The Tesla Model S is an extraordinary car, not merely because it can out-accelerate an Aston Martin up to three figures and beyond, or because it has a range of over 250 miles; it’s also just a very good thing to drive in its own right.
It rides properly, it handles tidily, it steers with feel and precision, it stops much like a normal sports saloon stops, i.e. better than most folks would ever believe. It’s also roomy and well made inside.
And yet… I’m not convinced that the message about how excellent this car is (and therefore how good other EVs like it will surely become) is getting through. Until you drive it for yourself, it’s hard if not impossible to imagine how well resolved the Model S is, so I don’t blame anyone for thinking “Yeah but they’re just talking it up unrealistically in order to fill the pages of their magazine.”
But if you are still having difficulty in believing us about how good the Model S is, believe the punters who have bought them in the United States instead. In the first quarter of 2013 this car very nearly outsold the 7-Series, the S-class and the Audi A8 combined. Think about that.
What’s also key is that, having outsold the big name German manufacturers so convincingly this year in the USA, Tesla’s customer service support also appears to be similarly out of this world.
There is a distinct dearth of whispers on the internet about how poor Tesla’s after-sales support is, despite there now being several thousand Model S owners out there, most if not all of whom appear to be very happy indeed with their cars.
One day, cars like the Tesla Model S will become commonplace on our roads – not to the point that all we will be driving are EVs but at least to a level where all of us will at some point drive or be driven in one.
And when that happens, when in 15 years' time there is a mix of hybrid, perhaps hydrogen, some conventional combustion engine powered and an awful lot of electrically propelled vehicles buzzing about on our roads, I will look back and remember the first time I drove the Model S.
Why? Because it was a defining moment for me: the first occasion on which I drove an EV and thought “Yes, we car enthusiasts are going to be alright here. In fact, we’re going to be better off than ever before.”