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The long and winding road

Tesla Model X
This is the hottest Computer on the Road

An (initial) tour through Germany with the Tesla Model X 75D, nearly 2000 kilometres.


It is a car, it has four wheels and it drives. 

It's like,... back then: the 2CV drivers or the bikers, just now Tesla: On a supercharger I'm barely out of the car to push in the plug, so I'm already mentioned. "You're coming from...? And how do you like it..., I've already covered 130,000 kilometres..."; a little pat on the back has formed, the glances want to be cool, but in reality they can hardly all go straight ahead with pride and insider behaviour: With arms spread out, a young man comes (from the restaurant) to the five Tesla drivers standing around: "Excuse me, one question: has any of you ever regretted buying a Tesla? I'm a consultant. I had, threee months ago..." For Elon's sake, you want to sink into the ground. Nevertheless, I am not completely free from the associated feelings.

The Tesla is a cool computer, but after 2,000 kilometres I can also see a few downsides: The trip from Tegernsee to Bad Hersfeld, which is just under 500 kilometres, took - with a continuous free ride - from 13:06 to 20:28, almost 7.5 hours! So: you can make good progress with the processing of the podcast list. OK, the "fuel" goes on Tesla, you can't complain, but on the other hand you have a comparatively overpriced car, so what goes on the house is priced in, of course, what else.

If you roll your disconcerting 45 kilometres of remaining range into the yard and plug in the plug, you can usually observe a quick transfer: 96 KW was my top value, so you can watch the range when shooting up. From a range of approx. 200 km, Tesla regulates down to approx. 70 KW, and at a range of approx. 250 km you are down to a few 30 KW. Maybe there are technical reasons for this, but at least one effect is that you, you've already waited for about 25 minutes, become impatient towards the end. That, it seems to me, is the intention: You are supposed to draw just as much energy as you need until the next charger; this may be different for models with a higher capacity, but it's probably "in general" similar. 

So you drive across the country and get to the charger when you need energy. Most of the time I found a column free immediately, but near the metropolises, Berlin, Munich,... the columns were really busy in use. And it is foreseeable that there will be bottlenecks if more people surrender to the hype and buy a Tesla. At one particular station three Tesla's came after me, they didn't find a place and had to wait for the complete 25 minutes while I was sucking.

The built-in shortage takes a while to get used to. I have not yet learnt whether there is a "most economical" cruising speed, but to be on the safe side I don't drive faster than 120, and I think twice about the usual amenities: Do I really need the interior lighting? When I leave the coat on, can I drive over a longer distance at 20 degrees Celsius - or do I limit myself, as advised by Tesla, to the seat heating, which consumes considerably less than the heating? Do I want the vehicle to "backlight" when I get out of the car? etc. You're thinking about everything that interferes with your range. All this has a certain pedagogical aspect, but above all it is annoying.

The Tesla is young, as a product at the beginning of its life cycle. You can see this in the many little things that more mature products have absorbed over time. For example, there's no catch in Model X: you can't hang up your jackets anywhere, so they're lounging around on top of your luggage, sliding down the curves from the temples to your hiking boots and wrinkling one that makes you look 15 years younger. For example, a drink holder for the back seat pulls out of the centre console: practical, but it does so if you just look at it. So whenever you have something to mess around with in the back of your luggage compartment, the cup holder pulls out, you push it, you scratch it, you can't get close to the shoes anymore.... whereas it's very practical that you can park five pairs of shoes under the back seat.

Now the Tesla has this huge tablet. From the overall design this is... worthy of discussion, but very convincing in terms of use. Navigation is excellent, complementing each other (as helicopter view) in the best possible way with the display on the driver's display (which indicates the immediate direction). A built-in Internet is: simply super! Transferring the addresses from the calendar to the navigation: that's what I wish.

In general: the sync with the smartphone, the stability of the bluetongue connection, faultless. What a fuss I always have with my Infiniti. 


Measured against this cool performance, the functionality in the display is... poor. Example: The car drives alone. So you're on the highway, in your driver display you can see if and when the car recognizes the edges of the road, and if that's the case, you can pull the lever twice to start the autopilot. Very relaxing, actually. However, it does a Boing-Boing each and every time the autopilot is turned on and turned off, drowning out the current (podcast) sound every time. This is annoying because you shouldn't believe that you can drive on autopilot for too long. Always someone gets in your way, and Boing-Boing Auto-Pilot stops, lane change, autopilot, Boing-Boing, start again. You would like to be able to switch that off! but it doesn't exist. And so there are many small details which "actually" could be regulated, but which are not functionally planned.

This perpetual buzzing and banging and dinging and tooting, ... the car has a great need for communication. Immediately after the pick-up, no winter shoes had been put on and because the wheels are so huge, two of them were on the back seat and two in the trunk. So I drove through Frankfurt and always Boingte and Dongte something and I was so distracted that I had a passport photo taken at a traffic light. Super!! Finally, I found out that in every curve the wheels on the back seat were rolling over a "touchpoint", a sensor that found that „the passenger“ in the back seat was not fastened: Boing. Still not: Boing. Boaaah! And such a damn ticket for it! All right, you have this kind of little stories.

Last thought: 

Tesla is the hottest car at the moment, the other suspects may try a somersault, they won't do it; but actually! It would be impossible for batteries to convert the world's transport fleet to electrical power alone from the necessary raw materials. Fuel cells would actually be the technology of choice today, but again and again, industry will sacrifice the better of opportunity and go in the wrong direction.

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