- Oct 05, 2018
Let’s be honest, the coolest car that we all know that is powered by electricity is Doc Brown’s DeLorean,
which can travel through time powered by
1.21 gigawatts supplied by a bolt of lighting
or a little plutonium.
However, Elon Musk’s team from Silicon Valley might be on to something. After spending a weekend behind the wheel of the Model X, my thoughts of just how impractical any electric vehicle could be are starting to wane. I’m not from California, so this is a tremendous admission, could it be that a bit of swagger has come back to the electric car business?
THE POWER OF X
My frst impression was that it fell inline with the Mercedes-Benz GLC or perhaps even the BMW X5, but the sticker price immediately knocked those out of contention. The front end is simple in design without the necessity of a grill. It appears to be about the same size as a mid-size crossover, but could lend itself to being a very large hatchback.
‘Submarine Mode’ let’s you raise and lower the suspension, but even before you get behind the wheel you know this is clearly not a car for going off-roading in. The 22- inch rims make a statement even when they’re not moving and I will admit that Gull Wing doors are still pretty cool. I’ve never had so much attention from taking my groceries out of the back seat. I guess passers-by can’t help themselves from stopping to ask if they can look inside.
‘I GOTTA HAVE MORE COWBELL‘
One thing is for certain; the Model X is fun for everybody in the car. There are a great number of ‘Easter Eggs’ hidden in the software. On the Model X, all of them have been conveniently rounded up and can be accessed through the Tesla logo located at the top of that massive 17-inch touch screen display. The frst mood changer comes from the reindeer which activates ‘Santa Mode’. The Model X graphic in the center of the driver’s dash changes to Santa in his sleigh and is accompanied by Chuck Berry’s ‘Run, Run, Rudolph’. The front facing radar that used to see cars, now sees reindeer as snow gently falls and when you signal sleigh bells ring out.
Christopher Walken gets involved with the second selection by telling you that he’s ‘… got a fever. And the only prescription is more cowbell’ from the Saturday Night Live Skit (if you don’t know it, look it up, it’s a classic!).
‘More Cowbell’ mode can only be activated by pulling back on the cruise control lever 4 times. Twice engages cruise control, three times engages the Lane Assist, and the forth gives you more cowbell. The road on the dash turns into a Rainbow Road and Mr Walken gets you on your way.
My personal favourite was the third acceleration setting. If you’ve ever seen the movie Spaceballs, then you’ll know what this is all about. When you engage the Ludicrous Speed setting, the centre console slips into light speed and a warning message arises asking if you are aware of the risks. You get to respond, “Yes, bring it on.” or “No, I want my mommy”. Seriously! All kidding aside though, this now puts the Model X in its third drive option: Ludicrous.
When you hit the gas, the dual electric motors rocket you from 0 to 100 kilometres an hour in 2.9 seconds. You’ll still be pinned to the back of your seat when my foot hits the ﬂoor no matter how much warning I can give you. Sure, it’s not great for the battery life, but it’s certainly a thriller.
The crème de la crème is a very unassuming green Christmas bulb on the Easter egg screen. I’m not sure how the meeting went when this was discussed, but Tesla has had some good fun. When the car is in park, pressing the Christmas bulb, exiting the car and closing all the doors is all you have to do to arm the greatest gift of all.
After walking away a few metres, I pressed the lock button on the key. Seconds later all of the windows rolled down and a fantastic sound and light show was put on by the Model X. People came out to stand on their balconies to watch.
Passers-by flmed the two-minute display on their phone and when it was all said and done you expected some rock concert type fog to billow from underneath the car in an eruption of applause. It was awesome, hands down the best party trick of them all.
A SUPERCAR FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
Up front, the view is endlessly open as the front windshield sweeps back over your head uninterrupted by any part of the body frame. The aforementioned 17-inch touchscreen works much like a giant iPad. The navigation is Google Maps with its live traffc update, which is always handy and you won’t have to worry about updating the maps on your own every few years.
Driving it in standard “Chill” mode it handled superbly in the corners thanks to the bulk of the weight lying below the ﬂoorboards where the batteries were housed. With body roll minimised, the roundabouts of Al Ain were negotiated almost effortlessly. And since it is completely electric, the amount of torque applied for acceleration will never let you lag behind.
Coming standard, the Model X has seating for fve, but has optional confguration for six and seating for seven. My opinion is that seven leaves very little headroom in the back, so removing those two seats from the equation will save you money and gain you some rear trunk space.
A BIT OF STATIC
My biggest dislike was the charging aspect. If I could have charging stations available in the same frequency as gas stations and could get a full charge in 30 minutes, then we’re starting to talk about something that could be the wave of the future. I also think that the sunroof windows of the backseat could be substituted with solar panels to charge the battery when the car is turned off – every little bit would help.
Sure if I buy one, I’ll have a charger in my home that I can let run overnight, but I still found myself constantly watching the battery and the projected distance available to see if I’d make it to where I was going.
There are Superchargers available which will give you a complete charge in about 4 hours, which isn’t bad and you can even charge it at home via a wall socket; the time it’ll take varies depending on what kind of electric wattage your house carries. I would like to give a personal thank you to the Danat Hotel in Al Ain for allowing me to utilise their charging location for the weekend. I did enjoy feeling like a VIP, and that’s a taste of the future that I can really say works for me.