Tesla Motors ranks fourth on the 2021 Forbes list of the most innovative companies worldwide. Tesla EVs are well-known for their advanced technology. But what else distinguishes them from other cars?
A Tesla is different from other cars in design, performance, propulsion systems, and fuel storage. Other distinctions include the instrument panel and blind-spot assist tech. Generally, Teslas are more energy-efficient, more responsive, quicker than regular cars, quiet on the road, and more stable.
The rest of this article will describe in detail the features that set Teslas apart from other cars. Read on for insights into the aspects that make it worthwhile to own a Tesla.
The exterior design of a Tesla isn’t much different from that of a regular car. However, you’d need to examine the underneath part of a Tesla’s sleek skin to spot what distinguishes it from other cars.
Teslas are developed around an electric powertrain and battery. The battery back isn’t packed into the spaces occupied by a typical internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle’s trunk, engine bay, or rare seats. Instead, you’ll find the batteries under the passenger compartment.
Have you ever noticed that these EVs have an unusually thicker underside than ICE cars? This is to create the space for the battery pack, leaving the space where you’d find the engine in a regular car empty.
Another distinction is that, unlike other cars, a Tesla EV doesn’t come with a driveshaft tunnel or transmission hump.
Heads-up displays (HUDs) have been a standard feature in regular cars for a long time. The reason is simple: they beam critical information onto vehicles’ windscreens, enabling drivers to monitor their speed, direction, and other vital details while keeping their eyes on the road.
However, you’ll never spot a HUD on a Tesla. That’s because the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, considers them annoying and irrelevant as cars advance to autonomous driving. Some customers support this opinion. Most notably, they argue that HUDs are susceptible to getting washed out and can cause distractions.
Overheat Protection and Dog Mode
Tesla’s offer an overheat protection feature that prevents the interior from getting too hot and a pre-cool feature for comfortable rides.
You can cool down or warm up your EV’s seats remotely using a smartphone app. However, it comes with a downside: if you forget to do that, chances are you’ll be sitting in an uncomfortable, hot seat while driving during the dead of summer.
With a Tesla, you can also enable Dog Mode. This keeps your HVAC system running if you need to leave your 4-legged friend unattended in your vehicle for a while. It also displays a message on the touchscreen in case concerned passerby’s see a dog in a vehicle in hot weather.
You’ll never come across a fuel tank in a Tesla vehicle. As I mentioned earlier, these EVs feature a large battery pack for energy storage. The pack also contains electronic controls and a cooling system.
These are packaged in a flat box between the EVs frame rails and under the floor pan. They’re protected by a titanium shield, giving these vehicles a remarkably lower center of gravity than regular cars. The pack weighs 1,200 pounds, helping these vehicles to stick on the road when cornering.
Another distinctive area between a Tesla and a regular car is the instrument panel. A regular automobile comes with lots of switches, buttons, knobs, and joysticks.
Contrarily, a Tesla EV instrument panel features a massive, center-mounted, 17-in. (43.18-cm) display screen for clear, easy-to-use touch controls. The only buttons you’ll find on a Tesla’s dash are the glove box release and hazard lights buttons. Tesla’s unique instrument panel comes in handy, especially when driving at night. You won’t have the glare that comes with regular panels, allowing you to concentrate on the road.
A Tesla projects speedometer and other systems’ information onto the screen, unlike conventional cars that feature analog and digital dials.
Regular cars feature ICEs and multi-speed transmissions. Because of that, they come with hundreds of moving parts that require regular maintenance. On the other hand, Tesla EVs use electric motors with only two moving parts and gearless single-speed transmissions. Unlike other cars with about 200 moving parts in their drivetrains, a Tesla EV’s drivetrain has only 17.
Because of that, a Tesla car is virtually maintenance-free. Since it’s controlled electronically, you can repair its systems through software adjustments.
The rapid speed of updating a Tesla is another remarkable distinction from other cars. These EVs feature wireless, 4G connectivity, and touchscreen control panels that send real-time data to the manufacturer. The company also releases fixes that can be downloaded overnight.
However, if you drive a regular car, you may have to wait for weeks, months, or even years before the manufacturer avails updates. In some cases, updating your car may require a physical visit, increasing the time it takes to update your car.
Tesla pushes the envelope when it comes to the development of blind-spot assist tech. While regular cars come with orange lights that light up on side-view mirrors when a vehicle is in your blind spot, Tesla cars feature ultrasonic sensors and cameras that show the vehicles in your blind spot on the touch screen.
Tesla cars also come with extra features, such as the option to activate audible chimes that sound when another motorist is in your blind spot.
This video demonstrates how this technology works:
Tesla cars are designed for performance. Here are some aspects that back this statement up:
- They are quicker than most regular cars on the road.
- They come with regenerative braking. It allows the car to slow down without braking, thanks to the one-pedal driving feature. You don’t have to spend a lot of energy pressing the brake pedal.
- They’re cost-effective. For example, a Tesla S 85D consumes up to 34kWh for every 100 miles (an equivalent of 100 MPG). With an average electricity cost of $0.12/kWh, you would need $612 to drive a Tesla Model S 85D for 15,000 miles each year. Contrarily, suppose you drive the Toyota (TM) Camry that consumes 30 MPG. In that case, with an average cost of gas of $2.40 per gallon, you’ll need $1200.
- They have incredible cornering for their sizes. Despite being bigger than regular cars, Tesla’s are nimble and very stable while cornering.
- They are quiet. A typical gasoline car rumbles, roars, and vibrates when you’re driving it. However, you’ll experience none of these with a Tesla EV.
- They are responsive. With a typical car, you need to press the accelerator for some time for it to peak. However, a Tesla peaks immediately you press the accelerator. The instant response by Tesla vehicles makes them stand out from other cars. You get the same kind of responsiveness when slowing down.
- They have lower greenhouse emissions. Gasoline cars emit high amounts of greenhouse gases, while Tesla EVs emit significantly lower levels of these gases. If you’re an environmentally-conscious driver, then a Tesla is your go-to model.
Tip: For a critical perspective on Tesla, I recommend that you read Ludicrous: The Unvarnished Story of Tesla Motors by Edward Niedermeyer from Amazon. Written by an experienced auto industry analyst, the book describes the successes and weaknesses of Tesla in-depth.
In a nutshell, Tesla cars come in a unique total package: they’re stylish, comfortable, faster, and more stable than regular cars. Although their exterior design is not unique from other cars, a Tesla is more economical to own and operate and comes with advanced, upgradable tech that’s years ahead of the alternatives.
Additionally, Teslas are much quieter – you won’t hear any engine vibration or roaring while driving a Tesla EV. Besides, they come with highly responsive acceleration and braking. They are less harmful to the environment since they emit significantly lower amounts of greenhouse gases.