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Tesla-Out With The New Car

The Good: The 2012 Tesla Model S provides excellent range, acceleration and power efficiency. Google Maps is powered by a data connection of 3G, for Internet radio and navigation. Also, the touch screen of 17-inch promptly responds to the input.

The Bad:  Maps are shown in one direction, that is north up. There is no list of favourite destinations in navigation system. Only backup camera acts as the driver’s assistance.

The Bottom Line: The 2012 Model S by Tesla has set a latest standard for 21st century cars by incorporating cabin tech like anything from electronics industry of consumers and also incorporating efficient and powerful electric drivetrain.

Product Specifications:

  • Model:   2012 Tesla Model S
  • Trim:   Performance
  • Power Train:   85 kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery pack, 310-kilowatt electric motor, single
  • gear-reduction transmission
  • EPA Fuel Economy: 89 mpg equivalent
  • Observed Fuel Economy:     Not Recorded
  • Navigation:    Standard Google maps-based system with traffic
  • Bluetooth Phone Support:  Standard
  • Digital Audio Sources:   Internet radio, Bluetooth streaming, onboard hard drive, USB drive, satellite radio, HD Radio

With the Model S, Tesla has totally changed our concept of automobile. Cabin tech and electric drivetrain in 2012 Model S are amazing. Also, this new automobile has challenged the way that we drive a car.

Given the fact that this was the very first car which was fully manufactured by the company which was just a startup, Tesla took a really short time to move it to the stage of production, from that of development.

This Model S looks more like from European style and seems to be some latest grand tourer, with its curved roofline turning at its end to hatchback on the rear. With chrome trim, the care seems to be featuring much grille toward front than actually is there.

The Design-Saving The Space Inside

The actual innovation begins with the Model S’s body which has a large and flat battery pack of lithium ion encompassing it. The maximum electricity that could be held by it 85 kilowatt-hours and suffices for 300 miles at 55mph, as told by Tesla.

Electric motor covers less space and is located easily between rear wheels. Such architecture makes space in the car, so that flat floor towards centre is created, on the front and the back. There’s a console that rises up between front seats which serves as storage, armrest and as a spot to mount two ports of USB. The drive components just don’t get in hatchback area, while additional cargo space is occupied by the hood.

The car is designed in a way that control surfaces are kept in a minimum space in the cabin, and placing navigation and climate control etc. on the huge central touch screen of 17-inches. The analog gauges are not a drawback for the technical car nature. LCD behaves as instrument cluster, displaying a virtual gauge in the centre. This gauge indicates regeneration, along with power usage, and a digitally operating speed readout is at the middle. The battery level and remaining range are two other essential pieces of information on the gauge.

Driver-customizable information is shown on each side of virtual gauge just talked about. The large touch screen in the centre shows explicit views relating to usage of energy and controls the settings of car as well.

Just Get In And Get Going

  • The key fob and related features

For this model, key fob is of anachronistic nature and as you proceed towards the car, along with fob, door handles pop out while LCDs light up in the cabin. Taking driver’s seat, applying brakes etc. is just the same as turning ignition on in the traditional cars. The display at centre assumes driving configuration while you need to push right-hand stalk to Drive position to be on road. You don’t have to turn the car off but only walk away as the car locks up itself.

  • The braking system

It is a bit surprising to know how the car is representing some paradigm shifting by taking out such steps while driving, that were found in traditional cars and are now considered obsolete due to the advancement of technology. Like the older Roadster model, the car is programmed to support heavy regeneration, resulting in little use of brakes. Its accelerator pedal serves as direct line towards car power. A mere touch triggers immediate response. Accelerating this car is indeed a wonderful feeling.

Tesla has added one feature via software upgrade which allows the user to activate creep mode that makes the car automatic and it can creep forward even without a driver touching the pedals.

The screen of driving-controls lets you to set steering to Sport, Comfortable or Standard. It also helps to set regeneration level of brakes and the suspension height.

The control system for traction arrest the acceleration somewhat, and the 4647 pounds of car also help to keep the car under control during heavy acceleration.

