Tesla Electric Cars: The Complete Guide

tesla electric car

Overview


Tesla Inc. (formerly Tesla Motors Inc.) was founded by American engineers, Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning in 2003. They named the Palo Alto based company, Tesla, as a tribute to the engineer Nikola Tesla.  In fact, Elon Musk (Co-Founder, Tesla) become involved with the company post the founding of Tesla Motors. He was the lead  investor in the 2004  Series A investment round.

In 2008, Tesla unveiled its first zero-emission electric vehicle (EV), the all-electric Roadster.  As they say, the rest is history. Tesla, Inc is a publicly listed company and has a market value higher than any other automotive manufacturer. Elon Musk is also ranked as one of the richest individuals in the world. According to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, he is ranked second with a net worth of US$187 billion.

Tesla has the following battery-electric vehicle (BEV) models either in production or in development. In 2020, the EV company surpassed a production volume of 1 million plug-in electric cars.

Tesla also sells battery energy storage, solar panels, solar roof and other EV charging related equipment and accessories. Tesla also owns and operates a vast network of Tesla Superchargers (20,000+ across more than 4,500 locations).


Electric Cars: The Basics


For those of you new to zero-emission electric driving, we recommend a read of the following articles:


The All-Electric Tesla Model S Saloon


The Model S was at one time, the second most-sold plug-in electric car globally, after the ubiquitous Nissan Leaf EV.  The Model S was first introduced in 2012. Since its launch, the Tesla green car has achieved significant milestones to include:

  • Best selling plug-in all-electric car in 2015 and 2016
  • Top selling new car in Norway in September and December 2013 
  • Top selling new car in Denmark in December 2015 
  • In 2019, Motor Trend Magazine named the Model S as the ultimate car of the year 

The United Kingdom is in the top 10 markets for the sales of the Model S electric vehicle (EV). The United States is the largest market. As of 2021, the pure electric saloon is available in three variants: the Long Range, Plaid and Plaid +.     

Tesla Model S electric car
The All-Electric Tesla Model S Saloon (credit:Tesla)

At A Glance
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Vehicle Type:Saloon
Plug-In Car Grant (PiCG):Not Available
Engine:Electric
Available In UK:Yes

Trims (3 Options)
Long Range (from £83,980)
Plaid (from £110,980)
Plaid + (from £139,980)

PROSCONS
Excellent EV range and access to Supercharger networkExpensive. Cheaper pure electric alternatives available
Powerful and fast electric performanceBuild quality issues
Excellent interior space and technologyFull Self-Driving option not cheap (£6,800)

EV Battery & Emissions
EV Battery Type:Lithium-ion
EV Battery Capacity:Available in two battery size (95 kWh and 120 kWh). The 120 kWh is available on the Plaid +
Charging:250 kW rapid charging standard (Supercharge up to 175 miles in 15 mins). On-board charger 16.5 kW AC
Charge Port:Type 2
EV Cable Type:Type 2
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)
Warranty:8 years or 120,000 miles

Dimensions
Height (mm):1445
Width (mm):1964
Length (mm):4970
Wheelbase (mm):2960

Tesla Model S Long Range
EV Battery Capacity:95 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):412 miles
Electric Energy Consumption (Wh/km):N/A
Charging:250 kW Rapid Charging (on-board charger: 16.5 kW AC)
Top Speed:155 mph
0-60 mph:3.1 seconds
Drive:All-wheel drive (AWD)
Electric Motor (kW):398
Max Power (hp):670
Torque (Nm):N/A
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:5
Doors:4
Driving Modes:N/A
Weight (kg):2,069
Colours:5

Tesla Model S Plaid
EV Battery Capacity:95 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):390 miles
Electric Energy Consumption (Wh/km):N/A
Charging:250 kW Rapid Charging (on-board charger: 16.5 kW AC)
Top Speed:200 mph
0-60 mph:1.99 seconds
Drive:All-wheel drive (AWD)
Electric Motor (kW):760
Max Power (hp):1020
Torque (Nm):N/A
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:5
Doors:4
Driving Modes:N/A
Weight (kg):2,162
Colours:5

The All-Electric Tesla Model 3


The all-electric Tesla Model 3 is a best-selling electric vehicle globally. Since its unveiling in 2016, the Tesla Model 3 has been making history.  Within a week of opening the booking for the ‘affordable’ Tesla, orders had topped 325,000 units. As of December 2020, more than 800,000 pure electric Model 3 cars have been delivered.

