151 – If local government was a car, what sort of car would it be? Part 5– the Tesla Model S.

Posted by Whistler                                                                                          700words


This is the final post in a series of five. The first review was for the Hyundai Excel Sprint council, the second was the Leyland P76 council, the third was the Volvo 240 series council, and the fourth was the Alfa Romeo 1750 GT council.

The last choice is the Tesla Model S. Futuristic, sustainable and unattainable.   This is really the only electric car that anyone talks about as if they would like to own one. With accelerations times equal to a Holden muscle car, or any other sporty fuel guzzler, they are attractive to the environmentalist car enthusiast. Put on your hessian pants, get in and floor it!

“The Tesla Model S is the car of the future fast-tracked to today.

That might sound like a lofty statement but the arrival of the silent liftback in Australia promises to change perceptions of what an electric car is and should be.

There’s the muscular looks, the eye-popping acceleration, the genuine 450km-plus battery-only range and the dynamic prowess that culminate in the Model S’ ‘new luxury’ appeal.

With the obligatory list of options fitted to our car, including $600 parking sensors, a high-spec sound system, Nappa leather trim and monster 21-inch wheels, among other features, the total sticker price rises to $161,800 plus on-road costs – drawing level with the Audi S6 (from $168,900) and BMW 550i (from $159,930), the Tesla’s closest competitors.

Of all the numbers surrounding the P85+, its rapid acceleration stands out most: an official 0-100km/h time of 4.4 seconds, a figure we managed to achieve during testing. For reference, those figures are akin to the brutal HSV GTS, powered by a 6.2-litre supercharged V8.

The performance credentials of the P85+ seemed to have been overlooked by the Tesla’s interior department. That’s because the seats lack the support required for heady applications; throw it into a corner with just a hint of enthusiasm and you’ll quickly find yourself bracing your entire body to stay inside the seat.

There are other oversights, too. No grab rails, no door storage or cubby holes, only two cupholders and some other curious omissions that perhaps could have been devised better.

Or course, there are other limitations with the Tesla. On a regular household power supply, the Model S takes about 10 hours to charge and costs around $25 to the bill payer. And range anxiety continues to be an Achilles’ Heel, despite being vastly better than current electric offerings.” www.drive.com.au Sam Hall, December 2014.

Review: The Tesla Model S Council.

The Tesla council is strongly aspirational. As we know, every Alfa Romeo council wants to be a Tesla council (except for those poor councils trapped by heritage controls) A Tesla council really wants to be progressive and seen as a leader. The CEO is on a trajectory (they will probably be male – the sports car thing). Despite limitations in their ability to acquire and drive the Tesla, they want one. And they will be telling everyone that they have one.

There is always lots of publicity around the awards they are winning, the success they are having in achieving esoteric goals, and there will be plenty of nice new 5-star architect-designed buildings around the place. No one will be able to challenge their position – they are a Tesla council.

The civic centre, the ‘multi-functional community collaboration centre’ (the MC2 Centre), is very trendy. It is one of those buildings that looks amazing but you can’t find the front door. Once inside, it is all glass and marble – you feel like getting your credit card out. Staff wear Armani uniforms and are fit, energetic and youthful.

Service delivery is measured in milliseconds. Staff have you in and out of the MC2 Centre in seconds and immediately you will find yourself trying to find the door again to get back in and get what you actually came for. It will be a quick and potentially unfulfilling encounter.

Verdict – This is the council for anyone whose identify is strongly linked to place and their association with high risk, futuristic and flamboyant behaviour. Be prepared for brutal acceleration and equally rapid deceleration. Make sure you don’t run out of charge.

Competitors – None really. Some councils aspire to space travel, and in time perhaps they will offer alternatives.

Value proposition – Swagger and power combined with sustainable energy and unpredictable but exciting service.