Review: Tesla Model S 100D

Review: Tesla Model S 100D
Review: Tesla Model S 100D

More money for less range anxiety

How far can you go? That’s often the question asked of drivers of electric cars – usually referring to their range. Things have got better, with ranges getting longer and with a steady addition of charging stations. There are currently about half the number of electric charging stations as there are petrol stations, so it’s getting there but there’s room for some major improvement. So what can Tesla do?

What it’s done is take the P100D, which can officially do 381 miles, and basically detune it a bit. This gives a range of 393 miles for the 100D, but where the P100D costs nearly £132,000, the 100D starts at £90,000. Some would see that as a valuable trade-off.

The result is a car which is not as quick as the P100D. In fact it exactly inverts the 0-62mph time, with the 100D managing the rush in 4.2sec, against the P100D’s 2.4sec. But that’s still plenty fast, and the top speed is 155mph, so we’re not exactly talking milk-float performance here.

Tesla Model S 100D

Tesla Model S 100D

Tesla Model S 100D

Price: £90,000
Engine: Electric motor
Power: 371bhp
Torque: 325lb/ft
Gearbox: single-speed, direct drive
Kerb weight: 2107kg
0-62mph: 4.2sec
Top speed: 155mph
Claimed range: 393 miles
Economy: NA
CO2/tax band: N/A

Put your foot down and you’ll take off with still astonishing alacrity, and all in virtual silence. Pin it coming out of a roundabout and you’ll be grinning broadly for some time. The handling is secure, much like the standard Model S, although it lacks the involvement of some of the finer German competitors.

But if you don’t floor it too often, in the real world you could go on one charge from Sunderland to London. That’s about 320 miles, and that’s definitely achievable, without driving like a very, very old person. And should you, as it were, get caught short before getting back to your charging station at home, the infotainment system cleverly shows you where the nearest recharging points are and even if any of them are free to use.

Tesla Model S 100D

Inside it’s a Model S but with yet more light. The spacious, airy cabin now gets a panoramic sunroof so you don’t feel remotely claustrophobic at any point. And the driver still gets to play with that fabulous 17-inch portrait touchscreen. Where others bray about going from 7.5-inch to 8-inch, Tesla just gives you a 17-inch screen without any fanfare. Even so, for a car of this price, the rest of the cabin, especially materials, is perhaps a little disappointing.

The Model S 100D is a clever move by Tesla. The car can go further than any other electric car and yet you still get huge and instantaneous performance. With Tesla’s own Supercharger network, its home charging systems and other chargers around the country, a real range of well over 300 miles puts it comfortably within the same fuel limits of many petrol cars.

However, £90k may seem a valuable reduction compared to the £132k P100D, but that’s still a whole lot of money. When you’re sitting in the cabin, you really don’t tend to think that enough of it was spent on the interior. Which isn’t something you’d think in certain Germanic and British competitors.

Tesla Model S 100D

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