Deliveries to US customers commenced in July 2017. In February 2019, the Model 3 become the best selling plug-in electric car in the US. For the UK market, the Model 3 bookings opened in May 2019, with deliveries commencing in June 2019.  

tesla model 3 electric car
The All-Electric Tesla Model 3 (credit:Tesla)

At A Glance
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Vehicle Type:Saloon
Plug-In Car Grant (PiCG):Not Available
Engine:Electric
Available In UK:Yes

Trims (3 Options)
Standard Range Plus (from £40,990)
Long Range (from £48,490)
Performance (from £59,990)

PROSCONS
A best-selling electric carExpensive. Cheaper pure electric alternatives available
Fast electric performanceBuild quality can be improved
Good EV battery range and Supercharger networkLow rankings in 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey

EV Battery & Emissions
EV Battery Type:Lithium-ion
EV Battery Capacity:Available in three battery sizes (53 kWh, 78 kWh, 82 kWh)
Charging:Up to 250 kW rapid charging standard. On-board charger 11 kW AC (3-Phase)
Charge Port:Type 2
EV Cable Type:Type 2
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)
Warranty:8 years or 100,000 miles

Dimensions
Height (mm):1443
Width (mm):1849
Length (mm):4694
Wheelbase (mm):2875

Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus
EV Battery Capacity:53 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):278 miles
Electric Energy Consumption (Wh/km):154
Charging:170 kW Rapid Charging (on-board charger: 11 kW AC)
Top Speed:140 mph
0-60 mph:5.3 seconds
Drive:Rear-wheel drive (RWD)
Electric Motor (kW):239
Max Power (PS):325
Torque (Nm):420
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:5
Doors:4
Driving Modes:N/A
Weight (kg):1,625
Colours:5

Tesla Model 3 Long Range
EV Battery Capacity:78 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):360 miles
Electric Energy Consumption (Wh/km):152
Charging:190 kW Rapid Charging (on-board charger: 11 kW AC)
Top Speed:145 mph
0-60 mph:4.2 seconds
Drive:All-wheel drive (AWD)
Electric Motor (kW):324
Max Power (PS):441
Torque (Nm):493
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:5
Doors:4
Driving Modes:N/A
Weight (kg):1,844
Colours:5

Tesla Model 3 Performance
EV Battery Capacity:82 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):352 miles
Electric Energy Consumption (Wh/km):165
Charging:250 kW Rapid Charging (on-board charger: 11 kW AC)
Top Speed:162 mph
0-60 mph:3.1 seconds
Drive:All-wheel drive (AWD)
Electric Motor (kW):377
Max Power (PS):513
Torque (Nm):660
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:5
Doors:4
Driving Modes:N/A
Weight (kg):1,844
Colours:5

The All-Electric Tesla Model X SUV


The Model X prototype was unveiled in 2012.  The mid-sized all-electric SUV with its Falcon wing doors has certainly contributed to Tesla’s cache.  The Model X was designed from the Model S platform and still retains much in common with the Model S.  The Model X deliveries commenced in late 2015. 

Like other Tesla electric cars, the Model X has also claimed its fair share of awards.  In 2017, Forbes named the zero tailpipe emission SUV the ‘Best Vehicle of the Year’.  In the same year the Model X was also awarded the ‘Top Green Vehicle’ by the American Automobile Association. The Model X SUV also holds the unique distinction of achieving a Guinness World Record for the ‘heaviest tow by an electric production passenger vehicle’. In 2018, the zero-emission electric vehicle (EV) towed a Boeing 787-9 aircraft.

As of 2021, the pure electric SUV is available in only two trims, the Long Range and the Plaid model.     

