On September 29, 2015, Tesla announced the production of the Model X SUV in front of the company’s Fremont, California factory. Just a few hours before Tesla Almighty Elon Musk announced the good news of gullwing doors and the defense mode against bio-weapons to my believers, I was one of the first to test the Model X.
Since then, the Tesla SUV has become the industry standard. As a premium e-SUV, it has only a handful of rivals, including the Audi e-tron and the Jaguar I-Pace. It has been a few years now since I last drove the Tesla Model X. A road trip from New Jersey to Wilmington in Delaware seemed like a good opportunity to try out the performance of a new Model X and to familiarize myself with the Tesla SUV.
On my road trip I was able to try out Tesla’s Supercharger network
In addition, the almost 200-kilometer journey would give me the opportunity to try Tesla’s much-praised Supercharger network. Even though I spent a lot of time behind the wheel of Tesla’s Model S and Model 3, I mostly only drove to the NewsABC.net editorial office in New York. So I rarely drive such long distances that I have to charge the battery in between.
For our road trip, Tesla provided us with a Model X Performance in the color deep blue metallic, which normally costs just under 150,000 euros. However, the Tesla Model X Long Range model is available from a little cheaper around 68,000 euros.
We did a road trip with the Tesla Model X SUV – and discovered an unexpected strength from Tesla
Here it is, our Tesla Model X Performance test car. The round corners of the Model X and its elegant, aerodynamic profile are part of the signature of Tesla models. Of course, the gullwing doors are the focus.
The gullwing doors are probably the most distinctive feature of all Tesla models. Fortunately, the electrically operated doors are also quite useful – they make it easy to get in and out of the second row.
At the rear end there is an electrically operated trunk lid and a fixed spoiler. The spoiler provides useful contact pressure at high speeds, but it also limits the view to the rear.
Inside our Model X was equipped with white leather, dark ash wood and black Alcantara synthetic leather. And of course with Tesla’s famous 17-inch touchscreen.
There is a large and individually adjustable digital dashboard in front of the steering wheel.
Since there is no internal combustion engine, there is also a trunk on the front of the Model X.
In the trunk, our five-seater Model-X apparently has thousands of acres of storage space. There is even a useful charge isolator.
The Model X can also be optionally purchased with six or seven seats.
We picked up our car after a meeting at Penn Station in Newark, New Jersey, at a nearby parking lot.
Off to the south! Let’s go to Delaware.
The Model X drives incredibly smooth and quiet on the road. The two electric motors deliver acceleration that is otherwise only known from supercars. We didn’t get to measure the acceleration, but we wouldn’t be surprised if our test car accelerated from zero to 100 kilometers per hour in less than three seconds.
Thanks to the huge 100-kilowatt lithium-ion battery under the interior, the Model X has a particularly low center of gravity for an SUV. That’s why it turns around quickly and feels calm when accelerating.
We were able to try Tesla’s autopilot on the highway. However, this is not a semi-autonomous driving system, but a further developed form of adaptive cruise control.
The cruise control worked perfectly and the steering assistant always kept the car in the middle of the lane. I still had to take the wheel a few times.
After about an hour we stopped for dinner in Hamilton, New Jersey and charged the battery on a supercharger. There are six Superchargers at the Hamilton station, four of which have already been occupied.
Tesla currently operates a network of more than 14,000 superchargers around the world. Each of them has several quick charging stations and is intended to serve as a safety net for Tesla drivers on long road trips.
Using a supercharger is incredibly easy. You just have to drive your Tesla within range of the charging cable and …
… Open the loading lock with a button in the interior. However, the charging cap also opens when a charging cable approaches.
And then you just have to plug the charging cable into the connector.
Then press the button on the plug and the cable can be disconnected.
And don’t worry, by the way, driving with the charging cable plugged in is not possible.
My first experience with the Supercharger started with a bumpy start. The first charging station did not work. I tried plugging the cable in and out a few times, but it still didn’t work.
Finally, we decided to try the next pillar. Bingo! Runs like clockwork!
Our car was only hanging on the charging station for 25 minutes, but that was enough to get us at least to our destination.
After a weekend in Delaware, it was time to return to New Jersey.
This time we took a break on a supercharger in Claymont, Delaware.
It is located next to a wawa restaurant. If you haven’t eaten there, you really missed something.
This time everything went smoothly. The car was charging and we were soon back on the road.
As great as Tesla’s cars may be, the star of our road trip was without a doubt the Supercharger network.
So far, we’ve also had the opportunity to try Tesla’s big rivals Chevrolet and Nissan. Even though both have launched impressive electric cars with the Bolt and Leaf, neither manufacturer offers a fast-charging network like Tesla.
Even if the new generation of electric cars has enough range for driving within the city, longer road trips are virtually impossible. With the Supercharger network, Tesla can calm the fear of empty batteries in everyday life and make longer road trips possible for e-car drivers.