Reviewed: Tesla Model S part 7: 15000 kilometers later

Since first picking up the car a year ago, we’ve driven more than 15000 kilometers. Regardless of the season, the car is a joy to drive. Though the rear-wheel drive can be challenging when the roads are snow covered, this is more a question of adapting to the conditions, rather than an actual problem. Likewise, even when conditions are very cold indeed (15 degrees below zero, centigrade) range is only ever a problem if you completely fail to plan (I admit that I have done so once, with the result that I had to stop to charge at a fairly slow charger for an hour to get enough power to get home comfortably). 

In the past year, I’ve driven from Oslo to Stavanger, Bergen, Kristiansand, and Ålesund, all trips where I relied on the supercharger network. It did not let me down. According to the GPS, I’ve visited thirteen different supercharger sites, all of which served me without any issues whatsoever (other than the occasional wait for a free stall, that is).

Since my last update, version 8 of the software has been released over the air. I find it a bit of a mixed bag. While the capability upgrades are welcome, I would have loved to have seen some serious work done on replacing the dated UI feel of the skeuomorphic iconography. I do appreciate the map covering the top bar of menu items after a little while, improving map usage when viewing two apps (I often use the map together with the rear-facing camera – well, at least in the summer…).

The weakest part of the OS remains the satellite navigation. The map data shown on the screen is excellent, due to it being sourced from Google. It seems, however, that the street data available to the satnav is at least two years behind the current state of road development, resulting in a tendency to route drivers away from the main road, and onto backroads. This can be a fine thing in heavy traffic, but when there is little to no traffic, it is decidedly a bad thing. An example of this can be seen in this video:

This tendency is particularly annoying because there are solutions to this out there. Tesla has shown a willingness in the past to buy solutions, rather than developing their own, when good solutions are available from the market. I see no reason why this should be any different. There is another feature I would dearly love to see here in Europe, is Summon from the keyfob. As of this writing, Summon is only available from the app, which in turn means that unless you keep the option for mobile data on at all times (which can be somewhat expensive in terms of battery life), the availability of the feature is less than stellar.

The satnav and summon annoyances aside, however (both of which can – and should – be solved through a software update), the car performs swimmingly. There’s a reason why most Tesla owners gush about the car when asked; it is a very, very, good car indeed. I remain a very happy Model S owner, and am looking forward to my next trip with it already. Having now owned it for a full year, I have gotten a decent impression of my actual usage rates. Overall average since taking ownership is 221 Wh/km, while summertime average is 173 Wh/km. This means that my summertime range is just under 500 km, and my overall range is just above 380 km. Simply put; reaching a supercharger is not going to be an issue, most anywhere I go in Norway (and the network is being expanded and improved regularly).



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