All variants use the same chassis, same rear-mounted electric motor driving the rear wheels. It’s so high-tech, both inside and outside. An all-wheel-drive model is mooted for the end of the year, but there’s no news about it for Australia just yet. The Model S tips the scales at just over 2100kg, so it’s no featherweight, but most of that weight is made up by the low-slung lithium battery and shouldn’t negatively affect the car’s handling at all.
Australian warranty for the Model S covers a four year period as standard, or 80,000km of travel — whichever comes first. That warranty only covers the chassis and motor and interior, though; there’s a separate battery warranty that guarantees 8 years of service or 200,000km of distance covered — again, whichever comes first.
There’s a caveat: the majority of this info comes from the US version of Tesla Motors’ website. Most figures are approximate until we can get Australian confirmation; you’ll know as soon as we do. Until then, take it as a general overview of the difference between the cars.
Model S: 60kWh
The cheapest Model S
At probably under $100,000, the 60kWh Model S really is priced to compete with the BMW 5 Series that most potential buyers will be comparing it with. Access to the Supercharger network is, at least in the US, an additional cost for 60kWh owners.
Model S: 85kWh
Supercharging is included in the price of the 85kWh Model S in the States; it should be the same deal here.
Model S: 85kWh Performance
Range is apparently the same as the non-Performance S85 — 480km at Tesla’s most efficient driving, 425km using US government standard testing. Australia’s climate shouldn’t affect Model S range significantly — the car performs perfectly well in the chilly climes of Norway, where it’s actually the best-selling car (on and off). You should get Supercharging as standard. Performance models also get priority delivery in the US, although we’re not sure whether that’ll apply to Australian customers — especially since any stock will be so limited for such a long time.
Model S: Optional Accessories
Like any luxury car, the Tesla Model S can be kitted out with a huge range of accessories and optional goodies. Here’s an exhaustive list; you need some accessories selected to purchase others, so it’s not as granular as it possibly could be, but you can still pick and choose from a goodly range.
There’s a probably-about-$200,000-total Performance Plus pack for the top spec model — lucky owners of which refer to their cars as P85+s — that adds stiffer bushings and dampers, thicker anti-roll bars and stickier, wider rear tyres to the Model S’s suspension setup. The adaptive suspension can be set to a stiffer, sportier mode that aids speedy cornering. You even get a 10-to-20km bump in maximum range.
Beyond the actual performance pack, you can kit the Model S out with a carbon fibre spoiler and shiny red brake calipers (only on the existing Performance 85kWh variant, though).
If you have a 60kWh Model S, buying access to the Supercharger network costs you a cool US$2000 — in Australia that should translate to around $2500, but don’t expect the option any time soon, since we don’t actually have any Superchargers installed anywhere just yet.
There’s a nifty feature that installs a second internal charger in the circuitry of the Model S, doubling your at-home charge rate if you have the wiring to support it. It’ll take quite a while to charge the Model S’s capacious 60kWh or 85kWh battery, so dual chargers is probably a smart box to tick if you’re planning on doing any long-distance driving.
There’s a basic 40-amp charger included with the Model S, compatible with the single charger pre-installed in the vehicle. If you opt for a dual charger, you’ll only get the higher maximum rate of charge by choosing the optional 80-amp external wall charger too.
You can add smart, computer-controlled air suspension to the Model S as long as you have the Tech Package, which lets you adjust the ride comfort and height of the Model S as you’re driving around. This is one of those features that was probably going through a fair bit of ADR testing; we hope it’s available in Australia.
Beyond the tech and suspension, the other big upgrade comes in the form of a more powerful 12-speaker sound system, which includes an 8-inch subwoofer (hidden somewhere) and promises a significant boost in audio fidelity. Various interior options let you make the Model S as plush inside as it looks outside — for example, there’s a luxe nappa leather pack that covers the armrests, doors and steering wheel.
You can kit any Model S out with optional 21-inch wheels, although apparently the 19s give better range and a slightly comfier ride — they don’t look as swish, though. Parking sensors, fog lamps, fancy interior lights, paint armor are all extras you can purchase when you’re putting cash down for a Model S.