Tesla’s Model X is still in an electric class of its own…

Apart from make the tea, a Tesla Model X does the lot. Elon Musk’s family-mover boasts more luggage space than a Range Rover, will outpace a Porsche – and features a thoroughly entertaining party piece.

The list of standard features also includes four-wheel drive, seven seats for the school run, and a cool interior to make your children the talk of the playground. After all, what other manufacturer has a car travelling through space?

Model X is at the cutting edge of electric car design – and it’s not cheap at £75,000 upwards. Musk, the man behind PayPal and SpaceX, poured billions into his futuristic car programme and this is the electrifying result.

The Tesla is plug-in electric only, with no combustion engine back up or re-charging on the move. Expect some ‘range anxiety’ but even I became used to topping up at night on the driveway, or rapid-charging at a service station.

Inside, the centrepiece is a giant, iPad-shaped nerve-centre that operates everything via a touchscreen. Apart from the obvious, that includes a facility to search out charging stations en route or within range, an e-user manual, plus a top-notch music system.

Above, the front windscreen extends over the top of your head and into the roof, creating a light and airy cabin. The front doors open automatically as you approach, while the rear pair are gull-wing design for added kudos.

The party piece? Tap into ‘Celebration Mode’ and the Model X puts on a display of light flashing, door opening madness to music. You have to admire a man who can build a car with a sense of humour…

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How to annoy Ferrari drivers in a Tesla Model X

The Model X’s best bit is also its biggest problem. Those gull-wing doors that turn heads whenever the rear seats are required just don’t work as good as they look.

Apart from findlng the right spot to press on the the rather fiddly, ‘Tesla-shaped’ fob, the doors that fly simply don’t open fast enough. And once you’ve got over the wow factor, it’s annoying.

So much so that I took to piling some shoppping bags in the rear via the front doors. I guess you get used to it but after four days I’m struggling.

Some front seat passengers didn’t ‘get’ the windscreen that reaches far back into the roof. They complained that in bright sunlight, the heavily tinted glass didn’t work well enough. Personally, I love the feeling of space and being able to see the clouds.

I also giggled at being able to burn off a Ferrari from the traffic lights. Although to be fair, being a Ferrari driver, he was probably admiring himself in the vanity mirror.

Still loving the Tesla. If only Elon Musk could build a car we could all afford…

 

So if you had to choose between a Tesla electric car and a BMW M3, what would you choose?

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Now I don’t want to ramble on about Clarkson’s review of the BMW i8 too much but the final scenes of his drive to Whitby, where he decides whether to motor back home in the new BMW M3 or the i8, got me thinking.

What would I choose between the Tesla and the M3? I’m not going to scratch my chin here because I know the answer. The M3. It’s not because the Tesla isn’t a brilliant leap into the future – or the celebrity status it gives you everywhere – even in London.

No, it all comes down to issues over battery charging. If there were charging stations everywhere – even the random places I end up in as a journalist – then I’d buy into the idea tomorrow.

The Tesla looks slick, has the most amazing interior and futuristic dashboard lay out and so on but there simply are not enough charging points to make it work for me.

And with all that empty space under the bonnet, why not but another battery in and up the range to 500 miles – then everything would look very different.

I love the Tesla but I don’t love this country for not having the infrastructure to support it. Ask you local MP why when he comes electioneering at your door over the next two months…