Cars

Published on June 30th, 2015 | by James Ayre

65

“Car Of The Century” Is Tesla Model S, Car & Driver Writes In 70D Review

June 30th, 2015 by  

Originally published on EV Obsession.

In a recent article, the highly regarded and long-respected industry magazine Car & Driver gave pretty high praise to the recently upgraded Tesla Model S 70D — even going so far as to referring to it as “a driving experience to rival the best.” In fact, it named the Model S in this article about the 70D the “car of the century.”

Certainly not new praise — as the various iterations of the Model S have received broad acclaim — but still good to hear from a widely read gearhead journal like Car & Driver.

Tesla Model S Blue

That said, the recent article does make some strange-seeming exaggerations (to my eyes) concerning charging, something that was noticed by several commentators on the Tesla Motors Club forum as well.

With regard to what I’m talking about, here are some examples:

The price—starting at about $60,000 before the $7500 federal kickback—was far beyond the average household’s reach, and range anxiety will always be a concern for any pure electric, but the S was a refreshing interpretation of just how super a modern supersedan could be.

Then the reality sets in. To fully embrace any electric car, some lifestyle rearranging is necessary. Spur-of-the-moment trips are unwise. The next plug-in opportunity is always at the forefront of your consciousness. Speeding up when you’re running late may force an unplanned stop for a jolt of juice.

Hmm. This doesn’t sound exactly right to me. Something shared by the forum commenters I mentioned above. Below are some comments from them on the topic.

As noted by ecarfan:

It is simply wrong to say that a spontaneous trip is “unwise”. Charge the car every night and it’s ready to go. To say that one is always worrying about where to plug in is a gross exaggeration. The only time I think about where I am going to charge is when I am considering a trip that takes me far away from a Supercharger. So that is a few times a year, and I have always found charging solutions. And to say that speeding up during a trip may result in a unplanned charging stop is also an exaggeration. It might possibly happen but with the current navigation software it is easy to avoid that situation.

And by zwede:

After a year and a half I’m still waiting for this “range anxiety” I’m supposed to experience.

That is more along the lines of what I’ve been hearing from owners myself. Not “spur of the moment trips are unwise.”

Image Credit: Tesla Motors


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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.



  • neroden

    When did I get range anxiety?

    Driving from Ithaca, NY to Lansing, MI via Niagara Falls, ON and Sarnia, ON. Before any Superchargers were built, and with no charging between London, ON and Flint, MI. In mid-December.

    I wasn’t worried until *the ice storm hit and knocked out the power for most of Michigan and large parts of Ontario*, when I was already well into Canada.

    As it turned out I was fine, though.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Without electricity no gas would have been pumped.

  • Ivor O’Connor

    I hope that is true. It will be a very substantial upgrade. Here is how I see it working.
    245 mile range currently
    320.95 mile range with the better battery pack
    369.09 range with better aerodynamics
    442.91 range with assorted other improvements
    354.32 range driving 80 mph
    248.03 range when driving when charging from 10% to 80% with a 40 minute supercharge.

    • Johnny Le

      Jumping from 369 to 442 seems to be a huge leap. Not sure if that’s realistic.

      BTW, the charging time will also improve. Tesla has liquid cooled charging cable now. Soon it won’t take 40 minutes to charge from 10-80%. My hope is that it will be 30 minutes or less.

      • Ivor O’Connor

        The 369 to 442 is simply using the math at their site. They claim a 20% reduction due to

        3. Rolling ResistanceThe original Roadster tires have a rolling resistance coefficient (Crr) of 11.0 kg/ton. New tires that we will use on the Roadster 3.0 have a Crr of roughly 8.9 kg/ton, about a 20% improvement. We are also making improvements in the wheel bearings and residual brake drag that further reduce overall rolling resistance of the car.

        which would increase the 369 to 442.

        I don’t think you can assume the battery charging times will improve. If they get battery packs that can hold 30% more power and the power lines can carry 30% more then the 40 minute charging times will remain the same. The current battery packs can only be charged at a certain rate. For instance you’ll notice that the chargers are capable of charging from 10 to 80% in 40 minutes but it takes almost twice that long to get the last 20% to make a full 100% charge. There are many parameters they have to play with and we’ll have to wait and see what they choose.

