Life with Tesla Model S: assessing my new 100D vs old 2013 electric car Page 2

2017 Tesla Model S 100D [photo: David Noland, owner]

2017 Tesla Model S 100D [photo: David Noland, owner]

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Better efficiency:  In summer weather, my 85 averaged 290-300 watt-hours per mile energy consumption. So far, the 100D seems to be matching that figure. For a car that’s 100 pounds heavier, has better acceleration, and all-wheel drive, that’s pretty good.

But the EPA says the 100D should be 15 percent more efficient than my old 85 (102MPGe vs. 89 MPGe.) By that yardstick, the 100D should be showing me 250-260 Wh/mi. Not even close.

Similarly, every other dual-motor Tesla I’ve driven, even with all their gaudy EPA efficiency numbers, has failed to beat the real-world efficiency of the rear-drive cars.  Something is clearly awry with those EPA efficiency numbers. This puzzle has baffled me for years. 

I’m also curious to see how cold temperatures will affect the 100D’s efficiency. On the few cool days so far, Wh/mi readings seem to be edging up more than they did in the 85. We’ll see as temps drop further in the coming months.

*Better rearview camera:  Sharper resolution, better color, wider field of view. Nice.

*Stronger regenerative braking:  Although the power meter shows the same 60-kW max regen, it feels stronger to me. (With two motors to absorb the power, it makes sense.)

But the 100D’s regen is more sensitive to the cold than my 85’s. On a recent morning I found the regen frustratingly limited to 40kW with the temp at 62 degrees.  How bad will it be at 15 degrees?

2017 Tesla Model S

2017 Tesla Model S

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*Center console: A nice addition. The old 85 had a flat floor with just a couple of low rails to keep stuff from sliding around.

*Better windshield wipers:  My old 85 had supposedly “smart” wipers whose two intermittent modes were controlled by an automatic rain sensor. A more accurate name for the two modes would have been Dumb and Dumber; they were virtually useless.  

The 100D has old-fashioned manual intermittent modes based on time intervals. Way better.

*Better windshield washer:  Instead of the narrow high-speed jets of my 85, the 100D has a wide, gentle spray. Again, way better.

*Walk-away locking:  My old 85, which I ordered without the tech package, had to be actively locked via the key fob (What a freakin’ nightmare!)

The new one locks itself when I walk away with the fob, and then unlocks and presents the door handles automatically when I return. I’m ashamed to admit how much I like this feature.

*Proximity warnings:  Although the constant beeping from the ultrasonic sensors during tight maneuvers can be annoying, they accomplish their purpose.

2017 Tesla Model S 100D [photo: David Noland, owner]

2017 Tesla Model S 100D [photo: David Noland, owner]

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Not everything about the 100D is better than the old 85, however. Among the downgrades:

*Smaller front trunk: Because of the second motor up front, the front trunk (“frunk”) is much smaller than my old 85’s. We’ll see how much I can stuff in it for my annual winter drive to California.

*Glass roof: Although I love the panoramic overhead windshield of the Model X, the glass roof of the 100D, now standard on all versions of the Model S, disappointed. 

First of all, it doesn’t extend forward enough to be part of the driver’s normal field of vision. So you don’t even notice it visually.

Second, it’s so darkly tinted that it triggers no sense of airiness or brighter ambient light in the car.  (It’s so dark that I was able to view the recent solar eclipse through it while wearing two sets of sunglasses.)

And finally, on hot sunny days, it literally gets too hot to touch from the inside, radiating uncomfortably downward and adding tremendously to the air-conditioning load.

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