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Life with a Tesla Model S P100D: How we ended up here

By Cameron Kirby, 16 Mar 2017 Features

Tesla Model S P100D

Wheels runs Tesla’s fastest car ever through two weeks of real-world challenges to see if Australia is ready for the electric revolution

CAN Australia live with electric vehicles?

There are two schools of argument. Those who say yes point out that most Australians living the electric dream reside in densely populated urban centres where electric vehicles make sense, and rarely travel far from the comfort of a growing number of fast, public charging stations.

Those who say no rebut with the fact that Australia is a vast nation with thousands of kilometres of empty road unreachable by electric vehicles and therefore electron burners simply don’t make sense for our not-so-little continent.

I wanted an answer. To do this, I would put an EV to the test over two weeks. The pitch to our newly minted editor was for a base-model Tesla Model S, the car that most people are likely to think of when the words “electric” and “vehicle” are uttered together.

But Tesla didn’t have a Model S 60 on fleet, the entry-level five-door liftback with a single electric motor and a 60kWh battery giving an estimated range of 400km.

Instead, we were given the key to a P100D, the Californian electric carmaker’s hypercar-slaying flagship.

The keys would be mine for two weeks, with the only caveat a ban on officially speed-testing the car – we were instead invited to thrash a different P100D on a track another day.

I would use the Model S as I would any regular car. There would be no home charging, it would need to do back-road blasts and interstate roadtrips, and lug large loads as a scrupulous assessment of its performance.

In two weeks I racked up 2835 kilometres, and a clearer picture of the realities of EV ownership had started to emerge.

Over seven instalments published over the next two weeks, I’ll break down the different aspects of life with an EV that also happens to be the quickest car in Australia.

With each update, I’d love to hear the reaction from readers. Drop us a line at wheels@wheelsmag.com.au. Do you think EVs can make sense in Australia? What is the future of automotive culture going to look like in 10 years’ time? How does the prospect of owning an electric car sound to you?