Stuff That Works - Cliff Drives A Tesla Model S Electric Car

Julie and I were invited to a Barn Party last night courtesy of Kirk and Ceil Wieland - they have several horses and a beautiful barn that makes a great location for an end of summer get together. We had only been there a few minutes when a car that looked like the one above pulled by and parked.

I am NOT the worlds biggest car geek, but I am fairly accurate at identifying at least the BRAND of car most times even if I do not know the specific model. But I was clueless as to the identity of the cool looking red car. I could see the marque, but was not close enough to read it. A little while later the rain quit and Nick gave us a quick tour of the grounds which meant we walked right by the mystery car. DANG! It is a Tesla. After our tour and introduction to the horses, I grabbed Ceil and asked who owned the red Tesla.

I trotted up to the owner, Ed, and introduced myself. Good thing for me that Ed has a lot of experience with people asking he and his wife Susan all about their car.
He was more than happy to take me and a couple of other guys over and introduce us to 
his ride. He explained how the car was constructed (the bottom of the car consists of hundreds of rechargeable batteries and the computerized brain(s) that control all of them.

As you might imagine, the interior is techy paradise. The screen in the dash is just right for us folks over 50 - big and easy to see. Since I have owned a Toyota Prius C for about a year now, I am fairly well versed at the concept of how batteries drive cars and the principle of regenerative braking etc. (You can read my love letter about my Prius HERE.) 

After handling 7 pounds of questions from me and a couple of other people, Ed offered me the fob and told me to take it for a spin. I politely refused the first offer, but then after further discussion I thought - When will this opportunity present itself again? Glen, a gentleman I just met, hopped into the car and off we went.

For those of you who do NOT know the benefits of total electric power let me tell you that the first thing to know is that all the power (i.e. hp and torque) the car has is available NOW. Ed told me his Model S - which has the middle of the 3 available power packages can go from 0 to 60 in 5.4 seconds. Not too shabby for a car that weighs 5,600 pounds. 

I drove the middle version of the S - it has an 85kWh motor and a cruising range of about 265 miles.

Wow - and double wow. What a hoot. Julie will tell you I get the biggest kick out of driving my Prius in conditions that allow me to stay in electric mode as long as possible - which means speeds under 45 mph and/or city driving. Well, the Tesla is ALWAYS in electric mode. Smooth falls short of being descriptive enough of a word. First, the interior is everything you would expect - the Model S is a very comfortable sedan. During our 7 mile ride, I pushed Glen and myself back into the seats on several occasions. I never put the pedal all the way down - it was night and we were in the heart of DEER world and I had visions of returning Ed's car with a deer sticking through the window or something.

However, we did get up to 80 mph twice. Nice and easy getting there, too. The other thing Ed told me about was how powerful the "jake breaking" effect was on the car - just letting off the pedal released the powerful electric motor from doing its job and you slow down RIGHT NOW.

Ed told us all about the quality of the car - it is the only one to score 99 out of 100 from Consumers Reports. Tesla gives you an Eight Year Warranty on the car. The CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, is one helluva guy IMHO. For instance, he has released ALL of the technology he developed to produce this car to others who want to manufacture electric cars. READ ABOUT IT HERE.

I could go on and on - Ed and I discussed the cool battery plant Musk is building in Nevada, we talked about Solar Roadways and the up coming Formula One Electric racing series, but I am going to wrap it up now - the Tesla S is a marvel and a pleasure to drive. It was a real treat to operate one and I look forward new models from Musk and his team that will put totally electric cars within the reach of more of our wallets. Thanks Ed - you made my week!

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