2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Tesla Model S: Welcoming the Electric Future

December 03, 2013

2013 Tesla Model S

Recently I was chatting with a friend who wanted to know what I thought of our 2013 Tesla Model S, so I ran through some high points. He seemed impressed, but concluded that he "couldn't ever own a car that doesn't have a cool-sounding engine, like a V8."

I get where he was coming from. Sound can be a key element of a car's personality, particularly if you're a car enthusiast. But having spent multiple days in our Model S, I've come to greatly appreciate the opposite: the silence.

After a while, it's just really nice having a car that's quiet at stoplights, in neighborhoods and around town. No engine rumbling, no gear shifting, no exhaust. It's relaxing.

This became clear to me on a weekend morning. I was out with my family in the Model S. My wife was up front, and my two kids were in back. We were just rolling along in town, windows open, enjoying the nice fall day. We came up on an old 1970s Plymouth Barracuda convertible. A nice classic car, no doubt, but the guy had loud aftermarket pipes on it, and the thing was running so rich, and the exhaust so potent, that I had to power up the Tesla's windows and quickly (and quietly) zip past him.

It was a contrast in old versus new. Maybe you do give up a little personality with electric. But for everything else, it's a future I'm looking forward to.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

Most Recommended Comments

By legacygt
on 12/03/13
8:42 AM PST

There is an obvious natural and instinctual craving for speed and power. The noise element has simply been a byproduct of that and we've been trained to associate the two. Enough time with electric cars like the Model S and I imagine we can re-train our brains to enjoy the speed and power without the noise.

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By darthbimmer
on 12/03/13
10:41 AM PST

When I'm going fast I'd rather the car not deafen me. I use my hearing to pick up cues from road noise, tire noise, and subtler engine noise. Or listen to my tunes or talk to my passengers. It's about being able to hold a conversation while going 95mph, not waking up the whole neighborhood. I'd rather be "fast with class" than "fast like an ass."

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