Tesla Model S review - Range, charging and running costs
A huge range, minimal running costs and tax breaks are all very appealing
Despite the advancements in battery technology and electric motors becoming more efficient, range is still a big concern for many potential first-time EV buyers. However, we don’t expect Model S drivers will suffer from range anxiety all that often when it can cover close to 400 miles on a single charge, and benefits from access to Tesla’s Supercharger network.
The standard dual-motor Model S has an official WLTP range of 394 miles – one of the longest offered by any electric car currently sold in the UK. Unsurprisingly, the super-fast, tri-motor Model S Plaid won’t go quite as far on a charge, but its 373-mile range is still impressive. Use the Plaid’s insane performance at every available opportunity and you’ll struggle to achieve its claimed range, however.
The Model S has a maximum charging speed of 250kW, which sits between the Mercedes EQS’s 200kW v-max and 270kW Porsche Taycan and Audi e-tron GT. Regardless, if you use one of the latest V3 Tesla Superchargers, a 10-80 per cent top-up should take just 30 minutes.
When it comes to charging at home, it will take more than 13 hours to fully recharge the Model S using a typical 7.4kW home wallbox. If your house has three-phase power, you can install an 11kW home charger and that’ll cut that time down to roughly 10 hours.
Car group tests
- New Tesla Model S Plaid 2023 review
- New Tesla Model S Long Range 2019 review
- Tesla Model S 75D 2018 review
- Tesla Model S 100D 2017 review
Used car tests
Starting at over £100,000, the Model S is not a cheap car to buy, but like all electric cars it’s exempt from road tax (VED), the London Congestion Charge and other emissions-based fees. Also, because there’s no tailpipe emissions, the Model S attracts one of the lowest Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax ratings, so it’s particularly appealing for company car drivers.
The Tesla Model S occupies the highest group 50, which is hardly surprising considering it’s an expensive and extremely fast electric saloon from a company that has a less than stellar reputation for build quality. So be prepared for some pretty hefty insurance quotes.
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Our latest expert data indicates that the updated Tesla Model S will retain about 50 per cent of its original value after three years and 36,000 miles of motoring. In comparison, the Porsche Taycan saloon will hold onto 57 per cent of its list price after the same ownership period, although that depends on the exact model, while the Mercedes EQE is expected to retain close to 53 per cent of its value on average.
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In this review
- 1Tesla Model S reviewThe all-electric Tesla Model S is more impressive than ever, but it’s left-hand drive only and new rivals mean it’s got a fight on its hands
- 2Electric motor, drive and performancePerformance is, erm, electrifying... with the Model S Plaid capable of humiliating everything and anyone that dare question its authority
- 3Range, charging & running costs - currently readingA huge range, minimal running costs and tax breaks are all very appealing
- 4Interior, design and technologyBuild quality has taken some big steps forward, while tech in the Model S remains on the cutting edge
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe Tesla Model S won’t leave you wanting for boot space, and its cabin is pretty roomy, too
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe Model S’s Euro NCAP safety scores are first-rate and build quality has improved, but it’s got a ways to go