  • Johnny Le

    Which century? Last century or this one? This one we are just in for 15 years, so it can’t be unless they can see the future and know no other cars better in the next 85 years.

    • jeffhre

      Not to worry – competitors have over 85 years to knock the champ off of it’s throne!

  • peter904

    I am a fan of the Tesla Model S, but I feel it is a little early in the century to call it the “Car of the Century.” We have 84.5 more years to go and technology advances daily. So far, the Model S is my favorite car of the 21st Century … time will tell.

  • Sydney Lawrence

    I live in Queensland, a State of Australia that is seven times the size of Great Britain and three times the size of Texas and can’t wait to get my hands on a Tesla.

  • super390

    In the ’80s Car & Driver was a noticeably right-wing car magazine, with David E. Davis’ staff of “real man” writers (the real thing, not Clarkson acting it for TV) blasting treehuggers and safety Nazis. It probably culminated in their hiring National Lampoon co-founder P. J. O’Rourke (author of “Give War A Chance”). It was a fun magazine, though. Any irresponsible thing you could do with a car, they’d write about it, or do it themselves, like the Cannonball Baker cross-continent illegal race.
    Kind of scared to imagine what the old readership is doing today, seeing “their” outlet hijacked by vehicles they don’t approve of.

    • mike_dyke

      I’ve never read the magazine, but from what you’re saying any car that can be changed into “insane” mode will probably get their approval.

    • jeffhre

      I’m one of those old readers. Had’t read it for about 15 years or so…until they started writing about Tesla 🙂

  • Ivor O’Connor

    These Tesla owners remind me of people denying the affects of tobacco. They should just fess up to the fact the car needs double the range it currently has.

    • peter904

      ivor. You are entitled to your opinion but I disagree. BEVs and charging are in their ‘modern day infancy,’ as is their infrastrucure. A range of 225-300 miles is more than adequate. Many ICE cars have a similar range but with 120K gas stations in the US and 5 minutes to fill there is no anxiety. The gasoline-ICE infrastrucure has taken 100 years to evolve the BEV less than 5 years.

      However, I would agree with you about the range of many BEV commuter cars that get 65-100 miles per charge – Tesla has sufficient range. How many days (or trips) a year do you drive more than 225 miles?

      • Ivor O’Connor

        I live in Southern California where you drive 80 mph on the freeways and everything is about 100 miles away. So almost anywhere you go requires a supercharger since the range at 80 mph is less than 200 miles. And that is assuming there are superchargers where you want to go which is not the case if you go up to the mountains to go hiking or skiing. Sure if you are a commuter and live in a cubicle the Tesla’s range is fine. Otherwise Tesla needs to double their range.

        • peter904

          ivor. I live in Thousand Oaks, CA and I have been driving my Tesla for 2.5 years. I have no anxieties driving my BEV, Tesla supercharging infrastructure for Southern California along with their updated software for planning trips makes it easy. On a recent trip (T.O. to La Jolla ) we charged for 30 minutes (San Juan Capistrano) while we enjoyed lunch. Approximately 4 times a week I put on 150+ miles on work or visiting families – no sweat.

          The infrastrucure will continue to grow. Yes you are right, there may not be a convenient charger in the mountains. But it will improve.BTW in the early days of gasoline and ICE do you know where motorists bought their gasoline? The local pharmacy- how convenient. The pay for charge companies (Blink, ChargePoint, NRG, etc.) are also expanding their reach. Rome wasn’t built in a day and it took Standard Oil and the other six sisters more than 5 years to blanket the US.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            I fully agree it is the car of the century and expect the network and range to improve.

            Though I think the Tesla is the best car, by far, one can buy I would like improvements:
            1) Range doubled!
            2) More superchargers.
            3) Policy change on side mirrors. They ruin mileage.
            4) Public announcement stating superchargers are free even for the parsimonious. The costs are suppose to be figured into the price of the car.

