Tesla Model X
I am often asked who, from the world of show business, is the nicest person I have ever met. I am also often asked who is the most odious – a question that tells me much more about the person asking it than anything else.
To get behind the wheel of a Model X is to be blasted into the future, Tesla having not so much ripped up the rule book of car-manufacturing as taken a blowtorch to it
With regards to the former, however, I have compiled a brand new top ten for 2016 – as of last weekend:
10. Rob Brydon (new entry)
9. Sir Terry
7. Gary Barlow
6. Gaby Roslin
5. Noel Fitzpatrick
4. Lynda Bellingham
3. Alex Jones
2. Richard Griffiths
1. Tom Kerridge
As you can see, straight in with a bullet at number ten is newie Rob Brydon. Not only has Rob agreed to co-host one of my forthcoming Christmas charity lunches but he also took my breath away with a tribute he recently paid to a pal who passed away.
To commemorate the loss of this chap, who by all accounts was a saint among men, Rob simply tried to be like him for a week.
‘So how did it go?’ I asked. ‘Bloody marvellous as it happens. Selfishly I felt so much better, being there for other people.’
Which is no mean feat, as Rob is one of the most chipper, life-affirming, upbeat human beings to begin with.
The smoked-glass windscreen
‘Not that I kept it up, mind. It was all I could do to go a week.’
Now isn’t that interesting and typical of us crazy human beings? We find something that makes us more content, more rounded, less anxious, better to be around, yet ultimately we still choose to do it less, not more.
The more sleep I bank, the better I feel. The healthier the food I eat, the more energy I have, and the same goes for drinking water and exercising.
Yet still, nine times out of ten, I choose vice over virtue. Rob and I were together via our annual commitment at the Scottish Business Awards in Edinburgh, the star guest of which this year was none other than the current No 1 box-office draw in the world, Leonardo DiCaprio.
A man who now dedicates more time shining the spotlight on climate change than he does on his movie career.
And after watching his excellent, albeit entirely alarming, National Geographic documentary Before The Flood, I completely understand why.
I won’t ruin it for you – watch it for free online – but there is one bit I would like to allude to for the purposes of this column.
Just over halfway through the film, Leo pays a visit to the Tesla ‘Gigafactory’ in Nevada, during which he makes the following astonishing announcement: if there were just 100 installations similar to this place throughout the world, collectively they could produce enough power to sustain all our electrical needs.
All nine billion of us! At 15 million square feet (once completed), the Tesla building will have the largest footprint of any building currently on Earth.
Which, among many environmental advantages, will hopefully mean anyone who wants a new Tesla Model X won’t have to wait until the ice caps have totally melted to get their hands on one.
Price From £79,500
Battery 100kWh lithium-ion
0-60mph 2.9 seconds
Top speed 155mph
Fuel economy Zero emissions
Miles per charge 336 (NED)
Road tax No tax
And how many people might that be? I would say the vast majority of people who book a test drive.
To get behind the wheel of a Model X is to be blasted into the future, Tesla having not so much ripped up the rule book of car-manufacturing as taken a blowtorch to it.
The Model X is the SUV cousin of the already exalted Model S saloon, the silent rocket ship that is as quick off the line as some hypercars and better for the planet than most pedal cars.
The success and appeal of an electric vehicle hinges primarily on its battery life and potential range – an area that Tesla continues to lead the ‘charge’ in (apologies – I had to).
And I am more than happy to report that for the three hours I had the pleasure of driving this future mobile, there was a noticeable and welcome lack of worrying fluctuation where this sacred statistic was concerned.
I cannot tell you how relieved I was to witness the initial 250-mile reading reducing gradually, reassuringly and consistently – as opposed to suddenly dropping off a cliff.
Ergo, with ‘range stress’ greatly diminished, I was afforded the extra brain space to enjoy the Tesla’s already legendary, world-renowned, bad-ass acceleration.
The gullwings in open position
A phenomenon so immediate, so instant, that whenever I went to put my foot down I felt simultaneously duty bound to warn my passengers of the potential for whiplash.
My other on-board highlight was the revelation that all five doors can be fully opened and closed via remote control on the touchscreen inside the otherwise instrument-less cockpit.
This is so much handier than I ever imagined – no more leaning over with my belly hanging out to release various door-pulls.
Now what about those ridiculously extravagant rear gullwings? My goodness, what a fuss they caused wherever we went.
And no, they don’t make it more difficult to get in and out when parked tight up against another car. This is because initially they go straight up in the air. It’s only after clearing the roof line they begin to spread magnificently for their show-stopping party trick.
You need more convincing about how good this car is? How about the revolutionary smoked-glass windscreen, which extends continuously into what becomes the moon roof – stunning.
Then there’s the option of five, six or even seven seats. Plus the minuscule running costs compared with petrol and diesel, a factor that very rapidly begins to make the initial (admittedly quite punchy) purchase price less painful with every dirt-cheap domestic recharge as opposed to every subsequent wallet-busting refill.
I have read criticism of the interior finishes, which I don’t get at all – I think it all looks exciting and modern as well as being exceedingly comfortable.
Nor do I get the gripe citing the Model X’s lack of genuine off-road capability. Sure, it has nowhere near as much ground clearance or underside robustness as various other big-boy, luxury 4x4s claim, but how many of those are ever seriously tested off-road anyway?
Four-wheel drive for most modern owners is merely a way to avoid getting stuck in a sudden dump of snow, or coming to an embarrassing, bunny-hopping halt while attempting to trawl through the ever more prevalent flash floods we seem to be experiencing. (Mr DiCaprio really does have a point – don’t forget to watch that documentary!)
Someone shouted at me recently, ‘Oi, Evans, do you ever put your money where your mouth is when it comes to those cars you review?’ Well actually, yes. I am about to spec up a new VW Up! Beats from a couple of weeks ago.
Plus, we are having a family sit-down today with regards to the potential purchase of – guess what? – the very car you see in the picture above.
The Tesla Model X is simply spectacular in every way and makes almost everything else on the road look like a museum piece by comparison.
Above: the gullwings in open position. Left: the smoked-glass windscreen