Tesla Shows Me My Next Car, Won’t Take My Money

Posted by on October 6, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Tesla, bleeding edge electric car manufacturer, recently had a media day at their Fremont, California factory to show off the latest version of their Model S sedan. Engadget got to ride along and show off the car’s massive center console, all of which has whet my appetite for a nearly silent and incredibly modern vehicle that will sell for less than $100k when fully decked out. What, you don’t have a hundred large lying around for a new state-of-the-art ride? Well, turns out, neither do I…

But why so hot about an electric car?

I’ve written about them before, but I honestly have no steady hand on the chemistry of our atmosphere (despite the great debate going on about it). I’m far more excited that an army of electrically-powered vehicles – once known simply as ‘golf carts’ – will reduce America’s dependence on external oil sources, especially when our country is so afraid to take advantage of our supplies here. One huge benefit for most Americans is a steady fill up price at the “pump”, largely unaffected by wars we’re not affiliated with or market concerns. Now obviously if you’re a heavy lifter or fly an airplane, electric versions are still so far away (if even feasible), but for the vast majority of us with a mere commute and a few errands to run on weekends, this is really a plus-plus-plus for everyone, where mass adoption will drive down prices.

So about the Model S…

Oh, right. For one thing, the car’s a beaut. And she’s fast. Engadget’s Editor-in-Chief Tim Stevens rode shotgun as a Tesla rep took the car around their race track and the external cameras made it apparent that the vehicle sounds like little more than a heavy wind once it hits 80mph+. The sedan configuration also looks infinitely more comfortable than their diminutive first car, the Lotus Elise-based Roadster – and as a 6’1″ man of (geographically) German birth, I need the space!

I mentioned the touch-based center console earlier (based on IR, but potentially capacitive in the future) and it’s gorgeous as well. Everything from the on-board media player – which is supposed to stream in a bunch of external content or play from the disappointingly limited “several hundred MB” on-board storage – to satellite GPS and climate controls is displayed in full color windowed or full frame formats. All of it looks functionally amazing, but I’m curious how the lack of tactility is going to benefit anyone when it comes to paying attention while driving. It’s going to take a lot of learning to get the muscle memory down. The car is also wireless, featuring both Wi-fi and 3G radios so you can see how it’s charging and other car statuses via iPhone/Android/HTML5 apps.

Other manufacturers are coming close to functionality like this, like Ford and its Sync, developed by Microsoft, but it’s awesome to see these features on a modern car when mobile technology is changing so fast. Hey Tesla, if you want to send a review unit out, I mean, we won’t complain…

Source: Engadget

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