Tesla Model X electric SUV
The All-Electric Tesla Model X SUV (credit:Tesla)

At A Glance
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Vehicle Type:SUV
Plug-In Car Grant (PiCG):Not Available
Engine:Electric
Available In UK:Yes

Trims (2 Options)
Long Range (from £90,980)
Plaid (from £110,980)

PROSCONS
Excellent EV range and access to Supercharger networkExpensive. Cheaper pure electric alternatives available
Powerful and fast electric performanceBuild quality issues
Excellent interior space and easy access to rear seatsFull Self-Driving option not cheap (£6,800)

EV Battery & Emissions
EV Battery Type:Lithium-ion
EV Battery Capacity:Available in one battery size (95 kWh)
Charging:250 kW rapid charging standard (Supercharge up to 175 miles in 15 mins). On-board charger 16.5 kW AC
Charge Port:Type 2
EV Cable Type:Type 2
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)
Warranty:8 years or 120,000 miles

Dimensions
Height (mm):1684
Width (mm):1999
Length (mm):5036
Wheelbase (mm):2965

Tesla Model X Long Range
EV Battery Capacity:95 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):360 miles
Electric Energy Consumption (Wh/km):N/A
Charging:250 kW Rapid Charging (on-board charger: 16.5 kW AC)
Top Speed:155 mph
0-60 mph:3.8 seconds
Drive:All-wheel drive (AWD)
Electric Motor (kW):500
Max Power (hp):670
Torque (Nm):N/A
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:7
Doors:5
Driving Modes:N/A
Weight (kg):2,352
Colours:5

Tesla Model X Plaid
EV Battery Capacity:95 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):340 miles
Electric Energy Consumption (Wh/km):N/A
Charging:250 kW Rapid Charging (on-board charger: 16.5 kW AC)
Top Speed:163 mph
0-60 mph:3.5 seconds
Drive:All-wheel drive (AWD)
Electric Motor (kW):760
Max Power (hp):1.020
Torque (Nm):N/A
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:7
Doors:5
Driving Modes:N/A
Weight (kg):2,455
Colours:5

The All-Electric Tesla Model Y


The Model Y is a Tesla Model 3 based crossover with inspiration also taken from the Tesla Model X SUV.  However the Model Y does not have the iconic ‘falcon wing doors’ used in the Model X. The Model Y has been developed to further increase the ‘mass market appeal’ of Tesla pure electric cars.  A strategy very similar to the successful Tesla Model 3.  However, unlike the Model 3, the Model Y has room for up to seven adults with an optional third row.  The extra seats are an additional cost. 

The battery electric vehicle (BEV) is packed with technology, to include, 12 sensors to detect nearby vehicles, a 160 m forward facing radar for a long-range view of distant objects and 360 degrees cameras to provide maximum visibility. The Model Y has ‘Full Self-Driving’ capability (option priced at US$ 10,000 in the US and EUR 7,500 in Italy).  The Model Y will compete head-on with the Ford Mustang Mach-E SUV and also with the award winning Jaguar I-PACE electric SUV

Tesla commenced Model Y deliveries for the US market in early 2020 (6 months ahead of schedule).  Deliveries for the UK were slated for end 2020, however, this has now been moved to later in 2021 or potentially even 2022. There are currently two trim options, but a third option is expected in due course.   

Tesla Model Y electric car
The All-Electric Tesla Model Y (credit:Tesla)

At A Glance
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Vehicle Type:SUV (crossover)
Plug-In Car Grant (PiCG):Not Available
Engine:Electric
Available In UK:Yes

Trims (2 Options)
Long Range (UK prices yet to be disclosed. Priced at US$ 43,190 for the US market)
Performance (prices yet to be disclosed. Priced at US$ 53,190 for the US market)

PROSCONS
Better priced than a Tesla Model XExpensive. Cheaper pure electric alternatives available
Fast electric performanceadditional 3rd row passengers will have very limited headroom given the sloping roofline
Good EV battery range and Supercharger networkFull Self-Driving option not cheap

EV Battery & Emissions
EV Battery Type:Lithium-ion
EV Battery Capacity:Available in one battery size (75 kWh)
Charging:250 kW rapid charging standard. On-board charger 11 kW AC (3-Phase)
Charge Port:Type 2
EV Cable Type:Type 2
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)
Warranty:8 years or 120,000 miles

