In-depth reviews

Tesla Model S review - MPG, CO2 and Running Costs

Minimal running costs and tax-breaks are appealing, but Tesla's free charge points are few and far between

The government's green car grant will knock £3,500 off the cost of the Tesla Model S, although Tesla’s Enhanced Autopilot option costs £4,700, which more than cancels out the discount. As it’s an electric car with zero running emissions, you’ll have no road tax to pay, and it’s exempt from the London Congestion Charge, too. Company car tax is at the rock-bottom 16 per cent rating that's now levied against electric cars, although even the most fuel-efficient petrol-powered small hatchbacks will fall into the 17 per cent bracket. For 2020/21, electric car tax will be changing for good for EV owners. The percentage of electric car list price you pay tax on will drop to 2 per cent. 

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Company car tax guide 2019

Range is probably the biggest concern for potential owners, although Tesla makes reassuring claims about the Model S’s potential to eke out big mileages. We’ve no reason to doubt the figures achieved under test conditions, but keep in mind that if you want to unleash the car’s performance the achievable mileage will drop. The official range figures vary from 367 miles for the Performace to 379 miles for the 'Long Range'. 

There’s a fascinating table on the Tesla website showing miles of ‘range per charging hour’ available from different types of electrical outlet. The standard domestic plug-equipped charging cable will give you six miles per hour, and the car also comes with a blue three-pin ‘utility plug’ cable that bumps it up to 22 miles per hour. An optional red five-pin plug cable is available from Tesla that offers up to 34 miles per charging hour, but you’ll need an electrician to sort out a three-phase electric supply, for which the costs will be variable depending on your situation.

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To maximise charging efficiency, we'd recommend installing a dedicated wallbox with at least the blue utility (‘commando’) socket, as charging a fully flat Model S from a standard UK mains plug will take more than a day to achieve. Even better is Tesla’s Supercharger network, which will recharge a flat battery to 80% in around half an hour. The problem is there aren't many Supercharger points in the UK at the moment - although the service is expanding.

They're exclusive to Tesla owners and all new cars come with around 1,000 miles of free charge per year – after which owners will be charged a nominal fee to top up. Even without this facility, however, rough estimates suggest you’ll only spend around £300 a year on charging via the dedicated wallbox.

Insurance groups

Whichever version you pick, the Tesla Model S is luxury saloon offers extremely high performance – so you won’t be surprised to hear it has group 50 insurance, a privilege shared with cars such as the Bentley Continental GT and Ferrari 812 Superfast, among others.


Tesla Model S values are a bit of an unknown at the moment, but it’s no secret that ‘lesser’ electric car values take an absolute pasting at resale time. Tesla reckons it has an ace up its sleeve though, as the car’s software packages are updated every few months - much like a personal computer. According to one company source this means the Model S ‘improves over time instead of depreciating’, but although that’s an appealing assessment we’d rather wait for the market to form its own judgement.


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