By Peder Helgesen
You’ve certainly heard of it and perhaps even seen one – or maybe you’re among the lucky few who have had the pleasure of taking a spin in one. We’re talking about the Tesla Model S.
In Hollywood and especially in the world’s tech epicentre, Silicon Valley, the electric luxury sedan Tesla Model S is the new black and the benchmark of high-rolling success. Emanating from the unique innovation culture of the Valley, Tesla is its best guess at the next Apple. Indeed, the six-fold rise of its share price over just one year speaks for itself.
The Secret Plan
In 2006, Tesla’s CEO, the charismatic Elon Musk, wrote a blog entry entitled: The Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan (just between you and me). In his blog, the self-made billionaire and whiz kid behind PayPal and SpaceX explained how he in record time would turn his secret start-up into a booming business. Viewed from the boardrooms of one of the most conservative industries, his vision was simple yet also risky and revolutionary:
Step 1: Build a sports car.
Step 2: Use that money to build an affordable car.
Step 3: Use that money to build an even more affordable car.
And while doing the above also provide zero-emission electric power generation.
Today, eight years on, Tesla is halfway through step two. The company’s first car, the electric Tesla Roadster, provided the innovative technology now featured in the Model S. And although only 25,000 such vehicles have rolled off the assembly line to date, Tesla is already a raving success. Stock market expectations are so high that Tesla is already worth more than the entire Fiat Group.
But what makes the Model S so unique? The first thing that strikes you is the silence. While pressed back in the seat you have the feeling of being swept away by a gust of wind. No audible transmission, no exhilarating roar when engine forces are unleashed – just the luxury of silence otherwise mainly the privilege of German-built executive-class models.
But it’s not just the Tesla Model S that’s in a class of its own. The whole Tesla Motors concept and approach is radically different from anything we’ve seen before, not least the company’s current drive to establish a network of Supercharge stations throughout Europe where Model S motorists can charge their vehicles for free! This charging system has been operative in Norway since last summer, and in December 2013 the first Supercharge stations will open in Germany. Before the summer of 2014, Model S owners will also be able to drive anywhere in Denmark – at Tesla’s expense. Arguably, Auto Motor und Sport had a point when posing the question – why do we need any other car?
Tesla foots the power bill
The world’s leading manufacturer of electric cars, Tesla Motors has for the past year offered free power charge to US owners of the company’s award-winning sedan Model S. Now the concept is being introduced in Europe. Motorists can charge their cars for free at Tesla’s own grid of Supercharge stations that links Europe’s major cities. Already this year, you can drive from Trondheim in Norway to Milan in Italy in a Tesla Model S as fast as in any conventional car but without causing tailpipe emissions and without having to pay for the power.
Tesla’s Supercharge system is the world’s fastest, able to deliver half a charge in just 20 minutes. Model S has a maximum range of 480 kilometres, which means that just one visit to the Supercharge station will give you enough battery time for a trip from Copenhagen to Denmark’s west coast city of Esbjerg, according to Google Maps, and also save you DKK 620 on fuel.
Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S is the world’s first luxury sedan developed as an electric-only car. At the heart of the vehicle is the Tesla drivetrain, which ensures extremely long range of up to 480 km, raising the bar for electrically powered motoring. The stiff handling and balanced weight distribution combined with a low centre of gravity also ensure that the Model S offers both the comfort of a luxury sedan and the road grip of a roadster. With the absence of both internal combustion engine and transmission tunnel, the Model S also offers more luggage space than any other car of its class, including storage under the bonnet/hood. Dominating the interior is a 17” touch-screen with Internet access.
Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) was founded in 2003. The company develops electric cars and electric car technology. Tesla aims to promote a global shift to sustainable transport by developing a full range of increasingly affordable electric cars. Based in California, the company develops and manufactures electric vehicles as well as electric motors and electric drivetrain components for partners such as Toyota and Mercedes. Deliveries of Model S in Denmark began in September.