A look in the mirror

A look in the mirror

A retrospective of one of the most important cars of this century

By Keith Barry

The Model S pushed Tesla Motors — and electric vehicles — into the mainstream with a revolutionary, battery-powered sedan that provided sports car performance, record autonomy, and bold innovations. He went overboard and sometimes stumbled, but his legacy is what started the electric car revolution, forcing every established carmaker to respond.

July 1, 2003

Tesla Motors was founded by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning as an equal parts car and technology company. PayPal co-founder Elon Musk became president in 2004 and was later named co-founder.

February 2008

The Lotus-based Tesla Roadster makes its debut as the first mainstream electric vehicle powered by lithium-ion batteries. Musk, who led the design of the Roadster, became CEO in 2008. Under his watch, Tesla will become the first modern manufacturer of mass-market electric vehicles.

The first Tesla Model S from CR.

Photo: John Powers / Consumer Reports

April 2011

Consumer Reports tours Tesla headquarters in Palo Alto, California. We see an original version of the Model S and learn that it will be available with three autonomies: 160 miles, 230 miles and 300 miles. By comparison, the 2011 Nissan Leaf had an estimated range of 73 miles from the EPA. Peter Rawlinson, who was the chief engineer of the Model S, told CR that the new vehicle will be “appreciated by the driving expert, but it is not unpleasant for the uninitiated”. Rawlinson is now the CEO of Lucid Motors.

December 2011

Tesla announces pricing for the upcoming Model S: The base sedan with a 40 kWH battery (and a range of about 160 miles) will sell for $ 57,400 before a federal tax deduction of $ 7,500 and will be released in the winter of 2012. model S kWh with a range of 230 miles will be sold for $ 67,400 and the version 85 kWh with a range of 300 miles will be sold for $ 77,400. A S Performance model with a range of 300 miles and a time of 0 to 60 4.4 seconds will sell for $ 87,400 before taxes.

June 22, 2012

Tesla begins delivering its new Model S sedan to customers.

CR receives the first Tesla Model S we tested in January 2013.

Photo: Gabe Shenhar / Consumer Reports

January 11, 2013

Our Model S, which we bought online, is delivered to our test track in Colchester, Conn. The tests start in earnest. Thanks to its 265-mile range (estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency) from its 85 kW battery and excellent road performance, it earned the top Consumer Reports rating in 2013. We call the EV “groundbreaking” and “a revelation.”

April 2013

Tesla introduces a leasing program and guarantees to buy a Model S again for 50 percent of its original value after three years. This innovative program, known as the “resale value guarantee”, expires in 2016.

May of 2013

Tesla says it will expand its Supercharger network to 27 from 8 by 2015 and build several Superchargers by that year for Tesla drivers to cross the US

Tesla Model S vehicles parked at Supercharger station in 2016.

June 20, 2013

Tesla demonstrates the ability to “hot-swap” batteries in a Model S in about 90 seconds — twice the speed of a comparable refill. The company suggests that owners will be able to swap out used batteries for $ 100 for fully charged Tesla stations across the US, but this strategy is being abandoned to focus on the Supercharger network.

The interior of a 2012 Tesla Model S.

Photo: John Powers / Consumer Reports

February 2014

Consumer Reports calls the Tesla Model S a top choice: Best overall.

March 28, 2014

Following a number of high-profile fires in the Model S, Tesla is announcing new additional reinforcements, including a titanium plate, to protect the electric battery from punctures due to road debris.

October 2014

Tesla introduces the Model S P85D, which has dual engines and four-wheel drive. Begins to equip Model S sedans with automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane-keeping assistance (LKA) and adaptive cruise control (ACC). It also includes hardware that will eventually be able to automate some steering, braking and acceleration functions. Although the software is not yet active, it calls the Autopilot feature. We are buying a four-wheel drive Tesla Model S P85D sedan and it performs better in our tests than any other car before it. Testers tell us that it exceeds the limits of performance and efficiency, while maintaining practicality and luxury, although it does not have the interior luxury of vehicles of similar price and driving is now more stable and powerful.

CR Tesla Model S P85D on our test track in 2014.

Photo: John Powers / Consumer Reports

October 2015

The annual Consumer Reports car survey shows a drop in credibility based on reports from around 1,400 Model S owners. Based on these reviews, Consumer Reports stops proposing the car for the first time. Since then, the reliability of the Model S has been up and down.

