By Adam Drake
The more I think about it, getting into my Toyota FJ Cruiser after a workout seems counter-intuitive. I’ve spent the last few hours sucking in air, only to finish, hop into my car, and send clouds of exhaust into the air I craved so preciously only moments before. And while the FJ is rugged, powerful, and able to get me to the mountains to ski or the beaches to surf, its low fuel economy makes it a less-than-stellar car for athletes.
We take care of our bodies. We aim for health and wellness. While this attitude is paramount in the gym, what’s the point if we’re ruining it for everyone else with our exhaust-producing cars.
This brings me to the Tesla Model S. This electric car has received glowing reviews across the board from automotive sites, government safety tests, and consumer publications. But how does the car — possibly the way of the future for all vehicles — hold up to an athletic lifestyle? I took it to the road to find out.
As an athlete, I like to go fast. The feel of speed, whether it’s on skis, in a scull, or in a car is that of pure energy. Time expands, scenes blur, and your heart races. During my first drive in a Tesla Model S, I was told “not to be shy with the accelerator.” Slamming it down on a windy road in Westchester County, I was instantly pressed into the back of my seat. The car’s almost totally silent, all-electric, three-phase AC induction motor kicked in fully, and suddenly I was Han Solo making the jump to light speed, and my wife in the passenger seat turned into Chewbacca.
I’m outside constantly, and love the cold days when I can take out my skis. The higher-end 85kw battery gives the Tesla Model S a range of about 265 miles — more than enough to get to the ski mountains in Vermont. And if I feel like increasing that distance, I can use Tesla’s free supercharger stop in Albany to add to my battery’s charge and distance. The trunk space is exceptionally huge, and with fold down seats, I can fit several pairs of skis, bags, and gear.
I was initially hesitant about driving the Tesla Model S in the snow. Rear wheel cars are notoriously bad for winter driving — so much so that people used to put sandbags in their trunks to weigh down the back of the car. The Model S is a heavy car, with the battery lining the underside. However, the battery weight, combined with the agile traction control and air suspension, give the car a perfect combination of features for driving through harsh conditions. And with the just-announced AWD model, snow will definitely not be a problem. (For real world proof, the Tesla Model S is the best-selling car in snowy Norway.)
There are no tailpipes on the car. You never have to get the oil changed. Gas stations are simply antiquated businesses littering the side of the road. It’s for this reason that athletes love to drive this car. You aren’t contributing to the destruction of the environment (at least, not nearly as much as in a car with a combustible engine). In fact, with more and more supercharger stops on the road being powered by solar energy — or as Tesla Founder and CEO, Elon Musk, calls it, “indirect fusion” — powering up a Tesla is insanely environmentally friendly. There’s nothing worse than sucking in a cough-inducing pound of dirt and ash from a tailpipe when you’re out for a run. But on the road, trail, or wherever your runs take you, Tesla drivers can know they’re helping fellow athletes by keeping the air safe to breathe.
Let’s face it: There’s an immense coolness factor to this car. Door handles pop out when you approach the car. There’s nothing under the hood, save for more storage. It has a giant iPad-like touch screen for almost all the controls. And all that aside, just knowing you’re at the forefront of a technological advancement that could be revolutionary should be enough to instill a tremendous amount of pride.
As if it weren’t abundantly clear, I dig this car. Fun as hell, perfect for a range of sports and conditions, environmentally friendly, and damn cool. It’s perfect for anyone with an athletic lifestyle, and it makes the laborious task of driving a blast again.
Adam Drake is Creative Director for the Sweat Life, a former four-year varsity rower for the University of Miami, and currently rows for the Maritime Rowing Club. He is the co-founder of Kayak for a Cause, a charity event based in Connecticut. As a writer, Adam has developed television shows for Comedy Central, Bad Boy Worldwide, and Sky, written ad campaigns for clients such as Bacardi, Starbucks, Dove Men+Care, and HBO, and was a contributor to the pop culture site YesButNoButYes. In his spare time, he enjoys skiing, boating, and working on his tremendous collection of unfinished novels.