Luxury Electric-Vehicle Prototype on Tour

Saturday April 23rd – Tesla Motors employees arrive in the Northwest Industrial district of Portland, Oregon. With them is a California registered Model S to display for public viewing. The prototype all-electric vehicle was parked in an art studio Springbox for Easter weekend, allowing people to admire, but not touch the shiny red luxury car.

During my stop to check out the automobile, which will go into production in California sometime during 2012, I got a first look at the sleek design and overheard some interesting conversation. The first thing you will notice is likely the aerodynamics. Every inch of this car appears to be curved. In a word, it’s gorgeous. A mix of futuristic aesthetic with all the classic features you would expect.

The vehicles rechargeable battery will have be available with three options delivering a 160-300 mile driving range per charge. Impressive, considering the Model S can accelerate 0-60 in 5.6 seconds—faster than a 2010 Ford Mustang, and on par with a 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLK350. Perhaps the most interesting interior feature is the 17″ touchscreen “infotainment” control. Everything from selection of driving modes, climate control, and driving data can be accessed with this 3G connected system. It serves as a built-in GPS and probably does just about anything else your iPad would.

Dozens of people showed up for this stop of the Tesla road tour in just the short time I was there. I imagine several hundred viewed the car during the weekend. It was exciting hearing people discuss the experience of driving a car with no engine noise. This car is made for efficiently touring the country side; of course it will also get you through traffic without adding hundreds of pounds of CO2 to the air.

With an expected price tag somewhere above $50k, this is one luxury I will have to start saving for. You can put a value to the typical maintenance and fuel cost savings that bring total cost of ownership to competitive levels, but being able to drive responsibly in style is priceless.

*If you missed the Portland event, or live in another state, check out when the Tesla Model S will be touring near you.

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