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Saturday, May 7, 2022

Tesla Model S Turns 10: A Decade Of Evolution

2012 Tesla Model S

The Model S turns 10 years old this year. This is the perfect time to take a look at the evolution of this vehicle as it celebrates its Aluminum anniversary. 

The 2012 Model S was an award-winning car when it came out. A long-range, high-performance EV with a large touchscreen, self-presenting door handles, and over-the-air updates. There had never been a car like this.

Even from this high starting point, today's Model S is head-and-shoulders above its 2012 antecedent. For a now-and-then look, we'll compare the long-range version of the original vehicle to the one offered today. To keep this as apples-to-apples as we can, this is not the Founder's edition or the Insane or Ludicrous variants; just the extended-range version of each.

2022 Tesla Model S

Let's jump into it: 
Model S 2012
85 RWD
2022 Long Range
Dual Motor
Price (Long Range) $115,050 $99,990*
Price (inflation adj.) $144,069 $99,990
Range (miles) 265 375
0-60 MPH 4.3 sec 3.1 sec
Autopilot/FSD None - no cameras
(AP was intro-ed
in 2014)
AP standard,
FSD Upgrade
Charging Rate (kW) 150
(7.8 miles/minute max)
(11 miles/minute max)
Gaming Chess, Backgammon,
Some 80s arcade
Equivalent to modern
game console. Steam
client support planned.

As you can see in the table above, the Model S has improved significantly over the 10 years of its life. The current cost (esp. inflation-adjusted) is significantly less, yet you get a quicker car, faster charging, more range, better ADAS, and better infotainment technology. If you prefer to see it quantified: 40% more range, 28% quicker, 30% cheaper, 66% faster max charge rate; plus other improvements including far better battery thermal management, a tilting screen, and a yoke steering wheel.

Tesla was the first mover and they have a relentless pace of innovation. They are not going to be easy to catch. 

Disclosure: I am long Tesla
* price as of 5/1/2022

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