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All-electric Model S runs the 1/4 mile in 12.5-seconds at 110.9 mph

It’s doubtful that many people believe manufacturer estimates when it comes to fuel efficiency or driving range for electric vehicles. The driving range for electric vehicles obtained in government tests is often a far cry from real world numbers. On public roads, driving range for an electric vehicle depends on the terrain, how heavy the driver's right foot is, and even the temperature. 
 
The guys over at Motor Trend have laid hands on a Tesla Model S and set out to get a real world driving distance. The car used for the driving distance test is a Model S Signature Performance 85, and this particular vehicle happened to be Tesla CEO Elon Musk's personal ride. The test of the Model S also involved putting down some performance numbers, which enthusiasts will be interested to hear.
 
The big four-door Model S was able to hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. It also ran a virtually silent 12.5-second quarter mile pass at 110.9 mph. Those are impressive numbers for a gasoline-powered sedan, putting the Model S Signature Performance 85 in the same company as the BMW M5 and the Mercedes CLS 63 AMG among others.


Tesla Model S
 
The real question though is how far can the car drive. Being able to hit 60 as quick as an AMG badged Mercedes is impressive, but not so much if the battery pack is dead shortly thereafter. The largest battery pack available in the Model S is rated by the EPA at 265 miles in extended range mode.
 
After the performance testing was done, the car was completely recharged even though it is only consumed what the onboard computer said was 13 miles of range despite the quarter-mile passes and other performance tests. The real world driving distance test took place in California heading towards San Diego via Interstate 15 before hitting the I-5 and then the picturesque Pacific Coast Highway. The map showed the driving distance to be 240 miles.
 
Motor Trend says that the test was conducted with the air conditioner off, but ventilation on, cruise set at 65 mph, and the body lowered on its air suspension for driving distance. Apparently, the car was 1.7 miles short of making it the full 240 miles in real world traffic. Rather than run out of power the tester plugged the car and to get the extra few miles of driving range.
 
Motor Trend figures the real world driving range is 238 miles in their testing, 11% short of the claims 265. 

Source: Motor Trend



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RE: impressive
By Solandri on 8/29/2012 6:32:30 PM , Rating: 2
This is correct. Aerodynamic drag at 65 mph is pretty substantial, accounting for a 10-15% drop in MPG over moving at 55 mph.

The Tesla S getting lower city MPGe than highway, while other electric/hybrids get higher city MPGe makes sense too. Due to the extra batteries in the Tesla S which give it the 200+ mile range, it's got a bigger weight-to-drag ratio. Tesla S = 4600 lbs, Leaf = 3400 lbs, Fusion hybrid = 3600 lbs, Prius = 3000 lbs, Escape hybrid = 3600 lbs.

That means the Tesla S needs more energy to get up to speed from a stop than these other vehicles. While regenerative braking is good, it is not 100% efficient. Assuming the Tesla's regenerative braking is just as efficient as the other hybrid/electric vehicles', the additional vehicle mass means the Tesla S loses more energy per start/stop cycle than the others.

Meanwhile its cross-sectional area and drag coefficient are not substantially worse than the other vehicles. Weight is less of a factor when you're traveling at steady highway speeds. So you end up with similar highway performance and comparatively worse city performance versus a lighter vehicle.


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