Reviewed: Tesla Model S part 2: Delivery and first impressions

Following on from the ordering and pre-delivery review, here are my first impressions of the Model S. Once the car was off-loaded in Drammen, our DS contacted me, and we settled on a delivery time that suited us. Arriving at the Drammen Service Center, we were greeted by the staff, offered coffee and a seat while our DS finished up with another customer. Our DS handed us over to another associate who handled the handover.

We arrived in the downstairs garage where our beautiful deep blue was hooked up to the wall outlet, and flanked by three others. The rear seat and trunk was filled with the set of extra wheels, and the car looked as beautiful as one would hope. The only problem we encountered was the fact that the front trunk latch had a tendency to seize up, necessitating manual release with the button installed for that express purpose.

The associate took the car up to the garage to have that looked at, while we headed upstairs to pick out a few extras, such as sunshades for the panorama roof, and a full set of all-weather mats. We then proceeded to head out onto the highway. As the car arrived with the 6.2 version of the software the auto-pilot feature was not available, though the TACC was.

If you’ve driven a car with an automatic transmission, driving the Model S is as similar as makes no real difference. Like an automatic transmission car, it has Drive, Neutral and Reverse gear settings, but there the similarities end. Unlike a conventional car, the drive system does not have a transmission; instead it transfers the power directly to the drivetrain.

Being a rear-wheel drive vehicle – we eschewed the four wheel drive option, deciding to save the money, while getting the significantly larger front trunk – it handles differently than a front-wheel drive car. Notably, it is far more tail-happy, with has a tendency to oversteer – particularly on slippery conditions. It takes a bit of getting used to, and only a few weeks after we took delivery, Norway saw some pretty heavy snow fall. Still, it handles beautifully, and is a pleasure to drive.

The TACC and auto-pilot both work well, and allows me to keep more attention on the traffic. With the 7.0 software upgrade, the dashboard visualises what both systems are “seeing”, allowing me to correct the choices made by them – if applicable. And while on that subject – the upgrade was performed quickly, and I encountered no issues with the installation.

One major concern voiced by EV opponents is range. With the Model S, Tesla says, that is a moot point due to its up to 528 kilometers of range . While I agree in the principle of it, I will say this: driving an EV is a paradigm shift. Whereas I previously only refilled my car when it was very nearly empty, I now plug in as often as I can. I have come into the habit of looking for public chargers, and take that into consideration when deciding on where to park. It’s a change, but not an unwelcome one, and the added distance from parking spot to my final destination is a non-issue – I could do with the exercise anyway.

All in all, I am very happy with the Model S, and am looking forward to driving it around for years to come.



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