2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Tesla Model S: Free Gas

April 23, 2013

2013 Tesla Model S

What if you went to a mall and there was a gas pump with a sign saying, "Go ahead and fill up! It's free!" That's what it was like to drive the Tesla to Las Vegas. Free fuel in Barstow. Free fuel in Las Vegas.

And how much is that worth? Gas for a 2013 BMW 7 Series getting 22 mpg combined and requiring premium at $4.17 a gallon would be $123 for the 650-mile trip. For the Tesla, fuel costs would be $0. But there is the time and hassle of charging.

2013 Tesla Model S

I was nervous about handing over our Tesla Model S to the valets in Las Vegas. But I had to do it if I wanted to charge. A Tesla spokesperson directed me to charge at the Aria Resort and Casino. When I got there, I asked to ride along with the valet to the charger, to make sure he hooked it up correctly. But the valet dude said their insurance wouldn't allow it. Instead, I handed off the key fob, tipped liberally, and walked away. Minutes later, I checked the Tesla. It was happily charging.

The next morning the valet returned the Tesla to me and assured me the cable and adapter was in the trunk. I checked just in case.

Later in my trip I had to change hotels so I headed for the self-parking garage at the Venetian Las Vegas. I was wandering around, looking for the chargers (they are always so hard to find) and I spotted a maintenance guy on a little electric cart. I asked him where the chargers were and he said, "Follow me." So now I'm in this hulking luxury EV, creeping after a little golf cart as it weaves through the parking garage. But I found the chargers on the 6th level, hooked up and got another free charge.

Electricity and comped buffets are about the only free things in Las Vegas.

Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 2,623 miles

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