Published on August 27th, 2015 | by Zachary Shahan


Tesla P85D #1 Car Ever Tested By Consumer Reports, Breaks Rating System With 103 Out Of 100

August 27th, 2015 by  

Originally published on Gas2.

The Tesla Model S is no stranger to records, and its top-of-the-line version until a better battery and Ludicrous mode recently came along was the P85D. After testing and loving a simpler Model S for years, Consumer Reports upgraded to a P85D. The result? The electric supercar broke Consumer Reports’ rating system and earned 103 out of 100 points. (Note that its initial Model S tied the Consumer Reports all-time high, scoring 99/100.)

“In rating it, however, we faced a quandary: The Tesla initially scored 103 in the Consumer Reports’ Ratings system, which by definition doesn’t go past 100. The car set a new benchmark, so we had to make changes to our scoring to account for it,” Consumer Reports states. “The Tesla Model S P85D is an automotive milepost. It’s a remarkable car that paves a new, unorthodox course, and it’s a powerful statement of American startup ingenuity.”

You can watch the summary video and/or the 25-minute final test video below.


You’ll notice if you watch the second video that the reviewers do go off the rails a little bit. None of them own a Model S or electric vehicle themselves, and they seem to have odd views of whether or not a Model S is a good “primary vehicle” for long trips. They think the limited Supercharging network makes that difficult… but owners don’t seem to agree at all. A recent survey on the Tesla Motors Club forum found that 100 out of 100 respondents used their Teslas as their “primary cars.” Even if they have other cars, they specifically use the Model S for long trips since it is so much nicer to drive and so cheap to drive.

One of the reviewers made a snide comment about not needing a gas station in his home, but none seemed to grasp that it’s much more convenient to charge at home while you sleep, and only visit a Supercharger maybe 3 times a year, than to visit a gas stations every week or two. This is often considered the #1 benefit of electric cars… yet almost no one without an electric car seems to understand it, even reviewers like these who gave the car a system-shattering high score.

Anyway, though, these guys clearly love the car, and nothing they’ve ever tested has impressed them more.

Also note that Tesla Model S owners have been the happiest with their cars for two years (probably three now) in a row, based on Consumer Reports’ owner surveys.

Aside from topping these Consumer Reports charts, the Model S is also the safest car ever tested in North America, the quickest production sedan in history, and the coolest car ever built (that last one is an official designation from me).

You can read or listen to more thoughts on the Tesla P85D from Chris DeMorro, me, and a few others in our own reviews of the Tesla P85D here:

Tesla P85D Test Drive & Reactions (5 Original Videos)

I Drove The Tesla P85D, And Now Nothing I Drive Will Feel The Same Way Again

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Ivor O’Connor

    I just got this email:

    Model S is off the scale

    This week, the Model S P85D earned the highest rating ever in the 80 years of vehicle testing by Consumer Reports, scoring an initial 103 on
    their 100-point scale.

    Since the Consumer Reports test, Tesla has further upgraded the Model S with the 90 kWh battery pack, increasing range by 6%, and Ludicrous Speed, which improves acceleration by 10%. Read what Consumer Reports had to say about P85D.

    Seems to me the scales were reset at least twice before. I wonder if the scores then were above 103?

  • Ivor O’Connor

    Consumer Reports explained the reason behind “ludicrous” and “plaid”. It’s from Spacealls:

    • Yeah, we’ve known that ~ since the announcement. 😀 I kept putting that scene in articles about it. 😀

      • Ivor O’Connor

        Ever since he said that I’ve been curious. It’s amazing I never saw that. Oh well. Better late than never.

  • Zach, why is Tesla going with Bacanora (mine in Mexico) and Rare Earth Minerals for lithium sourcing?

    This is lithium from clay. The processing isn’t all that well understood.

    Location of the mine:

    Something seems odd. The mining company is a startup. Here are its financials

    My guess is Tesla is playing Nevada off Mexico and this will become a race towards the bottom environmental protection wise. I’m not happy about this.

    • Ivor O’Connor

      Why are you assuming there will be environmental protection issues of this magnitude instead of simply securing two suppliers?

      • It’s will have to be a sizeable mine operation. Mining clays for metals extraction and processing isn’t a clean technology by any stretch of the imagination. This will be a big, single sourced mine in a desert with limited water supply and hardly any available infrastructure to date. Assuming environmental impact before moving forward is what adults do – until proven otherwise.

        The partners:

        • Ivor O’Connor

          I’m assuming whatever environmental concerns are encountered will be handled legally and properly. Not all mining operations are done by the Koch brothers.

          • You’ve never been to a mine located in a third world country with a US end user with a performance agreement between itself and mining companies limited liability corporation front out of England, Canada and Australia by any chance?

          • Ivor O’Connor

            Nope, I haven’t been to any mines.

            I’m all for you keeping tabs on these mining operations. However they must happen and being mad at him for making it happen seems unfair. It’s not like he’s an American corporation outsourcing everything to a third world country and laying off the American workers. At least not yet…

  • David Shafir


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