Life & Culture

Tesla Model X 90D: It’s a car, but not as we know it

Tesla's Model X is an electric car that might well do to petrol and diesel cars what Ford's Model T did to the horse and cart.


Welcome to the future, and it comes in the shape of the Tesla Model X. Yes, the Model X is an electric car, yet it’s an electric car which might do to petrol and diesel cars what the Ford Model T did to the horse and pony.

Not so long ago, most electric cars were little more than glorified golf buggies, and about as refined. But here we have a spacious, sensible and luxurious SUV which equals the Swedes on passenger safety and the Germans for build quality.

And whilst you drive it, cocooned in a bubble of serenity and modernity, you don’t have to worry about changing gears, because there aren’t any. There’s no engine noise either, because there’s no engine. What you get instead is actually not that groundbreaking.

There’s a bank of lithium-ion batteries which sends power to an electric motor attached to each axle. But the challenge here has always been to make this system work on a practical level — getting you where you need to go, when you need to go, with enough battery life to get you there — and this is where the Model X trumps over all those EVs which have gone before it.

Tesla reckons the Model X will do 303 miles on a single charge and it can be recharged in 30 minutes, for free, from one of their nationwide charging points. Extra range though, means extra weight, and this mid-sized SUV weighs more than Bentley.

But that extra bulk sits below the floor which gives the Model X a very low centre of gravity and as a result it doesn’t roll around and stays flat through corners. What’s more, the electric motors deliver maximum torque from standstill. Or, to put it another way, 0-62mph in 2.9 seconds, which is supercar territory, and emits zero emissions in the process.

The exterior styling is a bit cumbersome but it does allow for a 7-seat configuration and a fairly useful boot space. But that’s not the story here; the attention grabbers are its rear electric powered falcon-opening doors, which adds the sort of drama expected from a futuristic car — and it doesn’t end once you’re inside, sitting behind the wheel.

There’s a huge centrally-mounted touchscreen which acts as the Model X’s nerve centre. From here, you control every element of the car. Buttons and switches are now a thing of the past. It’ll even drive itself, if you choose the fully autonomous drive system from the options list.

This technology doesn’t come cheap. The standard model costs £80,400, nearer £90k if you put a tick against a few extras. So the Model X won’t exactly mobilise the masses like the Ford T did, but it is the start of something thrillingly new and exciting.

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