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Thoughts after a weekend with Model X

Discussion in 'Model X' started by soundanswer, Sep 26, 2016.

  1. soundanswer

    soundanswer Member

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    My family was treated to a 24 hour test drive on a P90DL Model X this past weekend. I originally wrote this down for myself, but then realized it might be helpful for the community so I’m publishing it here on TMC. It's a bit long, but really it was written as a bit of a journal for myself.

    Some background: we are in the entertainment industry and have quite specific cargo needs and the only real way to see if the vehicle would even work for us was to try it out in the trenches. We are extremely grateful for the dealership’s generosity in letting us have the vehicle, and are really looking forward to becoming part of the Tesla family.

    Stating the obvious: I love it, and so does everyone who even comes near it. All my thoughts on this are framed from the obvious conclusion that the Tesla vehicle IS the way a car should be, and absolutely where things are headed. This is not just an awesome car from the standpoint of being a fun and sexy way to get around, but awesome from the standpoint of what it means for a much larger picture. I feel like I could go into a great detailed analysis of countless features of it, but I won't here as that is well covered elsewhere. What IS unique is that I got to be the "owner" for a weekend of $144k engineering marvel. These thoughts are regarding its immediate impact in my life as a utility, what it is, and what it isn't.

    I'll start with the only negatives I can muster.
    • It's priced as such that I pause at immediately purchasing it. It also makes me a little nervous being at the helm for fear of anything happening to it. Schleping our equipment a 1 year old and a 4 year old in and out of the vehicle definitely quickened my heart rate. I’m a pretty calm guy generally, but I don’t want to think about another thing to “protect” I already have a wife and two kids.
    • Volumetrically it is massive, but in a non-square oddly shaped way. I was able to load our entire show setup into the vehicle no problem, and could have fit more, but it wasn't exactly pretty. Suitcases and things "normal" folks have wouldn't be any problem, but a PA system, a tent, guitar, bass, mandolin, bags of show props, CDs & books to sell, mic stand, various cables are all long and/or oddly shaped. Our tiny trunk in our hybrid Kia Optima does a better job of shielding the bulk of our junk from view. However, it doesn't come nearly as close to fitting in our car and it spills over into the passenger compartment (doesn’t fit the tent with the whole family in it), cramping our kids in their car seats. The Model X may not obscure all that mess from view, but it does leave plenty of space for its occupants. Somewhat of self important quibble, but I wish my unique cargo and passenger needs were more seamlessly accounted for. Again this is where the price comes into play a bit. It's really my own consideration, but if I was spending $30k on a car I don't think I would care about this point - however with the car approaching $100k I feel like every aspect should be perfect perfect perfect underscored perfect. Any physical object will have inherent limitations. I admit, to even have the thought that something should be "perfect for everything" is a bit obscene. However, as a car's primary function is to commute passengers and cargo comfortably from place to place: this consideration enters in. Don't get me wrong, everyone is comfortable and everything definitely arrives from point A to point B, but the aesthetics are muddied in fitting it all in to this space. It's annoying because the vehicle IS so incredibly aesthetic, anything which detracts stands out like a sore thumb.

    Positives. Everything is glowing positive here really. Rather than diving into the minutia of benefits of granular features, I'm going to paint in the broader strokes of the big picture which aren't entirely visible from any one aspect.



    Awareness:

    • Driving this car makes me much more aware of all that is around me. By decoupling vital awareness from mundane aspects of driving (staying in your lane, maintaining speed relative to other vehicles) I find that I can much more acutely observe what is there. A child from the back seat pining for something I can address and handle without fearing that glancing from the road could be catastrophic. I am free to be aware of what is on the sides of, and behind the car vs. my own lane. I can see distracted drivers and avoid them. In a world connected by technology, this double edged sword yields less forgiveness on a moment of being out of touch while providing great opportunity for those who can respond immediately to opportunity. While existing technology won't allow you to sit in the driver's seat and work on a business plan, it will however let you view a text message long enough to determine whether or not it's urgent. That fear of being disconnected or ignoring vital communication can weigh on me even when I'm not actually missing anything. It frees me of that anxiety. As new features are rolled out and the technology improves, full autonomy will take shape with all the benefits it provides.
    Safety:

    • This is the safest car on the road by many metrics. Massive crumple zone, incredibly strong frame, driver assistance features for preventing accidents, there really isn't a safer place to be on the road. I cherish my family and while I don’t spend too much time worrying, there are a lot of people on the road. My wife was already involved in a collision this year where someone swerved out of their lane and totaled our van. No one was hurt, but if this had happened at a higher velocity who knows. I don't dwell on it, but when I wave goodbye to my wife as she drives away I'm not ignorant to the fact that there is a possibility (however slight) that this could be for good. We aren't morbid or fearful people, but I would like to stack the deck in my favor. I would like every possible chance I have to keep my family alive and safe. It's clear to me that the safest place on the road is inside a Tesla.
    Community:

