Range Envy

While walking through the UTC mall after a rough night of Christmas shopping, I stopped to gaze through the window at the Tesla store to look upon the Tesla S with range envy and dreams of driving 400 + miles on a single charge.

The EPA’s official range for the Tesla S luxury model equipped with an 85 kWh lithium-ion battery pack is 265 miles, which is amazing in comparison to the Leaf’s meager 73 miles.  I could drive from San Diego to Santa Barbara on a single charge or drive from San Diego to LA and back on a single charge.

Now this is the kind of range an EV needs to supplant the family car.  Unfortunately, the luxury of range comes with a luxury price tag.  The Tesla S Signature Performance model will set you back $110k.  It’s not really in the family car price range but you will be able to get a 60 kWh version for less than $60k.  It’s still not in that family car sweet spot but then it doesn’t look or perform like a family car either.

What I like best about the Tesla S is that it proves an EV can have the performance and “full tank” range comparable to a conventional car.  While it does cost more to have this kind of range, the value is there and evident in the cost/mile of range.  If you compare the cost and range of the Tesla 60 kWh model, $288/mile, to the Leaf’s $479/mile, you get a lot more value than you might think.

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