Displaying items by tag: tesla

Versus the competition: More than simply energy-efficient, the Model Y is space-efficient, with generous passenger and cargo room for its size, making it a perfectly usable and spacious small SUV.

The Tesla Model Y is the most popular EV today, with more registered in the first quarter of 2021 than any other EV, according to reports from Experian and Automotive News. So what is it about the Model Y that’s so appealing? A lot, actually, even considering the latest competition from electric SUVs like the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 and 2021 Mustang Mach-E.

Looking at the Model Y, you might think, “That’s an SUV?” The Model Y is a higher-riding version of the Tesla Model 3, with a liftgate and open cargo area versus a trunk, and it has all-wheel drive. So — by today’s standards — yes, it’s an SUV. The Model Y’s exterior footprint is almost identical to the BMW X4, which is a fastback “coupe” version of the popular BMW X3 SUV — an originator of the compact luxury SUV class. The Model Y is sized right in the heart of the soon-to-explode EV SUV class, which could see up to a dozen new luxury and non-luxury offerings in the next couple of years

Tesla Model Y as an SUV

Cargo Room

tesla-model-y-2021-42-interior--rear-cargo.jpg2021 One of an SUV’s defining characteristics is cargo room, and the Model Y has ample amounts of it, especially considering its compact proportions. Three large storage areas add up to big versatility: There’s the main cargo area behind the backseat, as well as two large tubs — one in back under the cargo floor and a front trunk — both of which can store sizable items.

We perform our own cargo testing in part because automakers vary in how they execute standardized methods, leading to invalid comparisons. By our measurements, the Model Y’s 20.9 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the backseat, including the rear tub, is more than the ID.4’s 18.9 cubic feet and the Mach-E’s 15.9 cubic feet. It’s also slightly more than you get in traditional electrified compact SUVs: the Honda CR-V Hybrid has 19.6 cubic feet and the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has 20.7 cubic feet.

The Model Y’s backseat folds in a 40/20/40 split, but it doesn’t quite fold flat because of the seats’ prominent side bolsters. Even so, with the seats folded, what looks like a small car on the outside can haul items like a larger SUV could.

A bonus: The Model Y’s front trunk measures 2.9 cubic feet, beating the Mach-E’s 2.0 cubic feet. The ID.4 has no frunk at all.

Passenger Room

I’m a slender 6 feet tall with long legs, and my legs had room to breathe in the driver’s seat. The backseat reclines but doesn’t slide in the two-row version, and I was adequately comfortable back there; there’s good thigh support and headroom to spare, plus generous cutouts in the back of the front seats that opened up foot room. We tested a two-row model, but there’s a small optional third row that increases the number of seats to seven and gives the second row a sliding function for third-row accessibility. I don’t expect the third-row proportions to be quite as generous, but we haven’t tested it yet.

tesla-model-y-2021-40-backseat--interior.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

Driving Impressions

What’s not SUV-like about the Model Y is how it drives; it’s more like the Model 3, which is aggressively tuned for spirited driving. Here in the Chicago area, where potholes are simply a road feature instead of an occasional deterioration, you too may find the ride quality somewhat uncomfortable if you don’t care for a tight, sporty driving feel.

The Model Y’s ride quality was a polarizing topic among Cars.com editors. Some thought it was unrefined or simply too harsh, but others, including myself, found the ride taut yet sophisticated and well controlled. For those looking for a sports-car-like feel, the stiff ride is worth the price of admission. It’s a genuine joy to drive, with quick reflexes thanks to a tight steering ratio, good steering feedback and competent dynamics. Snaking the Model Y through curvy roads reminded me of the latest BMW 3 Series with the M Sport package: not for everyone, perhaps, but those who appreciate a dynamic car will be rewarded.

tesla-model-y-2021-06-black--exterior--front.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

Versus other EVs, the Model Y is more nimble than the Mach-E, which feels a bit bloated in comparison — and it is 500 pounds heavier when similarly equipped despite comparable exterior proportions. There was no polarization over the Mach-E’s ride quality: We all found something peculiar about how it porpoised down the road, seemingly pitching from its center over bumps.

Most affordable EVs don’t ride that well, but if none of the above sounds appealing, check out the VW ID.4: Its soft, inoffensive ride makes it a standout among the current crop of EVs.

The Model Y’s acceleration is punchy and rewarding, and those who haven’t driven an EV will be blown away by how quickly even the non-Performance Model Y accelerates compared with traditional gas-powered luxury SUVs in its price range. Typical of EVs, there’s no step-gear transmission, and the result is near-instant acceleration response, with no waiting for kickdowns or gear changes. The Model Y seemed to accelerate harder for longer than the Mach-E, despite equal 0-60 mph claims from each automaker (4.8 seconds). Where the Mach-E fell off around 50 mph, the Model Y felt like it was just winding up.

 

Visibility

tesla-model-y-2021-39-interior--rear-visibility--sunroof.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

Where there’s less confidence is in the Model Y’s visibility. The small rear window doesn’t offer great natural visibility, though it has electronic assists that might help if you’re willing to put in a little effort. This takes us to the large 15-inch touchscreen that’s the main control and user interface for the vehicle’s climate controls, vehicle systems, multimedia, navigation and driving monitors.