One gets used to the regenerative breaking with the passage of time and with some experience with the car, you start using it appropriately according to time and also, while stopping at the traffic signals. Tesla has programmed the car in a way that it recaptures maximum energy as you are driving but for highways or hilly freeways while keeping a speed above 55mph, it is best to turn regenerative braking to Low mode that would result in more efficient energy recapture. You will also find this breaking system of car quite interesting while flogging it at a winding road in the mountains. A judicious touch is required on accelerator to apply the power after apex of each turn as a lot of torque on the tap will cause the speed to be really erroneous.

  • Air suspension

While turning, air suspension plays just a little role, whereas the major factor to handle car is the large pack of battery in its chassis. This component contributes to rigidity of car and to keep its gravitational centre low. Model S is designed in a way to show much composure through the turns. On a freeway, though it doesn’t match fully to the Rolls-Royce, yet deals with any rough patches as do the Lexus or Mercedes-Benz.

The Linux Within

Talking about cabin tech, the screens before, based on the Linux, looked a lot as the application windows but the extensive use of interface, Tesla is quite successful.

  • The onscreen controls

The best part is the way onscreen controls efficiently  react to the touch input. Though the screen is larger than two of iPads’ combined together, touching any of the controls engenders quick response. Tesla also keeps climate controls along the screen bottom, whereas navigation, stereo and phone icons are at the top. The screen size is such that two windows could be opened at the same time.

  • Google Maps, Slacker etc

This model has data pipe of 3G that feeds Google Maps and Slacker apps etc. in the car. The data pipe gives Tesla the operating data on drive train electronics, that can be used by the company for fraud detection and to further refine software.

The integration of Google Maps provides this model with the navigation of satellite view that is in Audi through the Google Earth. With Tesla system, one can also change to the Google Maps that are graphical, inclusive of the traffic data. Though the maps only display to the north-up direction.

As the search box operates on the Google website, it works the same way on the screen of Google Maps, so that putting an address or any business name and getting accurate result is quite convenient. However, there is lack of a feature that could save destinations or port any destination into navigation from a contact list of phone. It is hoped that the future will witness Tesla updating to meet all such demands of users.

Just like Google Maps over the Web, the view could be switched in car to the satellite imagery.

  • Route guidance and stored maps

The feature of turn-by-turn navigation, accompanied by stored maps, is available in the Model with the Tech Package at $3750. With this feature, a screen of route guidance on core map and a minor form on instrument cluster is brought up, when a destination is entered. Route guidance works in an interesting way, using the voice prompts as well as clear and colored graphics along with lane guidance, helping the user to get to the destination.

  • The voice command and the audio system integrated in apps

The voice command just got available with Tesla in a latest software update as it wasn’t there in Model S few months back. The feature helps to start calls just by saying name of the contact from phone,  enter the termini for navigation as well as in controlling the Slacker app.

Model S’s stereo supports audio streaming by Bluetooth and also shows album artwork and tracks the data on the screen. Through the USB ports, any USB drive with MP3 tracks could be read and the music could be organized by song category, artist or genre. Integration with the iOS devices, though, are not supported. Again, this feature is expected to arrive with the next software update.

One other positive aspect was seeing apps on Internet radio racked up in audio sources, so that it was easily accessible. Other than TuneIn and Slacker, Tesla is thought to add up more apps of music. Other sources of radio include HD Radio in a responsive and user-friendly interface. Customized stations are delivered to this car by Slacker radio.

The audio system came upgraded in this car. The audio quality is excellent and the $950 price as all worth it. A clear and well-balanced sound is delivered with 550-watt amp and 12 speakers. The volume could be turned very loud, with least distortion. Even when the bass is turned up, th sound still sounds nice.

This Tesla Model Is The Car For Century

The 2012 Model S Tesla provides an extraordinary driving experience with the long range and incredible acceleration. Though cars as Porsche 911 are preferred for mountain turns etc. but this model has its value among cars like Audi or even BMW.

As far as cabin tech is concerned, Model S might lack some features found in other cars in competition. Still its data pipe, always-on, is the feature to trump others. However, Tesla needs blind-spot monitoring, cruise control that’s adaptive and camera or radar systems that can’t be put in through software.

The starting price is $49900 for the Tesla Model S, with 40-kW hour, 160 miles battery. An additional $10,000 gets you 230 miles range with larger battery, while another $10,000 gives 85 kW hour battery at 300 mile range. Model S stands as competitive with its advanced tech and the price that puts Model S in the class of sedans from Audi, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz, though it makes sale of flagship sedans of those companies, at cheaper price.

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