Dimensions
Height (mm):1624
Width (mm):1920
Length (mm):4750
Wheelbase (mm):2890

Tesla Model Y Long Range
EV Battery Capacity:75 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):326 miles
Electric Energy Consumption (Wh/km):171
Charging:250 kW Rapid Charging (on-board charger: 11 kW AC)
Top Speed:135 mph
0-60 mph:4.8 seconds
Drive:All-wheel drive (AWD)
Electric Motor (kW):258
Max Power (PS):351
Torque (Nm):527
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:5 (additional row option up to 7)
Doors:5
Driving Modes:N/A
Weight (kg):2,003
Colours:5

Tesla Model Y Performance
EV Battery Capacity:75 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):303 miles
Electric Energy Consumption (Wh/km):177
Charging:250 kW Rapid Charging (on-board charger: 11 kW AC)
Top Speed:155 mph
0-60 mph:3.5 seconds
Drive:All-wheel drive (AWD)
Electric Motor (kW):340
Max Power (PS):462
Torque (Nm):639
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:5 (additional row option up to 7)
Doors:5
Driving Modes:N/A
Weight (kg):2,003
Colours:5

The All-Electric Tesla Roadster


If there is one individual that is knowledgeable about velocity, acceleration, speed and range, it is the founder of Space Exploration Technologies Corp, known simply as Space X, the company that very recently concluded a high-profile mission to space. The founder of Space X, is also a founder of many other innovative companies to include Tesla, Inc., a leading force in the low carbon automotive sector. Yes, it is Elon Musk.

It should be no surprise that Elon Musk has commonality in his aspirations for space and earth travel. The all new Tesla Roadster battery-electric vehicle (BEV) is a case in point.

tesla electric car
The All-Electric New Tesla Roadster (credit: Tesla)

The California based electric vehicle manufacturer claims the new electric Roadster supercar will be the “quickest car in the world, with record-setting acceleration, range and performance.” Yes, the production-series Roadster electric car is set to break a number of records, to include the fastest production car ever built.

At A Glance
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
0-60 mph:1.9 seconds
0-100 mph:4.2 seconds
Engine:Electric
Top Speed:250 mph +
Wheel Torque (Nm):10,000
Range:620 miles
Drive:All-Wheel Drive (AWD)
Seats:4
Available In UK:Yes (can be reserved)

The zero tailpipe emission electric vehicle can achieve 0-60 mph in 1.9 seconds, with a top speed of 250 mph. The EV can accelerate 0-100 mph in 4.2 seconds and 1/4 mile in 8.8 seconds. The all-wheel drive (AWD) will have two independent motors powering the front and rear wheels respectively.

But if that alone is not impressive enough, the AWD BEV will have a zero-emission electric range of 620 miles and seat 4! To put the range in perspective, a family of four can drive from London to Inverness (570 miles) with range to spare. Now that is impressive. Of course the EV will be capable of DC charging and expect it to fully charge within an hour! The EV is expected to come with a 200 kWh lithium-ion battery.

tesla electric car
The All-Electric New Tesla Roadster (credit: Tesla)

The EV also incorporates a light weight and removable glass roof, so that the electric car can be converted into a convertible without much effort.

The New Tesla Roadster EV was unveiled by Elon Musk in November 2017, but this is not the first Roadster developed by the famed electric vehicle manufacturer. The original Roadster was built between 2008 to 2012. The electric sports car was based on the Lotus Elise chassis. The company sold nearly 2,500 electric Roadsters across 30 countries. Among many milestones achieved by the pure electric car, it also holds the distinction of being the only car to be launched into orbit on a test flight in February 2018.

tesla electric car
The All-Electric New Tesla Roadster (credit: Tesla)

Do not expect to have the new Tesla Roadster on your driveway anytime soon. Production of the EV is expected to commence in 2022 (it was initially set to be available in 2020, but was delayed) and will be first delivered to US customers. Expect deliveries in the UK in 2023. The pure electric supercar will be manufactured in California.

