Just as Tesla is set to start the delivery of the 2012 Model S customer cars this week, the Environmental Protection Agency finally released final fuel economy equivalent and total range numbers. The public and the automaker had been anticipating EPA’s confirmation since the Model S had already undergone crash-testing and cleared to be sold to the public.
The EPA said that the top-of-the-line Tesla Model Ss with an 85 kWh battery will get the equivalent of 89 miles per gallon. This makes it have 10 lower miles per gallon equivalent when compared to the 2012 Nissan Leaf, which is the most popular battery electric vehicle in the U.S. However, the Model S has a more spacious interior and much more power. It can reach 60mph from between 4.4 and 6.5 seconds, depending on the specs.
On the other hand, the Leaf can accelerate in 9.7 seconds. Tesla has been saying that it was designing its 85-kWh models to travel 300 miles on a single charge. EPA estimated its range at 265 miles. As was reported in the past, Tesla said that this is due to varying testing methods. Tesla’s range estimates are at 55 mph while the EPA’s methodology is a lot more rigorous and combines city and highway driving.
As the 85-kWh model could achieve an estimated 265 miles of range, it’s still uncertain what the more affordable models will do. The initial production run of the Model S would only be 1,000 units, which would all be 85-kWh Signature Series models.
However, the models that will arrive later will have available 40- or 60-kWh battery packs that will enable the Model S to run at about 160 or 230 miles, respectively. Both Tesla and the EPA have not released their figures but it’s likely that EPA testing will vary from those estimates. Nevertheless, the Model S is, without question, the electric-only car with the highest range. The Mitsubishi i has a range of 98 miles while the Nissan Leaf can go 100 miles.
Tesla Model S electric sedan is regarded as an evolution in automotive engineering, thanks to its great combination of performance and efficiency, as well as safety. Likewise, the new Tesla Model S features a high level of safety, earning the highest possible safety ratings from respectable authorities. Aside from having the longest range among electric vehicle, the new Model S boasts of over-the-air software updates.
Thanks to the strategic location of its battery on the floor – as allowed by Tesla’s platform – the new Model S has a low center of gravity, which results to improved handling and performance and lesser risk of rollover. Since the new Model S has no engine, its crumple zone – which absorbs the energy of a front collision -- is much larger than other performance sedans in the market.
The electric car’s low center of gravity is also thanks to its unique electric drivetrain that is placed beneath the car. Its high level of safety is evidenced by the fact that it has managed to earn high safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP). In addition, it was able to set a record of the lowest likelihood of injury to its occupants after testing in the United States.
Contributing to its reputation as one of the safest cars on the road is a number of active safety features that are installed as standard. These features include automatic emergency braking, blind spot detection, collision warning and lane departure warning. These features are complemented by optional convenience systems like autosteer, autopark, summon and traffic-aware cruise control.