What is it?
Ask most car buyers what’s holding them back from going electric and the answer will most commonly be two words: range anxiety.
The fear of running out of juice on a journey is a huge barrier for motorists, not least because while there are currently more than 4400 charging stations across the country, there are more than twice that number of petrol stations, so there’s still plenty of work needed to bring the UK’s electric car infrastructure up to scratch. Of course, though, EV owners also have the option of charging at home.
What you need, then, is an electric car that can go for hundreds of miles without needing recharging. Tesla already does well in this regard with its Model S saloon, with the P100D variant able to drive for up to 381 miles (officially). The problem, though, is that at £131,800 it’s also expensive, and therefore pitched against the Porsche Panamera Turbos and Mercedes-AMG S-Class Coupés of this world.
The P100D is also capable of sprinting from 0-62mph in a staggering 2.4sec, but there may be some owners willing to sacrifice a drop in speed (and price) for more range. Enter this, then, the 100D. With an official range of 393 miles on a single charge, it’s the farthest-travelling electric car you can currently buy, and with prices starting from £90,000, it’s also significantly cheaper than the P100D.
What's it like?
You’ll like this: it’s almost exactly the same as a regular Model S, just with more range. Now as usual, that headline-grabbing figure of 393 miles is a little optimistic for real-world use, but 320 miles should be comfortably achievable if you reign in your right foot.
Inside, it’s much the same as before, too. There’s a new panoramic roof which lets more light in, but aside from that, it’s unchanged. Of course that means Tesla’s hallmark 17.0in touchscreen infotainment screen features, too, and while it takes some getting used to, it’s beautifully designed and offers a huge array of functions. Our only gripe is even with the brightness turned down, it’s still a little dazzling at night. Interior quality is also a little off the mark for a car in this price bracket.
Should I buy one?
If range anxiety is the biggest barrier to your taking the plunge into electic motoring right now, then absolutely. This Model S can travel further than just about any other electric car on sale, and in doing so removes fear of running out of fuel. Even when you do put your foot down, the drop in range is minuscule. Plus, having charged your car at home first, there's still Tesla's Supercharger network to get you where you need to go, and smaller destination chargers to keep you topped up when you get there.
Yet there’s a but here, and it’s the price. At £90,000, the Model S just doesn’t feel as luxurious as it should. It feels special, make no mistake, but it's just not as cosseting as the luxury saloons it’ll be going up against.