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Driving the Future of the car: Free driving forever! A review of the Tesla Model S!

To me the Tesla Model S, represents the future of transportation in so many ways. To most people a car is just a car. Along with a car goes all the trouble of owning a car. Want to go on a joy ride, you have to worry about the distance, the cost of fuel, maintenance every few years, oil changes, service. Yuck! Enter the Tesla Model S. To me the Model S is not a car but a paradigm shift in the modern world of transportation. It’s almost a new way of thinking about personal transport and driving. To me the Tesla Model S represents freedom. Freedom from the pump, freedom from expensive maintenance, and freedom from coal, oil and all gasoline. To me the Tesla takes us back to the glory days of transportation where you could just sit in the car and go for a ride and never worry about the costs of fuel or fill-ups.Well what is this enigmatic Tesla Model S I speak about? It sorta looks like this:


Here I am at Half Moon Bay. I can’t tell if the car or the background is more beautiful!

I was given the privilege to test drive for the day the brainchild of Elon Musk and Tesla Co-founder Martin Eberhards, their magnum opus innovation on wheels. I picked up my Tesla Model S in Palo Alto at the Tesla headquarters in Northern California.  My particular car was the P85+ edition. In fact it’s the same spec car Elon Musk himself drives. Meaning it’s got every feature you can imagine on it.

Again at Half-moon Bay,  I can’t tell if  the giant 17 inch touchscreen center console or the view is better?

Now about the car. My particular model had every option Tesla offers. I heavily recommend if you’re buying the car to get at least the air suspension, the tech package, and 85 kWh battery pack. My car had a range of around 270 or so miles.

Now onto the driving. Boy I cannot count the number of times I did a 0-60 run which is about 3.9 seconds. Also, the 40-80 MPH run on the freeway feels like it’s between 1-2 seconds to accelerate to! NO JOKE! I usually drive a Mercedes E class or Ml350 and since the Tesla is funded in part by Daimler, you feel a sense of Mercedes in the car which is a great thing. In fact the entire steering column and shifters are right from the Mercedes parts bin, no kidding. The Model S feels very upscale, it has perfect handling and tracks near straight on the freeway even above 80 miles an hour and feels very easy and heavy to drive in a very good way. It feels like a sporty version of a Mercedes S class to be honest. This car will pass anything on the freeway only because of the instantaneous torque. By far this is one the best all-around cars I’ve ever driven.

My car had an all glass roof and that roof reflects about 80% of sunlight, which is good because there are no roof shades. It’s always transparent.

Perhaps the most notable feature of the Tesla Model S is the giant 17 inch touchscreen. I see this as the future of all cars very soon. In the way the iPhone eliminated buttons and made a standard touch screen the main point of smartphones, the Tesla will do the same for cars. Once you use it you can’t go back to older cars, they just feel old and dated and like using a keyboard again! The 17 inch touch screen runs on a NVidia chipset, and has a 3g connection. It uses Google maps for navigation  and even has a full HD backup camera. It even has a full HTML web browser you can use to  surf the web. This is something I always dreamed of in a car and to me just makes sense. All the controls seem pretty intuitive and you well thought out! However my favorite feature is the slacker radio the car comes with. What slacker allows you to do is either with  search or voice command virtually play any song on the internet you can think of. I had a great time playing any song on demand from the cloud while driving the scenic way to Half moon bay and Redwood city California!

This is the configuration I kept my car in and works best. Navigation on top and slacker radio on bottom. The climate control and top buttons are static.

Now the reason you buy the Tesla and not any other electric car is because of the Apple like end to end solution the Tesla represents. This is best explained by the Tesla Battery pack and supercharger network. First of the Tesla Battery pack is the worlds most advanced battery pack for electric cars. It uses over 7000 lithium cells made by Panasonic and has its own HVAC system to protect it. Moreover, it can accept a 120 kW charge from one of Tesla’s proprietary supercharger stations.


Tesla Supercharger station with a solar powered canopy at the Tesla design Studio.

To me what sells the Tesla is the way it changes things forever. The supercharger network is a coast to coast network that by year end will cover almost 80% of North America and you can travel coast to coast for free forever! Try that with big oil. In fact even Norway has 6 Tesla Superchargers and almost 80% of Norweigns live within 200 miles of a Tesla Supercharger (the car has a range of 270-300 miles).  I actually drove the car for the day and had ample range left but still went to the supercharger at the Tesla factory and supercharged for a bit. The supercharger provides a half charge or about 150-200 miles in 20-30 minutes. That’s really good because the superchargers are placed about 150-200 miles apart from each other. To me the supercharger network takes away range anxiety and brings back the joy to driving. For instance when I drive 120-200 miles a day I don’t have to worry how much it will cost me. I can just stop for rest for 20 minutes and get a recharge for free forever! That means I can take a road trip, drive from LA to San Francisco as I please back and forth for free. I mean this basically brings us back to the ideas of Nikola Tesla, whom the company is named after and the idea of free power. Since the supercharger are built by Solar City, Elon Musk’s other company he’s chairman of, they actually  are powered by solar power and put more power into the grid than they use. In fact solar city even covers neighboring malls, buildings, or stores at places where they build superchargers and count that as part of the power generated if they wanted. So either way, these chargers will put more power into the grid than all the Tesla’s would ever use.


Tesla Supercharger Network Winter 2013 (Projected)

I can surely see why the Tesla Model S outsells the Mercedes S class, Audi A8L, BMW 7 series. In the state of California it’s outselling Cadillac and in the country of Norway it’s the top selling car period. I only see exponential growth with Tesla as the Model X is coming out soon!

So how was my day? The Model S brings such a great smile to my face every time I drive it, every time I step on the peddle and  feel  the instant torque accelerate you like a rollercoaster! In fact here’s a picture of the car putting a smile on my face.

Here’s a view of the back of the car just because its so cool!

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Nitish Kannan is somewhat of a polymath. He has a degree in biomedical sciences from USF in Tampa Florida and is the founder/CEO of www.circlepluspay.com and also a real estate agent in California. Nitish is a self declared transhumanist from the age of 12, where he heard about the technological singularity and the ideas of Dr. Michio Kaku and Ray Kurzweil and wherein he made it his premise in life to upload his consciousness into a robotic avatar and live forever. Obsessed with mind uploading and transhumanism, Nitish is an avid SciFi geek, and voraciously reads and studies technology trends. He is interested in all new disruptive technologies that will propel society to a post-biological civilization.
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