The Road to a Model X
Helen and I are fortunate to own three Teslas, a Model X, Model S and Roadster. But when we purchased our first Model S in May of 2013 that was certainly not a path we expected to follow. In fact, the Tesla Model S was the most expensive car we had ever purchased by a very wide margin. We had always considered an automobile as simple a means of transport. That view was about to change.
The Model S and Great Engineering
What sparked my first interest in a Tesla was the engineering. Seeing the battery and drive train at my local Tesla store made me realize that internal combustion engines are way over engineered for their job. Tesla has such a clean simple solution; an electric motor attached to a wheel. It leaves out so many useless parts and systems needed by an internal combustion engine solution. Not only does Tesla have an elegant solution for sustainable transport but it is one that leads to: instant torque, 5 star safety, tremendous quickness, a low center of gravity for amazing, handling, and more. It is little wonder that it has been rated as the best automobile ever.
A Model S drive train in a Tesla store
In May of 2013 our new Model S arrived. The driving experience was everything the car magazine reviews reported and more. Almost immediately we realized short trips were not going to be enough for us. We signed up for an Electric Car Rally named BC 2 BC that traveled the west coast of the US from British Columbia to Baja California. At this time the Supercharger network was only in California from San Francisco to Los Angeles. But we quickly learned that the same 220 volt plug we used to charge the Model S in our home’s garage was available at most RV parks all over the country. This trip was exciting and new. It was amazing the attention that the Model S received every time we stopped. And travel was remarkably relaxing without the noise, smells, and vibration from an internal combustion engine.
Our Model S at Crater Lake National Park during BC 2 BC Elecitric Vehcile Rally
It became clear to us that traveling and experiencing North America by car was now part of our future.
In North Cascades National Park
We have traveled to more than 20 national parks and monuments across the US and Canada in our Teslas. These include Banff, Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain, Joshua Tree, and many more. Most of the energy cost for these trips was free, using the continually expanding Supercharger network.
In Painted Desert National Park
We have travelled about 75,000 miles in our Teslas in the last three years. This focus on seeing the country by car encouraged us to upgrade to a newer Model S that included Autopilot. I love driving, especially in a Tesla, but having Autopilot is great on long highway drives like a one-day trip from Seattle to San Francisco. Finally, we quickly learned that there really is no range anxiety in a Tesla electric car. Locally, you simply drive all day, then once home charge back up over night. It is actually more convenient than a gas powered car since you never have to go out of your way to a service station. On road trips the navigation system will route you to the Superchargers, estimate your charging time, and send an alert to your phone when you are ready to go.
Car Shows, EV Advocacy and a new (old) Tesla Roadster
Our Roadster arrives as a surprise present for Helen
As we enjoyed driving our Model S we also learned more about the environmental, public health, and economic benefits of driving electric cars. We decided to share this experience with the public. We have participated in a car rally to promote Electric Vehicle (EV) awareness and attended cars shows. These shows vary from exhibits at Earth Day celebrations to exotic cars shows where the Teslas attract as many photos as do the Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Porsches. Special car shows for us are the Drive Electric shows sponsored by Plug in America, a great advocacy group that promotes awareness of electric vehicles. It was at one of these events that I learned that their co-founder was auctioning of a Tesla Roadster to benefit Plug in America. I was lucky enough to win the bidding, donate to a great cause, and completely surprise Helen with a new (old) Signature Roadster.
The Roadster at an electric vehicle show for National Drive Electric Week
Our experiences with the Model S and Roadster convinced us we would never buy another gasoline powered car so we joined the waiting list for a Model X.
It is a terrific family car.
Helen’s Model X arrived about two months ago. It is a terrific family car. Her favorite feature is the powered doors. They open for you without effort and close automatically as you get ready to depart with a tap on the brakes. In a big family car it is very convenient to not have to stretch to try and reach a door to close. My favorite feature is the panoramic windshield that stretches above the driver’s head. Being tall I feel like I finally get a chance to really see the world as I drive.
The over the air updates on both the Model S and Model X are wonderful. Every few months updates arrive on your car that resolve issues and add new features. This happens without needing to take the car in for service. It is so much better than the usual car experience which seemed centered around returning your car to the dealer for periodic maintenance and service. A final feature to mention is the Model X’s ability to attract a crowd. Just raise the falcon wing doors and watch as a crowd appears to look at the car and ask questions.
After 3 years and 75,000 Tesla miles driven, we now have a new Model X