2012 Tesla Model S First Drive Motor Trend | Electric Cars and Hybrid Vehicle - Green energy

2012 Tesla Model S First Drive Motor Trend

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Tesla Model S

2012 Tesla Model S Drive

by Frank Markus / 22, 2012 / 0

As clean-sheet designs go, one was penned on a bleached Pantone Pure White satin It’s Silicon-Valley fresh no precedents or paradigms to shift and the air is with fresh thinking. Musk’s goal in founding here in 2003 was to hasten the to affordable carbon-free transportation. His company learned to crawl and first, bolting electric into some 2250 Elise rolling chassis, and now the 2012 Tesla Model S, the is picking up to a healthy saunter, up to next year’s production run of cars.

Musk’s goal for the S? To be the best car in the world and to show an electric car can be the best car in the world.

probably snorting and rolling eyes at the hubris of a guy who daisy-chained a of laptop batteries together to a Lotus run silently, but trust me after a walk through the a visit to a dealer showroom, and an spent driving the car on a mix of roads, my are wide and my jaw has dropped. Remember, Space-X operation just a commercial rocket that docked with the international station. Don’t underestimate his or his ability to lure talent.

In the chassis department, Huibert did the Ford GT’s suspension and Sutherland spent 23 years Lotuses. Manufacturing boss Passin ran Toyota’s North manufacturing engineering operations, and veep George Blankenship the Apple Stores.

This team has conceived a kind of car, one that has than 250 patents issued for it with more pending. a hatchback sedan with an ($1500) third-row of child that can still accommodate 8.1 feet of luggage under its a difficult task for many SUVs, but not for an EV with a 4-inch-thick pack under the floor and an its motor tucked between the wheels. There’s no engine-start — climb aboard the key and it’s ready to go; walk and it powers down and locks up.

no parking brake handle or it just automatically engages you select park. A gigantic touch screen uses with a browser interface, and as evolve so too will the downloadable so your car always looks A built-in SIM card allows web and yes, it works in motion so the can operate it (and as Musk out, if a driver is determined to while in motion, it’s to do so on a 17-inch screen than a one).

Design chief Von Holzhausen’s shape is not as disruptive as the of the car’s technology. He opted for beauty along the lines of the Fusion and Aston Martin though neither had appeared it was first drawn. It does, boast the lowest drag (0.24) of any current production

The aluminum structure of stampings, and extrusions utilizes expertise the rocketry division. Extruded suspension links (as strong as and hollow-cast front knuckle are claimed automotive innovations, of which also lowers weight. Double-octagon extrusions the front and rear crumple-zone which are claimed to outperform standards, especially in back, the car was impact tested at 50 mph as well as the 35.

The roof crush resistance is double the requirement (it broke the machine), and the rigid battery greatly restricts side-impact

Tesla acquired the 5-million-sq-ft NUMMI factory in Fremont, that GM and Toyota once — complete with equipment and stamping and injection-molding — at a yard-sale price the economic downturn. Other was nabbed from ailing and suppliers so that now the vast of the stamped and die-cast aluminum are made on site. To make tools pay off on a low-volume product the Model S, the Tesla team has had to quick die and tool change that allow one tool to many parts in smaller

Similarly, the robots that the unibody structure are all multi-taskers can spot-weld, MIG-weld, bond, and even move parts Owning all this tooling in-sourcing over out-sourcing. 90 percent of all the plastic parts in the S are made onsite.

More of the S’s parts are made in the than was the case with the that was made here

Okay, so it’s cleverly and safe, but you’d be forgiven for skeptical of that world’s-best-car Humor me a bit longer. Performance-wise, rear motor makes 362 hp at rpm and 325 lb-ft at 0-5000 rpm in the base Performance versions make 416 hp at rpm and 443 lb-ft at 0-5100 rpm.

A motor as found in the forthcoming AWD X would fit but is not yet planned for the sedan. By an AC-induction type motor Nicola Tesla helped instead of the typical permanent type, Tesla needs not about rare-earth metal and prices.

Feeding electrons to motor is a choice of three battery packs (using cells with nickel-cobalt-aluminum sized to assuage differing of range anxiety. Range is how far do you want to go? For $58,570 before tax short-haul drivers can get a 40-kWh good for about 140 miles of EPA range (official numbers are not yet

By comparison a Nissan Leaf’s battery propels the 1300-pound car 73 miles. The 60-kWh battery take you 200 miles on a charge for The 85-kWh pack has just EPA-rated at 265 miles and 89 MPGe and $78,570 (the Performance adds $15K, the Signature built on the first 1000 adds $18K). As for charging, the 110/240-volt charger lives in the not on the wall. An identical second (nestled beside the first the right rear seat $1200) allows 20 kW to flow the battery pack via Tesla’s connector from a special wall charger.

Tesla’s charging socket is than the SAE J1772-spec socket are provided) but can accept up to 90 kW from Supercharger units Tesla install between key cities of putting 150-miles worth of into the battery in 30 minutes.

we buckle in for a romp through the above the East Bay, talk chassis. The under-floor is a stressed member, and helps the center of gravity to just inches high with two — about the same as the GT’s. The front control-arm multi-link suspension is nearly all Performance and Signature cars get a height-adjustable air suspension (down 0.8 at speed or for egress, up as much as 1.2 for clearing steep driveways). The bars are solid steel and surprisingly thin, but that low CG the body mass never much leverage for body

In the rear, a wide control arm a curious vertical link to the at the rear. This provides control and distributes the brake-reaction among the control-arm bushings for comfort.

Tesla Model S

Alright, time to put world’s-best notion to the 100-mph and twisty-road tests. The Model S away from a stop any EV, but it accelerates from 60 to 80 mph like a big continuing to pull strongly 100 mph (top speed is 130 on Performance Sound levels are amazingly with just a whisper of at the pillars. The heft and communication through the electrically boosted does a Rich Little-grade of an Audi helm. As we head up and the hills the brake pedal stands out as better than Toyota hybrids, with no handoff from regen to retardation.

The 48/52-percent front/rear weight low polar-moment of inertia (all the bits are between the wheels) and aggressive Michelin Pilot rubber help this sled corner sharply no squealing. Ride quality is impressive, in that it traverses smoothly with no head The Tesla team iterates at a pace by car industry standards: six weeks ago independent evaluators about the car’s flinty and in response the nimble team over 100 tuning changes to the bushings, anti-roll bars, valving, and more.

So is it the best car in the This fourth production built may not be, but I’d rank it the top few percentile and at the rate these greenhorns are improving things, it well be the best car in the solar by version 2.0. I’d for a bit more rear seat comfort, and lateral support, and of more range for less would be nice.

But the dynamic performance, equipment and style nearly justify the — even if you don’t about the electric drivetrain. I And I want one.


Charge Port is concealed in rear side reflector like 1950s GM cars.

handles pop out when the key approaches, or shifting to park, or when

Finishing Panels for both are made of glass.

No seams in chrome daylight-opening molding for look.

Choice wheels. slicer wheels shown are for models (dark gray is standard); others get 19-inch for better ride (19s are 4.4 heavier).

Flat underbelly pan airflow, contributes to record low coefficient of 0.24.

Panorama boasts industry’s largest (at least until Lincoln MKZ

Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S

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