After the build-up, the research, the endless questions from mates and mums, the time has finally come. CAR magazine has collected our approved used Model S from Tesla’s UK headquarters and has become a fully signed-up member of the Tesla fraternity.
The HQ in west London doubles up as the London Heathrow dealership and we sat alongside a handful of owners popping in to collect their own purchases and service their electric vehicles. There’s a cool, calm, premium vibe percolating the showroom, which is sparsely furnished with minimalist furniture, Apple Macs and displays showcasing the various charging solutions available to private customers. So far, so typical of any premium garage – but one distinguishing feature is the clientele. Tesla seemingly has a broad appeal, but there’s a strong interest from older, wiser, wealthier motorists, it seems. I guess the big-ticket prices make that inevitable, but perhaps it’s the spirit of early adoption and interest in high tech and ecology that binds Tesla customers together more. We’ll be talking to plenty of owners in the weeks ahead. Tesla London Heathrow showroom. The handover was simple enough. Our car was plugged into a Supercharger to provide enough battery range to get back to CAR magazine’s Peterborough HQ 94 miles away, so we had a guided tour of the Model S 85D while we waited 20 minutes for sufficient charge to top up the batteries. I’ve driven several Model S and Model X electric cars before, so it was more of a refresher guide to important functions and a whistle-stop tour through the huge touchscreen’s menus and tricks within. Our car wears its mileage well: the bodywork and paint appear of good quality, although I’m not so sure of the wisdom of the polar white wardrobe of our test model; it’s going to be a pain to keep clean in these mucky winter months. London-registered LB65 BUO came with a regular Type 2 cable and a three-point plug lead for emergency domestic recharging (warning: takes 24+ hours) – plus a CHAdeMO adaptor for connecting to the emerging fast-charge DC bays. Learning the lexicon of recharging is an inevitable part of EV ownership and we’ll be reporting on everything we learn on these pages. We’re running a Tesla Model S 85D, as proudly proclaimed by badge. Battery topped up, we unplugged the cable, stowed it in the large boot and settled in to the wide leather seats. This is a large car at 4970mm long, but there’s a wide range of adjustment to the seats and mirrors, so the view out is decent in all directions (bar some surprisingly thick A-pillars you have to peer around at mini roundabouts). Setting off in a Tesla Model S is something of an event. With keyless entry and ignition, you never need touch the key: simply approach the car, watch the door handles pop out (this car launched four years before the Range Rover Velar, remember), slide in, select Drive and disappear silently down the road. The lack of rigmarole and start-up procedure is an enduring joy. Engaging D on the Merc-derived stalk gearlever, we crept out of the Tesla compound and headed on to the M25 and A1, heading north to Bauer Towers. It was a memorable journey for its very lack of drama – the 85D is rapid, silent and very stress-free to drive on an M-way journey. We’ll save our driving impressions and more detailed observations for coming reports. Suffice to say, Tesla motoring is very different, even from other electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf or Renault Zoe. Stay tuned for much, much more. You can soon read the full reports in CAR magazine, too, but we’ve started this Tesla long-term test review online earlier. We’re certainly not going to be light on talking points. By Tim Pollard. Introduction: CAR is running a Tesla Model S long-term test review in 2018
Well, this is shaping up to be one of the most intriguing long-term tests we’ve ever conducted. We’re fortunate that our daily driver fleet has numbered McLaren supercars, Aston Martin coupes and a pukka Porsche 911 in its number, but never – until now – have we run a Tesla electric car. That is being put right in 2018, as we’ve persuaded Tesla to lend us a Model S. The car you see here in our configurator spec will soon be appearing in the pages of CAR magazine with regular monthly updates and we’ll be reporting fully on the approved-used Tesla Model S 85D online too. Stay tuned for regular coverage as we reveal what it’s like to live with every day. The specs of our Tesla Model S 85D. Why are we testing a Certified Pre-Owned Model S? Because Tesla was keen for us to try a secondhand model and as a fledgling player it doesn’t have airfields of unsold stock lying around. And besides, this is a great chance for us to test the reliability and quality of a two-year-old Tesla and to see if fears over battery degradation are unfounded or a real problem to used EV ownership.