During my cross country road trip, I had a few items worked on my car at the Minneapolis service center. A subsequent blog post will discuss the items in for service and the service experience. This blog post will discuss my half day driving and review of the Model S with the 60kW battery.
The Model S I am reviewing had the following options different than my own car:
- 60kW battery (60)
- 19” Wheels
- Parking Sensors
- Folding Side Mirrors
- No Panoramic Roof
Acceleration / Range
I was pleasantly surprised by the acceleration of the 60. The Tesla web page now states that the 60 has a 0-60 acceleration of 5.9 seconds, and the 85 has a 0-60 acceleration of 5.4 seconds. I would not chose a battery based upon acceleration. I had written earlier an extensive review of the P85+. With the high performance drive inverter, the P85+ or P85 can accelerate in 4.2 seconds in 0-60. I definitely felt a difference with the P inverter, but I did not care for the way the P85+ front lifted off the line.
The primary determining factor between the different batteries is the range of the car. The 60 has an EPA range of 208 miles, and the 85 has an EPA range of 265 miles. I constantly get asked how far my car can drive without recharging. The simple answer is in California probably around 200 miles with mostly freeway driving. But in near freezing weather with extensive gusts like my recent experience in the Black Hills, that range is closer to 150 miles.
I personally would not want to purchase a 60 for the shorter range. I have wanderlust and like to travel. Within the San Francisco Bay Area, I regularly visit friends in other corners of the region. I also like to take road trips and the 85 makes them much more pleasant. But the 60 word work very well for someone who routinely travels shorter distances and does not take many road trips.
The biggest difference between the loaner car and mine was the 19” wheels. I have been driving Tesla’s for five years now with sticky tires. I almost immediately missed the 21” wheels even on the Minneapolis freeways. They simply do not hug the road the same way. The loaner also had air suspension so it was a true 1:1 test.
Minneapolis in early May 2014 was littered with potholes, so I completely understand the practicality of the 19” wheels in a cold weather climate. I live in an area with some fun curvy roads and enjoy the 21” wheels, but I do have a neighbor down the street with 19” wheels.
Folding Side Mirrors
I realized the loaner had folding side mirrors when I parked the car and returned to find the mirrors folded in. There is a configuration setting if you want this to occur automatically or not.
I would only get this feature if I needed to regularly park my car in tight spaces or lived in a very urban setting.
The weather on this journey has been quite difficult. Lots of cold and windy days. When the sun popped out for a few minutes, I really wanted to enjoy a few moments of sun and missed the Panoramic Roof. The car also felt smaller with the standard roof.
I was pleasantly surprised that the loaner also had the parking sensors. When approaching an object, they indicate in green that you are close. As you get closer, the color moves to yellow with the distance in inches in the US.
For parking a car, I found these unnecessary. With the Model S you have a rear view camera to aid in backing up. The front distance is easy enough to judge. I could imagine again if I lived in a very urban area doing a lot of parallel parking this feature could be useful.
I had hoped the parking sensors would help with curb rash. Even my newly spruced up 21” wheels have small amounts of fresh curb rash. The parking sensors will unfortunately not help with curb rash as the curbs are too low from the side. When I pulled back into the Minneapolis service center, I was surprised that the parking sensor did indicate the front curb ahead as shown in the photo on the left.
In the end, I quickly concluded that my current configuration was the right purchase for me. Although the 60’s acceleration is still great, the battery range would be a hinderance. I also really enjoy driving with the 21” wheels despite pangs of guilt using so many tires. I am also glad I have the panoramic roof on my car.
The parking sensors and folding side mirrors are nice features but I can only really recommend them for people who live in urban situations with challenging parking.