Top-rated, relatively rare Tesla Model S attracts smiles, thumbs ups -- and envy

At the supermarket, above, or at a free Tesla Supercharger Station on the New Jersey Turnpike, below, the gorgeous, relatively rare Model S turns heads.


Oh, there goes another Mercedes (Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Cadillac etc. etc).

When you drive a Tesla Model S, other drivers really notice, and you don't see yourself coming and going.

In its third year of production, the luxury 4-door hatchback still is relatively rare.

I've gotten thumbs ups from a passing motorcyclist on the interstate, a pedestrian and others.

The reaction of other drivers is mixed.

Some are aggressive, like the moron in a Volvo wagon who tried to pass me on Thursday after both of us got on Route 80 west in Englewood, N.J.

My Model S 60 is a couple of seconds slower to 60 mph than the P85D that just broke the Consumer Reports ratings system, earning a perfect road test score of 100.

But the zero to 30 mph and 40 mph times are dazzling when I've been challenged to a stoplight grand prix start.

I've yet to lose one.

E-ZPass discounts

Tesla's Model S uses an external E-ZPass that is mounted over the bottom of the license plate, but you'll have to jump through hoops to get the "green" one that entitles you to off-peak discounts as the owner of a zero-emission vehicle.

The off-peak discounts are available on the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway and at the Hudson River crossings.

First, you have to register your car, then send in a copy of your registration showing the make and model, and if you're lucky, in four to six weeks the so-called Green Pass will come in the mail.

My first attempt, using snail mail, failed. The second time, I faxed in my request and got the exterior E-ZPass, but it was black like the one on my Model S.

I called, and was told exterior passes come only in black, but that my pass is programmed to give me the green discounts.

The E-ZPasses we use to get off-peak discounts in my two Toyota Priuses are green, not white.

Our 2007 Prius with 64,000 miles on it is for sale. If you want to get 40 mpg to 50 mpg and help the environment, send an email to the address at the top of this blog.

LOADED: Navigation system, Bluetooth, six-disc CD player in dash.

Carpool discounts

All drivers are entitled to a carpool discount at the Hudson River crossings -- 24/7 -- but you have to call your E-ZPass provider and register for the discount.

Then, you have to stop in a staffed cash/E-ZPass lane so a toll taker can see you have three or more people in the car.

The regular off-peak E-ZPass toll at the Hudson River crossings is $9.75, the Green Pass off-peak toll is $6.25 and the carpool toll is $5.75.

The peak E-ZPass toll is $11.75, and the cash toll is $14.

The Model S on vacation at the Basin Harbor Club on Lake Champlain in Vermont, where we also recharged our own batteries.

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