One function of the screen is the rear camera system, which isn’t simply a backup camera display that pops up when the car is in Reverse. The rear view can be left on while driving to show what’s behind the Model Y, and you can augment the display with two rearward-facing, side-view cameras so you can also see along the left and right sides of the vehicle.

tesla-model-y-2021-30-center-stack-display--front-row--infotainment-system--interior--safety-tech.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

The large, high-resolution camera feed is detailed and informative, but having it appear in a central 15-inch touchscreen, along with the speedometer and everything else, is somewhat distracting. It would be easier to simply glance at a display integrated across a full rearview mirror, like what’s offered in the Chevrolet Bolt EV. A 360-degree, top-down camera view would also be nice for parking, but it’s not offered.

What would have made for more confident lane-changing is a traditional blind spot monitoring system that alerts drivers to a car in their blind spot with an illuminated symbol in a side mirror. That doesn’t exist in the Model Y; instead, a real-time visualization of the road and your surroundings are digitized in that central 15-inch screen, showing what’s around the Model Y. Colored markers alert you to what’s there, and you can also see digitized versions of surrounding cars in real-time proximity.

This all requires looking at the screen, however, versus simply seeing an orange light in your periphery while looking forward — or hearing a “ding-ding” when the turn signal is on, as a traditional system would sound. The Model Y does have a selectable audible warning that alerts you if you try to change lanes with a vehicle in your blind spot, but it has a high threshold and is more of a “What are you doing?!” alert versus a gentle “Excuse me, someone is over there right now.”

Towing

The Model Y is rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds — good compared with conventional small SUVs and more than good compared with today’s EV SUVs, including the VW ID.4 (2,200 pounds) and Mach-E (not rated to tow). An optional tow package unlocks the Model Y’s capabilities, including a tow bar with a 2-inch hitch receiver, a seven-pin connector and a harness, plus a tow mode. We can only guess how much the SUV’s range would suffer towing a 3,500-pound trailer; likely a lot.

 

Range Anxiety: What’s That?

With up to 326 miles of EPA-estimated range, range anxiety wasn’t a concern while driving the Model Y in the Chicago area — and that wasn’t only because of its long range and a surplus of Tesla DC fast-charge Superchargers in the area. Peace of mind was easy to come by because of how the Tesla informs you of its efficiency through useful driving information. For example: the Trip Monitor, which is one of the most useful information graphics I’ve experienced.

tesla-model-y-2021-26-battery-level--center-stack-display--front-row--infotainment-system--interior.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

The Trip Monitor helps drivers understand how their habits affect efficiency, plus how much battery life and range will be used in a given trip. It works only when there’s a navigation destination entered, showing a gray line predicting how much energy you’ll use in a given trip, overlaid in real time by a green line representing your actual energy use. You can use it to make real-time corrections to your driving style in order to arrive at a destination with a greater pad for your return trip. You can see right away when you need to stop driving like an ass, or just change to more efficient driving and regenerative braking modes.

This is what it looked like in action: I was supposed to return the Model Y to its owner at the end of the loan with at least 80% battery charge. When I got in the car and entered the destination, the Model Y estimated I’d have exactly 80% left by the time I got to the owner. Driving efficiently in the lower power and greatest regenerative braking modes, I ended the trip with 82% battery life — so a 2% less jerk move.

Braking

The Model Y’s braking feel is top-of-the-line. Few EVs, hybrids or even gasoline cars with brake-by-wire systems stop as naturally as the Model Y. Pedal feel is linear and firm but not hard, and unlike the Mach-E you can use the brake pedal to stop without worrying about giving your passengers whiplash. The regenerative braking function is always active, but you can make it more aggressive in the Hold mode  in order to increase efficiency. That mode will slow the car to a stop using regenerative braking at lower speeds than will other braking modes, then hold once stopped. It takes a fair amount of attention to use, however, because simply letting off the accelerator in this mode aggressively stops the car; it takes a slow return of the accelerator to smoothly decelerate. There are two other stop modes: Creep mode, which acts like a regular gas car, leaving the Model Y to slightly accelerate at “idle” when your foot is off the accelerator, and Roll mode, which lets the car roll without any intervention, as if it were in Neutral. But neither have the extra regenerative force of Hold mode.

Charging

tesla-model-y-2021-13-angle--black--charging--exterior--front.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

In a metropolitan area like Chicago, it’s possible to use Supercharging regularly because there are so many locations, but home charging is really the best way to do EV ownership. Tesla warns in its owner’s manuals to minimize the use of DC fast chargers, like Supercharging, for the sake of optimal battery health. In addition, DC fast charging can be expensive.

At home, the fastest a Model Y can replenish its battery is 42 miles of range per hour, using the car’s maximum 11.5 kilowatts, a Tesla or equivalent wall unit, and a compatible 240-volt circuit providing up to 48 amps (a 60-amp circuit breaker). At a more average 24 amps, like you’d find on a standard 240-volt clothes dryer circuit (a 30-amp breaker), you’d be able to charge at 21 miles of range per hour. That’s a difference of adding 250 miles of range in six hours or 12 hours, both with charging systems classified as 240-volt Level 2.

The Model Y comes with what Tesla calls a Mobile Connector, which has a pretty robust 32-amp rating you can tap into by purchasing an appropriate short adapter cord for use with a 240-volt outlet (the plug determines the current and, thus, the charging rate). It comes with a 120-volt adapter for trickle charging at 3-4 miles per hour. Good for 29 miles of range per hour, this unit might be all you’ll need.

