Feel the electric drive. Take Tesla Model S for a smart spin

The smell of a fine car

Leather seats: spacey and optimized for safety, black leather slide-in premium center console, quiet powertrain for the “sound dynamics of a recording studio”, high speed connectivity on the road, with 2 USB ports, all glass panoramic roof. Tesla Model S is more than a smart car, it is a car that screams exquisite like one shiny, taking your eyes away, gemstone. As the guys from TeslaMotors put it, “the gem of the interior is the 17” touchscreen.”

It’s a fine car that doesn’t keep to the rules of how a car should be: a collection of dials, buttons, switches and the odd small screen. Chris Pain, director, puts it plainly, in case you had doubts: “Model S is a remarkably important car. This car shows that it can be done and it will be done.” When it comes to the Tesla Model S things are not how they are supposed to be, but how they can and will be. All it takes is smart innovation, imagination and state-of-the-art technology.

Tesla Model S: a gemstone all techies, vehicle enthusiasts and car-lovers wish they had

What does a smart technology enthusiast, who’s also a passionate driver wish more than to have a smart-car? It’s pretty simple. They wish for the all-electric Tesla Model S saloon car, which is something of a dream. It can accelerate fast, that is in 5.4 seconds running from 0 to 60 MPH, can maintain a high top speed of 125 MPH, and have no tailpipe emissions. It has a range of up to 300 miles, and its 17″ flat panel display, the true jewel of the car, is equipped with a Linux-based computer system, which provides access to just about every aspect of the car’s performance and entertainment system.

The touchscreen, the digital instrument cluster and the steering wheel controls, all combine media, navigation, communications, cabin controls and vehicle data.

“We did want to make a statement”: the electric drive

The people from IDG News Service interviewed JB Straubel, chief technology officer for Tesla, about the Model S, talking about its design and electric vehicle technology.( Read all article).

When asked about the reason behind introducing the 17″ touchscreen, JB Straubel replied: “We did want to make a statement and package as much touchscreen as we could. Tesla is very much trying to drive forward the usability, technology and infotainment as well as the propulsion and the electric drive. It was a key design point from the very beginning.”

This 17″ touchscreen is what gives the car all its special flavor, in my view. It gives it unprecedented connectivity, to the road, to other drivers, to the world around it, and it facilitates smart and easy communication with the driver.

The In-Car Computer System

What the people from TeslaMotors did is not unprecedented, but what makes this a brilliant car and an instant success is their precision for detail. Only now can you focus the music around the driver’s seat if you’re alone in the car, or centrally if the car is full of passengers. Let’s have a bit of fun with the details.

The 17″ touchscreen is powered by two, quad-core Tegra 3 processors, running a custom Linux operating system, which controls everything from the sunroof to the suspension.

At the bottom of the display you have: the heather, air conditioning and volume controls. You can also control this by scrolling wheels and the buttons mounted on the steering wheel. The changes are also displayed on a second LCD screen placed behind the wheel, where the dials of a regular car are located.

You can use the 17″ screen to flick between satellite navigation provided by Google Maps – though a map service powered by Tesla is on its way-. You can browse the web,  view performance analytics, and use the controls to alter ride height, lights and door locks.

The in-car computer relies on  mobile internet connection for its mapping and web browsing. You can do this by connecting your smartphone, or by paying TeslaMotors a monthly fee for Europe-wide 3G access. This connection is also how Tesla improves the car’s software with automatic over-the-air updates.

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So, this is what a fine car smells like. If you’ve yet to be convinced, take a look at this video, it’ll bring the perfume of Tesla Model S closer to you. Enjoy! Tell me what you think of this amazing car. Would you buy it?

Philipp Kandal