Tesla, Inc. is an American electric vehicle and clean energy company based in Palo Alto, California. Tesla's current products include electric cars, battery energy storage from home to grid-scale, solar panels and solar roof tiles, as well as other related products and services. The company is run by CEO and founder Elon Musk. Tesla has proven that electric vehicles can be highly desirable; combining outstanding performance and high-tech interiors with a usable driving range (1). Here is everything that you need to know about different Tesla models.
Tesla Model S
The Model S is very much an executive saloon, with similar long and low design lines as you might find on a Jaguar. The Model S was originally launched in 2012 and helped to put Tesla on the map as an automaker. Tesla has continued updating the Model S since its release, and the most recent model has a trio of versions: Long Range Plus, Plaid, and Plaid+. The Standard and Performance models were recently dropped. While some earlier editions of the Model S offered rear-wheel drive, all the latest Model S operate in all-wheel drive (AWD). There was once a "Ludicrous mode" option for insane acceleration, but the terminology has been dropped — instead the Plaid+ offers sub-1.9s 0-62mph — with both Plaid-named models offering tri-motor propulsion (over the Long Range's dual-motor). All models offer autopilot as standard — which brings a range of driver assistance — but there's the option for the full self-driving upgrade at $10,000 (£6,800), which adds navigation to autopilot, self-parking, smart summon, traffic light recognition, and automatic city street driving (2).
Tesla Model S. Image Credits: Tesla.com
Tesla Model 3
The Tesla Model 3 is the smallest, most affordable car in the American manufacturer’s range of EVs, and was an Auto Express 2020 Car of the Year award winner. It’s built to take on the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class, but Tesla also has one eye on the arrival of the BMW i4 which goes on sale in Autumn of this year, as well as upstart executive EVs from the likes of Polestar and Lynk & Co. While Tesla has undoubtedly set the early pace in electric car development, even mainstream manufactures such as Ford are wheeling out products with the potential to upset the Tesla applecart. The twin test of the Mustang Mach-E versus the Model 3 proves this point, with the overall win going to Ford. The Model 3 versus Polestar 2 head-to-head was settled in favour of Tesla, but the BMW i4 is unlikely to be a pushover. Following the success of the Model S saloon and Model X SUV, the Model 3 shares those cars’ combination of clever battery technology, powerful electric motors, and high-tech onboard systems. Outside, the Model 3 also shares its siblings subdued styling, which easily flies under the radar — a stark contrast to the remarkably minimalist interior that’s all but bare, save for a very large infotainment screen used to control virtually everything (3).
It's an SUV-style EV capable of seating seven people, but owes a lot of its design to the Model S, especially with the interior display. It uniquely features rear Falcon Wing doors (think the Delorean in Back to the Future) that, along with the huge touchscreen inside, will make all your kids think you bought a car from the future. There are two models, but three different seating configurations — you can choose 5 (included), 6 ($6,500 extra), or 7 ($3,500 extra). Autopilot is included, the full self-driving upgrade option is $10,000/£6,800. As with the Tesla Model S, there are a number of different versions of the Model X as Tesla has realigned the model naming, with the 75D becoming Long Range, and the 100D and P100D shifting into the Performance line (2).
The Tesla Model Y fills the space between the Model 3 and the Model X, as a compact SUV. It will seat seven (a $3,000 extra) and offers plenty of space, but will really appeal to those looking for something more affordable. The compact SUV segment is the biggest selling at the moment and isn't hugely populated with electric models, so it's a key target for Tesla (2).
The Cybertruck was unveiled in November 2019, as Tesla switches its attention to a pick-up truck format. This is likely to be a lot more popular in the US than in other regions, although reservations are open in other regions too. The Cybertruck has a unique angular design, with a stainless-steel body and armored glass — it will also have 100 CU FT (2830 liters) of storage, and towing capacity of 7,500+lbs. All these specs are for the US, with Tesla saying international specs will be developed depending on demand (2).
Tesla CyberTruck. Image Credits: Tesla.com
The Tesla Roadster started the whole trend in 2008 — and was due to return in 2020 (it's been reviewed by some US sources, but otherwise is still only up for reservations only). The Roadster's aim is to be the fastest electric car on the road, with some impressive figures announced so far; with a 0-60 mph speed in 1.9 seconds, and a top speed over 250 mph. It will seat four and has a removable glass roof. There are two versions up for reservation: The Roadster and the Founders Series, with a $50k difference in price between the two (2).
Have you heard about Tesla Superchargers? Tesla Superchargers are charging stations that have emerged all over the world in the past 10 years. It's the electric car equivalent of a gas station. Although users can charge their car at home with wall-mounted chargers, Superchargers can recharge a near-dead 85kWh battery in about 70 minutes, or get it to 50% in 20 minutes. Tesla cars ordered before January 2017 can use the Supercharger stations for free, while all other cars can get 400kWh per year for free. After that, users will have a small fee, but it's still nothing compared to what filling up a tank of gas costs. Tesla more recently introduced V3 Superchargers, which will increase the charging to 250kW, potentially halving the charge time for compatible vehicles. Tesla's cars are also compatible with other chargers (as long as the plug fits), but Superchargers are exclusive to Tesla cars (2).
Tesla’s share of the U.S. automotive market in 2020 peaked in July when the brand's market share rose to roughly 3.66%. However, from the perspective of the electric vehicle (EV) market alone, Tesla is the leader in the battery electric vehicle market. Currently, Tesla’s Model 3 was the leading electric vehicle model in the United States in 2020. The Model 3 is marketed as the way to bring electric vehicles to the mass market, with a more affordable price than Tesla’s higher-end offerings. The company delivered approximately 90,000 Model 3s to U.S. customers, accounting for about one-third of total electric vehicles delivered in 2020. However, some analysts warn that demand for this version is lessening now that Tesla’s cars no longer qualify for the 7,500 U.S. dollar tax rebate offered by the U.S. government for electric vehicles (4). In summary, although there may be some obstacles in the way of Tesla’s progress, every goal will be attainable for this company if they keep their current serious approach and focus on utilizing the capacity of smart mobility in their products.