Monday, 19 May 2014

Driving the future - The Tesla Model S Electric Car comes to Frodsham

Graham Evans MP was invited to test drive the new Tesla Model S electric car and I was lucky enough to tag along and have a go too as the starting point was Forrest Hills.  We were shown around the car by Tesla UK's Stephen Davis.

I'm eager to be an early adopter of a practical electric car - I think that's what we'll all be driving in around 10-15 years time. I've test driven them in the past but haven't found anything yet that I want to invest in.  My experience yesterday made me wonder whether we are on the cusp of a break through.

The Model S has everything you'd expect of an 'executive' type car.  As something of a geek I loved the huge 'glass cockpit' display on the centre console and the 'touch screen' approach.  When you got behind the wheel there you realised you were driving something that could easily compete with established marques like Mercedes, Jaguar and BMW.  Steve explained that this particular model had a range in excess of 250 miles - and could readily be re-charged in an evening.

Tesla Model S at Forrest Hills, Frodsham
The car handled brilliantly - and I could definitely see me enjoying the slightly different experience of driving an electric motored car.  First the torque.  We popped onto the Mile Straight and Steve encouraged me to blip the accelerator.  The acceleration was impressively rapid.  Then there are the regenerative brakes which re-charge the batteries as you decelerate.  It is an interesting experience to back-off on the accelerator - the regeneration kicks in slowing the car.  In fact other than coming to a stop to swap drivers I don't think I touched the foot brake at all.  Everything you needed to do in terms of accelerating or slowing down could be done from the accelerator pedal.  As something of a geek I loved driving to the gauges - seeking to maximise speed whilst minimising the draw from the batteries, or conversely enjoying making progress whilst seeing the batteries regenerate.

The particular car we were driving was a left hand drive Dutch registered model.  If you want one to drive here they are making right hand drive models.

As you could well imagine I encouraged Steve to open a Tesla dealership in Frodsham!

Graham Evans MP test driving the Tesla Model S
 A big thank-you to Stephen Davis for letting us have a go and giving us the guided tour of the car. Elon Musk one of Tesla's (and PayPal) founders is something of a personal hero for me - especially with his involvement in SpaceX... Now that is a test drive I'd also love to try too!