One item crossed off my bucket list – I drove a Tesla Model S P100D!
Like You would expect the reservation process can be done online via a web form. You enter your favorite location and they propose you some dates. When you submit the form you will get your reservation info in a couple of hours via E-Mail.
The big day
I almost missed the appointment because my head kept telling me the test drive was scheduled for Thursday. Luckily my calendar at work reminded me of it. When I arrived at Nuremberg the sales guy offered me a coffee and finished the registration process on his iPad. I had to subscribe that in case I ruined the rims I had to compensate for it. While acknowledging the contract I could see that they scheduled test drives the whole day in slots of one hour each. Not what is happening at a normal car dealer these days. One hour time was what I got and the sales guy sat beside me the whole time. The first 10 minutes he showed me the charging system and the controls in the car. After I adjusted my seat and the mirrors we went for the ride.
Dog on a leash
To carefully introduce me to the raw power of this car my companion reduced the capabilities from P100D to 75D. But that’s still 332 PS for the record.
One big difference between an all electric car and a conventional car is the working of the accelerator pedal. When You release it the car slows down due to the recuperation. The Model S can recuperate with 60kW, that means, when You know how to operate the pedal you will almost never have to use the brake pedal. Nevertheless for beginners it is good advice to reduce the amount of recuperation to get acquainted to this concept.
“Autopilot” tried to kill me?
You can activate the system any time by pulling a little lever at the side of the steering wheel. And the magic happens. At first it is a bit awkward to completely remove your hands from the wheel. But after some time you are going to understand what the car is doing / seeing. (Side note: the current model has 8(!) cameras) When autopilot is not sure about the situation it gently reminds you to put back your hands on the wheel by flashing a small band of pixels around the cluster instrument.
After driving around for a couple of minutes a big bummer: autopilot doesn’t recognize traffic lights! Although having read about this fact in a couple of reviews before, when sitting in the car while driving at 100km/h it is quite shocking.
The second shock appeared when I had to do an emergency break by myself because the car didn’t recognize another car standing in front of us at a red light. The sales guy was a bit torn between “I also would have braked in that situation” and “The car could have handled it itself”.
Insane is enough
I admit it: I didn’t do the ludicrous mode, insane was enough for me 🙂 The feeling of getting blind for half a second because your blood is pushed out of your eyeballs while your back of the head is slammed into the head rest isn’t something I need on a day to day basis. Please remember: this car can accelerate from 0 to 100km/h as fast as it brakes from 100 to 0km/h!
Despite the very nice quality of the car there are some things missing that you would expect when buying a car for almost 200.000 €.
- no adjustable seat belt
- no head up display
- no prolongable leg rest
- no working windshield wiper sensor at the moment
The bottom line
I think the marketing claim “Autopilot” is still misleading at the moment. But overall the car is a very nice ride. Tesla is definitely very brave when it “releases” a car with some systems still under development. With the over the air update capabilities you are always part of the beta test group 🙂
If You have the money, You don’t have to decide between a e.g. Mercedes S-Class and a Lamborghini Aventador. You can have both – a supersport car and a luxury sedan – in one car for less money!