The Tesla Model S is a luxury all-electric, five-door ‘liftback’ passenger car built by Tesla Inc. It is currently built only in the USA, with US sales beginning in June 2012. Australian sales began in December 2014.
Since its introduction, the Model S has continued to win innumerable awards for its innovative design, extremely high level of safety, sleek looks and luxury features. In September 2018, global sales of the Model S passed 250,000.
At almost 5 metres long, it fits into the Australian ‘large car’ segment. With prices starting over AU$100,000, it is considered a luxury car competing against the likes of BMW, Mercedes and Jaguar.
Tesla have introduced many innovative ideas to the sales model of its cars. These include continual updating of the features in existing cars via ‘over-the-air’ updates, a direct sales model, and potentially soon to come – online only sales via the Tesla website.
Tesla also include as an option a high level of semi-autonomous driving capacity called ‘Autopilot’. Tesla predict that their vehicles will be able to operate ‘fully autonomously’ within a few years through the addition of over-the-air software improvements in all ‘Autopilot 2.0’ equipped Tesla vehicles. (Note: road regulations are well behind this development – so it will be a long time before it is legal to drive ‘hands-off’ on Australian roads).
Having been on-sale in Australia since 2014, there are also a number of options for second-hand purchases as well as new purchasing.
Note: between late April and mid-July 2019, Tesla again offer a ‘Standard Range’ version of the Model S with a 75kWh battery. (This option has been offered, and dropped, on a couple of occasions).
Tesla Model S Variants
|Variant||Battery (kWh)||WLTP Range (km)||EPA Range (km)||Power Output (Nm)||Maximum Torque (Nm)||Plug Types (AC/DC)||Max Charge Rate (AC/DC)||Price|
|Tesla Model S 75D||75||490||401||193||330||Type 2(AC) / Tesla SC (DC)||21/120||$140,000+|
|Tesla Model S Long Range||100||652||652||210||420||Type 2(AC) / Tesla SC (DC)||21/200||$135,990+|
|Tesla Model S Plaid||100||637||560||250||1020||Type 2(AC) / Tesla SC (DC)||11.5/200||$186,990+|
Under the old NEDC test cycle still used in Australia – the Model S has a test cycle range of 650 km for the ‘Performance’, and 660 km for the ‘Long Range’ according to the Australian Tesla website.
Real world driving ranges however are generally found to be less than NEDC test cycle figures. For instance, the Long Range version typically has a real-world range in the order of 540 km.
As an example, the Model S Long Range would, at its limit, make a round-trip from the Melbourne CBD to Bairnsdale and back – provided neither the heating or air conditioning were used. For this sort of trip, a 30 min to 1hr top-up AC charge over lunch in Bairnsdale, or a 5 – 10 min DC fast charge along the way at the soon-to-open Traralgon Tesla supercharger site would be recommended.
The Model S is fitted with a modified Type 2 socket that does (depending on EVSE to vehicle communications) single phase AC charging, three phase AC charging or DC fast-charging.
The current Model S can charge at a maximum rate of 7.7 kW using single phase AC, or 11kW for the standard charger using 3 phase AC.
Charging speeds vary on the capacity of the EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment) it is connected to. Charging times are shown in the table below.
Notes re AC charging for the Model S:
1. Earlier versions of the Model S with an optional second charger could charge at up to 22 kW AC. With the update model in 2016 (recognisable by the smaller nose trim), the maximum with the optional higher rate charger was 16.5 kW. However, Tesla no longer offer any option for higher rate AC charging above the highest standard three phase rate of 11kW.
2. Given the flexibility of the Tesla Wall Connector EVSE and the variety of charging rate options it can be set to (starting from 1.4kW), not all possible charging rates are shown.
DC fast charging
The current Model S can DC fast-charge at up to 120kW at any Tesla supercharger, or with the use of a special adaptor, at CHAdeMO DC fast-chargers. (In Australia, these are currently only available at a 50kW maximum charge rate).
Notes re DC charging for the Model S:
- The coming Tesla Model 3 being shipped now to Europe (and soon to Australia) is fitted with the common standard CCS2 socket instead of the Tesla modified Type 2 socket. It is also rumoured that the Tesla models S and X will make the change to CCS2 in the not-too-distant future.
- The change to CCS2 by the Model 3 means that an adaptor from Tesla modified Type 2 to CCS2 is soon to come.
Given there is already a Tesla adaptor available for CHAdeMO fast chargers, with the addition of a CCS2 to modified Type 2 adaptor, Teslas will be able to charge at ANY DC fast-charger!
To get the shortest home charging time for a new Model S, an 11kW, 3 phase AC EVSE would be needed.However, depending on your existing power supply and/or charging needs, it may only be practicable to fit a lower rated EVSE. (See notes below). Lower capacity EVSEs will increase charging times, as shown in table
Important notes for any home EVSE installation:
- High charging rates are generally not needed for overnight charging.
- Homes do not normally have three phase AC connected.
- Switchboard and/or electrical supply upgrades may be needed if your home is more than 20 years old. (See fact-sheet on ‘Making your home EV ready’, or read articles in:
- EV News, (AEVA newsletter) issue 231, or
- ReNew edition 143. (The magazine published by Renew)
Tesla Model S Time to Charge (hrs)
|Battery size (kWh)||10A socket (2.2kW)||16A 1 phase (3.6kW)||30A 1 phase (7kW)||16A 3 phase (11kW)||CCS2 (50kW)||Tesla Supercharger (120kW)||Tesla V3 Supercharger (250kW)|
|75||34h||21h||11h||7h||1h15 (to 80%)||30m (to 80%)||-|
|100||42h||28h||14.25h||9h||>2h (to 80%)||40m (to 80%)||20m (to 80%)|
HOME CHARGING CONSIDERATIONS
To get the shortest home charging time for a new Model S, an 11kW, 3 phase AC EVSE would be needed.
However, depending on your existing power supply and/or charging needs, it may only be practicable to fit a lower rated EVSE. (See notes below). Lower capacity EVSEs will increase charging times, as shown in table 1.
Tesla Model S Specifications
|Cargo space Front Boot (litres)||Cargo space Rear Boot (litres)||Cargo Space with rear seats folded (litres)||Length (mm)||Width (mm)||Width with mirrors (mm)||Height (mm)||Tow Rating (braked / unbraked)|