Published: 00:01, 05 September 2014 |
It’s disconcerting at first – just the crunch of gravel under tyres as the Tesla S glides silently forwards.
And even when I put my foot down it accelerates with a swish instead of a roar, despite reaching 60 miles an hour in just 4.2 seconds.
But the effortless power is easy to get used to and after a day’s driving, there’s no hefty fuel bill.
You just plug in the Tesla and fill it up for £1.50 – you can’t do that with a Jaguar.
The Tesla shares other similarities with smartphones and many functions can even be controlled with an app on your mobile.
Lost it in the carpark? You can sound the horn and flash the lights.
Hot day? Turn on the air con from the office, 15 minutes before you get in.
Electric cars considerably less flash than the Tesla S are becoming more common in the UK, albeit confined mainly to large cities where both short journeys and charging points are in plentiful supply.
Now a company in Strood is hoping to bring the electric revolution to Kent, powering up a fleet of Teslas for hire.
EVision is the UK’s first firm to offer self-drive hire and a chauffeuring service, if you’d rather sit back and let someone else do the driving.
Its Chairman, Hugh Edeleanu, hopes both businesses and individuals interested in high-end hire will swap Mercedes and BMWs for the battery powered American supercars.
Though Teslas are expensive to buy - starting at £68,000 for the most powerful battery - there are advantages for businesses looking to hire.
All electric cars offer attractive tax breaks, there’s no congestion charge and all plug-in points in the UK are currently free - for the moment at least.
In fact Tesla has promised it will never charge for electricity from the company’s own, admittedly sparse, network of ‘superchargers’ that replenish the battery in as little as half an hour.
The only point of resistance is availability.
Larger Kent towns such as Ashford, Canterbury and Maidstone offer more than one charger, but barring a few isolated examples, few others have public plug-in points.
But while this could be a deal breaker with a G-Wiz, a Tesla S with the largest available battery boasts an impressive 265 mile range.
And you can always plug it in at home, with the advantage that unlike phones, you won’t be scrabbling about for the right charger.
Plug-in points across Europe now take a standard fitting.
Given the Tesla’s range, it seems people really don’t have to sacrifice green credentials for speed and luxury, and this realisation is what EVision is banking on.
The company is keen to stress its sustainable approach.
EVision is owned by H.E. Group Ltd – which also runs Diggerland – and a few years ago it decided to install solar panels on the expansive roofs at its Strood headquarters.
These produce about 1.5 megawatts a year, more than enough power to charge its fleet of Teslas, according to Mr Edeleanu.
So do you fancy a spin in a zero-emission car with the performance of a Porsche 911?
It’s a compelling combination and, as more charging points are added, an increasingly practical one, if you can afford it.
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