Best car

Tesla Model S: a revolutionary electric car

Tesla has raised the standard of electric cars well beyond what has been possible before, with sector-leading range, and performance that leaves many supercars in the shade

Tesla Model S 85D

Few new cars are genuinely surprising. You may like or love your new motor, you may even be beside yourself with admiration, but left in total slack-jawed embogglement at its capabilities? For that you might need a Tesla. And the most astonishing thing about this all-electric miracle is that the company that created it only came into being in 2010. In three years, they engineered, designed, tested and built a luxury car that can stand comparison with the best in the world, yet with a quite incredible USP.

Because it is electric, the Tesla is almost silent, and because it has a powerful motor and big batteries, it is very, very quick. The cheapest and slowest, the 70D, hits 60mph from rest in 5.2sec. The mid-range 85D knocks an entire second off that, while the high-performance P85D needs just 3.1sec, or 2.8sec if you buy the ‘Ludicrous’ power upgrade. And no, we’re not kidding. That’s acceleration that will humble a million-pound hypercar, from a large, four-door family saloon.

But what about the range? Tesla quotes from 275-330 miles per charge according to the model, though something nearer 220-250 miles is realistic. The bigger problem is charging time – unless you have access to a fast charger, it will take all of a long night to replenish its batteries. By contrast a Tesla supercharging station will provide an 80 per cent charge in 40 minutes.

Otherwise, while you can quibble about the slightly firm ride and less-than-generous rear space, the Tesla is an ultra-modern, cool-looking family car with a well-built, funky-looking, state-of-the-art interior that also allows access all areas to the best tax breaks around, not to mention congestion charge exemption. Yet to see it as the world’s best commuter car would be to cruelly undersell it; the truth is that if you can charge it, it’s a car that’s good at almost everything you could ask of a car like this.


  • Engine: 0cc, 418bhp
  • Transmission: 1-speed automatic
  • Top speed: 155mph
  • 0-60mph acceleration: 4.2sec


  • This model from: £64,600
  • Claimed economy: 0mpg
  • VED: Group A
  • Insurance Group: 50 (1=low, 50=high)

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