Home charging can vary wildly from house to house depending on your electrical setup, and one advantage Tesla has over other EVs is how many amperage settings it provides, allowing you to charge on a variety of 120- and 240-volt circuits. The charging rate is selectable via an onscreen Energy Display, where you can change the charging rate by single digits to accommodate whatever circuit you might encounter. This maximizes the charging speed when possible and cuts it down when the circuit is shared with another car or appliance. The Model Y will even learn a location’s settings and remember them when you return.

Supercharging is ideal when on a road trip or on the go; 250-kW Superchargers aren’t uncommon in our area. Other common speeds are 150 kW and 72 kW. How quickly these DC fast chargers add miles will vary by charger and your battery’s state of charge. In our testing, we added 127 miles of range in 50 minutes on a 250-kW Supercharger, though that was with a battery not at an ideal state for the fastest charge rates: It started at over 50% and stopped at full.

tesla-model-y-2021-21-battery-level--center-stack-display--front-row--infotainment-system--interior.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

The fastest charge times come with lower battery levels, and the rate slows considerably as the charge level nears full; we never saw a rate above 70 kW during the charge referenced above. Case in point: We hit a charging rate as fast as 127 kW on a slower, 150-kW Supercharger when going from a quarter-full battery up to 90%; that charge added 198 miles in 40 minutes. Supercharging cost us 31 cents per kilowatt-hour, or $15.19 for the replenished 49 kwh. At home, the same charge would have cost $6.51 at the national average rate of 13.29 cents per kwh, but it would have taken at least 4.7 hours.

In our experience, we haven’t been able to charge faster than 80 kW on a DC fast charger with the ID.4 or the Mustang Mach-E, even though those vehicles are rated for 125 kW and 150 kW, respectively.

Autopilot — What It Is, What It Isn’t

tesla-model-y-2021-18-front-row--interior--steering-wheel.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

Autopilot is a semi-autonomous, hands-on driver-assist system that Tesla doesn’t recommended using hands-free. In its current incarnation, which could expand in the future, Autopilot acts as an advanced cruise control that centers the car in its lane. It was ahead of the curve a few years ago, but it’s since been matched by many competitors, including modest brands. It is, however, standard in the Model Y, unlike Cadillac’s more ambitious hands-free Super Cruise and BMW’s Extended Traffic Jam Assistant, and it works well in a variety of driving situations — more than some advanced lane-centering driver assistants.

Autopilot won’t truly distinguish itself again until its full capabilities are unlocked. Some of these capabilities are in beta testing if you opt for the $10,000 Full Self-Driving Capability Package. Even then, Tesla warns, “the currently enabled features do not make the vehicle autonomous.”

Our test car didn’t have this package, which currently unlocks the following:

  • Navigate on Autopilot: A beta feature that gives the ability to navigate a highway interchange automatically, engaging the turn signal and taking an exit
  • Auto Lane Change: Can move the vehicle to an adjacent lane
  • Autopark: Can automatically parallel or perpendicular park the car (competing brands also offer this feature)
  • Summon: Moves the car in and out of tight parking spaces with an fob or phone application
  • Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control: Also a beta feature; reads stoplights and traffic signs and can slow the vehicle to a stop
  • Autosteer on city streets: As it currently exists, Autosteer is designed for highways and limited-access roads, but Autosteer on city streets (currently in beta to select owners) will open that function to city speeds. This will allow a Tesla to navigate to an entered destination while following traffic signals, turning, stopping and accelerating. This is still a Level 2 hands-on system requiring driver attention and intervention.
tesla-model-y-2021-28-center-stack-display--front-row--infotainment-system--interior--safety-tech.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

Even without the self-driving package, our car showed a preview of this advanced functionality. The driving status display shows what the car’s cameras are viewing and visualizes it on the touchscreen, including vehicles of different shapes and sizes — it will show a pickup truck or bus as well as pedestrians and cyclists — but there’s more you can add with the Full Self-Driving Visualization Preview. In this beta preview, the car will read trash cans, safety cones, red lights, road markings and more. There are self-driving implications here, but for now it’s more informative than actionable; on our test car (without the package), it was sometimes overwhelming. What’s shown on the screen isn’t always accurate, either; at one point, the screen didn’t show a bicyclist on the side of the road but recognized a garbage can behind the bicyclist. This can all be turned off.

Tesla recently announced that this functionality will come exclusively through camera-based technology, instead of using both radar and cameras, in Model 3 and Model Y vehicles produced from May 2021 onward. The transition means the car’s software hasn’t fully caught up with the hardware yet, and there are limitations on those cars: Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance isn’t functional, and for a short period Tesla says Autosteer, which keeps the car in its lane, will be limited to a maximum speed of 75 mph — down from 90 mph.

Interior Quality

tesla-model-y-2021-17-dashboard--front-row--interior.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

The Model Y’s interior quality isn’t going to wow anyone like a similarly priced Mercedes-Benz GLC300 or Genesis GV80 might. It’s not flashy, but it does feel high-quality — like its synthetic seating upholstery, which is supple and convincing. The front seats aren’t too aggressive, but nor are they unsupportive; they’re comfortable seats with a natural seating position. The wood trim has open pores, and aluminum trim is used sparingly but well. The interior doesn’t scream “luxury,” and it’s not considerably more opulent than a loaded Mach-E’s insides, but I think it’s a fair trade-off for what the Model Y does give you as far as an exceptional EV experience.

