MAR 21, 2019 – My first experience with the Tesla Model X was riding as a passenger with co-worker Dave at the wheel, or NOT at the wheel. It was a cold winter day, but the interstate was free from ice and snow. As we were cruising down I-94, Dave turned to me with this glimmer in his eye and dauntlessly said, “Watch this!” No feet on the pedals… no hands on the wheel… Auto-Pilot mode: Engaged!
Driving the speed limit of 75 mph, it was terrifying and amazing how the Tesla seamlessly floated along. It cruised around curves, even passed other vehicles. It wasn’t until we came up behind a semi, along with another vehicle passing us on the left, all while swiftly approaching a bridge that I vigorously started putting on the invisible brake located on the passenger side floorboard. (No, this doesn’t really exist on the Tesla Model X – it only existed in my mind at the time.) The vehicle started staggering a bit from side to side, like it wasn’t sure what this object was in front of it (referring to the bridge) or how to react to it. The “get-your-hands-back-on-the-wheel” indicator flashed on the dash and Dave did, in fact, put his hands right back on the wheel. The Tesla recovered with split-second timing and all was well. My heart rate, however, took a few seconds longer to recover. I was also given a demonstration of how the Tesla Model X did indeed go from 0-60 mph in under 3 seconds. The power behind that thing is unbelievable! It literally pushes you back in the seat. Very cool!
A few days later, it was my turn in the driver’s seat. It had snowed quite a bit and there was a lot of compacted snow and ice on the roads. The Tesla felt very weighted and handled great on the ice and snow. It felt like driving a huge golf cart. A very large, very luxurious, enclosed golf cart. As with a golf cart, the vehicle brakes as soon as you let off the accelerator. This was great for coming up to a stop or handling around slick corners. The wheels stop spinning so you don’t continue to glide or fishtail. I was super impressed with the way it handled like a mid-size SUV, but much smoother.
I had the Tesla app downloaded on my iPhone. This was a great feature. I could see how many miles I had left on the charge, it would notify me when the vehicle reached its maximum charge, and I could turn on the heated steering wheel and seat warmers from inside my home or office. The week I drove it, the average temp was between +3 F and -25 F. With the outside temps being that cold, I found it was a bit challenging at times to keep an even temperature throughout the vehicle. The defrosters worked really well, but seemed to pull from the rest of the vents, so the floor would get pretty cold at times. It was either slightly foggy windows or cold feet.
This thing has sensors all around it, so it shows within inches how close you are to your surroundings. Great for pulling into a tight garage. With the key fob in hand, it opens the door for you as soon as you walk up, sensing if objects are close and either opens the door just slightly or wide open. On the huge touchscreen panel, you can adjust seats, mirrors, radio station, etc., type in your name and save. The next time you change drivers, just select your name from the top of the panel and everything zips into place. Reminded me of something out of a Transformers movie.
The panel features and controls pretty much everything. The on-screen manual is right there with an easy search mode. It has everything from GPS navigation, opening/closing the doors (those winged doors get a lot of double-takes) to programming (wait for it…) the whoopee cushion sound-effects button. Don’t ask me how I know that one. Cough, cough, ah hem… DAVE! J
All in all, a great experience! I can’t wait for week #2!