Tesla Model S 70D Review (Exclusive) −

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Published on October 27th, 2015 | by Zach


Tesla Model S 70D Review (Exclusive)

I’m really eager to test the Model S 70, 70D, 85, 85D, P85D, 90, 90D, and P90D back to back in one day… but that is clearly a fantasy, and I wouldn’t be surprised if not a single individual has ever done that. With so many variations, I’m sure my senses would turn to mush anyway… and the ludicrous torque wouldn’t help. At the least, it was nice to compare the 70D to the P85D, even with several months in between the test drives.

Tesla Model S charging Tesla Model S red blue black grey

→ Related: i8 vs Model S vs ELR vs Panamera S E-Hybrid (vs i3)

Most of the things that are wonderful about the P85D/P90D are also present in the 70D. You’ve got world-shattering safety, incomparable electric range, an industry-leading touchscreen for navigation and controls, excellent autopilot capabilities (side collision avoidance, lane keeping, adaptive cruise control, and automatic parking), a ton of space, beautiful design inside and outside, super-fast charging (both “Level 4” Supercharging and much quicker Level 2 charging), and, of course… power.

No doubt about it, you can tell the difference between the 70D and the P85D. If you couldn’t, I imagine a lot more people would be buying the 70D. But the 70D is still out of this world in that category. As I stated before, the Cadillac ELR may actually have the 70D beat off the line (even though it’s 0–60 mph time is considerably lower) — it is a smaller vehicle, after all. Maybe my judgement was way off, but it felt like it might be quicker. I’d really need to test drive them back to back to provide more insight on that (two days, the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, the Chevy Volt, and a gasmobile in between leaves a lot of room for poor comparison). Nonetheless, nothing else I’ve driven (and I think nothing else on the market) offers such smooth, powerful, and stable acceleration as the Model S and the ELR.

Model Ss charging Tesla Model Ss Florida


All of that said, I think it’s worth bringing up the i3 again. Similar to the ELR, due to the i3’s smaller size and much lighter weight, combined with a healthy serving of fully electric instant torque, the i3 provides a very fun and exhilarating feeling when stepping on the pedal. Again, I would need to test these out back to back, but I venture to say that the i3 actually felt more fun in some ways. But it certainly didn’t compare with the smoothness, stability, and overall power of the 70D… not to mention the space, range, supercharging capability, interior tech and comfort, and safety. The i3 did have stronger (preferable) regenerative braking, but the Model S had stronger regen braking than all the other high-end, high-performance cars I tested.

The places where the Model S 70D excels compared to the BMW i8, Cadillac ELR, and Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid are:

  • safety
  • overall acceleration
  • space
  • efficiency
  • fuel costs
  • energy independence
  • electric range
  • environmental cleanliness and stability (air + climate)
  • infotainment & navigation
  • regenerative braking

The places where it loses points to most others in this comparison:

  • absolute range and convenience of charging on long-distance trips


  • Official 0–60 mph acceleration = 5.5 seconds
  • Base MSRP = $75,000
  • Electric miles = 230

All images by Zachary Shahan | EV Obsession | CleanTechnica


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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, SCTY, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB. After years of covering solar and EVs, he simply had a lot of faith in these companies and felt like they were good companies to invest in as a portion of his retirement strategy. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.

  • don baumhefner

    I don’t understand the Tesla losing in the absolute range and long distance charging categories. 230 miles and supercharging……?

    Have fun on your test drives!

    • Sorry for the delay. This was compared to plug-in hybrids (i8 and Porsche Panamera PHEV)… which I’m not going to buy, but figured I’d compare.

  • don baumhefner

    I forgot to first say, Welcome back to America! We are very glad to have you back!

  • neroden

    Isn’t it a gorgeous car?

    This is why I bought an S85 — while I needed the range due to a lack of charging options back in 2013, I just didn’t see the advantage in the P85, and it cost a lot more money. (Tesla must make a *huge* profit margin on the “performance” models.)

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