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Aussie hired a Model X for a week in LA

Discussion in 'Australia & New Zealand' started by ZTrekus, Oct 5, 2016.

  1. ZTrekus

    ZTrekus Member

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    We just got back from an LA trip to Disneyland but more excitedly we hired a Model X and drove it around California for a week.

    It was really good but the truth is (in my opinion) the Model S is better. (I mean when they invented the Model S, they threw all they had into making the best car - the Model X was an expansion into the SUV market, but it is a reduction from the perfected Model S).

    At first I loved the doors, then I hated them, then I loved them, then repeated those emotions, then after everything, you would prefer the Model S doors. But they were fun.

    The autopilot was indispensable on the interstate. For the first few days the Model X was not available, and they gave us a Bentley Bentayga instead. A much bigger SUV. I had never driven a left-hand drive vehicle before. It is not intuitive - I found I had major problems with staying in the centre of the lane. There are real drift issues - just ask my wife. That is where autopilot was so wonderful. You just turn it on and all the stress leaves you - you just supervise the driving and make sure you stay in the correct lane according to the navman.

    ——
    The US:

    I loved it - we all did.

    We stayed at the Disneyland Resort - but we drove on various days to Universal Studios, Rodeo Drive, Beverley Hills, Venice Beach and Santa Monica Beach.

    The roads are so very different to Australia. Everything is big in the US. The people were friendly and accommodating.

    ---

    The Doors:

    It’s easy to see how you can love them - when all is functioning as they are supposed to I mean - They are ultra-cool. And the coolest thing of all was upon exiting the vehicle and having all five doors open (including the trunk that is) and then closing the lot by one press on the key. Yes even the two front doors slam themselves shut. I promised myself I would have to get a video of that but of course, I never got around to it.

    The trouble with the doors is when there are glitches, unexpected errors, out of the ordinary uses etc… Here were a few I encountered:

    1. The front drivers door can be programmed to auto-open when you approach the car. That of course can be pretty cool. Especially since I routinely approached the car from the passenger side (given my Australian training) it was cute to see the other side door open. Well then we went to Venice beach and parked on a narrow one-way street. As I walked passed the car on the sidewalk, the driver’s door swung open and almost collected an on-coming car! If it was a second or so worse, it would either have been hit or the car would have had to back-up in order to shut it. In the end I just got a screwed-up face from the guy as I ran around to shut it.

    2. There are sensors on the doors so that they don’t swing out or up to hit things. They work most of the time. But there are times when they don’t. For example, I trusted the front door to not whack the car next to me. It did whack it. I admit I didn’t look too closely for a scratch, it probably didn’t scratch it. But if the owner of that car was around, it would have been terribly embarrassing.

    3. Then there was the time when the back door refused to open because it sensed something that wasn’t there. It half opened and then gave an obstacle warning in the centre screen. There is an option to override that, so I hit that. It then thinks about it some more and still decides not to override it. Now it may be well and good to stand there and debug it but when you have four passengers all wanting to get in and out in a hurry a half open half shut door is a major pain in the bum. Especially when you can’t just shove it up or down manually! Solving the problem was not simple. We shut it, and the passengers had to walk around to the road side to get in. But that was after I tried backing away from the curb a bit. Not enough apparently.

    4. There is a design flaw also. You shouldn’t shut the back doors and front doors at the same time because at one small point the arcs of both overlap each other - and so they sort of clip each other. If I owned the car, I would have really cringed at that point.

    5. Having the back doors up are ultra cool of course and everyone just looks at it. I always did - couldn’t help myself. But then there are the times when you really don’t want that kind of attention. One night we went to downtown Anaheim to get our laundry done. When in the darkened car park, the last thing I wanted to do was sit there with the doors up. So as cool as the car looks when they are up in certain circumstances, in certain other reciprocal circumstances, they just scream ultra dickhead here - come beat me up!

    6. I thought I could get into all the strange things about the doors and just accommodate my behaviour to be very accepting - but there will always be one unsolvable problem. The doors do open and close rather quickly, but there are times, many in fact, when the occupants of a car are in a rush and just need to leave in a hurry. That means throwing the door open, bolting out, and throwing the door shut. Well that manoeuvre is just not available from the back seats in the Model X. And it is difficult to live with when that circumstance presents itself because by definition you are in a rush - and when you cannot guarantee that the bloody door will actually open, it is a recipe for disaster.

    Of course the above are all the odd exceptions that present themselves now and again. Generally they did work rather fine and you could adapt your behaviour to get the best use out of them. And when they work, they are ultra cool and so it was a love/hate relationship.


    The Seats:

    The best bit about the seats were the comfort. My family said they were extremely comfortable. The back seats though are cramped and seem sort of an afterthought. When my kids sat all the way back there, they were difficult to talk to from the front seat. And when I decided to sit in the back seat (at the laundromat car park one evening) I found it rather cramped and you have to sacrifice moving the centre seats forward just to get some knee room and that upsets the centre seat passengers. It does not seem practical to have the back full-up with adults.