No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto

The biggest omission I see is a lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is almost inexcusable nowadays. There also isn’t a Siri function through steering-wheel controls as other cars that omit CarPlay have. Since the last Tesla I reviewed, in 2018, voice-to-text functions have been added through over-the-air updates — a staple of post-purchase Tesla expandability — and it’s included in new Teslas. Also added since 2018 is Spotify streaming music integration, which is nice if you’re a Spotify user.

As for the omission, I somewhat get it: Apple CarPlay or Android Auto would make it harder to use Tesla’s integrated navigation features, like finding Supercharger locations and availability, plus the trick efficiency monitor and Supercharger routing based on charge status and destination. One of the greatest assets of these smartphone mirrors is to provide Google Maps and Apple Maps when navigation isn’t optioned or offered, but Tesla uses graphics from Google Maps and Tesla-powered routing with success. I wanted Apple CarPlay and Android Auto more for their seamless voice-to-text functionality, Siri, and the apps and podcasts that weren’t included in the Tesla.

tesla-model-y-2021-15-cockpit-shot--dashboard--front-row--interior.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

One more annoyance with Tesla’s phone integration: The wireless charging pad didn’t work with my phone case — an OtterBox Commuter Series, which is designed to work with the iPhone 12’s wireless charging. It works on other cars I’ve tested with wireless charging, including our long-term 2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid. In the Model Y, I had to remove my phone from its case in order to use wireless charging, which is ridiculous for a convenience feature; I just kept it plugged in to charge via a wired connection. The wireless charger comes standard, so it’s not like it costs extra to get something that doesn’t work, but it’s still a bummer. I wasn’t the only one whose phone didn’t work with the wireless charging pad; another editor’s Android phone wouldn’t charge in its bulky case.

No Instrument Panel

tesla-model-y-2021-16-cockpit-shot--dashboard--front-row--interior.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

What took the most acclimation was that the Model Y doesn’t have a speedometer within the driver’s forward view, just like the Model 3. Yes, you’ll get used to looking at the speedometer in the central screen’s upper left corner, but I really wanted a proper instrument panel like you’d find in the Mach-E or ID.4 — or even the Tesla Model S and Model X, which continue to use one even after their recent refresh. Even though the speedometer is at the top of the screen, it’s still a noticeable glance down versus a traditional instrument panel or head-up display.

I don’t mind almost all other controls being relegated to the touchscreen because it’s responsive and familiar enough to find items in the shallow option menus (like you would in a phone). Also, you can save your preferred settings and configurations to a unique profile, which limits having to play around with the screen after an initial setup.

Simply the Best?

Back to the estimated 326 miles of range: It’s a lot. In the budding EV SUV class, no one is close to offering that kind of rated range and giving you the Model Y’s acceleration (which, reminder: 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds). A Mustang Mach-E is rated for up to 305 miles of range, but only with single-motor rear-wheel drive and a 0-60 mph time of 6.1 seconds. The larger-battery Mach-E with the 4.8-second 0-60 mph time — thanks to dual motors and all-wheel drive — is rated at 270 miles of range. The Model Y Long Range AWD is simply more efficient than the Mach-E AWD Extended, using 27 kwh for every 100 miles versus 37 kwh per 100 miles for the Mustang, according to EPA estimates. In an EV, efficiency translates both to faster charging and longer range, other factors being equal, along with cheaper cost for each mile driven.

In 2018, we matched the Model 3 and Model X 0-60 mph claims, so I don’t think Tesla is overstating the Model Y’s capabilities at this level. As far as range accuracy, I didn’t feel shorted during my few hundred miles behind the wheel. The range prediction was in the ballpark for my actual distance traveled, but I’d need to do a longer test in various weather conditions in order to say whether 326 miles is realistic, and in what conditions. Cold temperatures rob range from any EV — roughly 40% at 20 degrees Fahrenheit versus 75 degrees, according to AAA.

As for the list of “wants” that could be deal breakers, they’re available in other EVs, but with a hit to range and performance — or both. There are also states where Tesla isn’t allowed to sell you a new car (including Texas, Delaware and Wisconsin) or are limited in the number of stores it can operate (including New York and Colorado). That doesn’t mean you can’t own a Tesla in those states, but the purchase must happen elsewhere — leading to questions about future service, though a Tesla mobile service is available. You do, however, likely have a Volkswagen or Ford dealership in closer proximity — just keep in mind that those dealerships will need to be trained and have the proper equipment to work on their brands’ electric cars, and not every location may make that investment.

It’s easy to see why the Model Y is so popular. It’s affordable in the context of other luxury SUVs, has oodles of range and a great charging infrastructure, and it’s fun to drive and own. The Model Y does do a couple of goofy things, and unfortunately, they’re not easy fixes expected to be remedied anytime soon. If a stiff ride or lacking Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and an instrument panel are deal breakers for you, you have more compelling options in the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volkswagen ID.4, but it’s really hard to look elsewhere when the Model Y does so many things so well — things that are core to what’s considered good for both EVs and SUVs.

(cars.com)

Published in Tesla

Lexus uses an altogether more comprehensive approach than Tesla does to achieving SAE Level 2 autonomy.

Tesla was first into the breach in the U.S. with a driver assist system capable of SAE Level 2 autonomy, which is the second-from-the-bottom tier of self-driving capability as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers. (Full or close to full self-driving gets Level 4 and 5 designations.) Autopilot handles acceleration, braking, steering, and even lane changes on its own, but only on contained roads such as freeways, and the driver must monitor things. That Tesla allowed its Autopilot-equipped vehicles even that much autonomous leeway with the meager sensor package onboard raised eyebrows—all the more so when you consider what Lexus is bringing to the table with its SAE Level 2 setup dubbed Teammate.