            … I could go on and on…

          • peter904

            Ivor. Glad you are an avid reader (parsimonius).

            1. Range doubling. At this time, TM would have to double the battery size, which make the Model S too heavy and add another $40K to the price. Are you still interested?

            2. More superchargers. TM is expanding their SC network every month several more opened. TM is also working with hotels and other destination points to offer their high powered wall chargers (HPWC) for Tesla owners.

            3. I too would like to see the side cameras in lieu of mirrors like the original concept car.

            4. I sincerely doubt TM will charge Tesla owners for SC use after saying it was free for life. Mr. Musk was appealing to owners to be fair and reasonable. Personally I would prefer to see TM build more rural SCs away from cities and let “pay for charge” companies like Blink, ChargePoint, NRG build up the urban charging infrastructure.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            I love that word. For some reason it was used a lot in my youth but now I almost never hear it.
            1) I doubt the price is 40K considering how much a new battery will cost at the end of eight years. And in another six months we’ll probably be getting packs with 30% more capacity. It’s only a matter of a few years until we have double the capacity at the same weight.
            2) yes, yes, and yes.
            3) Maybe this could be politically pushed through before Obama leaves.
            4) I hope so. He should clarify. I disagree here. Let businesses such as those mentioned in point 2 help. Look for win-win-win situations.

          • Johnny Le

            You know the new battery for the roadster has the range of 400 miles. If the model 3 is about the same weight, then it’s very possible that it has the 400-mile range option.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            I’m not familiar with the new battery pack on the roadster. And when I did a quick search for it all I found was this http://my.teslamotors.com/roadster/specs which must be out-of-date because it makes the roadster look miserable compared to the Model S.

        • super390

          Gasoline cars made Southern California the dysfunctional place it is (as well as many other places). Electric cars might change consumer behavior, and alter sprawl patterns over time. We’ve already seen the rise of the “edge city”, like The Woodlands near Houston, where sprawl has condensed into a semi-urban nexus of services.
          Sprawl may have contributed to the 2008 real estate crash, when the bubble of new construction further and further from jobs to contain land costs finally reached a breaking point. Doing something about economic bubbles would provide many benefits.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            Or maybe it will become popular to stop breeding like rabbits? 🙂

          • jeffhre

            The Pacific Electric Railroad encouraged the sprawl. The death of the PE cars and street cars along with the proliferation of automobile made it impossible to navigate.

        • Bob_Wallace

          ” the range at 80 mph is less than 200 miles”

          Bull.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            http://my.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/range-vs-speed-graph

            When you can understand graphs then apologize.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            Nice. You added a simulated graph that is hard to read. Just go use the official one by Elon Musk and JB Straubel and quit trying to slime out of it.

            http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/model-s-efficiency-and-range

          • Bob_Wallace

            Looking at the graph I posted – if one goes over to 80 MPH (at little right of the median of 75 and 90 and looks up they see that an 85 kWh pack S gets about 210 miles. A 60 kWh pack gets about 160.

            I’ll append your linked graph so that folks can see 200 miles at 80 MPH with an 85 kWh pack.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            Looks like that blue lines is at the 200 mile mark to me. You say 210. I say the lines touch and if you try it you had better have a cell phone to call the tow service.

            We’ve been through all this before Bob. You act like a little child who has been told his parents are not the rulers of the land. Do you want me to drag you through the math once again. Last time you walked away agreeing at 80 mph, 40 minute charge times, stopping when you reached 10% charge, was well under 200 miles. And if you expect to stop at 10% starting with a full charge it is still well under 200 miles. Why do you persist?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Because I find many of your claims incorrect.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            Fair enough. But be objective.

          • Johnny Le

            210 miles, 200 miles, not much different. The advice is that you should charge your battery to 80%, not 100%. So the range does fall below 200 miles. If everywhere is 100 miles away like he said, then it’s a problem.

        • Johnny Le

          You live in California and you’re saying you don’t have enough superchargers there? Seriously? California is probably the one state with the most or second most superchargers per square mile.

