When you are born with a name like Elon Musk – which is open to anagram activity and Spoonerisms – it pays to quickly gain credibility amongst your peers by becoming successful. It helps that by reaching back in time to the founding fathers of electricity, you name your company Tesla and become a cutting edge, worldwide automotive brand. Getting in on the burgeoning SUV market, Tesla Motors now offer the remarkable Tesla Model X.
Despite my general negativity towards electric vehicles, I have to say that this car is something of a landmark: The EV grows up, as it were. Obviously I have never actually driven the thing but it does have an impressive CV.
Tesla Model X is powered by a floor-mounted battery pack. Building the weight deep in the car gives an SUV a low centre of gravity which in turn helps to aid superior handling. Tesla’s proven electric powertrain delivers, they say, exhilarating performance with the benchmark 0-60 arriving in just 3.2 seconds and speeding on to a top speed of 155mph (where allowed, obviously), utilising active aerodynamics. There’s even four-wheel drive for rugged outdoor types. All this and no nasty emissions for up to 250 miles on one charge.
Here’s my first hang-up; we just know it won’t go that far under Britain’s varied conditions and if you put your foot down but, fair do’s, range does seem to be slowly extending. The last time I looked Tesla had twenty of their ‘supercharger’ stations around the country. Not enough clearly but the number’s growing.
The double-hinged Falcon Wing doors open up then out, ideal for situating your Gran and what’s more they need only 30cm of side space, making it possible to park in tight spots aided by door mounted sensors, although you just know that children will shoot in one side and out the other, bless ’em, in an attempt to be amusing. There’s an imposing seventeen inch screen, many speakers, three rows of seats and no less than two boots – not having a conventional engine – so you really can pack the kitchen sink.
With a company working in the white heat of auto technology you will find that this car packs in automatic emergency braking and side collision avoidance to help prevent accidents. Another first is that Tesla’s AEB system works at high speed.
All this safety kit is supported by a front-facing camera, radar and 360º sonar sensors to enable advanced autopilot features. Why, this car even updates its own software.
Why have nylon when you can have silk? All seven of the superbly ergonomic seats are upholstered in leather with a choice of colours. The seats will move independently to ensure foot room for even the lankiest of passengers. Fit and finish is as you would expect for such a premium brand.
Not convinced by electric automotive technology? Tesla are gradually reducing the range anxiety aspect and buyers can at least expect to achieve reasonable distances. It’s true there have been reliability problems with the older Model S and that’s a worry. Also, there have been some concerns about Tesla’s business model in that not only are they making the cars but they are also trying to control the charging centres and run their own dealerships. That’s three businesses. Assuming all this becomes right in good time then this really could mark the spot where the future of motoring changes. Geoff Maxted