It's The Sensor Package, Stupid
Is Lexus late? Sure. Mercedes-Benz has offered similar capability to Autopilot for a few years now, including automated lane changes. But like Mercedes (which also trailed Autopilot), Lexus is coming in much better prepared.

Consider what Tesla works with: Its Autopilot-equipped vehicles (at least, before its recent abandonment of a forward radar sensor in the Model 3 and Model Y) include front, rear, and side-facing cameras, plus 12 near-range ultrasonic sensors (i.e., parking sensors). The larger Model S sedan and Model X SUV still include a forward-facing radar sensor, but Tesla has been pretty clear about the fact its onboard computers favor inputs from the cameras when scanning the road ahead.

Now consider what Lexus' first go with Teammate brings to the table: Front-facing Lidar, front-facing long-range radar, short-range radar facing the front and blind-spot areas (three directions in total), 360-degree parking cameras and ultrasonic sensors, a forward camera, and a front-facing telescope. Both Teammate and Tesla's Autopilot deliver a 360-degree view of the vehicle's surroundings, but one is like having Terminator vision, and the other is the relative equivalent of waving a stick around yourself while blindfolded.

 

Although Tesla claims its cameras can deliver "powerful visual processing at up to 250 meters of range," that performance is limited to certain conditions. Camera performance deteriorates in bad weather, whereas radar—so long as the sensor isn't physically blocked by, say, ice or packed snow—can detect fast-moving objects in rain or sleet. Every sensor has its limits, of course, but there's something reassuring about the multiple redundancy built into Lexus' setup, wherein overlap exists in the viewpoints of the Lidar, radar sensors, and cameras.

No matter how comprehensive the sensor package, eventually the driver will need to retake control for some reason or another. These are, after all, SAE Level 2 systems that demand the driver's attention at all times. Teammate is, predictably, more upfront about policing the driver's attention during use. An infrared camera above the steering wheel monitors the driver's head movements and eyes to make sure they're paying attention at all times, even while the system is working.

Like Tesla, Lexus relies on sensors in the steering wheel that detect the driver's grasp; with Teammate, you can go extended periods hands-free, but as soon as the system deems the driver is needed again, those hands better get to the wheel, quick, or else the car will begin to slow down and pull over.

Tesla, on the other hand, only recently began actually using the included in-car camera to track the driver's involvement in the Model 3 and Y; the Model S and X hadn't even included the cameras until their recent refresh. This lack of monitoring has made possible those moronic YouTube videos you may have seen showing Tesla drivers able to climb into the back seat, or even go to sleep, with Autopilot active, and with disastrous results.

So, How Does Lexus Teammate Work?
The short answer? It works well. The longer answer is, it feels like a future-looking driver assist designed by Toyota. In other words, the system truly acts as a driver's partner and less like a carefree system a driver activates and simply tunes out from for a while. There is an abundance of communication from the car about where on the spectrum of involvement the driver is or needs to be in a given situation, too.

On a brief drive in Dallas near Toyota's Plano, Texas, headquarters, we experienced Teammate's two primary operating modes: Advanced Drive navigated, and not navigated. One can plug a destination into the nav screen, and, should the route take you onto an eligible freeway, you'll be given a heads-up that Advanced Drive will soon be available as you approach an on-ramp. A distance countdown in the head-up display shows you exactly how far remains until hands-free driving is possible. Once on the freeway, a message flashes in the gauge cluster alerting you the system is initializing.

After a few seconds, if everything's gravy, a graphic in the gauge cluster turns blue and an audible alert invites you to activate Teammate's Advanced Drive function. Simply press the corresponding button on the steering wheel, and the system leaps into action, taking control of steering, braking, and acceleration at the speed you were traveling when you pressed the button. Drivers can use the cruise-control adjustment to increase or decrease their set speed.

Again, with a navigation destination set, the system alerts the driver when their exit is approaching; it determines and displays decisions 6 miles ahead of time, with exit urgency growing within 2 miles of an off-ramp. It prompts you to monitor lane changes toward that exit (if the car isn't already in the right lane). Intriguingly, the car won't simply accept a lane-change instruction (you can tap the signal stalk in the direction you'd like to go) or change lanes without you: Either way, it beckons you to check the mirrors and "blind spot." Fail to get this head-turning choreography right (remember, the in-car camera is watching!), and Teammate won't follow through. It's not that Teammate can't handle lane changes on its own: With rear-facing radar on each side, it can make sure a car isn't fast approaching in your blind spot and size up gaps in traffic. That's something Autopilot relies on parking sensors and a camera for. But Teammate will only do its robot thing with your participation.

Approaching exit ramps or forks in the freeway, Teammate will slow the vehicle and steer into the appropriate lane. The same distance countdown that shows your proximity to Advanced Drive-eligible freeways counts down the distance in feet remaining before the driver must take control. Teammate will guide the car fully down an off-ramp until this handoff. Fail to take the wheel, and the car cinches the seatbelt a few times to get your attention and sounds audible warnings before slowing rapidly. Tap the gas or brake (or press the Advanced Drive button on the wheel), and it hands you control. Using Teammate without navigation is much the same, minus the steering toward exits or through forks and without countdowns into and out of system eligibility.

