The Tesla Model S comes with one of three basic powertrain choices, two of which are available in the standard Model S and the third of which is only available on the Model S Performance. The standard Model S comes with 60kwh and 85kwh battery options, the 60kwh version is powered by a 302 hp electric motor and has an EPA certified range of 208 miles. The 85kwh Model S ups the range to 265 miles, while simultaneously increasing horsepower to 362. The Model S Performance also utilizes 85kwh batteries for a 265 mile range, but the electric motor has been boosted to 416 hp.
All three versions will go from 0-60 in under six seconds, but the Performance model is the quickest with a 0-60 time of just 4.2 seconds, comparable to many top-end sports cars. The Model S also handles much better than its size would suggest thanks to an extremely low center of gravity, made possible by the low, flat battery pack stored under the floor.
The interior of the Model S is as groundbreaking and unconventional as the rest of the car. Where traditional cars have a vast array of buttons on the dashboard between the two front seats, the Model S simply has a huge 17-inch touch screen. All of the media, communication, infotainment and in cabin controls function through this screen, resulting in an amazingly uncluttered interior.
The standard feature list is extensive on the Model S, and includes 19-inch wheels, a 200 watt stereo system and the 17-inch touch screen in the dashboard. The options list also quite lengthy. A variety of charging options are available, including a twin charging system to help reduce charging times, as well as access to Tesla's "Supercharger" network, the infrastructure Tesla is currently being building all around the United States. Tesla claims that a Supercharger station can give the Model S a fifty percent charge in just half an hour.
Other interesting options include a glass panoramic sunroof, two rear facing jump seats, a 580-watt stereo and 21-inch wheels. An optional tech package consists of xenon lights, memory seats, a power rear lift gate, keyless entry, a high definition back up camera, GPS navigation and electrochromic side mirrors.
Tesla has also done their best to make sure that the Model S is an extremely safe vehicle. The batteries are spread out beneath the floor of the car, actually helping to improve chassis stiffness while simultaneously lowering the center of gravity. Tesla were also able to design a front crumple zone unhindered by the need to fit an engine in the front of the car, further improving safety. Of course standard safety features such as anti-lock brakes and traction control are standard, as are eight airbags.
Suffering from a migraine, I could either drive the 2016 Tesla Model S 60 home from the office for my medicine, and risk not being able to make it to the next Supercharger station, or head straight over to the Supercharger station in San Mateo, charging the car's battery but potentially facing a pain-related vomiting session.
And thus went my week in Tesla's current most-affordable electric vehicle. I was constantly weighing the car's need for electricity against my own personal needs and wants.
When it comes to specs, the only thing to care about in an electric car is kWh, or kilowatt hours. The Model S 60 has a, you guessed it, 60 kWh battery. That's enough to power it from nothing to 60 miles per hour in 5.5 seconds and to a top speed of 130 miles per hour. Of course, should you choose to hammer down that right pedal, expect the 210-mile driving range of the Model S 60 to drop. Precipitously.
The Good Instant torque off the line is always a good thing. Autopilot is one of the best driver assist programs on the market today.
The Bad City dwellers without access to a garage or charger will find themselves planning their lives around the needs of the car. Do you really want to live that way?
The Bottom Line If you have the personal infrastructure to support charging the Model S at home, the 60 kWh battery is a good option for those who want electric power and cutting-edge features at Tesla's lowest price.
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