February 2016

Consumer Reports tests the new “Summon” feature that allows the vehicle to be operated remotely from a telephone application. Once we understand that the vehicle will not stop automatically if the Tesla app closes, leaving the vehicle out of the phone user’s control, we contact Tesla immediately. Musk agrees to provide over-the-air updates that require the user to hold down the on-screen button to move the car and prevent the vehicle from moving if the app closes. We test the system again and confirm the repair. We are impressed with the speed of the update.

Tesla has updated the Summon app after Consumer Reports revealed potential security issues. Here, CR is testing the app in 2016.

Photo: John Powers / Consumer Reports

April 2016

Tesla renews the exterior of the Model S, adding new investment elements and headlights. The interior has new optional premium finishes and a built-in charger upgraded from 40 amps to 48 amps for faster charging.

May 7, 2016

Joshua Brown died while using autopilot after his Model S crashed into a tractor-trailer crossing a road near Williston, Florida. Brown was a Tesla fan and a Navy veteran who had previously made autopilot videos — one of which was retweeted by Elon Musk. The crash is the first autopilot-related death in the United States and is being investigated by both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Transportation Safety Commission (NTSB). Tesla then updates the Autopilot software to reduce the amount of time a driver can spend with his hands off the steering wheel before being notified.

Joshua Brown is killed when his Tesla Model S hits a tractor near Williston, Florida, on May 7, 2016.

Photo: National Transportation Safety Board

March 2017

Consumer Reports is downgrading the Model S and Model X SUVs because Tesla has not yet activated the Automatic Emergency Braking System (AEB), a safety feature it said would be standard. Tesla is releasing an over-the-air update to launch AEB in late April. The score is restored as soon as the possibility is restored.

October 2018

The reliability rating of the Model S drops to “below average” this year as well and its overall rating is no longer high enough for the sedan to be proposed by CR. The owners reported suspension problems and other issues with the electric door handle.

Just one of Elon Musk’s attention-grabbing tweets – and promises for the future of self-driving cars. This tweet is from 2021.

Source: Twitter

Autumn 2020

Consumer Reports is conducting a series of evaluations of Tesla Full Self-Driving Capability. We find that they operate inconsistently. For example, Traffic Light and Stop Control is designed to cause the car to stop completely at all stop lights, even when they are green, unless the driver bypasses the system. In addition to the unusual stopping behavior at the green lights, Tesla also passed us through stop signs, hit the brakes for signs of retreat when the merger was clear, and stopped at each exit as it passed a traffic lane. There were no significant security improvements in further iterations of the FSD beta software.

June 2021

Tesla reveals the ultra-high-performance Model S Plaid — yes, that’s a Spaceballs report — which promises a time of 0-60 mph in 1.99 seconds, a time of 9.23 seconds in a quarter mile and a top speed of 200 mph. These achievements are achieved with the equivalent of 1,020 hp from the electric dual engine transmission system and a brand new battery that gives this version a range of 396 miles. The carmaker also has an update for all upcoming Model S sedans, including a yoke steering wheel, a touch screen gear selector and a turn signal lever that has been replaced by a button on the steering wheel balance.

August 2021

After several widely reported accidents, the NHTSA launches an investigation and instructs Tesla to share information about autopilot design and full self-driving, any technology-related accident reports, and any marketing material that states what technologies can do. .

February 2022

CR publishes its review of the updated Tesla Model S of 2021 and says that “it would probably have collected the highest score in road tests we have ever recorded, if it were not for its new weight style steering wheel”. We were impressed by the 405-mile range, sporty handling and exciting acceleration. But changes to the steering wheel, windshield wipers and indicator levers and gear selector “bring significant compromises in usability, maneuverability and comfort,” we write.

The addition of a yoke steering wheel did not improve our opinion of the Model S.

Photo: John Powers / Consumer Reports

June 2022

NHTSA announces that its preliminary research on Autopilot has been upgraded to mechanical analysis. This means that the service will review additional data and conduct vehicle evaluations and explore how the Autopilot design can increase the risk of a collision occurring when a driver stops watching the road.

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Consumer Reports is an independent, non-profit organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer and healthier world. CR does not endorse any products or services and does not accept advertisements. Copyright © 2022, Consumer Reports, Inc.

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