model-s-tesla motors
model-s-tesla motors

Photos Courtesy of Tesla Motors

The Tesla Model S promises one thing that most other cars can’t: a snowy future.

You see, the Tesla is all-electric. Not a fossil fuel in sight. Skiers should be worried about global warming, and one way to address it is to reduce your carbon footprint. The Tesla Model S will do that, and much more.

The new Model S Performance from Tesla is the first electric vehicle (EV) on the world’s auto market to go from 0 to 100 km/hr in 4.4 seconds. It’s also the first EV capable of competing with a comparable gas vehicle in all the important categories: comfort, features, performance, and price. It’s right there with cars like the Audi A7 in every category but one: all wheel drive.

The Model S is rear wheel drive, which might concern some skiers. With its battery pack mounted low as a stressed member of its chassis, the Model S handles impeccably. Its design reminds one of the original VW Beetle, with the engine hanging out the back. In this case, an electric motor. All signs point the way to good traction in inclement weather, particularly with four winter tires mounted. But for AWD, skiers might be interested in the Tesla Model X, promised for 2014. It has available dual motor AWD, and the wildest concept car doors — Falcon doors — going.

First some history. The Tesla is a pet project of PayPal founder Elon Musk, whose multi millions helped him start the car company. At the same time Musk—who happens to be half Canadian (his mother was a Canuck) — also developed SpaceX, the first private firm to successfully launch a rocket into space. All this and he was only in his 30s.

Enter Tesla’s Model S. It’s is a new car from the ground up. Blank slate — everything you see, feel, and touch comes from the creative brains of Musk’s talented designers.

It’s stylish, understated, and a little thing called green. The Tesla has no tailpipe. There’s not a hint of internal combustion. Hybrid vehicles look positively sinful next to the Tesla. This car delivers Porsche-level performance without a drop of gas.

Smooth electric steering, an adaptive air suspension, and non- regenerative brakes contribute to an enlightened experience when the roads get twisty.

model-s-tesla motors
model-s-tesla motors

The Model S carries five adults in comfort, with a massive 17-inch video screen as the centerpiece of the interior. Two rear-facing jump seats in the luggage area — reminiscent of a 1960’s era station wagon — allow your kids to wave at the cars behind you. That brings the Model S’s passenger count to seven. If Tesla needs to upgrade your car’s software it can use it’s 3G connectivity to push through the latest version.

But the elephant in the room with EVs remains: Will the Tesla strand you at the side of the road? After all, the auto service can’t drop off a gallon of electrons and get you back on your way.

Tesla gives you the choice of different sized batteries. The company claims you will be able to go 300 miles on a single charge, and that charge will take from a few hours up to 10 hours depending on the voltage of the recharging source. But, as in a gas vehicle, your driving style makes a huge difference. If you’re dusting off Corvettes and Vipers at every stoplight, you’re going to drain that battery in fewer than 300  miles. If you can resist temptation and dedicate yourself to responsible driving, your range will be close to or greater than the company’s estimate. As they say on TV: “Your mileage may vary.”

Tesla is promising a network of supercharging stations across the U.S. and Canada that will provide a half charge in just 20 minutes, and a 200-mile range would only take 30 minutes. Currently there are just 15 stations up and running in the U.S., with a promise of a coast-to-coast network by 2015. In Canada, the promised network is just that: promised. No stations now, a few by 2014. Even when fully nation-wide in the U.S., by 2015, the network will only cover the Windsor- Quebec City corridor and Vancouver to Edmonton.

That’s not to say you can’t charge a Tesla without a supercharger station. Just plug it in at home and you’re golden. It’s those road trips that raise range anxiety issues.

Performance wise, however, with this cool car Elon Musk has stepped up to the plate and cleared the bases with one swing. This Tesla is fast, elegant, cutting-edge, and priced the same or lower than comparable gas-fuelled competitors.

Skiers will get to the hill with vastly reduced carbon footprints. And that will mean skiing will be more than a family legend when the grandkids are old enough to slide. They’ll be able to slide themselves on carpets of real snow, thanks to vehicles like the Tesla.

SNOW Magazine


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