    There were supposed to be seat coolers in the front and I had them on most of the time - but I never really noticed any significant effect. I don’t know the options for that sort of thing, but I found that any expense for such minimal advantage would be wholly unjustified. That part seemed like a gimmick.

    The back seat also comes at the expense of reduced trunk space. The model S has stacks of trunk space - not so the model X. And when we needed to load up our luggage to get to the airport, it meant putting the back seats down so that our bags would fit. Of course when we did that, they fitted extremely comfortably - but I would not like to pick up six passengers with luggage from the airport!
     
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  2. AEdennis

    AEdennis Active Member

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    Glad to hear that you had a good trip to Southern California @ZTrekus.

    Great summary of the Model X and its strengths and challenges.

    Disneyland Resort is in the middle of Orange County, CA, where our Tesla Owners Club is based... I would invite any of you who visit the LA/OC area of California to send a note to meet up.
     
  3. raynewman

    raynewman Member

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    Ya - I agree - the seat comfort and room (particularly middle row head room). Overall, I prefer the S also.
     
  4. ZTrekus

    ZTrekus Member

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    #4 ZTrekus, Oct 5, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016
    Forgot to mention the SuperChargers... I used two of them. One was at Fountain Valley, the other at Culver City.

    Fountain Valley:
    -------
    This would have to be the most congested SuperCharger station in the US (ok, I'm no expert but it was pretty congested alright).

    There are eight bays, and on each occasion that I went there (only twice), I was in a queue with about 3 or 4 other Teslas before me. And the same amount waiting each time I came to collect the vehicle. And on each occasion I thought I was going at odd times. That place is in dire need of more SuperChargers. I understand that Beuna Vista is about to get some - I have no idea how far that is from Fountain Valley. Anyway it made me yearn for the times I would charge in Australia and see no other Tesla in any of the bays.


    Culver City:
    --------
    At Culver City there were TWELVE superchargers. We went early in the morning one day and there were only about 2 empty ones.

    About another two empty when we returned. Culver City is in a big Westfield Shopping complex.


    Universal Studios - Destination Charger:
    ------

    We had the VIP package around Universal which meant free Valet Parking. When I gave them the Model X, they asked me if I wanted a charge. Actually I really did because I had no intention of visiting a supercharger to have enough charge not only to get back to Aneheim but also to get somewhere else the following day. Seems they had a destination charger there - and when I came to collect it, I had a full 100% battery charge. On a hire car, you always charge to 100%

    ------

    Teslas are quite plentiful in California, both models. In Australia I am always waiving to the odd Tesla driver that I pass - but I am sure people are well past that in the US.
     
  5. AEdennis

    AEdennis Active Member

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    Buena Park is about 3 or 4 freeway exits North of Disneyland Resort area on Interstate 5, it is waiting for the utility to deliver power to the site, all stalls wired and ready to go.

    Fountain Valley IS extremely congested. Here's a picture of it on a weekday afternoon last week...

    [​IMG]IMG_0492.JPG by Dennis Pascual, on Flickr

    Six waiting, the seventh car waiting just took a spot that freed up.
     
  6. ZTrekus

    ZTrekus Member

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    Hi AEdennis,

    Most of the Tesla drivers who are waiting for a SuperCharger wait in their cars, but a few of them get out and stand next to it. When that happens, you know they are ready willing and able to talk to other Tesla drivers about Teslas. I met one Asian guy there and he was very friendly. He had had his Model S for less than a year. He said he didn't have a destination charger installed at home and so he had no choice but to go to Fountain Valley to charge-up. He gave me the impression that many were in that position. I am not sure why. I am guessing that Australia on 240v just naturally has more juice for the squeezing. Perhaps major electrical work needs to be done in the US to install a destination charger - I don't know.

    That photo brings back memories. There is a Taco Bell amongst the stores there that our family had dinner at. Taco Bell is not in Australia (yet). But we ended up eating at Taco Bell most nights - and when we missed it on one corner, we could generally keep driving to find it on the next.
     
  7. AEdennis

    AEdennis Active Member

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    Glad you had a good trip. The "stay in the car" phenomena is an East/West Coast thing... same thing happens all over California, New York, New Jersey, etc...

    Charging on a regular outlet in the US recovers at 3-4 miles an hour. With a 240V NEMA 14-50 plug, folks can get up to 29 miles per hour..
     
  8. Drewflux

    Drewflux Member

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    @ZTrekus off topic but oddly enough taco Bell did exist in western Sydney for about 2-3 years i wish it would come back. Had a few stores at bankstown air port, parramatta and Liverpool.
     
