By now you’ve surely heard of the Insane Mode acceleration in the high-performance Tesla Model S P85D electric car. Its score in Consumer Reports’ rating tests hit a cool 103 (out of 100). The organisation’s auto editor Mark Rechtin admitted that the result left them with no option but to change their scoring system to create room for it. Much can be said about the Tesla Model S, but here are 10 lesser-known facts.
Surprisingly small motor
There are lots of perks of not having to haul around a big engine, but you'd be amazed how small the motor is that Tesla use in the Model S. It fits neatly between the rear wheels (although the P85D has one at the front too) and leaves you with pretty much the entire rest of the car to use as space. Which leads nicely on to.
The front trunk and huge cargo space
At 31.6 cubic feet, the Model S's cargo space is large enough to fit everything in – including the kitchen sink. That's thanks mainly to the fact there is no engine. The front trunk, known among those in the know as the "frunk", is actually big enough to fit a full-grown adult, though that's generally not recommended. You can also apparently also fit a surfboard, 55in TV, and bike inside the Tesla Model S all at once... and still have space left.
The door handles draw back into the car's body automatically
The door handles on Model S are embedded in the side of the door. They smoothly glide out with the touch of a hand, then automatically retract after you've closed the door. This is done to facilitate a smooth, aerodynamic drive. Talk about attention to detail.
Full Web browser in the dashboard
Pretty much all of the center console is made up of its 17in touch-screen display. It basically includes all the knobs and dials you’d normally want while driving – but is more like piloting a spaceship. That leads to one of the biggest convenience breakthroughs of the Tesla: full Google maps with live navigation and traffic, on a large screen that can be pinched to zoom in or swiped to move in real time, just like a smartphone. There’s no quicker way to spot traffic ahead and find an alternate route than than combination of real-time information and intuitive controls. Plus, the full 17-inch screen provides a nice big view. Beyond that, the mobile Internet connection allows you to stream radio as you drive. Of course the temptation to browse is there, but think of it as a convenience for your passenger only.
Panoramic sunroof is massive
The Model S has a larger panoramic sunroof than any other car on the market. It also blocks 98 per cent of UV light and 81 per cent of heat from the sun, meaning the car stays cool. The only downside is it costs $2,500 as an optional extra. The Model S also has one of the lowest drag coefficients of any vehicle.
It has the same Center of Gravity as the Ford GT
Both cars share a center of gravity of around 17.5 inches. And you don’t need us to tell you that the GT is no slouch.
The parking sensor displays in inches
Parking sensors are one of the biggest motor car innovations of the century. And while most other sensors beep as one approaches obstacles or make some sort of display go green, yellow and red, the Model S takes it to a whole new level by displaying the distance to obstacles inch by inch.
It has no starter button (and you never have to touch the key)
With Model S you’ll never worry about starting your car. All you have to do is get in with the key – shaped like a mini Model S – then sit down, relax, close the door and the car will automatically turn itself on. Turning the car off works the same way, which is a little more disconcerting. Press the Park button on the steering column stalk, lift your weight off the seat, and the car turns off and the speedometer disappears again.
It’s really safe
The car is incredibly sound structurally. So sound, in fact, that the machine used to test roof crush resistance by the NHTSA broke down while it was putting the Model S through its paces. The car’s roof crush resistance is said to be more than half of what’s required by the NHTSA. It also excelled at other safety tests.
Yup, we saved the best till last. If you buy this car for just one reason, it’s because it’ll make you feel like James Bond with all its gizmos and gadgets. And in a tongue-in-cheek hat-tip to the famous spy, the Model S even includes a fake ‘underwater mode’. The screen is found by going into the control panel and pushing in the access code 007. Up pops the Lotus Esprit submarine from The Spy Who Loved Me. Obviously, the car doesn’t actually go under water. But you can set your depth to 20,000 leagues under the sea. Get it?
About GreenTec Auto
GreenTec Auto is a family owned and operated business specializing in rebuilding hybrid batteries. Originally based in the Sacramento, California area since 2009, GreenTec Auto has expanded to nine shops around the United States. Combined with 35 years of general automotive experience, GreenTec Auto knows your hybrid vehicle from the end to end. For more information, visit www.greentecauto.com.