Motor Trend was getting ready to do a story on the range of the Tesla Model S, but to do this, the car would need to be towed to the starting point of the test. The question: could the guys drive the Model S from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on a single charge?
And, when it comes to electric cars, this isn't a simple question of figuring out the number of miles and doing quick math. You also have to take into account the changes in elevation and how that would affect range. The team worked backward from the destination and determined that if the car drove fully charged from San Bernardino to Las Vegas, it would get there without any difficulty.
Director of Photography Brian Vance rented a car trailer, and the F-150 was ready for towing duty. It had been charging at Tesla headquarters up the street from our offices in El Segundo, so once the trailer was attached to the back of the Ford, the crew was ready to pick up the Tesla.
Brian was quite impressed with the long-termer. He wrote: "Fantastic truck. The ride from SpaceX to Glen Helen involved the car, trailer, and five passengers. The truck was well composed with the weighted trailer attached, and proved that the strong EcoBoost V-6 does not leave you wishing for a V-8; this engine will do just fine."
He liked the truck so much, in fact, that he took the truck on a camping trip soon after, noting, "The back seat on this truck is enormous and for road trips, is by far the better place to sit. There's so much room to move around and get comfortable." He also enjoyed the power: "Six speeds and the ability to drop it in 'M" and toggle through gears is a nice luxury to have when passing on the highway. The manumatic tranny is responsive and makes the truck easier to hustle past slower traffic."
Rounding out Vance's praise of the truck were his thoughts on the fuel economy and the truck's range: "I did an L.A. to Tulomne Meadows (Yosemite) with myself and three other backpackers. I got 17 mpg going north on Highway 395, and a few days later I managed to bump that to 19 mpg coming south back to Los Angeles (downhill). The huge gas tank is great for long range--I did over 500 miles on one tank--but it was also it difficult to fill up with a credit card. The current price of gas means that a fill-up is over $100. Most pumps in California stop at $100, requiring a restart with some or different credit card. But again, a 500-plus-mile range adds even more of a bonus to the truck's ability to road-trip."
| Our Truck |
| Service life || 6 months/16,420 miles |
| Average fuel economy || 15.1 mpg |
| CO2 emissions || 1.28 lb/mi |
| Energy consumption || 223 kW-hr/100mi |
| Unresolved problems || None |
| Maintenance cost || $53.79 (oil change, tire rotation, inspection) |
| Normal-wear cost || $0 |