This is probably as close an encounter with futurepreneur Elon Musk as we can get, through one of his brainchild products that is set to change the motoring world. The Tesla Model S P85 is our first ever Electric Vehicle (EV) feature and we were super stoked days leading to the actual shoot. Joe is the proud owner whom we have been directly liaising with on our social network.
He himself, together with his beloved car also affectionally known as Tessie, have sort of transformed into mini celebrities overnight. Media all over the world picked up his story regarding the incredible red-tape ordeal he had to undergo for nearly a year before finally putting his imported premium rear wheel driven EV legally on Singapore roads, not forgetting the additional emission surcharges he had to stomach from the Land Transport Authority, ironically coming from a zero emissions vehicle. Given the length of time and amount of effort, it was really down to Joe’s grit and passion for championing sustainability in pulling this through.
All drama aside, Tessie is a real go-getter. Always charged up (pun unintended) and ready to fly. In this short photo shoot session, our impression of her was a car that’s super geek-cool. It has everything falling nicely in a connected world of her own.
Starting from the key fob, it is a titillating piece of eureka gadget. It has proximity sensing (a similar keyless system for some other makes) such that as you approach Tessie, her door handles will extend out to meet your hand. Starting the engine is as easy as pressing on the brake when you sit down in the driver’s seat. The car will shut down and lock itself when you step away.
Another example command is pressing and holding the “roof” of the key fob to lower all the windows at once. Especially useful in Singapore when walking up to a hot car that has been baked under the sun. The bonnet and boot can be opened by pressing on their corresponding parts on the key fob.
Tessie is also 4G LTE ready. The Internet basically lives in the big 17″ infotainment panel right at the centre console. There are minimal buttons unlike your other typical cars so the screen is used to control just about everything, including the generous panoramic roof, door locks, lighting, suspension, regenerative braking, climate, sound, map, rear cameras and even storing customised settings of different drivers.
This is more addictive than the iPad because of the magical feeling to see parts of the car reacting to you in the physical world after you “touch” something virtual on screen.
This is where you plug in to charge Tessie. The other end is your normal 3-pin plug that you use to fire up your daily appliances with such as the coffee maker at home.
There isn’t a normal engine you would expect in the bonnet or the boot either because the induction AC electric motor is located just at the rear axle of the car. It therefore brings good news that you can have twice the storage space of a comparable sedan. For the curious, engine horsepower is 416 bhp@8600 rpm, producing 600 Nm of torque.
Regenerative brakes repurpose the motor as a generator to convert whatever kinetic energy into chemical energy for charging the car battery when you decelerate.
After fiddling with the tech, we head out for a quick drive under the crisp morning sun. The interior is airy, aided by the light coloured upholstery and a huge sun roof. You can never imagine the kind of performance this electric car can produce. It switches between angel and devil mode by just pressure application on your right foot. We quote Stuff.tv, “The Model S is so stealthy. Find an open stretch of road, nail it, and nobody will hear your hooliganism. A pleasing whine from the rear electric motor sounding like a tiny jet engine is the extent of it.”
That sums up our driving experience of Tessie. You can floor the car hard and still walk away smiling guilt free. That is our top of the list for hiding under the radar. We are pretty sure Joe has the last smile too 🙂