Monday 28 October 2013

Technology & Opinions: My Tesla Model S Hands-on Review

Tesla Model S
Image from Tesla

Tesla Model S
Image from Locky's English Playground
In the last episode, Science & Technology: Fun Facts About Electric Cars We All Should Know, we have found out quite a lot about the Tesla Model S, this cannot be avoided as Tesla is the world's leading electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer and their EVs are exceptionally cool looking. Talking about it is nice, but getting your hands on it is so much better! Today I'm going to share with you my Hong Kong test drive experience and why a person like me who doesn't really like cars suddenly have a dream car!

Tesla Model S -- absolutely a beauty
Image from Locky's English Playground
Image from Car and Driver
Image from Car and Driver
First, there is no reason not to be mesmerised by the appearance of the Tesla, it is so smooth, so streamlined, so aerodynamically smart! There is no grill, because there is no need for engine cooling like a freaking hot petrol or diesel guzzling vehicle does, so the air simply glides above the sleek top and below the flat battery-pack bottom for an excellent stability and minimum drag caused by air-friction. 

Kid in the front trunk, door handles embedded
Image from
Second, I knew there is no front engine like ordinary cars, but I was still amazed by the size of that front trunk, aka the portmanteau 'frunk' in Tesla's slang, it is big, big enough to sit 2 adults or 4 kids inside! It looks incredible on photos, but you'll have to see that with your own eyes to feel the emptiness of that frunk. You can put a spare wheel or all that shopping in it. The best part is, the trunk doesn't get hot because there is no engine, so you can be sure that your food doesn't get cooked or even warmed by the time you get home.

4 kids in the front trunk
Image from automotive
The boot is also as spacious as it can get, big enough to put 3 to 4 huge 40" luggage bags, or a bicycle perhaps.

Model S Car Key
Image from Engadget
Third, the car key! I like the cute Model S-looking keys, it's like, you buy the car and you buy the smaller toy car too! You open the front trunk by pressing the front trunk of the car key, you open the boot by pressing the boot of the car key! How cute! It just goes to show how careful and caring the designers at Tesla are! Every car owner is a kidult, and they definitely got this point!

Auto-handles extend upon sensing the door key's proximity sensor
Image from Engadget
Fourth, the door handles actually extend from the door upon walking near the car or a press on the car key, that's the way the Model S says "Hello and welcome" to her owner. How cool is that?

All 3 back seats!!!! I love that!
Image from
Fifth, inside the car I love the absence of the irritating transmission box that practically turns the passenger in the centre back seat into a curled up fetus! Since the Model S doesn't use the same gear changing system as an ordinary car, you get all 3 back seats with 3 spacious leg rooms. Legs no longer need to be wide opened for the guy in the middle.

The Tesla Model S is a 7-seater!!!!
Image from EverydayDriver
Because this car doesn't have a gas engine, no gear box, no oil tank, no physical buttons, no exhaust pipes, what it has is a lot a lot of space, with 2-extra seats at the back, you can fit 7 people in it!!!

Web surfing, checked
Image from Locky's English Playground
Sixth, as an IT guy, the massive touchscreen is a joy to behold. Everything apart from driving itself can be controlled from this Tesla pad. From changing driving modes to checking emails online, it's is fabulous to look at and enjoyable to use.

Rear camera and web-surfing at the same time, checked
Image from Locky's English Playground
The rear view camera especially, looks really cool on the multi-app screen, sorry for my shaky hands when taking this photo above.

GPS, checked
Image from Locky's English Playground
Not cool enough, how about having GPS and web browsing at the sake time? Yeah, it's dangerous, but the person next to the driver won't feel bored for sure.

Seventh, the sun roof, you can choose with or without glass roof, but the All-glass panoramic roof is simply irresistible. If I can only upgrade one thing in this car, it'll surely be this All-glass panoramic roof. 

3 types of sunroof
Image from thetruthaboutcars

Dad on the wheels, torque demonstrated uphill
Image from Locky's English Playground
Most people are afraid of the electric vehicles because of the lack of horsepower, acceleration, torque, drive range, charging stations and lengthy charging time, but I was never afraid of any of these, and I'm not. Why not? Because I actually do know how electric motor works and the advantage it has over the gas engines.

