IoD director general Simon Walker puts the Tesla Model S – an electric vehicle (EV) with a range of over 270 miles – through its paces…
I drove the Tesla Model S for a week, in both the city and the countryside. Navigating London’s traffic was fine. However, the Model S really came into its own on weekend jaunts to Salisbury and Northamptonshire.
One of the bête noires of electric cars is their limited range and paucity of charging stations. However, the Tesla Model S has a range of 273 miles per charge and there are chargers everywhere. The ideal is to find a Tesla ‘supercharger’, which takes roughly 30 minutes to charge. This isn’t too much of an inconvenience. You can comfortably work on a laptop or hold a Skype meeting while waiting to charge.
With the superb, WiFi-enabled information system feeding you endless information such as where the nearest charging stations are, you really can’t get lost – and the tech in the car was almost Apple-like in its touchscreen intuitiveness. Another thing that surprised me is the Tesla’s power (the car can accelerate from 0-60mph in 2.8 seconds). And it also has plenty of space – the boot was voluminous.
The Tesla Model S is definitely a director’s car. It might not be ostentatious or make a statement like a Bentley, Ferrari or Jaguar, but I liked it for these reasons. I don’t want to have a car that people gaze at in awe. I need something comfortable that deals with my basic needs.
One drawback is that the car is virtually silent. Tesla drivers need to be aware because pedestrians expect to hear cars drawing up beside them. But there’s no doubt that such electric cars will be the future for small- business owners. There are still significant incentives to owning them too. In London, there’s no congestion charge and near the IoD’s 116 Pall Mall’s premises, in Westminster, you can park without payment.
The fringe benefit tax on Tesla cars is more generous than other vehicles. Meanwhile, the benefit-in-kind tax for zero-emission company cars is five per cent, but owners of their petrol counterparts face paying 25-40 per cent, so it makes sense for corporate buyers to think about an electric vehicle.
I’ve been a Mercedes driver for the last 20 years, but the Tesla impressed me – it’s beautifully smooth and would make a comfortable touring car. Next time I buy a new car, I’ll think about a Tesla.