A road trip on the American continent is already great, doing it in an electric car is even better. Especially if it is a Tesla Model Y recovered from a local rental company.
I’m going to put my cards on the table from the start: carried out on the sidelines of a business trip to western Canada, this long-term test of the Tesla Model Y was not planned. Before reserving my rental, I had nevertheless considered electric before resigning myself to the soaring prices at the rental companies. Unlike Soufyane, I also didn’t dare go through the Turo platform to rent an electric car.
My voucher in hand, I drive to Vancouver airport to rent a Toyota Yaris equivalent which cost me an arm and a leg. In the car park adjacent to the rental counters, it’s a waltz of Teslas… Model 3s, Model Ys… around twenty in total. By activating my neurons, I remember the big order made by Hertz with the American brand. What an ass, I should have looked better… Luckily, Dollar, the agency in which I had made my reservation, is a subsidiary of Hertz. ” Do you know Tesla? do you want a Tesla? asks me the agent at the counter. I’ve been drooling over it for 30 minutes… hard to say no. Especially since the additional cost requested is more than acceptable: 30 CAD dollars per day, or 150 dollars over the five days of rental, all with unlimited (and free) access to superchargers. Without even informing me of the model made available, I say “banco”.
In the end, new stroke of luck since I recover the keys the badge of a brand new Tesla Model Y with only 1,000 kilometers on the clock. After a few brief explanations, off I went on the roads of western Canada.
An express handling
When renting an electric car, it is always interesting to see how the handover of the keys takes place. When I arrived in the parking lot, a member of staff briefly explained to me how the car works: start-up and the main functions of the screen. In his thirties, the agent seems quite motivated by the brand. Nothing suprising. In Canada, Teslas meet on every street corner!
In the end, the explanations did not last more than five minutes. For me, who know the brand and the world of electrics, this is not a problem. For an electric neophyte, it’s probably a bit short and we regret not having at least a “memo sheet” which explains the main features of the car. Some will say that the complete manual is accessible via the central screen, but you have to stuff it!
One example among others: the rental company clearly states that access to the superchargers is free, but at no time was it indicated to me that the places had to be freed up as soon as possible. Without this, we can imagine many rental Teslas staying all night at the supercharger.
Ergonomics: rapid integration
Getting into a Tesla is a bit like switching from an iPhone to an Android (or vice versa). At first, I was clearly lost by this interface concentrated on the huge central slab (and yet this is not my first try).
I’ve never been a fan of “all touch” but it’s amazing how well Tesla has worked on its ergonomics. Where most manufacturers continue to pedal in sauerkraut with menus that are sometimes totally incomprehensible, the American brand has managed to build an architecture that is simple, complete and intuitive at the same time. After 30 minutes of wading through and tinkering with the screen, I quickly got to grips with how it works. The menus are clear and it is not necessary to press 15 commands to perform a manipulation. Even the air conditioning control, also managed by the screen, is not a concern as the ergonomics are well thought out. Added to this is the surprising fluidity of the system. It must be said that Tesla did not skimp on the means by integrating an AMD Ryzen processor, well known in the gaming world, into its 2022 models.
If the lack of compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is always frustrating, Tesla makes up for it by offering a particularly efficient navigation system. However, we regret that the manufacturer persists in closing access to third-party applications. Netflix and Spotify are present natively, but it is impossible for the user to install other applications. We think in particular of Waze which has the advantage of integrating radars on the route, which is not the case today on Tesla’s navigation system.
An SUV cut out for the road
If the Model 3 is already quite well equipped for long-distance travel, the Tesla Model Y is still a step above. Without offering more performance, Tesla’s electric SUV stands out above all for its useful capacities.
In the trunk, the space is simply gigantic. The layout is particularly well thought out with bins on the sides. Under the floor, a huge space can accommodate a small suitcase. And if that’s not enough, it is still possible to use the additional 117 l of the frunk.
In terms of comfort, the acceleration is generous and the handling impeccable. For long journeys, the Autopilot is also a real plus. If it is triggered very quickly, it remains however far too sensitive. It is enough for a car to slightly bite its line to be entitled to untimely braking sometimes worrying surprising.
Tesla Model Y Performance 2022 test: electric SUV seeks sports parents
Great autonomy and pokey consumption
In Long Range Dual Motor version, the Tesla Model Y that we have in our hands is a 2022 model. According to the VIN identification number, it comes from the historic factory in Fremont, California. Within the range, this is the version that offers the greatest autonomy. Count 511 km according to the American EPA cycle (533 km WLTP). A promise almost kept. On what is equivalent to national roads at home, I was able to travel 430 kilometers with an average of 15.4 kWh / 100 km and 10% capacity remaining in the battery. Initially, my charge level was at 95%.
Over the entire roadtrip, a little over 1200 km, energy consumption amounts to 188 kWh, or an average of 15.2 kWh/100 km. It’s not much for a vehicle of such power which displays more than 2 tons of empty weight. For comparison, my average is around 13-14 kWh/100 km on the same type of route with my Kona 39, which is lighter and less powerful (1,600 kg and 136 hp).
Supercharger: the friend of road trips
Would I have agreed to rent this Tesla without the supercharger insurance? Probably not without a minimum knowledge of local charging infrastructures! If the network of fast charging stations tends to develop, Tesla remains the only manufacturer to offer a driving experience as close to that of a thermal vehicle. No need to prepare for your trip by identifying the terminals on your route or having to worry about coupling the ABRP application to an ODB connector. Just enter your destination and the system will offer you a route by integrating the stops at the superchargers. It’s simple, practical and… it works!
It is also and above all universal! In the case of our Canadian road-trip, we didn’t have to worry about the operators and the terms of access to the terminals (we must forget the Chargemap Pass across the Atlantic). The car is directly linked to the user’s account and all you have to do is plug it in and charging starts automatically. While Plug & Charge is still in its infancy, Tesla has already integrated it for a long time!