One of the biggest advantages of the electric motor is that electricity-driven motors are spontaneous because the motor parts activates immediately as soon as electricity gets to them, whereas gas engines will need oxygen to be sucked into the combustion chamber, fuels to be ejected into it, ignited, burned to create energy and then create push to the car. The process is much much slower than the speed electricity travels, and that's why the acceleration really lags, and that's why you can't drive a gas vehicle even at slow speed at high attitude where oxygen is deprived.

Don't believe me? Here's a video from Topgear.

This Model S has a lot of torque, going uphill felt no difference from driving on flat ground, the acceleration is instant, absolutely zero lag in response. The best part? The Model S was really really really really quiet!!! I hate engine sounds, I like the sound of nature, I like songs of birds and breezes, with the Tesla's, you get all that back because this car simply doesn't burn fuels!!

As for the speed, well, neither my dad nor I could really determine during the test drive, that's because the test Model is a left-steering US import and it requires a license to drive and only on a designated route. But the video below has the answer I want.

Not enough? Here are the 3 of the very best reviews I have found,

As for charging points, here's the map for your reference, there is a need for many more, but surely you don't need to worry about running out of electricity during your drive if you have somehow charged it before driving. The great news is, the charging only needs a standard power socket.

Awards and Awards
Image from Tesla
Lastly, this beauty has already swept a whole bunch of awards this year, namely,
  1. 2013 World Green Car of the Year
  2. Automobile Magazine's 2013 Car of the Year
  3. Motor Trend 2013 Car of the Year
  4. Popular Science's Auto Grand Award Winner Best of What's New list 2012
  5. Time Magazine Best 25 Inventions of the Year 2012 award
  6. The 2013 Yahoo! Autos Car of the Year
  7. CNET Tech Car of the Year for 2012
  8. Green Car Reports' Best Car To Buy 2013
  9. 2013 Reader's Choice Car of the Year
  10. Natural Resources Canada 2013 EcoENERGY for Vehicles Awards in the full-size category

So, experts have also recognised the excellence of this car, any more questions?

If you are an environmentalist like me and you care about the world and the animals, you will love this car! This is a subtle futuristic-looking family sedan of a sport car performance with the space of two hatchbacks, for goodness sake!!! 

US$40 to US$194 in 6 months!!!
Image from Yahoo Finance

Why do I always miss out on the IPOs of the biggest and best tech stocks? I knew I was right since the Tesla Roadster, I always know! But why do I always act so slow? It was US$40 in April 2013 and US$194 in September 2013!!!! That's almost 5 folds in 6 months!!! Damn it!!!! Another one of my investment setback after missing out on Samsung!

What should I do now? Work much much harder (times a million) and earn that money for the one car I will buy!!!

mesmerise -- (vb)  (UK usually mesmerise[T often passive] to have someone's attention completely so that they cannot think of anything else:
guzzle -- (vb)[I or U] informal to eat or drink quickly, eagerly, and usually in large amounts: 
sleek -- (adj) (especially of hair, clothes, or shapes) smooth, shiny, and lying close to the body, and therefore looking well cared for; not untidy and with no parts sticking out:
drag -- (n)[S or U] the force that acts against the forward movement of something that is passing through a gas or a liquid:
frunk -- (n) [C] (portmanteau) front + trunk 
deprived -- (adj) not having the things that are necessary for a pleasant life, such as enough money, food, or good living conditions:


Science & Technology: Fun Facts About Electric Cars We All Should Know @ Locky's English Playground

Tesla Official Website

Tesla Model S: The 2013 Yahoo! Autos Car of the Year @ Yahoo!

Tesla Model S @ Wikipedia

Top Gear : Scaling the Guallatiri volcano - Top Gear - BBC @ YouTube

Tesla Model S vs BMW M5 Drag Race @ YouTube

Car and Driver: Tested : 2013 Tesla Model S - Review - CAR and DRIVER  @ YouTube

Tesla Model S Driving Review -- Exotic Driver @ YouTube

Tesla Motors, Inc. (TSLA) @ Yahoo! Finance;range=5y;compare=;indicator=volume;charttype=area;crosshair=on;ohlcvalues=0;logscale=off;source=undefined;

2013 Tesla Model S Video Review -- LA to Vegas the hard way @ YouTube