Clever And Reassuring
As with Tesla's Autopilot, Lexus Teammate uses the digital gauge cluster display to depict the Lexus positioned within lane markers (those are the lines that turn blue when the system is active), as well as animations of surrounding vehicles and objects. The similarities end there. In Teslas, the animated onscreen version of events surrounding the car are jerky, and nearby vehicles fade in and out of the Tesla's field of vision. In the Lexus LS500h with Teammate we drove, objects nearby were rendered smoothly and accurately on screen, inspiring more confidence that Teammate knew what was going on.

The system's driving smoothness, too, inspired even more confidence. Our Lexus remained precisely in the center of its lane unless—and this was impressive—a vehicle next to it got too close or wandered over the lane marker, spurring a gentle readjustment to maintain distance. At one point while Teammating in the right-hand lane, a Ford Explorer barreled down an on-ramp and looked like it was about to cross into our lane early, before the solid painted line separating the lanes gave way to a dotted one. As the Explorer was more or less even with the Lexus, we figured the car would crank the brakes and let the SUV cut in (likely taking the car following us by surprise) or, maybe, not see the situation developing and we'd be sideswiped. Instead, the LS500h deftly faded to the left and accelerated (we were traveling at less than our set speed at the time) past the wayward Explorer. It's what a smart human would have done had one been driving.

Interestingly, Advanced Drive will beckon you to participate now and again, mostly when it isn't entirely sure of its surroundings. It won't necessarily ask you to retake full control, however. There exists an in-between state where the car will continue steering, braking, and accelerating, but it asks for your hands on the wheel. (The animated lane markers in the gauge cluster turn gray in these instances.) Should stuff really hit the fan—or you reach the end of an exit ramp after leaving the highway—a series of visual and audio warnings urge you to retake full control. In all, the setup's feedback loop bolstered its apparent capability, leaving us far more comfortable than in other similar combinations of adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist.

Teammate Going Forward
Lexus Teammate and Advanced Drive makes its debut on the 2022 LS500h hybrid sedan this fall. It also includes an Advanced Park function that fully handles parking, including steering, throttle, and braking (we didn't have the chance to try it). We suppose, over time, the feature will spread beyond the LS flagship sedan to other Lexus models, but Lexus has not yet specified its next steps. Curious how you'll spot a Teammate-equipped Lexus? Look for the little radar sensor units on each front fender (they look like vents but face rearward). Oh, and the driver may not be holding the wheel.

(motortrend.com)

Published in Lexus
Thursday, 10 June 2021 06:52

Tesla Model X SUV review

"With cutting-edge looks and the technology to back them up, the Model X is one of the most impressive and family-friendly electric cars you can buy"

SUVs and off-roader style cars are selling in bigger numbers than ever before, so it’s hardly surprising that a company with the profile of Tesla should want to move into this fiercely competitive class – and with the Tesla Model X, that’s exactly what it’s done.

The Tesla Model X was the first electric SUV to go on sale in the UK. While it has few direct rivals due to its seven-seat layout and blistering performance, it helped pave the way for several other upmarket electric SUVs, including the Mercedes EQC, Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron.

The Model X is sure to appeal to buyers who want the style and practicality of an SUV combined with an electric powertrain. One thing’s for sure: the Model X definitely draws its fair share of attention.

Despite being around for several years now, the shape of the Model X remains instantly recognisable, with its party-piece ‘Falcon Wing’ rear doors remaining an unusual, show-stopping feature. Expect small crowds to gather whenever they open, as onlookers wait to see whether children or aliens emerge from the futuristic-looking machine. They’re not just a gimmick, either – they allow easy access from the front or rear of the car, opening fully in less space than conventional doors.

Elsewhere, the Model X is just as sleek as its Model S sister, although it shares that car’s strangely blank-looking nose treatment that detracts a little from its visual appeal. Generally, though, the Model X has novelty and a high-tech look in its favour, but we reckon the Volvo XC90 is a more handsome SUV.

Offering definite appeal, though, is the technology under the metal. We’ll get to the vital factors of range and charging time later, because the statistics that grabbed all the headlines for the Tesla Model S related to its sheer power and performance, especially the blisteringly quick Performance version. The Model X Performance model uses the same dual-motor, four-wheel-drive power system and offers outrageous performance of 0-60mph in 2.6 seconds, thanks to the car’s ‘Ludicrous mode’. In April 2020, this performance was enhanced further still with the addition of ‘Cheetah Mode,’ which puts the car into an optimal suspension setting for blisteringly quick standing starts.

That’s much faster than a Range Rover Sport SVR, Porsche Cayenne Turbo or BMW X5 M can manage – in fact it's in the same league as the Ferrari 812 Superfast for acceleration – while carrying up to seven people, two more than any of its ultra-powerful rivals can accommodate.

When you’re not exercising its explosive get-up-and-go, the Model X, like its saloon counterpart, offers a maximum driving range between charges that eclipses what most rivals can reach. Both the Long Range Plus and Performance models use a 100kWh battery, offering claimed range figures of 348 and 340 miles respectively.

Tesla has already announced updates to the Model X lineup for next year, including a new Long Range model capable of an estimated range of 360 miles. Above this, a new triple-motor model called the ‘Plaid’ is also available to order; it can sprint from 0-60mph in 2.5 seconds while managing up to 340 miles of range. According to Tesla, both new models will arrive in the UK towards the end of 2022. It’s worth noting that the models they replace are now no longer available, so there’s effectively a lull in brand new examples of the Tesla Model X arriving in the UK until at least late 2022.