However, you can reserve one today on the Tesla UK website. Tesla has up to 1,000 units of the Founders Series priced at £189,000. You can also book the standard Roadster, that will require a payment of £34,000 within 10 days from the initial reservation.


The All-Electric Tesla Cybertruck


On November 21st 2019, Elon Musk, the co-founder of Tesla, revealed the electric pickup truck at a ‘stunts-filled’ event, which maybe mostly remembered for the ‘broken-glass’! Despite the glitch, the futuristic looking sci-fi battery electric vehicle (BEV) utility truck certainly has caught everyone’s attention.  The pure electric truck is like ‘Marmite’, it is either loved or detested in fury and has certainly polarized commentators. Elon Musks envisions a significant market potential for the environment friendly light duty electric pick up truck, in particular for the US market, where approximately 6,500 internal combustion engine (ICE) trucks are sold per day.

Within a week of the launch, Tesla received more than 250,000 pre-orders for the ‘blade-runner’ inspired electric pickup. The zero-emission Tesla Cybertruck is available to reserve in the UK with an initial fully refundable £100 deposit. Production of the Single Motor RWD is expected to begin in late 2022. The production of the Dual Motor AWD and Tri Motor AWD variants is expected in late 2021.

The very angular designed truck has an exoskeleton ‘an exterior shell’ made for ultimate durability and passenger protection, to include:

  • Ultra-Hard 30X Cold-Rolled stainless-steel structural skin
  • Armoured glass 
  • Polymer-layered composite 
Tesla electric cybertruck
The All-Electric Tesla Cybertruck (credit:Tesla)

At A Glance
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Vehicle Type:Pickup Truck
Plug-In Car Grant (PiCG):Not Available
Engine:Electric
Available In UK:Yes

Trims (3 Options)
Single Motor RWD
Dual Motor AWD
Tri Motor AWD

EV Battery & Emissions
EV Battery Type:Lithium-ion
EV Battery Capacity:Available in three battery sizes (100 kWh, 120 kWh, 200 kWh)
Charging:250 kW rapid charging standard (Supercharge up to 175 miles in 15 mins)
Charge Port:Type 2
EV Cable Type:Type 2
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)
Warranty:8 years or 120,000 miles

Dimensions
Height (mm):1905
Width (mm):2027
Length (mm):5885
Wheelbase (mm):N/A

Tesla Cybertruck Single Motor RWD
EV Battery Capacity:100 kWh
Pure Electric Range (EPA):250+ miles
Storage:100 CU FT
Vault Length:6.5 FT
Towing Capacity:7,500+ LBS
0-60 mph:<6.5 seconds
Drive:Rear-wheel drive (RWD)
Autopilot:Standard
Adaptive Air Suspension:Standard
Ground Clearance:Up to 16″
Approach Angle:35 Degrees
Departure Angle:28 Degrees
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:6
Weight Unladed EU (kg):2,600

Tesla Cybertruck Dual Motor AWD
EV Battery Capacity:120 kWh
Pure Electric Range (EPA):300+ miles
Storage:100 CU FT
Vault Length:6.5 FT
Towing Capacity:10,000+ LBS
0-60 mph:<4.5 seconds
Drive:All-wheel drive (AWD)
Autopilot:Standard
Adaptive Air Suspension:Standard
Ground Clearance:Up to 16″
Approach Angle:35 Degrees
Departure Angle:28 Degrees
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:6
Weight Unladed EU (kg):2,750

Tesla Cybertruck Tri Motor AWD
EV Battery Capacity:200 kWh
Pure Electric Range (EPA):500+ miles
Storage:100 CU FT
Vault Length:6.5 FT
Towing Capacity:14,000+ LBS
0-60 mph:<2.9 seconds
Drive:All-wheel drive (AWD)
Autopilot:Standard
Adaptive Air Suspension:Standard
Ground Clearance:Up to 16″
Approach Angle:35 Degrees
Departure Angle:28 Degrees
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:6
Weight Unladed EU (kg):3,000

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Author

Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising the TVS Group, a multi-billion dollar industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised AMIH, a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He is also a member of the Forbury Investment Network advisory committee. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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