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Reviewed: Tesla Model S part 5: 7500 kilometers later

I was originally planning on writing this for the 5000 kilometer mark, but that came and went so quickly, I didn’t have anything substantive to add.

After driving the Model S for 7500 kilometers, I am still very impressed by the car. The addition of the third seat row has come in handy on more than one occasion, and our oldest daughter sits there whenever we go driving (our youngest is still too small, but I expect her to move back there in about a year). This means that we only need to own – and keep installed – one child seat, in turn freeing up space in the rear seat for luggage or passengers.

Compared to any other car I have driven, the ride is supremely smooth. This is in all likelihood due to a combination of three factors; the air suspension, the large (19″) wheels, and the seats. We opted for the next generation seats, which have better lumbar support, and improved side support.

Like I’ve said before, driving an EV is a serious paradigm shift. The sheer range of the model S means I have thus far had the range to go wherever I needed without needing to charge, provided I have started with a decent charge. Along with the supercharger network, this has meant that range has never been an issue – and is unlikely to ever become so.

As I predicted in my review article on range, my range has extended considerably since conditions turned drier and warmer. Compared to the 280-300 wh/km in winter conditions, I see 170-190 wh/km in spring and early summer, for an average range of around 470 kilometers – significantly more than its rated range of 426 kilometers.

I have taken a few long drives since my last review, and has gone as far as 180 kilometers without stopping. Where that would normally leave me with a seriously aching back, with the model S, that is simply not the case. In addition to the ride comfort, one of the main factors contributing to this, is the TACC (Traffic Aware Cruise Control) and Autopilot technology.

Autopilot is able to keep the lane, and will even change lanes when instructed to do so (by the driver using the indicator). It is very good, but not perfect. You still need to be actively present, and there have been times when I have needed to oversteer both the Autopilot and the TACC (the latter usually because it is a bit overly paranoid about cars in other lanes, slowing down just before passing another car; this doesn’t happen all that often, but you need to be aware that it can happen).

Simply put, Autopilot and TACC are serious driver aids that lets the driver divert attention to what is happening in traffic, and less on keeping speed and lane. These are good things. I will also add that beyond using them for high-speed driving, they are also particularly useful in congested traffic.

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