The Tesla fleet of electric cars has hit some bumps along the way toward becoming a mainstream option for drivers. Although no one seriously doubts that the company makes excellent automobiles, there have certainly been questions about the viability of an electric car for certain kinds of commuters. Can they be charged quickly enough to use on long trips? Are they affordable? Will they ever achieve mainstream popularity?
While the answers to these questions will continue to be debated, Consumer Reports has left little doubt that Tesla has produced a fantastic car. They named the Model S, the company's flagship sedan, the top-scoring automobile of all time and one of the best that they've ever tested. They praised the vehicle's handling, the design of the dashboard control system and the increased driving range of 200 miles before needing to recharge, which is considerably better than other competing electric cars such as the Nissan Volt and Ford Focus Electric.
The one reservation Consumer Reports had about the Model S was its practicality for longer trips, given that the battery takes 12 hours to reach a full charge. Tesla has built out a fairly large charging infrastructure throughout California, but it still remains that in certain parts of the country, an electric vehicle may not be a viable option until electric vehicle charging stations become more ubiquitous.
The Model S starts at $59,900. Consumer Reports tested an $89,650 model with a larger battery that increases the range of the vehicle to 200 miles on a full battery. While this may be out of the price range of many drivers, it was only a few years ago that plug-in electric vehicles weren't even available on the consumer market, so it's only a matter of time before someone makes a more affordable model built on the technology pioneered by Tesla.
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