    • Arthur

      Actually Ivor, it’s a lot worse than TOBACCO. It’s also ALS, Parkinson’s Alzheimer’s and other nervous system disorders. The PRECIOUS also affects the rates of chemical production in your body…including hormones and proteins. This is why TOYOTA, DAIMLER and PORSCHE will not build a TESLA….they will not place children directly over 400+ HP electric motors and 85 kWH batteries.

      • Ivor O’Connor

        That’s good to know. I had not considered that. By the way has your care-giver given you your daily medication yet?

    • Bob_Wallace

      Ivor brings the poop. He wants to drive faster than the speed limit and is annoyed that doing so lowers his range.

      • Ivor O’Connor

        Well I was only driving 80 today and I was the slow person regardless of the lane I chose. It gets so damn frustrating when even everybody is flying by me and I’m doing 80.

        • Bob_Wallace

          You’ve told us how you drive 80 MPH through LA.

          Your credibility is very questionable.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            There is a reason I don’t reply to you much now days.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I understand Ivor. Ignoring facts makes it easier for you to post junk.

          • Joseph Dubeau

            Next time your in LA, stay in the far “old people” right lane.
            70 isn’t enough for many people, they will pass you.

  • mike_dyke

    “Then the reality sets in. To fully embrace any electric car, some
    lifestyle rearranging is necessary. Spur-of-the-moment trips are unwise.
    The next plug-in opportunity is always at the forefront of your
    consciousness. Speeding up when you’re running late may force an
    unplanned stop for a jolt of juice.”

    OR… for an ICE car

    Then the reality sets in. To fully embrace any car, some
    lifestyle rearranging is necessary. Spur-of-the-moment trips are unwise.
    The next is always at the forefront of your
    consciousness. Speeding up when you’re running late may force an
    unplanned stop for a jolt of juice.

    • mike_dyke

      I just typed the above and Disqus changed the bits in brackets to add quotes etc. I tried editting, but the changes don’t show.
      Let’s try “ICE” rather than and “Petrol station location” rather than

    • jeffhre

      In an ICE car spur of the moment trips can be very unfortunate. The Tesla S on the other hand locates charging stations, calculates mileage and warns you if you will have to alter your trip route to get enough charge to reach your destination.

      • mike_dyke

        I know from personal experience that completely running out of fuel in an ICE car can cause a visit to the garage, however my comment was designed to show that the words used in the article to “rubbish” an electric car could equally be used to “rubbish” an ICE car. Just change “electric” for “ICE” and “Plug-in-opportunity” for “Petrol Station Location”. They both work the same in that respect.

        • jeffhre

          Yes, it comes down to perception. Compare the internet search terms car fires and electric car fires. For the public the second one raises mortal fears, yet it almost never happens.

          And the first one happens with ICE’s 100s of thousands of times a year. In fact I Googled images for “petrol station location” without the word fire. I saw the results of 7 fires and three actual fires in progress – on the first page!

  • Martin

    I guess if you drive an ICE and start with an almost empty tank and then do not find a open gas station (at night) you will have the same problem. There are also places in the world, yes the US as well, there you do have to do some planning before you go on a longer trip.
    If you do not plan ahead what/who is to blame what you drive or yourself?

    • No way

      “Find an open gas station”… does it exist stations that are not automatic and open 24h/day in any country where EVs are sold?
      Sounds like a very strange and very made up problem.

      • James Rowland

        Pay-at-pump equipped, 24 hour stations exist in the UK, but they are far from universal. Not finding one is quite possible if you’re away from familiar territory.

      • BigWu

        No way,

        The rocky mountain west in the USA is one such place. There are vast expanses where the only gas station for 100 miles closes at 5 or 6 PM.

        • No way

          Why would they close the gas pumps? It makes no sense at all. It’s like puting a timer on a vending machine.

          • Knetter

            It’s the way it works, gas pumps aren’t vending machines. It’s the same thing in rural Maine. Get near a freeway and you’re bound to find a 24hr one.