In keeping with its hi-tech power system, the Model X interior is dominated by an enormous portrait-orientated touchscreen that controls much of the plentiful standard equipment, while a TFT display presents vital information to the driver. Motorway strain is alleviated by Tesla’s ‘Autopilot’ semi-autonomous driving system.

Electric power rather suits a car designed around SUV lines, too – the compact nature of the Model X’s battery packs and electric motors mean every inch of interior space can be used, so it’s a very versatile family vehicle. Five adults can stretch out on the two main seating rows, while an additional third row offers plenty of room for two children.

This all adds up to a very compelling package, which it needs to when you look at the list price. Both versions of the Model X aren’t cheap and are now more expensive than ever for two reasons: they no longer qualify for the government’s plug-in car grant (PiGC) and the entry-level Standard Range model, which used to cost from £75,000, was discontinued in 2020. The Long Range Plus model previously started from around £83,000, while the Model X Performance with ‘Ludicrous Mode’ started at around £100,000. They have been replaced by the Long Range and Plaid models, which cost from over £90,000 and £110,000 respectively; a pair of considerable price tags that would see you behind the wheel of some very exotic conventional cars.

However, there’s no forgetting the low daily running costs, the impressive range on a full charge, the tax advantages for company-car users and the sheer sense of occasion found in driving this car. The Model X will be prohibitively expensive for many, but it may just be the most complete electric family transport solution yet devised.

Tesla Model X SUV - MPG, running costs & CO2

Zero emissions make the Tesla Model X very cheap to run

There's no getting around the fact that the Tesla Model X is expensive, whichever version you choose. With prices now starting at well over £90,000 for the entry-level Model X, it is considerably more expensive than most of its established luxury rivals. Combine this with the fact that the Model X no longer qualifies for the government's plug-in car grant, and the cost becomes a factor that holds it back from scoring more highly.

Of course, the Model X’s electric luxury-car status makes it a fairly unique product for the time being at least, so wealthy eco-conscious owners may not be put off by the price. Although it's out of reach of many car buyers, the Model X’s negligible running costs will help balance out the high price for those who choose a Tesla.

Tesla Model X range & charging time
With its long range and absence of any exhaust emissions, the Tesla Model X certainly has what it takes to save money on running costs compared to a conventional petrol or diesel SUV. However, its high purchase price places it out of reach of many motorists.

There’s one type of user for whom the high purchase price of the Model X might not matter – the small percentage of business drivers whose company-car allowance will stretch to the Tesla’s substantially high five-figure (P11D) starting price. If you belong to this rather exclusive club, it’s well worth considering the entry-level Long Range Plus model against premium seven-seat diesel SUVs such as the similarly priced Mercedes GLS 350d or Range Rover TDV6 – if only for the huge saving you’ll make on company-car tax.

A total absence of CO2 emissions means the Model X will cost nothing in Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) company-car tax for 2020/21. This means it’ll cost massively less to run than the aforementioned GLS 350d – the latter’s CO2 figure of over 200g/km places it in the top BiK bracket, attracting the highest company-car tax costs.

Once the purchase cost of the Model X is out of the way, private owners can look forward to some serious savings compared to petrol or diesel SUVs of the same size – most notably a much reduced fuel bill. Electricity is far cheaper than petrol or diesel and all models have an impressive range. This means you’re not limited to short urban trips within dashing distance of a recharging point.

The Long Range Plus and Performance models in the Model X range have the same battery size, but varying power outputs and maximum ranges. The 100kWh battery pack of the Long Range Plus has a 348-mile range but the Performance model manages 340 miles. An overnight charge will cost only a few pounds.

It should be remembered, though, that the car’s actual range will vary between drivers. Tesla admits that range will vary depending on cruising speed, outside temperature and whether your air-conditioning is switched on or off. However, with increasing numbers of fast-charge points appearing at motorway service areas, a mid-journey charge can be scheduled during a lunch stop, making long-haul family road trips a possibility – something not all electric cars can offer. The ever-growing Tesla Supercharger fast-charge network can top up the Model X to 80% within half an hour.

Along with an exemption from VED (road tax), the Model X is also exempt from the annual additional surcharge payable on cars costing more than £40,000.

Insurance
Perhaps due to high repair costs and the Model X’s brisk performance, all versions occupy insurance group 50, the highest banding there is. This compares to the group 45 rating of diesel Range Rovers, although the Mercedes GLS 350d is also placed in group 50. It’s certainly worth obtaining an insurance quote before you decide to buy.

Warranty
Tesla offers an impressive warranty for all cars supplied in the UK, although it’s supplied by AXA insurance rather than Tesla itself. It’s a four-year/50,000-mile policy, while the battery and drive units are covered separately with an eight-year/unlimited-mileage warranty. The main warranty can be extended for up to a total of eight years.

Servicing
Tesla states that its cars require less mechanical servicing than conventional petrol or diesel models, but recommends an inspection every 12,500 miles – or yearly, whichever is the more frequent. Maintenance plans are available to help spread the cost of. Software updates can be performed during scheduled maintenance appointments, or downloaded ‘over the air’ by the car’s on-board internet connection. Tesla suggests that you connect your vehicle to your home’s Wi-Fi network for the fastest possible download time.

Tesla Model X SUV - Engines, drive & performance

If anything belies the idea that electric cars are slow, it’s the Tesla Model X

 

Despite the fact that it’s a heavy car (weighing in at around 2,300kg), the Model X is satisfying and rewarding to drive on challenging roads. It could never be described as agile, but doesn’t suffer the lumbering, roly-poly feel of most large SUVs. This is thanks to the batteries sitting as low down as possible in the body, which means the Model X has an extremely low centre of gravity, minimising body lean in corners.

