In a review of the new electric Tesla vehicle, reporter Bradley Berman writes, “Put simply, the automobile has not undergone a fundamental change in design or use since Henry Ford rolled out the Model T more than a century ago. At least that’s what I thought until I spent a week with the Tesla Model S.”
That’s a big claim from an automobile reviewer, so we were intrigued.
Electric vehicles are becoming more of a reality, and the Tesla now provides some of the zip and luxury that many would be car owners are looking for. Gone is the image of the quiet underdog, Toyota’s Prius.
While Toyota continues to make smaller and more efficient cars, like its Smart Insect concept car revealed recently in Japan, Tesla is going in the opposite direction to satisfy the cravings of the status car buyer.
Though we can hardly recommend this car for the rigors of a bicycle user–it’s a sedan with seats in the back and no large spaces for a bicycle (except the roof and trunk,) it might hit the spot for many.
In his test drive, Berman was able to drive 300 miles on a single charge. By comparison, “the E.P.A.’s rating for equivalent gasoline miles per gallon is 88 m.p.g.e. in town and 90 on the highway, with a 265-mile range,” writes Berman.
Writes Berman, “If the Model S is an Aston Martin on the outside, it’s an Apple on the inside.” That is sure to appeal to the design sense of many young, and design-appreciative clients, who often happen also to be cyclists. Though we have no statistical proof of this relationship, we have observational experience.
More importantly, the Tesla may appeal to cyclists because of its low environmental impact, combined with its greater oomph on the road compared to older electric vehicles. The greater distance it can cover, and the greater accessibility of charging stations make the Tesla an encouraging buy.
The only if is cost: the model Berman tested comes to $77,400, a price that includes an 85-kilowatt-hour battery pack a $3,740 Tech package, and a premium sound system. Leather seats added $1,500 to the price.
But cyclists are known to pay from $5,000 to $50,000 for their bicycles: what is another $27K for a purely electric car?
“Though Tesla’s products are not yet affordable to the masses, this is a car that a lot of people can aspire to, and maybe even stretch their budget to buy,” writes Berman.
Tesla also has a proprietary network of charging stations: the initial stations are set to open this month, and currently are mostly concentrated on the West Coast (see Berman’s companion NY Times article on charging stations.) Those stations are powered with solar panels, another win-win for environmentalists.
Have some fun, design your own model today at the Tesla site.