When Tesla announced a 300-mile range for the Model S sedan with the top-drawer battery pack, you might have been forgiven if you said “Yeah, right”; the EPA subsequently guesstimated the range at a more modest 265 miles. Still, this is way more than anybody else’s pure electric can give you, and this motivated Motor Trend to put an S Elon Musk’s personal S, in fact to the test.
Considering that they ran the car on a test track (zero to sixty in 3.9, quarter-mile in the mid-twelves) at the beginning of their mileage run, 238 miles is not at all shabby. But the number isn’t as important as the geography, they say:
We drove from Fontana on the eastern edge of the L.A. basin to San Diego and all the way back to L.A.’s Pacific edge on one charge. Five hours of continuous driving. This is a breakthrough accomplishment that ought to knock down the range anxiety barrier that’s substantially limited EV sales.
And if that doesn’t, this might:
During our drive, we used 78.2 kW-hrs of electricity (93 percent of the battery’s rated capacity). What does that mean? It’s the energy equivalent of 2.32 gasoline gallons, or 100.7 mpg-e before charging losses. That BMW 528i following us (powered by a very fuel-efficient, turbocharged, direct-injected 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine) consumed 7.9 gallons of gas for a rate of 30.1 mpg. The Tesla’s electrical energy cost for the trip was $10.17 (at California’s average electrical rate); the BMW’s drive cost $34.55.
Of course, the Tesla as tested was twice as pricey as the Bimmer, but still: ten bucks for a couple hundred miles. About the only vehicle using less energy is a sailboat, and it’s not going to be moving much on the Pacific Coast Highway.