Philosophical Range Anxiety - 2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test
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2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Tesla Model S: Philosophical Range Anxiety

June 19, 2013

2013 Tesla Model S

Last Thursday when it was my turn to pick a car for the weekend the Tesla Model S was available. It was the moment I'd been waiting for. I genuinely like this car. I like its speed, styling, the progress it represents and the fact that I can feel genuinely patriotic when I drive it. It's good like that.

But I went home in the Mazda CX-5.

I live 52 miles from the office. Assuming the Tesla was fully charged when I started I'd have at best about 150 miles of range for the weekend. That's pushing it for me. I typically drive 50-60 miles on Saturday and the same on Sunday. Assuming I didn't charge the car at home, that driving behavior would leave me, in theory, 30-50 miles of range when I got back to the office.

But based on Scott's weekend experience, that's far too close for comfort.

Charging at home happens at a rate of about three miles per hour. But that also means I'm committed to leaving the car at home to guarantee sufficient range. It means I can't be spontaneous. It means I have to do some (admittedly basic) math to know if I'm safe to go anywhere. Most importantly, it means I can't yet have the freedom in the world's best electric car that I would have in even the most rudimentary gasoline-powered car.

And I'm just not willing to deal it. Not yet, anyway.

Electric cars, or more specifically, their current limitations, cause me to analyze carefully what it is that drove me to my passion for them. I fell in love with cars because of the freedom they grant. Thinking about it now I realize all that cars have given me: giddiness over getting my driver's license, my first powerslide, my first real passion for doing anything, .my first drive with a female other than my mother.

And it was all predicated on freedom. On the fact that cars let me go where I wanted, when I wanted, at virtually whatever speed I wanted. Electric cars, even this groundbreaking Tesla, still can't do that. At least not in my current situation. And, frankly, it makes me a sad.

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor

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