Our show manager Chris was treated by our Supercar Paddock Sponsors: Tesla to a drive in the electric Model S P90D that will be at our show on 29th May. Here's what he made of it:
From the outside it looks like any other car showroom but on visiting a company that currently has a model line-up of ONE car it is far from it. Proudly on display between two versions of their Model S, all electric car, sits a simple chassis. A mix of Aluminium and Titanium holding motors at both ends and really very little else, as a petrol head looking at this it was all very strange.
Jean-Luc offered to take me out in their P90D (P for performance, 90 for battery power in kW, D for Dual (4WD)) in case you were wondering.
The car shares it's designer with the Jaguar XF and you can see they have played safe, until you get inside. The dash is simply one screen in front of the driver and a huge touch screen in the centre console. All features you need are accessed through it and it has been designed to be as easy to use as possible.
The driving experience isn't as weird as you may think, it's automatic so you just have two pedals to think about. Power is instant and breathtaking (if you have the room to use it). 0-60 in 2.8s in the comically titled "ludicrous" mode is totally believable, on my first taste of it I couldn't help laughing out loud.
The rest of the experience is no different to any other large saloon, refined ride, comfy seats etc and a premium feel to all of the few switches. This is all until Jean-Luc says "let me show you this" he flicks one of the switches and says "now take your hands and feet off the controls" I was at that point doing 70mph on a busy bit of the M60 but trusted him (it's their £100,000 car after all) and off it went! a nice radar graphic popped up on the screen showing what vehicles were around me and what they were doing, the car just adapted to it. I can certainly see the benefit for long motorway drives for tech like this. After telling you this it will come as no surprise that it also has an auto park function!
Overall I was more impressed than I thought I would be and with a 300 mile range I can see it would certainly suit a lot of people. With a happy owners network receiving monthly upgrades with new features coming all the time, it would be an exciting ownership experience. The range starts at £60k but the new Model 3 comes in at around £30k it could really spark an explosion of these kinds of cars.
Afterwards I did a little photo shoot in their showroom before getting back in to my manual petrol car to drive home :)