By Cathy Marchesi
The future is here with Model X, far surpassing regular vehicles
Mainstream auto manufacturers have their work cut out for them, as they strive to meet the demands of a future world of electric-powered vehicles. Unrestrained, Tesla has built the ideal electric vehicle from the ground up – not limited by conventional wisdom or the need to ‘convert’ from a regular combustion engine to an electric-powered one.
This Spring, I had the pleasure of test driving two Tesla model vehicles at the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri – something I’ve always wanted to do and finally got around to doing! Joined by 2 girlfriends, we set out to explore all the vehicles had to offer.
First up – Tesla Model X (priced at over $80k standard model, over $100k performance model), range of 325 miles, room for 7 (we drove a configuration that seats 6)
Three key impressions:
- Model X’s simple elegant design is revolutionary. Reminiscent of Apple iPod and iPhone, everything from the key fob, door handles, door opening, seat layout, and touch screen conveys simple elegance. Its interior layout is streamlined and modern, effortlessly accommodating up to 7 passengers thanks to the open design (no middle console in 2nd row seating). And the vehicle is quiet, calm and soothing. My first question: how do you turn the vehicle on? Turns out it was already on, and I didn’t know it! Vehicle has ample storage in the rear and under the front hood.
2. Drives like a golf cart AND a supercar. It took a few minutes to get used to the acceleration and braking in this vehicle on the city streets of the plaza. Like a golf cart, it accelerates when you press the pedal and immediately loses speed when you take your foot off the accelerator. I had to learn to gradually remove my foot from the accelerator, similar to letting out the clutch on a stick-shift vehicle. Like a supercar, its super fast acceleration onto the highway blew me away with the power and force of the vehicle – and this was the standard version (wonder what the performance version is like!?)
3. Offers autonomous driving in real life. Not just a futuristic concept, I had the chance to drive Model X in autonomous mode on the highway (works only with painted lanes). Not only does it drive autonomously within a given lane (no hands on the steering wheel or foot on accelerator), it also changes lanes autonomously by pressing a turn stalk just below the regular turn signal. I kept my hands within an inch or two of the steering wheel the whole time (just in case I needed to take control of the wheel) but never needed to!
Overall, the experience left me wondering why everyone doesn’t own an electric vehicle now? For sure, the future is here.
Keep an eye out for Part 2 of this blog series exploring Tesla’s entry level vehicle, the Model 3.
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