Representatives of a number of established manufacturers openly scoffed when Elon Musk announced his intention to start a car company building only electric cars. His first effort, essentially a warmed over Lotus Elise converted to run on electric power, was giggled at by some, but for others it was a wake up call.
Naming his car company for Nikola Tesla, the Serbian-American electrical engineer, credited with developing the modern alternating current (AC) electrical system, Musk signaled his intention to build the best practical electric car the world has ever seen.
And, he has.
Streaking along a road tracing the ridgeline of a mountain range in Tesla’s Model S sedan equipped with the Performance Package, the silence is almost deafening. The complete absence of mechanical noise — no intake growl, no exhaust rumble — makes hustling the extremely powerful car along the winding road a near-surreal experience.
Hampered briefly by a slower-moving vehicle, when a passing lane opens up, I give the Model S full throttle for the first time. A great leaping explosion of forward thrust shoves the 4,770-pound car past the slow-moving vehicle with such tremendous force I am literally dumbfounded at both the alacrity and relentlessness of the acceleration.