Today, along with 4 friends I enjoyed test-driving a Tesla Model X around Fremantle. This car is a game changer in auto technology. For some of us the technology was of greatest interest, for me the sheer performance that had me hooked. Statistics like 0 to 100kmph in 2.4 seconds look good on paper, but to experience that acceleration was another thing completely.
The Model X was described by the Tesla man as a SUV, and that put me off from the start, as did the SUV body shape, albeit with rear gull wing doors, this is not a car out of an Italian design studio. Maybe in the future we will get to try the Model S, but Tesla chose the Model X due to it having to accommodate 4 big blokes and the Tesla rep.
The technology was extensive, but not overpowering, for me it ran in the background, without interfering with the driving pleasure. I was there for the performance, which the Model X had in spades. Not only straight-line acceleration, but also the cornering, which was stunning. All done without fanfare, no roaring of engine or squealing tyres, jut out right performance, oh and G force! I’d so love to get a Tesla on a track somewhere. I had most of the techno turned off; one thing switched on was regenerative braking, which cuts in when you take your foot of the throttle. It took some getting used to, but for a regular driver it would become a useful feature. The car also adjusted the suspension height and stiffness as well as the steering feedback to match your driving style.
Mark took the wheel got to play with the voice commands. The car comes with permanent Internet connection and Spotify. Click a lever and ask for a song or album and in seconds it’s playing. The voice activation also worked on the GPS, Mark asked for directions to the Round House and up it comes on the giant screen, which of course incorporated the best reversing camera I’ve seen. Next was Josh, and this is where it gets interesting. Flick another switch and the car goes into cruise control. It goes at the predetermined speed, until the car in front slows down. We pulled up in a queue at traffic lights on High Street and took off as the car in front pulled away, all using the cruise control. Pull the switch twice and the car goes into auto steer. The diver can take their hand off the wheel and the car navigates itself, as long as there is a white line and curb for it to orientate itself to. The driver came into Freo from Palmyra without having to do a thing except monitor the situation. As we went up Ord Street we arrived at the new very large speed humps and the car raised its suspension automatically, controlled by Tesla central that had picked up from another Tesla that it had encountered speed humps on that section of the road. As the Tesla fleet increases and information is gathered more and more info will be transmitted to the car about the driving conditions you are facing.
Behind the 3 rear seats are 2 more child seats, just push a button and the rear seats move forward and fold. All doors and boot open and close at the touch of a button. The test car was extensively optioned, one of which was the ‘Vegan Friendly Leather Seats’, work that one out if you can.
The 2 hours flew by, and all of us were a little dazed about what we had experienced. I do hope Tesla can arrange for us to drive a sports sedan.