    • The EV community and more so the Tesla community is absolutely amazing. By virtue of the fact that the vehicles cost what they do, the people who are able to acquire them are responsible enough and resourceful enough to amass that amount of money. Banks don't often lend to lunatics, and nutjobs don't ordinarily have this amount of money to direct in any one way. While I know this analogy doesn't follow completely true, it is a factor which preselects only those capable of paying their bills.
    • The other item that preselects the Tesla community is the fact that these vehicles are cutting edge (on the RIGHT edge) of many technologies. It attracts people who are intelligent enough to see through the nonsense that is published and know the truth about what a Tesla actually is. (As Tesla becomes more and more established this factor becomes less true as a Tesla becomes somewhat of a status symbol bought as that symbol of status rather than the symbol of the Tesla mission -Accelerating the advent of sustainable energy.) However, in this community I've found very kindred souls who can admire the aesthetic, the mission, the superior technology of a Tesla. From all accounts, these people "get it" more than most and seem to be aligned toward pro-survival things (helping the planet, objective truths, and just general kindness).
    • Bumping into other owners at the supercharger can be a blast. I met a real estate broker who had kids, I gave him a copy of our book and CD because why not? We talked about books, business and other things and it was a total treat. In this regard, being a part of the Tesla community which preselects a lot of common interests curates the group of people you’re around considerably.
    Cost:

    • My weekend cost me nothing. I used the supercharger network. And drove WAY more than I would have in my regular vehicle. Even in my hybrid, this adds up. I've not done a true road trip in years, but it struck me that if I wanted to take my family to fly to see my brother in Colorado it is over $1000 to get my family on a plane. With airports and the stress of getting everyone there on time a half day is burned on both ends of the journey. Now driving there takes a full day in itself but because of autopilot and the free supercharger network, driving is actually an option. Of course another day is burned driving back, but that is over $1000 saved and it puts travel within reach that I ordinarily might be more hesitant on. Planning flights takes weeks of forethought to get the right price, driving out on a whim if the time suddenly opens up is free. Of course this car costs more than what I would ordinarily spend on an ICE vehicle however: with the amount of driving that we do when factored in with the tax rebate we would actually SAVE over $300/mo. in vehicle fuel/maintenance/loan when compared to our existing scene. (We have between 2 & 4 shows a day, every day of the week)
    Attention:

    • Boy does this car get it. For us being in the entertainment industry this is a positive thing. Opening the wings up to load in our equipment netted us a small group of interested people. Sharing the EV mission and answer questions is something I think most Tesla owners enjoy, but it opens the door to a real human interest. People got SUPER interested in what we do for a living, and that always leads to more business. Being in the public eye is certainly not for everyone, however we ARE in the public eye and getting more attention at this stage of our game is welcomed.
    Mental state:

    • Now this is totally subjective, but I know how I feel after driving in any kind of traffic for over an hour in an ICE. When I arrive to my destination my first thought is usually relief that I am no longer driving and also feeling the need to rest or something before I dive into my task. Because of autopilot and everything else named above, when driving the Tesla I arrived at my destination energized about my TASK and what I arrive to DO. I love my work and I want to deliver my best. When I’m drained from dealing with whatever I get on the road, it takes however long to get my head clear from that. Any amount of time spent “clearing my head” is wasted time. I live to live and do what I want to do, I don’t live to “recover” from things. I say: arrange life so you can have your head in the game YOU choose. The Tesla through it’s styling and aesthetic, through its technology and worth, allows itself to “disappear” from my field of view as something I need to “handle” and translates itself as a servomechanism to my actual needs- amplifying my ability to do what I do without detracting from it. That is a really big statement, and like I said at the outset of this category: totally subjective. But it’s real to me, so for whatever that is worth: it is real.
    Convenience:

    • A grumpy fellow might call some of the convenience features overkill or unnecessary. However, if my wife needs me to run back into the house to grab her makeup and her coffee and we are running late: being able to walk up to the car with my hands full and have the door open itself allowing me to sit down then close itself, that is a heck of a lot more convenient setting that stuff on the roof of the car to get a hand free to open the door then grab again as I cantilever my body into the seat, and pass coffee to my wife’s hands so I can get the door closed. Never having to worry about locking your car (or starting your car) is convenient. Honestly I don’t want to think “did I lock it? is anything visible left out that someone might want to take?” - that is totally wasted thought. How about: the car is locked, if I come back to it I can get back into it and I never have to think of it. Being able to stop at a stop light and take my foot off the brake is incredibly convenient- I hate sitting there with my leg extended. There are far too many convenience features to mention completely but they do sort of snowball. It’s one of the good parts of life, and it is what contributes to that sort of cleared mental state I get when driving it.
    Impact:

    • Honestly before I started following Tesla and Elon, I didn’t think or care too much about carbon footprint, etc. However, seeing these ICE vehicles billow plumes of toxins into the air while crawling forward as I blow past them in heartbeat emitting nothing but awe I have to question why in the heck are we still doing the ICE thing. It really doesn’t make sense, it is so wasteful. Everyone I speak to about Tesla comes to the same conclusion- we have to get EVs on the road and ICE vehicles off. In the larger sense of the full Tesla mission we DO need to accelerate the advent of sustainable energy. Bottle the sunlight and reuse it when you need it. I love being a part of this movement. I mean seriously, if you have the HEPA filter on, the Model X is actually CLEANING the air inside and out of the vehicle. So really it’s not just not polluting, it is (to a small degree) DE-polluting. That is crazy! If I can be part of the group that is cleaning up the place and have a better time than the people who are making a mess, well that seems like a no-brainer. Several people around me committed to buying Model 3s just hearing what I have to say about it. It is SOOOOoooo obviously the right thing.


