CES 2012: In the drivers seat with the Tesla Model S

The future is here and you can drive it

It’s exciting times for electric car company Tesla as it begins to roll out the new Model S to North America. We got a chance to hop in the sexy Model S today at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show and needless to say we were left smitten.

To say Tesla’s Model S is impressive is an understatement. Not only is the Model S a sight to behold on the outside, with its sleek and rounded frame, but upon entering the vehicle you are treated to a cutting edge cabin that is both futuristic and cutting edge while maintaining a minimalistic elegance.

Innovative interface

Once inside, you quickly begin to realize that the Tesla Model S is a car unlike any other you’ve seen before. Besides the fact that it is, of course, a fully electric car, the Tesla Model S immediately immerses you with its bright lights and touch screen technology, which will be familiar to anyone with a smartphone. The onboard dash is completely touch screen, the middle console where a radio or familiar dials and buttons would be placed are nowhere to be found. In fact, all buttons and dials of any sort have been removed from the car’s interior design, replaced instead with a huge and vivid touchscreen interface displaying standard information like speed and an energy consumption display to monitor your battery consumption.

Within that interface we were treated to a demonstration of virtually all the applications the Model S has to offer by Tesla Interactive Software Manager, Roy Goldman. Much like a glorified tablet or iPhone, the console inside the Tesla features navigation, internet browsing, internet radio via services such as Slacker, as well as smartphone integration.

The Model S smartphone integration was particular interesting. Demonstrated on an iPhone, drivers can download an app that can control various features such as onboard temperature and navigation. Goldman was to keen to inform us that Tesla has partnered with Google, allowing real-time viewing of your trip and that more integration and app capability was in the works.

Batteries included

But while it’s great that the Model S features all sorts of impressive tech within, it’s also worth mentioning some other noteworthy aspects of Tesla’s all electric sedan. To begin, the Tesla Model S is offered in three battery options: a 40kWh that offers an estimated range of 160 miles, a 60 kWh version that will get you 230 miles, and finally an 85 kWh battery that will net an even more impressive 300 miles on a single charge. And those aren’t the only impressive numbers, each battery variant offers up a top speed of 110, 120, and 125 mph.

While nothing has been officially announced or confirmed, Tesla representatives spoke of the car company’s plans to place and implement proprietary “Super Charger” stations for Tesla owners across the country, which should add to the cars already impressive charging scheme.

Down the road

From a design perspective, the Tesla Model S seems to be much more than a car; it’s an experience – a true leap towards what can be achieved in regards to automotive design and technology. Of course as is often the case with new technology pricing can be prohibitively high and that seems to be the case with the new Model S. All three versions of Tesla’s Model S start north of 40 thousand, with the 40 kWh priced at $49,900, the 60 kWh at 59,900 , and the 85 kWh at 69,000. Incidentally the Model S Performance version is priced even higher at $79,900, although to be fair not many EV’s on the market can hit 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds (85kWh battery option). Luckily for those of us with pockets a little less deep Tesla does plan to introduce a more economically priced versions down the line, but until then we’ll just have to start saving our coppers.

Product Review

Mercedes-Benz updates the timeless G-wagen for the modern world

For decades, the G-Class has been an outlier in the Mercedes-Benz portfolio, a body-on-frame brute with the soul – and driving manners – of an off-road pickup. With the all-new G550, Mercedes seeks to smooth out some of the rough edges.
Mobile

From folding phones to 5G -- here's everything we saw at Galaxy Unpacked

Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked event treated us to a real parade of technological excellence, from folding phones to new fitness wearables. Here's everything we saw at Galaxy Unpacked on February 20.
Cars

Watch a modified Audi e-tron electric SUV drive straight up a ski slope

A modified Audi e-tron climbed up an 85-percent gradient on an Austrian ski slope in a tribute to a classic Audi commercial. The vehicle used for the stunt sported an extra electric motor and spiked tires.
Cars

Amazon plugs in with $700 million investment in electric pickup company Rivian

Amazon invested $700 million for a minority stake in U.S. all-electric truck maker Rivian, according to a joint release. The announcement follows a Reuters report that GM and Amazon might invest $1 billion to $2 billion in the company.
Cars

Waymo rules and Apple trails in California self-driving car benchmarks

California's DMV releases annual reports of self-driving car disengagements on public roads. In the most recent reports. Waymo had the best performance, GM Cruise came in second, and Apple's self-driving program was in last place.
Cars

Mamma mia! Alfa Romeo will unveil a new model at the Geneva Auto Show

Alfa Romeo told Digital Trends it will unveil a new model at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show. It stopped short of revealing what it has in store, but rumors claim it will be a crossover positioned below the Stelvio.
Cars

Citroën says you could drive its tiny Ami One electric car without a license

Citroën's Ami One concept car is an electric vehicle that's as cute as it is compact. The miniature motor only has a top speed of 28 mph, so the French automaker imagines it as a shareable runaround for short drives.
Cars

Arizona city slammed with $10M lawsuit over fatal Uber autonomous car accident

The family of Elaine Herzberg, the woman struck and killed by one of Uber's self-driving prototypes, has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the city of Tempe, Arizona. They claim Herzberg jaywalked because she was confused by a brick…
Cars

Mercedes lets the sun shine in one last time with SLC Final Edition convertible

The Mercedes-Benz SLC convertible sports car is going out of production. Launched in 1996 as the SLK, the model has been a fixture in the Mercedes-Benz lineup across three generations.
Cars

Aston Martin’s next hypercar, due in 2021, will pack a hybrid powertrain punch

Aston Martin will follow up the Valkyrie and Valkyrie AMR Pro with a new hypercar, code-named Project 003. The car will debut in 2021, with production limited to 500 units worldwide.
Cars

Apple opens up about its self-driving car program in letter to NHTSA

Apple has traditionally kept details about its self-driving car technology under wraps, but it has revealed details about the program in a rare instance of openness. The company takes safety seriously.
Cars

Tesla will release fully self-driving cars in 2019 — with a big asterisk

Tesla reaffirmed its goal of releasing a fully self-driving car by the end of 2019, but it warned the system won't work perfectly 100 percent of the time. Convincing regulators that it's safe to use will require some effort, too.
Cars

Consumer Reports bumps the Tesla Model 3 off of its list of recommended models

The Tesla Model 3 is one of the six new cars that have lost their coveted Recommended rating from Consumer Reports over reliability concerns. In 2018, Model 3 owners reported body trim falling off and problems with the car's glass.
Cars

Lyft’s Shared Saver service offers cheaper rides, but you’ll have to walk a little

Lyft has launched a new ride option called Shared Saver that offers cheaper rides if you're willing to walk a little. Shared Saver designates a nearby pick-up point and drops you off a short distance from your final destination.