Testing Tesla Autopilot at 70mphMarch 4, 2016
Before you get all excited, let me say I have not tested Tesla’s Autopilot at 70mph… sadly. But I do want to point you to a video today of someone else doing it, on UK roads, in real traffic. It’s quite amazing, so please do check the video out below.
I was lucky enough to test a Tesla Model S in late 2014. This was before they introduced 4-wheel drive or autopilot but it was still the most amazing car I have ever been in. Let me explain why.
Firstly, the sense of space. The Tesla Model S is a large car, but even so there’s a surprising amount of room inside it. This is because the “engine” sits right on the axle and, according the the chap who was showing me around, is about the size of a watermelon. This, along with the batteries being housed in the car’s floor, means there’s loads of room for people. There are no lumps and bumps for the drive-shaft to make its way down the length of the car or anything like that. The nice thing about the engine not being in its traditional position is that the front of the car is also freed up for an extra boot; handy if you have lots of luggage to transport.
Secondly, the quality of the interior is superb. I know Tesla, like other car companies, uses their best vehicles for demonstrations, but it was stunning. The leather seats were comfortable, and the all-digital dashboard and centre console just spoke to the geek in me.
Thinking of looks, the exterior of the Model S is no slouch either! The looks I got as I drove through the streets of Glasgow were a sight to behold.
The main reason this is the most amazing car I have ever been in, though, is the way it drives. To be in a car that glides quietly through the streets is a lovely thing, although I’m aware from the number of electric cars our local council has that you can hear them coming… it’s just the tyre noise you hear rather than an engine.
What astonished me was the sheer power of the Model S. My demonstrator asked me to slow down at one point to let the car in front of me pull ahead, and then asked me to put my foot down hard. It was electrifying (pun intended) as we rocketed forward. I’m of the opinion that, even if you hardly ever use it, it’s good to know your car has extra power if you do happen to need it. There’s certainly no doubt in my mind that the Tesla Model S has as much power as you would ever want on the public roads… and then some.
I have to admit I fell in love with the Model S, even while at the same time accepting that I would never be able to afford it. See, it isn’t cheap. The base model in the UK is £54,000. Even knowing that, every time I see one on the road I think, “one day”.
The Model S has evolved significantly since I had my test drive, and continues to do so via over-the-air software updates. For the latest news and information, check out the Tesla UK website.