    Anyhow, I had to jot down my thoughts on this as a snapshot when I’m fresh of the high from using the vehicle for so long. The major positives trickle all the way down to a Model 3 when it becomes available. This is a really special thing to be a part of and I’m happy to support it!



    Best,

    Erik
     
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  2. NCEP

    NCEP Member

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    Thanks for this. I agree with you completely.
     
  3. CmdrThor

    CmdrThor Member

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    You have to think of it in a different way. The car is protecting your wife and two kids by being the safest vehicle that meets your passenger and cargo needs. Some will go overboard to keep their Tesla in showroom condition. Others will use it like what it is, a vehicle that can safely move you from one location to another. I already have a few small scratches from the four trips we've brought our dogs with us. I do my best to keep the car clean and in good condition, but we are planning on keeping it a very long time and things are going to happen.
     
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  4. ThomasB

    ThomasB Member

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    You are so right... you can try to do everything to keep it spotless but at the end of the day its a car and you will be driving it around. Bugs will splatter on it and kids might drop stuff inside or even scratch it... Not the end of the world its a car.. a nice one that we all love.
     
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  5. thegruf

    thegruf Member

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    that's a great and well thought out set of views.
    Thank you for taking the time to post it here for the benefit of all.
     
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  6. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    I look at it as making a $10k-$20k donation towards a sustainable future while buying a very nice car.

    The money still weirds me out a bit - but it is an amazing car, and it continues to get better over time.
     
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  7. cheekychappie

    cheekychappie Member

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    Great write up, thanks for taking the team to go into so much detail
     
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  8. beths11

    beths11 THE LONG RANGER

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    Will the model 3 fit all your stuff??? A cheaper Model X 60D might be the right choice?
     
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  9. int32_t

    int32_t Tesla Spotter

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    Maybe the messy result of packing stuff into the Model X is just a matter of practise. After trying it a few times you might start to figure out where to put things so they stack better and fit in the space better. You've likely had lots of practise with your existing vehicle, just don't expect it to go that smoothly on the first go in the Model X. :)
     
  10. Brass Guy

    Brass Guy Member

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    What was the seating configuration of the test drive car? It sounds like you need the 5 seat setup, and I doubt that's what it had.
     
  11. Canuck

    Canuck Active Member

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    Great post but hang around here for a while and we'll prove you wrong on this one... ;)
     
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  12. proven

    proven Member

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    Even though nobody has seen the 5 seat setup, it still makes no sense to me as a better cargo solution. Taking a close look at our third row, at best the 5 seater will save you 8 vertical inches of storage from the back of the second row to the rear cargo area. Plus you won't be able to haul anything long since the second row doesn't fold. The six seater seems like the best solution for fitting more stuff.
     
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  13. CmdrThor

    CmdrThor Member

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    That is unless they put in a folding second row for the 5 seater which could explain the long delay. There is really no need for the independently sliding and tilting mono-post seats if there is no third row to climb into.

    Or the 5 seater may never get produced.
     
  14. soundanswer

    soundanswer Member

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    Strangely our Kia Optima "fits" everything with ZERO wiggle room. It's not really comfortable, and certain equipment configurations won't fit all people. And also, if my wife packs the car it REALLY doesn't fit. ;)

    We had a minivan which was great, but turned into a "gear garage" which I didn't like but my wife loved. She really misses the van. I kind of intentionally didn't jump on replacing it because I wanted to see how we got by with just one small fuel efficient vehicle. Ideally we will get an X and a 3. We do actually need two cars. The space of a Model X is all about comfort with the added benefit of carrying more people when we need to.

    We had a 6 seat. I think it's actually the perfect configuration. The extra space down the middle is needed for my bass or our tent. Also, that middle seat isn't super comfortable. While the 3rd row isn't really for grown ups, it can carry them a bit more comfortably than the middle seat of the second row. It would be cool to see how the 5 seat is in real life, but I get the feeling that the 6 is where it's really at.

    Also I totally agree about the investment in the safety of the family. It's one thing to buy a car that is yours, and something else to be lent a car that will be sold to someone else, but then throw a 4 year old, a 1 year old, a bunch of heavy equipment in it to boot. I was a bit overly freaked about something happening to it knowing I needed to hand it back in pristine condition. If it was mine I think I might be a bit more chill. ;)

    As we enter our slow season I have JUST barely enough reasons to not buy it right away. There is no question it is the best vehicle for us. (I think we'd make great ambassadors for the Tesla mission too!) Just over three years ago we were making 1/10th what we are now. It is certainly a paradigm shift to even be able to consider buying a 100k car. As it stands now we are configuring a 60D. If our financial scene continues to expand over the winter months we might be able to hold out for a 90D.

    Thanks everyone for your enthusiasm!
     
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