Imagine charging your car up overnight (like you would a phone) and never paying for gas again. Too good to be true? Not if you own a Tesla. If you're unfamiliar with the electric vehicles produced by Tesla, you may have doubts about the convenience and performance of an electric car. But you'd be surprised how thoroughly Tesla's latest models blow both of those notions out of the water.
With climate change and the race for renewables on the forefront of people's minds, Tesla is determined to set a new standard for car ownership focusing on sustainability as well as performance, safety, and convenience. The company launched their first vehicle, the Roadster in 2008. Since then 140,000 Tesla owners across the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Australia have collectively driven more than 2 billion miles without ever paying for a drop of gas. Instead of going to a gas pump, owners charge their vehicles overnight at home or at any of Tesla's free charging stations. (While only Tesla owners can use Tesla stations, the company does provide Tesla owners with cables to use at third-party charging stations.) A full charge takes about 30 minutes at a Tesla supercharger stations or a few hours overnight at home and will last roughly 258 miles, making the vehicle suitable for daily commutes as well as cross-country road trips.
Ok, so charging isn't a problem, but is the performance really as exhilarating as Tesla claims? Tesla's three latest models--the X, the S, and the 3 (X and S are in production, 3 will begin in 2017)--accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.8-3.2 seconds (a Formula I race cars do the same in 2.1 to 2.7 seconds). Not only are these cars lighting fast, they also come with all-wheel drive, something we can all appreciate in an often snowy mountain town. Thanks to a low center of gravity (due to the battery pack's placement along the floor and between the axles), Teslas handle like a dream.
Tech addicts can geek out on features, including the 17" touchscreen that integrates navigation (including a constantly updated map of nearby Tesla charging stations), communication, media, cabin control, and vehicle data into an interface as intuitive as an iPhone. A number of the functions are also mirrored on the instrument panel and are voice-activated so the driver can focus on the road. Sensors on the vehicle allow for some autopilot and autosteer functions as well including lane changes, and both parallel and perpendicular parking. There's also tons of storage, in both the front and back, and the vehicle can comfortably transport 5 to 7 people, depending on the model.
What's more is that Tesla vehicles are also some of the safest and quietest on the market. Because they're electric, they hardly make a sound. And these cars are nearly impossible to flip. Safety inspectors had to build a special machine which broke in the process of attempting to get a Model S to rollover. Automatic braking, blind spot detection, collision warning, and lane departure warning are just a few of the other safety features that equate to a 5-star safety rating and record lows for occupant injuries.
So what's the price tag on all this? The first electric vehicles were, by no means, cheap. But that's changing. While the Tesla Roadster, Model S, and Model X hover anywhere from $71,000 to over $100,000, the price tag for the upcoming Model 3 will be closer to $35,000. When you factor in that you'll never have to fuel up again, even considering today's relatively low gas prices, and all the features, this is definitely a car worth considering.
But don't take our word for it. As part of their three-month Electric Road Trip, Tesla is introducing their vehicles to new communities around the globe. Next stop: Park City. You can test drive a Tesla this Friday, August 26th at the Montage Hotel in Deer Valley, a Tesla Destination Charging partner location, and feel the what it's like to be behind the wheel of this amazing car.