Tesla P85D 48,000km review
Warning: If you were seriously considering purchasing the Tesla model S over the last two years and it was in your price range but didn't go through with the purchase look away now.
After almost a year of ownership it's become very apparent that this is no ordinary car, and it's certainly no one trick pony, you can read every motoring write-up published but until you've spent at least a week driving the model S under city and regional conditions you'll never appreciate it's true value, Tesla could be seen as an unknown quantity, not anymore, this is the real deal.
So how does a person from "Wait Awhile" order a Tesla if they don't live near the Sydney/Melbourne showrooms? Go to the Tesla Australia website, configure the car with the options available and hit the buy now button, the full on-road price is shown before the transaction takes place, shipping is part of the package, the time to build and deliver the car from California is somewhere around 10-12 weeks.
As most car buffs will know the P85D is a dual electric motor all wheel drive and to get the publics attention Tesla added an Insane mode, or better still the even faster Ludicrous mode, how
fast is it? To misquote the late great champ, "it's so quick it makes medicine sick", but how does it go in the wet? Well it can't possibly accelerate as fast but it sure feels like it, but enough of all that, this is a family sedan after all.
There has been a number of owners reviews submitted on the model S in the past year, a lot has already been said so I'd like to look at a few different aspects, especially on the energy usage, type of charging and long term costs.
This car has travelled 48,000kms in just under 12 months, in effect more than triple the average annual distance of a passenger car in Australia, most of the home charging is offset by solar power, the cars charging timer and the ability to reduce charging amps makes it so much easier to get the most out of home solar.
During longer trips to the South-West of WA the Tesla is charged using the RAC electric highway, a series of 11 charge stations covering thereabouts 90% of the states population, the charge stations are placed at distances of 80-100kms to suit shorter range EVs, for the Tesla this makes it a breeze. Very often while the car is plugged into a regional charge station we get asked a variety of questions, normally the first one is "how long does it take to charge?" the answer is always "as long as it takes me to grab some lunch and check emails", potential Tesla owners need to understand that on nearly every occasion you only need to charge when the opportunity arises, it's so different from our petrol car where I fill it up then run it 50kms on the fuel light because I hate the thought of going to a fuel station and handing over the hard-earned.
The second most asked question is "how far can you drive before it needs recharging?" From experience this car could travel 460kms, without doubt over 500kms if driven at slower speeds, but that's never been necessary, the car is charged when it's convenient to do so, at home when parked or during a break on a long trip.
The energy usage of 172Wh/km is far better than expected, although I must make it very clear the road conditions that this car is subjected to play a part in that, the 19inch wheels, despite having a similar rolling circumference to the 21s are also a major factor, I'm fairly confident that there's a 8-10% improvement in energy consumption under similar conditions compared to the 21s, although even if a driver was producing energy figures of 200Wh/km the cost per km to drive a model S is still far less than anything with its size and power.
Costs so far- Electricity, using grid power, $5.00 per 100km, solar power, $1.51 per 100km, for the first 10 months the RAC chargers were free now the shires have been handed control the tariff equates to $7.80 per 100km, still cheap motoring for a large car.
Tyres- still on the first set of tyres but are due for replacement at around the 55K mark, at $1400 per set I'm very happy.
Insurance- far less than expected, the local EV supportive insurance company provide a 25% discount for electric vehicles.
Home charging- Tesla send out the high power wall connector 4-6 weeks before the cars expected delivery, total electrician cost including an upgraded cable to the garage, isolation switch and extras was $600, considering this will be in use for decades its a low cost addition.
So after almost 1 year and many thousands of kilometres the best feature of the Tesla Model is it actually exists and does everything claimed plus more, it's lightning quick, it charges from solar, it is so easy to operate, it's a pleasure to drive, it's been South to Albany and cruised up to Broome, other car makers can talk about their Tesla killer this and Tesla killer that, but talking is one thing, delivering is another, Tesla has delivered in spades.