severe frosts, but nevertheless declared their intention to improve the application responsible for this function.
By the way, car developers do not hesitate to admit mistakes, constantly improve software. Many bugs are fixed with the help of updates.
In the US, Tesla Model S immediately won an army of fans. More than 3,500 pre-orders for the electric sedan were received. According to rough estimates, at the end of 2013 more than 24 thousand of these machines were sold here.
In Europe, the electric car was especially liked by the Norwegians. In this country, he at the end of last year twice became the leader of sales. Only in September there were implemented 616 Model S.
In January 2014, the first 15 Tesla Model S found their owners in Finland, and, as the happy owners of electric cars stated (before that, they had only seen the car in video), the sportsman fully met their expectations.
The difference in sales figures in neighboring countries is explained by the internal tax policy and the system of support for alternative energy sources.
The Norwegian authorities actually return more than half of its cost to buyers of an electric car: after subsidies, the price in the most expensive set of Performance is about 74,000 euros. These cars are given the right to free use of parking lots and ferries and ride along the lane allocated to buses. If the state did not support the transition to electric cars in such a size, would residents of the kingdom buy cars worth a hundred and fifty thousand euros?
In Finland, the Tesla Model S costs 90000-117000 euros. The authorities "help" the owners the amount of 24,000 euros, paying it in installments over four years. However, only companies can get this support. A private trader will have to pay for a technical miracle the full amount.
However, Miika Toivonen, manager of Finnish auto-outlet importer, believes that an electric car is a bargain with no subsidies. It will pay for itself in several years: battery charging stations are installed at many Finnish gas stations and in shopping centers, traditionally electricity is free for Tesla. Now there are about 60 refueling points in the country, of which 27 are in Helsinki.
For a typical daily route of urban residents - trips to work and travel Model S is a profitable alternative to classic cars with premium engine.
As for the “green argument” of zero toxicity, skeptics, of course, will tighten their lips and remind you that electricity is not made from air. In California, electric cars charge the sun (solar panels are installed on the roofs of charging stations), and in Finland - thermal power plants or nuclear power plants. And although rare earth metals are not used in the production of an electric motor, the disposal of harmful lithium-ion batteries is a complex process.
Nevertheless, everyone agrees on one thing: today, no electric car can compare with the Tesla Model S, and the main argument - 500 km for 10 euros (the “home” electricity required for this trip will cost an average, on average) makes many from time to time gazing thoughtfully at his fuel-efficient Mercedes, BMW, Audi, which will require a minimum of five times more for the same mileage.
However, it is believed that with the purchase of American technical wonders should not be in a hurry. The breakthrough made by Tesla Motors will spur other automakers who will be forced to focus on creating more advanced technology and affordable electric cars. That's when the time comes to change the car.