Feeds

We got behind the wheel of a Tesla S electric car. We didn't hate it

Now we've got that out of the way. 'Dear Santa...'

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Hands on The Tesla S is a very different type of electric car from the previous models featured here on El Reg. While the others I’ve driven – the Leaf, C-Zero, e-Up and even the Tesla Roadster – all have electrification as an odd quirk, to the Tesla S it’s in its soul.

You can't see but Elon Musk is in this one

I drove one of the first right-hand drive Tesla S cars at the launch event in London's Docklands, near Canary Wharf. It was a quick whizz around some roundabouts, speed bumps and a sortie to the dual-carriageway A13. Twenty minutes is enough to get an impression but gives no sense of what it’s like to live with.

When I say that the Tesla S is more like a BMW to drive than a Mercedes, how it’s sharper and sportier but not magic carpet like a Jaguar, it’s a bit of a limitation on the language to describe it. The Tesla S is sporty, Elon Musk is right when he says it’s more European than American in nature, but it’s also limo like.

A Tesla S will set you back between £50,000 and £100,000 depending on options and versions. While it’s not quite the £100k luxury you’d get with an Jaguar XJ it’s way better than the impression you get from reading reviews which deride the fit and finish. Perhaps the right-hand drive models are better than their sinister siblings.

This is the key for the tesla S

Keyless Go means you just need this in your pocket

It’s also very, very quiet. I’ve often thought that the electric car market should cater for people who care more about music fidelity than anything else, and the Tesla S is the one that gets this right. There is an amazing 18 speaker sound system. A car, which is a small space with a mix of lots of glass, hard and soft furnishings is never going to be acoustically great, but the elimination of engine noise and vibration along with the insulation from tyre and wind noise goes a long way to make it a happy place for music buffs.

Where would you be without getting your feed from us

The interior is dominated by the 17-inch touch screen. It looks wonderful and, unlike much car IT, seems to be something you work with rather than against when on the move. It’s generally held by UI designers than when you are concentrating on one thing, such as driving, it’s better to have physical buttons for a secondary task, such as altering the air con, because you can rely upon muscle memory.

When it came out the BMW iDrive was roundly criticised by User Interface techies because it meant that you had to understand rather than remember where you were in the menu systems. It’s much better now, but I fear that the Tesla screen will take some experimenting with until they get it right.

Ultimately its supreme configurability might be a negative. I also worry that while a mobile phone has a life of about three years, a car may still be in use twenty years from now. My car pre-dates GSM. While the Tesla S's 17-inch screen is super-cool today, I worry that in five or ten years' time it will look as if the car was fitted with a hand crank instead of a starter motor.

If the 416 hp (310 kW) electric motor is the heart of the machine, the Nvidia powered touchscreen is its brains. Drivers have fine control over all aspects of the car and, just to give you a flavour, here are just some of the things you can do with it.

Do you want your sunroof 49% open? 33%, 51%

With the touch screen you can control how far to open the sunroof.

Yes, you can make the Tesla less creepy

The driving controls include steering mode, degree of regenerative braking and switching creep on and off. This is something I was delighted to see. I’ve never really liked the way most electric cars creep like autos.

The left hand screen gives usage overview, ther right hand one detail

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
Intel unleashed octo-core speed demon for the power-crazed crowd
Haswell-E processors designed for gamers and workstation crowds
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
Tim Cook in Applerexia fears: New MacBook THINNER THAN EVER
'Supply chain sources' give up the goss on new iLappy
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?