About a month ago I booked a test drive through the Tesla Italian website. They got back to me in a couple of days and provided me with a date and time for the drive… Today was the day.
Their store is located in the center of Milan, which is quite busy but still fun to drive in.
As soon as I arrived to the store they handed me an iPad (hey, keeping it classy) I had to fill my data in, including my drivers license number.
As soon as we stepped into the car (they had a 85KWh, RWD model) the Tesla specialist told me to adjust my seat, which is done through a kind of joystick on the left of the seat that felt premium already.
There is no “key” as we know it, just a Model S shaped keyring which is detected by the car together with your weight on the seat… it starts by itself, it’s always on.
I played around for some time with the onboard touch computer and a few seconds later I first pressed the gas pedal…
It’s dead silent.
Really, this is amazing. The only noise we could hear was the one coming from the cars near us, and we could speak using a normal tone of voice.
This definitely makes the ride more enjoyable and less stressful than on standard cars, relaxing even.
After a few turns I saw something perfect: an empty street. No cars, just some people crossing the road. I patiently waited for them to get to the other side, stopped and pressed the accelerator fully.
Hooooly shit. It glues you to the seat.
In the very first moments I felt a bit dizzy, like going on a roller coaster. Before I even knew I reached 80km/h, but a car was coming out from a parking lot a bit fast so I braked as hard as I could… and the brake pedal went down by itself, detecting that I was trying to do an emergency braking, and stopped the car safely.
Something that surprised me is that the car actually brakes a little bit when you release the accelerator: this feels different from usual cars and you have to get used to it.
A green bar on the display also lets you know that the Model S is using the braking energy to recharge its battery – awesome.
IMHO, the best thing about this car is that it’s insanely powerful yet it has no trouble handling low speeds or going at a relaxed pace. It’s not like you’re driving a Ferrari and you can’t get to the 2nd gear when driving in the city because it’s too powerful. The Model S feels great at any speed.
The test drive lasted about 15 minutes: not much but more than enough to have a good idea of the features and performance of the car, and to enjoy the ride. If you are actually considering buying a Model S they would let you drive for a little longer, I assume.
The Tesla staff was very nice and the guy I drove with was very cool and friendly, even though I made it quite clear that I couldn’t actually buy one of their cars (read: I won’t have that amount of money any soon)… I guess they care a lot about word-of-mouth.
The experience definitely made my day (maybe I should say my whole week), and felt premium from start to finish.
This is the future and you should really try it out.