  9. Homer

    Homer Member

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    @ZTrekus would you tell us the name of the company you hired your Model X from in CA? We go fairly often and I've found one on Turo to hire but would prefer to deal with a hire company than an individual.
     
  10. spentan

    spentan Active Member

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    #10 spentan, Oct 6, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 6, 2016
    As an Aussie who grew up in Perth and lived in Canberra for 5 years, it was a good read :)

    Of course since then I moved to SoCal and have my own Tesla Limo business :)

    Where did you rent the Model X? Was it MCar? I know that my cousin works for them (they're a car rental place) and they do have a Bentayga and a few Model Xes, so I'm interested to know.

    :D

    Oh and being 6ft9in and 180kg+, I love my X way more than my old S. Even getting in and out of my Signature S is difficult without an Exit Profile.
     
  11. LGGD

    LGGD Active Member

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    There was one on George Street too. Opposite the cinemas.
     
  12. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    I'm kinda surprised that you didn't comment at all one way or the other on my favorite feature, the one that really sold me on the X - the massive windshield.
     
  13. ZTrekus

    ZTrekus Member

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    Hey guys, thanks for all your comments:

    The place I hired it from was Exclusive Car Rentals:

    Welcome to Exclusive Car Rentals

    The Windshield:

    Personally I was really looking forward to seeing the famous windshield. In anticipation, every time I got in my Model S, I would look up to where the glass met the roof and wondered if I was losing something not having it being, well, just glass.

    But actually it really doesn't jump out at you when you sit in or even look at the Model X. My wife who knew nothing about it, made no comment at all and actually just complained about how difficult the visors were to use - so did my son come to think of it. But I did look up to see this helicopter cockpit experience that I was so looking forward to, and I suppose it was at that time that I actually really started to warm to my panoramic roof on the Model S. Yes it is a great big pane of glass but it is tinted quite heavily where it would normally be a roof and so it looks and feels just like a roof. I did not notice much more view but then driving on foreign roads and not being really comfortable, I kept my eyes peeled to both side mirrors. (I found that the rear vision mirror doesn't mean much in an SUV - the side mirrors are invaluable). So to those that appreciate the finer things, the glass roof I suppose is an oddity and loving all things Tesla, the roof is a fine addition. But it is more a talking point than something that other car manufacturers will rush to copy. Personally I think that because the Model X has doors that open upwards, Tesla couldn't implement a Model S type panoramic roof - so they compromised and extended the windshield up and called it a feature. Quite a gloomy analysis I know but the sad thing about the Model X is that having come after the Model S, it is always compared with the Model S rather than any other SUV. I was able to compare it with the Bentley Bentayga and for that matter my sister-in-law's Porsche Cayanne and the Model X leaves them for dead! In fact if I couldn't have the Model S, I would HAVE to have the Model X.

    Taco Bell:

    I did not know that Australia had had this establishment. My family was expecting this to make an entrance into the Australian scene in a couple of years... I guess Australia was just not ready for Taco's a couple of decades ago. There were lots of fast food joints on the Street Corners - never had McDonald's once. But there was Costco (at Fountain Valley - which stacks of people flock to at night to eat) and there was also Jack in a Box (which is another Burger joint) and people referred to me to In and Out Burger (or something) not to mention Burger King and lots of Weiner (Hot Dog) stands.... BUT Taco Bell was different in that it was Mexican Tacos and really quite cheap. In fact a $5- box would feed half the family!
     
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  14. aesculus

    aesculus Still Trying to Figure this All Out

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    Thanks for the observations and also thank you as a Californian for buying a Tesla and also coming to our state for your vacation.

    You absolutely should have turned these off right away. I always leave mine on but I am fully aware of what they do and how they work so I approach the car carefully at all times. Most of the time it's not an issue. And if you think there could be a problem the best approach is actually from the front because you can visualize oncoming traffic and the doors will also only partially open so they are not a hazard and you can wait until the path is clear. Safer for both reasons.

    I am wondering if your car had the latest SW update on it because:
    • The doors are not supposed to open/close at the same time anymore to avoid collisions
    • They have changed how the sensors behave (actually turned them off supposedly) so they should not give you fake readings
    Of course you cannot do anything about getting attention when you open and close the FWDs in public, but I am not sure why you would want to sit there with them open (actually I can see why but with the windows down and doors closed it would be exactly the same as a Model S).

    On the windshield: Please come back to California and hire the Model X again. This time take it to Yosemite National Park. You will get your value from the windshield there for sure. ;)
     
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  15. Brian May

    Brian May Member

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    This sounds particularly nasty. We already have a big problem with cars dooring bikes, imagine what this would do. "Sorry, the doors opened by themselves!" Bike riders may not be expecting doors to open with nobody in the car.

    Am thinking a better approach would be to use a location based white list. So it is OK to open the doors automatically at home for example, but not when parked on the street.
     
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