      • Offgridman

        Not sure what country you are talking about that sells EV’s and also has 24 hr/day fuel stations available everywhere. A couple of others have explained that they are not universally available in the UK and western US, so I wanted to add that this is also true of the southeast US. Yes I live in a rural area, so the closest 24 hour station is about 40-50 miles away.
        This isn’t a problem for me, just one of the conditions that is accepted when living in the country. Yes I know that things are different for people who live closer to cities, but there are a lot of places in the US that don’t have the advantages of an urban environment.

        • No way

          I’m talking about basically every country when talking about 24 h/day fuel stations. Latest country added to that list for me is Burma, where I did not see a single one not open 24 hours.
          Living far from a gas station is something different, that’s the reality of many rural areas. But why would you have stations where you can’t get gas around the clock? I’m surprised those still exist, but it’s interesting to learn new stuff.

          • Offgridman

            It isn’t that they are all that far off, it’s just that the closest one that is 24 hour is about fifty miles.
            Within 5-20 miles there must be at least 30-40 because there are three small towns around me. But they all keep hours of approximately 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM and are in combination with convenience or beer stores.
            Occasionally through the years some of them have tried being open for 24 hours during the summer tourist season, but it is always stopped within a month or two, and it always stops from what I have heard is not enough customers to be worthwhile.
            About 5-6 years ago there was one that tried the automated self serve route under the name of one of the big brand names, the prices were so much higher there than other stations that they closed up shop within six months and have been closed ever since.
            So I don’t know if it is a matter of the lack of nightlife around here, not enough pass through traffic to make it worthwhile, or what causes it, but no 24 hour gas around here.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Probably because the station owners don’t want to pay for a new gas pump.
            Some of those places are barely hanging on and would have almost no late night business. Folks settle in when the Sun goes down.

          • neroden

            Yep. They don’t want to buy new gas pumps.

            Then there are the areas with no gas stations at all — like driving through various National Forests, State Forests, State Parks, etc.

      • Bob_Wallace

        I found no gas stations between Salt Lake City and West Wendover NV in the middle of the day. 123 miles on Interstate 80.

        When I drive east from my house on a state highway there is no gas for 96 miles.

      • neroden

        There are vast areas with no 24-hour gas stations, and indeed no gas stations at all, in the rural US. Even in the east!

        Try western Pennsylvania or the Southern Tier of NY. Most of the gas stations are mom-and-pop shops with really old meters, and they close overnight because there’s nobody to collect your money.

        • No way

          Fascinating, thank you for the info. It’s very strange concept for someone like me who always have filled up at 24/7 stations (very few even having some kind of store) and never ever had anyone collect my money (unless when renting a vehicle in some thirld world country where you might even get the petrol in a plastic bottle).

          It’s like taken out of some old movie. =)

    • Shane 2

      I live in Western Australia, a state that is seven times larger than Germany and has no superchargers. So a small fuel efficient ICE car is the best option for me. The Volt is a good option. You can get your urban commuting done using electricity but you can still explore the state.

      • Johnny Le

        Didn’t Tesla just get into Australia market a few months ago? You can’t expect having superchargers everywhere in a few months. Besides they need to focus in high traffic areas first. First the Volt is good for urban commuting then the model S is good for urban commuting too. Why not?

        • Bob_Wallace

          Looks like there will be a nice string of Superchargers by the end of next year along the SE coast (NSW).

          Go to this page, scroll down to the map, click on left for Asia/Pacific, select 2016 at top.

          http://www.teslamotors.com/supercharger

          Looks like no plans for the western coast for a while.

          • Shane 2

            Yep, no plans for Tesla superchargers or destination chargers over here. If I drive to Kununurra from here (Perth) en route to Darwin to visit my brother, that is 2,200 miles and I still haven’t left the state! That is going the coastal way. I could save 200 miles by going inland but that is much less interesting. The Volt is a good option over here for those who want an electric commute and who want to be able to travel to the far flung places in the state. GM markets it as the Holden Volt.

          • jeffhre

            GM did market it as the Holden Volt.

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