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Tesla Model S P85: Electric car breaks new ground

Mikael Lindkvist | April 7, 2014
If you think electric cars are boring, it's time to reconsider. New Tesla S P85 (Performance 85 kWh) really stands out from the crowd. Not only because it is a stylish and sporty green car. It also offers a whole new mindset when it comes to user interfaces and infotainment systems. Tesla Motors challenge the traditional car manufacturers in several ways.

If you think electric cars are boring, it's time to reconsider. New Tesla S P85 (Performance 85 kWh) really stands out from the crowd. Not only because it is a stylish and sporty green car. It also offers a whole new mindset when it comes to user interfaces and infotainment systems. Tesla Motors challenge the traditional car manufacturers in several ways.

Engine power

7,000 battery cells are fitted below the passenger compartment and promise a range up to 502 kilometer -- and a powerful engine performance. This car does 0--100 km/h in 4.4 seconds, and when we push the pedal to the metal we're thrown back in the driver's seat.

Not only is the motor extremely powerful, the car also responds very quickly. The delay we have become accustomed to with combustion engines simply doesn't exist.

Because of the battery pack, the height of the car is relatively low, but on the other hand you get dual luggage compartments where you can fit a lot. And one advantage of the low-mounted batteries is that the car's center of gravity is very low, which allows for sporty driving.

You can adjust the steering in three modes (Comfort, Normal or Sport) and you sit like a king in the comfortable, if somewhat poorly contoured, front seats.

And the exterior really looks astonishing, apart from the anonymous grill. Tesla Model S is designed for lowest possible air resistance, and that gives it a really smooth look.

A huge touch screen

The most eye-catching when it comes to the cars interior is undoubtedly the giant touch screen in the center console. It measures a full 17 inches and you use it to control virtually everything. On the upper part, you choose which or what views you want to activate. For example, the upper part of the screen can display the map while the lower display the browser. Or you can maximize any window so that it covers the entire screen surface. The feeling when we pull up Google Maps in full screen mode and select Satellite View is unbeatable.

In fact, the only physical buttons found in the car's center panel is the button to open the glove box and a manual button that activates your hazard lights. Everything else you control through the touch screen. For better or worse. Accessing the climate system for example to turn on the fan is more cumbersome than in most cars. Many interesting features are hidden under the control screen, but because it is an overlay pop-up screen, it takes two extra clicks every time you need to go here.

Bird's-eye view

The navigator is somewhat different from what we are used to with an integrated GPS. Google Maps has driving instructions, but you don't get the traditional 3D view of the entire map, only the bird's-eye view. We also don't get speed limit signs, speed camera detection and an easy way to find nearby waypoints. When we start typing into the search field, we get results from all around the world. When driving, you're more interested in quickly finding a restaurant or perhaps an accommodation nearby, rather than exploring the whole world. But we appreciate that the sharp touch screen supports multi-touch and has a good response. It's a lot like a giant iPad.

 

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