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BY JASON H. HARPER BLOOMBERG NEWS via The Detroit News



The Tesla Model S is an all-electric car with incredible range. That may be the least interesting thing about it.

I stepped into the $92,000, battery-powered sedan with low expectations. By the time I exited, I was pretty sure I'd just experienced the future of the automobile...

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20121110/AUTO03/211100311#ixzz2Bq50bhvU

As @Bazinga has said, "...the 'begin' has 'begun!'"
 

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That puppy is hot, and if Tesla can get some of their SuperCharger Stations up and running in the mid-west linking Chicago to St Louis, Dallas, Kansas City and say Memphis sales will take off.

Free charging for life is intoxicating.
 

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mandatory $600/year maintenance contract? for what? there should be nothing to maintain. my volt hasn't had an oil change in 23k miles and only a couple of tire rotates. everything else should be a part of the warranty; it's an electric car for crying out loud. sounds like that maintenance plan is really an expensive string of "free" chargers.
 

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No doubt the Model S is the electric equivalent of a Ferrari Sedan.

For those who balk at the lofty price, Toyota's much more practical and affordable, newly introduced (in CA only) RAV4 EV is worthy of consideration. It has a Tesla designed electric drivetrain and Li-ion battery pack (41.8kWh max useable capacity). With 0 to 60 of just 7 seconds flat, I think it has to be one of, if not THE FASTEST SUV sold in America.

I just traded in a Chevy Trailblazer SS equipped with a 395hp/400ft-lbs Corvette V8 engine in exchange for a new RAV4 EV. Let me just say, the latter would have absolutely no trouble taking the Chevy off the line! The new EV's Tesla infused performance is obvious when fully unleashed, powering the front wheels silently, through a one speed CVT, seamlessly beneath the rather pedestrian looking RAV4's floorboard.

With a battery pack almost 3 times more capacity than the VOLT, but less than twice the weight, the new electric RAV4's power to weight ratio would seemingly have the advantage, but in fact, the latter is some 200 lbs heavier. Both EVs are rated at 273ft-lbs in "sport" mode. As an "SUV", the RAV4 seats and as such at first glance the body certainly looks bulkier. Surprisingly, however, the VOLT has only a slight edge in aerodynamics, 0.29 vs. 0.30 drag coefficient. The electric SUV's overall performance improvements over TOYOTA's top selling model are more than impressive.

But what about the RAV4's electric range, conservatively EPA rated at 102 miles? So far, from what I have observed in only a short time driving this rock star of SUVs, it is MUCH better than advertised. This, in part is due to the "dual battery rating"; only 35kWh, or ~80% of the battery's useable capacity results from what Toyotal refers to as a standard charge. However, after a full, so-called "extended" charge, the usable capacity increases to41.8kWh, as well as the range to a more respectable 113 miles. But . . . . as I said, this is waaay less than its actual maximum "potential" range, which I have reason to beileve is actually 150+ miles before the battery dies!

The ride quality is superb! Tire noise is about the only intrusion to an otherwise silent drive. Tesla's 386Vdc battery is mounted under the car resulting in a very low COG for an SUV. Due to its very noticebly torquey drivetrain, especially at low speeds, there is a fairly significant amount of torque steer in this front wheel drive only version of the RAV4.

The interior is both roomy and comfortable with waaay more cargo space (compared to the VOLT) in the rear with the back seats folded down.

The dash is totally new and all digital electronics. Lots of eye candy here for sure! I like how Toyota did the instrument panel "gauges"; very stylish and at the same time loaded with electric propulsion feedback, including side by side, realtime and average miles per kWh battery consumption. The HVAC has three operating modes, similar to the VOLT. The driver and passenger manually operated seats are also heated to more efficiently manage battery consumption, also just the same as the VOLT.

The center console has an 8" diagonal touch sensitive, full color graphical screen, and has dozens of fully integrated functions including a full feature NAV system and internet connectivity via an iPhone. I wasn't able to get MyLink in my VOLT as an option in the 2012 model year, but my new RAV4 EV makes up for that for all intent and purpose.

The ONLY options in the new RAV4 EV are "EV" logo embroidered floor/cargo mats, and one exterior color in Pearl White. I passed on the latter as the Classic Silver match my VOLT, so I could not resist.

I was my dealer's very visit purchaser of a RAV4 EV, and with three others on the lot unspoken for, I was even able to get a VERY decent deal IMHO. Not great mind you, but certainly acceptable for being the FIRST one sold by a local dealer. 1.9%APR financing for 60 months, was also a big financial incentive to buy vs. lease.

The Toyota still has some degree of "sticker shock" with an MSRP of about 50 grand! However, it too qualifies for the $7500 tax credit as well as a $2500 CA rebate. Even at $40k, that almost twice as much as the base model RAV4. Is it worth it? In my case, as essentially my wife's grocery getter SUV . . . I have to say YES, ABSOLUTELY!
 

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That's awesome....for some reason I thought the Toyota RAV EVs were still far-off in the future ! Well, I guess they essentially are for me, because they are not available here on the east coast.
A friend of mine is picking up his Tesla Model S Signature series tomorrow here in South Florida! I think I am more excited about it than he is, but then again , he is the one that has to write that big check ! ( his wife doesn't seem to mind ). I was lucky enou to drive the S Model back a few months ago when they were making the dealership tours, and it was the performance model....I loved it. Like a rocket without the noise ( which I can't stand anymore )
If the car lives up to its hype I may just have a future pure EV to replace the Volt. I'll let the early Tesla adopters shake down their cars for the next year before I decide to buy S Model version 2.
 

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A friend of my son has a performance signature and raves about it. He also has the roadster and my son tells me that it is otherworldly. Fastest anything he has ever experienced...and from outside it doesn't take off, without sound clues, it just shrinks...like the Enterprise going warp. May Tesla prosper.
 

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A friend of my son has a performance signature and raves about it. He also has the roadster and my son tells me that it is otherworldly. Fastest anything he has ever experienced...and from outside it doesn't take off, without sound clues, it just shrinks...like the Enterprise going warp.
The amazing thing is that the performance model S is just as fast as the roadster, despite being a 4,000 lb 7 passenger sedan. Without a doubt a fun ride!

Not likely to happen for me, though - decidedly on the expensive side (though not compared to similar performance,) and *almost* enough range to make me happy, but not.
 
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