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In-depth reviews

Tesla Model S review: range, battery & charging

Large batteries and access to Tesla's Supercharger network makes the Model S a great long-distance car – but it's now left-hand drive only

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Range, battery & charging rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£93,480 - £113,480
Fuel Type:
Electric

Model

Range

Wallbox charge time

Rapid charge time

Long Range

394 miles

15hrs 15mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)

30mins (10-80%, 250kW)

Plaid

373 miles

15hrs 15mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)

30mins (10-80%, 250kW)

Few electric cars on sale can match the range offered by the Tesla Model S, which comes with a 100kWh (95kWh usable) battery in both Long Range and Plaid forms. Meanwhile, access to Tesla’s Supercharger network should help make long distance journeys easier than in most other electric cars. Beware, however – new cars are left-hand drive only, which scuppers their usability somewhat.

Tesla Model S range

The latest version of the Model S Long Range – with its 95kWh battery – has an official range of 394 miles, although it's likely you'll manage a little less than that in the real world. The Plaid uses the same-size battery, but its predicted range is slightly lower – 373 miles – probably due to its additional electric motor and performance. 

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It’s hard to say how efficient they are in the real world – our test of the flagship Plaid included plenty of hard driving, and we were never given the chance to charge the car to full. That said, Teslas in general have proven very economical with owners over the years, and now with a range of almost 400 miles, every Model S should suit even the most extreme use case.

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Regardless, that range comfortably beats close rivals like the Porsche Taycan (up to 318 miles) and Audi e-tron GT (up to 305 miles) on paper. The BMW i7 (up to 388 miles) comes within touching distance, while the Mercedes EQS (up to 453 miles) actually trumps the Tesla in official tests.

Charge time

The Tesla Model S charging time varies depending on how you charge it. Using a normal household socket is extremely slow due to a maximum charging rate of around 2.3kW: this means you’d need the better part of two full days to fully recharge a Model S Long Range or Plaid. But that’s just a last resort; we expect owners will get a home wallbox to charge their cars overnight, with a standard 7.4kW home charger capable of fully replenishing both models in around 15 hours.

When out and about, you can avail yourself of the numerous Tesla Supercharger locations around the UK, mostly focused around motorways and main roads. Use of the company’s latest V3 Supercharges capable of 250kW charging speeds and a 10-80% top-up will take half an hour. 

Further to this, the way Tesla has integrated route planning to the car’s navigation system is among the very best in the business – the stops are easy to find and the car can pre-condition its battery to ensure maximum charge speed when you come to plug in.

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Richard is editor of DrivingElectric, as well as sister site Carbuyer.co.uk, and a regular contributor to Auto Express. An electric and hybrid car advocate, he spent more than five years working on the news and reviews desk at Auto Express and has driven almost every new car currently on sale.

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