The very first production Tesla was of course the Roadster, which because of that position is now worth considerably more than a few years ago. The Roadster was an extremely sporty two-seater on a Lotus basis and has already received a lot of attention because of its range and performance. At the same time, this would never be a car for the masses, they knew that at Tesla of course. The Roadster was simply the first step in what the brand called the ‘Master Plan’. The money earned from the sports car would be used to develop a more accessible and usable car. That car was the Model S. Nose Cone Although the Model S is often described as a sedan, it is not. Instead, it’s basically a big hatchback, a car with a handy fifth door. Very un-American, but so practical. Also in terms of design, the Model S was and is more European than American, although we may have to adjust our definition of American design. Interestingly, Tesla, which has no history with a grille as a family face, also struggled with the layout of a car front without such an air vent. The Model S was therefore initially given a black nose, which is also called ‘Nose Cone’. A late prototype, not quite finished yet. Note the different front, with the Tesla logo on the front cover. What is special is that the Model S is also available as a seven-seater from the start. Do not count on a huge bucket of seating space, but with two rearward-facing ‘children’s seats’ in the luggage compartment, the practical usability is still a bit greater. Tesla and Fisker With an initial starting price of €72,600, ten inflation years ago, the Model S was not exactly a car for everyone. Yet we saw him regularly driving here in the Netherlands. The undersigned can still remember that in 2013, two American newcomers took over the left lane: the Model S and the Fisker Karma. That plug-in hybrid also did well among the people who could afford it, and there was every reason for it. All ‘electrically powered passenger cars’ were eligible for enormous tax benefits. Entrepreneurs were eligible for 75 percent Vamil deduction plus 36 percent Environmental Investment Deduction (MIA), while all business drivers were completely exempt from addition. It is not without reason that the word ‘electrically powered’ is in quotation marks above, because the advantage applied to all cars with a theoretical emission of less than 50 grams. That is why the Fisker also did well. In practice, it meant that entrepreneurs in particular actually received money when they started driving a Model S. As a bonus, they also drove for free, because free charging to Tesla’s own Superchargers for life was just part of it for early Model S buyers. Top in 2018 The first Dutch Model S drivers received their car in the autumn of 2013. In the last months of that year, 1,194 copies were immediately sold, followed by stable growth in the following years. The peak was reached in 2018, with 5,622 cars. This was the last year without a price limit for the reduced addition, so 5,622 Dutch people assured themselves of a still affordable Model S. Cool In the global picture, however, not the tax is the most important, but the fact that the Model S is the car that is electric. driving ‘cool’. That word hasn’t been ‘cool’ for a long time, by the way, but you get the idea. The sleek, slick, technologically strong and lightning-fast Model S had an Apple-esque hipness. That was a huge contrast to the EVs of that time. Cars like the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-Miev struggled quite a bit with a goat wool socks image, which was absolutely not the case with the Tesla. Without Tesla, no E-Tron Suddenly everyone wanted to be seen in an EV and that is perhaps the greatest achievement of the Model S. The headline above this part of the story may sound a bit exaggerated, but it is based on facts. Even Audi CEO Bram Schot once admitted that the E-Tron, the brand’s first serious EV, would not have existed without Tesla. Although the numbers at Tesla are nowadays made by smaller models, that metamorphosis was really started with the Model S. Range Of course you won’t get there as an EV pioneer with only a hip appearance and a large screen. The Tesla Model S surprised in 2012 above all with its performance and range, which were very good for that time in all cases. It all started with the Model S 85. At that time, those numbers still indicated the battery capacity at Tesla, while today the brand simply sticks to terms such as ‘Standard Range’ and ‘Long Range’. With an 85 kWh battery, the original Model S covered 460 kilometers according to the manufacturer’s specifications, an unbelievable value for those years. When we first got to know the car, we were pleasantly surprised. In addition to a regular 85 with 367 hp, there was also a 422 hp version. Those who could do with less opted for the Model S 60. So it had ‘only’ 60 kWh on board, but it still covered 345 theoretical kilometers. This is also the slowest Model S delivered here, but with a 0-100 time of 6.5 seconds, there is little reason to complain about that. Fast charging then? 120 kW, nothing to be ashamed of either. Interestingly, the Model S was there initially, but very briefly, also as a 40. As expected, this basic version received 40 kWh, but was in fact a 60 with some software adjustments. Due to a lack of demand – reportedly only 4 percent of buyers opted for the 40 – this variant was canceled again in April 2013. As far as we know, this slip-on has never been used in the Netherlands. Tilburg The history of the Tesla Model S cannot of course be discussed without mentioning that the car was partly assembled in ‘our own’ Tilburg. It was already announced in 2013 that units intended for the European market would be equipped with their powertrain in Tilburg, which is a favorable way of working for Tesla for tax reasons. Since last year we know that the latest update of the Model S marks the end of the activities in Tilburg. Autopilot In the early years of the Model S, versions were added and deleted almost continuously, often tacitly, according to ‘good’ Tesla practice. A more powerful 60 followed in 2014, a 70 version in 2015. Those 70 and 85 also got a D version that year, for ‘Dual’. These versions received two electric motors and thus sacrificed some luggage space in the nose in exchange for more speed and four-wheel drive. A new top model appeared in 2015 in the form of the Tesla Model S 90, also available as 90D and P90D. The ‘P’ again stood for ‘Performance’ and this car went from 0 to 100 km/h in no more than 3.3 seconds. The rear-wheel drive 90 took it a bit easier, but it came out nicely for 532 km. 2015 was also a kind of milestone for the Model S in another area, because Tesla rolled out Autopilot for the model for the first time in that year. The facelift of 2017 brought a new nose. Facelift Then came 2016, the year the Model S went through its biggest change ever until recently. Xenon headlights became LED headlights, the grille-like nose cone disappeared and the bumpers were tightened. Initially, the original naming strategy was applied, with a line-up consisting of the 60, 75, 90 and now even 100. In all cases there were again twin-engine D versions, with the 90 and its successor 100 also Performance variants. Just like the earlier 40, the 60 is actually a software-limited version of a thicker version from this period, in this case the 75. Afterwards, things could still be ‘stretched’ to 75 specifications. Tesla has always had a love-hate relationship with basic versions, so the 60 version disappeared from the scene quite quickly as well. Plaid The fastest Model S from this period is the 100D Performance, later simply called Model S Performance. With a 0-100 time of 2.6 seconds, the top seemed to have been reached, but we now know that it can be done even faster with a Model S Plaid. In about 2 seconds you can reach 100 km/h on the screen, with which this ten-year-old ‘hatchback’ can call itself the fastest accelerating production car ever. The Model S is also still very successful in terms of range: according to its makers, a Model S Long Range comes 652 kilometers on a full battery. The latest version, again with a different front bumper and for the first time a completely new dashboard. End not in sight The Model S continues to amaze even in its old age, although the question is when we in Europe will still have to deal with it. After all, the new version announced in January 2021, which distinguishes itself above all with a completely new dashboard and a ‘yoke steering wheel’, has still not arrived here. It is clear that we do not have to expect a completely new Model S for the time being. Tesla instead chooses to regularly upgrade the car in software and hardware, so that it can do with the same car for a long time. Would that also be an omen of how cars will be in the future? An early copy. Future classic? Another interesting question: will the Model S be the first real Tesla ever to follow the roadster and increase in value? We don’t rule it out. If you want to take the gamble, you should of course score a Model S that is as old as possible. At the time of writing, the oldest example on our used cars pages is from November 2013, but the offer changes quickly. Watch this video before purchasing, because then you know what to look for.
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