When I picked up my Tesla Model S 85 a couple of weeks back, Stefan Dekker, the helpful and charming delivery expert pointed out a slight defect in the paint job on the tailgate of the car.
I can honestly say that if hadn't shown me I would never have noticed. It's very subtle and you can only see it in strong direct light.
Anyway, he wasn't happy with it and although I drove off in the car that day, Tesla arranged a courtesy car while they took mine away to rectify the paint fault.
Today that car arrived at my house, another Tesla, very nice, I'm not going to complain. However they have loaned me a left hand drive Model S P85D.
It’s the one people love talking about because it has two power settings. Sport and Insane. That's right, you can set it to Insane mode.
The rated zero to sixty speed in Insane mode is 3.1 seconds.
I knew that, I had watched the videos on YouTube of people who didn't know about the car, sitting in the passenger seat and then screaming in terror as the car almost silently fires itself forward like the shell out of a long-range field gun.
I should have been prepared.... but nothing can prepare you for what happens.
It's so instant and violent that I truly couldn't see anything, my visions blurred and my mouth let forth a string of screams and obscenities.
This may have been because I lost blood flow to the frontal areas of my brain, all the blood immediately sloshed to the back under the brutal G force. Only the crude reptilian sub-brain had control and it was in fear of its continued existence.
So yes, the P85D is comically quick off the mark, with two electric motors, 4 wheel drive, incredible traction control, wide, low profile tyres and an immense amount of energy stored in the battery, this car sets the benchmark very high indeed.
Porsche, Aston Martin and Audi have all said they will make ‘the Tesla killer’ and launch a pure electric high performance car in… the next two or three years. No question, the old guard have got some serious catching up to do.
I’ve no idea which particular petrol powered supercar can achieve this kind of acceleration, I imagine there are some but I’m also confident they will be even more expensive than the Model S and let’s face it, that is very expensive.
But Tesla have already gone one further. If you are prepared to fork out an eye watering, stock-option-sell-off amount of money, you can get a further upgrade that gives you Ludicrous mode.
The car I drove takes a lazy 3.1 seconds to go from zero to sixty. The Ludicrous upgrade gets that down to 2.8 seconds.
But all show off, silly numbers aside, what does this frankly terrifying achievement tell us?
That electric cars can be fun, luxurious, fast, sexy, desirable? I suppose that’s in the bag, but the development of this technology does, unlike Thatcherite economic policy, have a genuine trickle down effect.
Of course a car like the P85D is for the very wealthy, it’s an aggressive, sporty beast that’s saying in an unequivocal manner, ‘fossil fuel, your time is up.’
It also means that other electric cars will get more efficient, have longer range and of course, be much, much cheaper. We are in a very interesting transition period where many of the projections imagined a mere 5 years ago have been way off the mark.
The uptake of the electric car has been slower than many suggested, but it’s accelerating at break neck speed, rather like the P85D