As all models use Tesla’s dual-motor, four-wheel-drive configuration, there’s loads of traction on greasy roads or loose surfaces and you can carry a lot of speed through corners without losing confidence. There’s a lot of technology at your disposal to keep the Model X on an even keel, including ‘smart’ air suspension linked to the car’s sat-nav system. This can vary the car’s ride height depending on speed and the kind of surface you’re travelling on.

It’s a shame, then, that the feel from the Model X’s electrically assisted steering is rather unconvincing and artificial – akin to a computer game. Although accurate and controllable, you have to rely on your eyes and ears to gauge when the Tesla is close to its limits.

Tesla Model X electric motor
Whichever version of the Tesla Model X you go for, you’ll have an exceptionally quick car on your hands. The Long Range Plus model can cover 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds. Top of the tree sits the Performance, which has a ‘Ludicrous mode’ to enable 0-62mph in a jaw-dropping 2.6 seconds. A software update in April 2020 added ‘Cheetah Stance’, which lowers the nose of the car and adjusts the suspension to improve performance for standing starts. Its wealth of performance abilities comfortably make the Model X Performance the fastest SUV ever built, yet one with a reasonable 340-mile range between charges.

Although the initial rush of acceleration is quite an experience, it isn’t quite so dazzling once you’ve reached cruising speed. At normal speeds, the car’s overtaking ability on the motorway doesn’t feel massively better than that of a powerful diesel or petrol car. The surge from 40-70mph, though – a speed range that covers overtaking slow traffic on single-carriageway roads, for example – is really very impressive.

Tesla Model X SUV - Interior & comfort

It’s very light, airy and comfortable, but the build quality of the Tesla Model X is a concern

As you might expect, the Model X is also a terrifically serene car to travel in, with barely a whirl from the motor as you pull away and only the faintest hint of wind noise rustling around the front of the car when you’re up to speed. Needless to say, with so little background noise to overcome, the stereo sounds fantastic.

Beyond its hi-tech touches, though, the Tesla’s interior isn’t actually the most imaginatively designed, nor are all the materials from the top drawer. All the switches that control things not directed from the huge central screen come from Mercedes of old, and some of the plastics on show can’t rival Audi or BMW for quality.

Tesla Model X dashboard
Hop into the Tesla Model X and you’d be forgiven for being temporarily stunned by the sheer size of the vast central touchscreen from which just about all of the car’s functions are controlled. While it looks impressive and seems like a fantastic idea, it might take you longer to completely get the hang of compared to other systems, especially if you’re used to a more conventional layout.

The old touchscreen weakness still applies, too – you may find yourself stabbing inaccurately at the screen on bumpy roads. We’d prefer a few more tactile physical buttons that you can use on the move without taking your eyes off the road.

There’s another screen that dominates the experience too, and that’s the one behind the steering wheel, which shows all the information you’d expect to find in the instrument binnacle of a conventional car. Like Audi’s Virtual Cockpit system, it’s fully configurable by the driver and can show things like speed, battery charge, sat-nav directions, range and what you’re listening to on the car’s stereo.

Connectivity in the Model X is a strong point; install the Tesla app on your smartphone and you can control a range of functions, including the remote-opening doors, climate control and even the headlights and horn. The app also shows how much range your car has left.

Equipment
The Tesla Model X is a lavishly equipped car, whether you choose the Long Range Plus or Performance. All have an air-suspension system with a GPS link that remembers where a higher ride height is required, those eye-catching ‘falcon wing’ rear doors and a huge panoramic windscreen and sunroof. More prosaic are the standard heated seats, keyless go, sat nav with real-time traffic information and up to four ISOFIX child-seat points, depending on the number of seats you choose.

Options
The Model X can be chosen with five, six or seven seats, the first coming as standard. Choosing a three-row, six-seat layout costs an additional £6,300, while a seventh seat is an additional £3,400.

‘Enhanced Autopilot’ is another £5,900, but enables the car to autonomously change lanes to overtake slower traffic, and even to pull off onto slip roads according to the navigation route being followed. A full self-driving capability can be purchased post-delivery, and enables the car to begin its journey with a simple voice command of where you want to go – it can then theoretically do all the driving work itself. However, although the system is “ready to go”, it’s not yet approved for full use on public roads.

Tesla Model X SUV - Practicality & boot space

There’s no doubting the Tesla Model X is a very practical car

The Tesla Model X is a little more compact than more conventional SUVs and its form isn’t dictated by having to accommodate a bulky petrol or diesel engine. Although its outline has a conventional bonnet, you’ll find nothing under it other than a few mechanical service points and a storage area. In fact, the latter contributes to the Model X being an extremely practical family hauler.

Tesla Model X interior space & storage

You can choose the Model X with anything between five and seven seats, and the seats in the first two rows are very comfortable and spacious. Up front, visibility is excellent (although the steep rake of the windscreen does mean that distracting reflections are frustratingly frequent) and there’s plenty of adjustment for the seat and steering wheel.

Getting in and out is easy in both the front and back, with the clever ‘Falcon Wing’ rear doors providing a wide aperture for access to the two back rows, but some may find the 15 seconds they take to open and close a little wearisome. We were impressed by how little space they take up when opened, though, and a proximity sensor is fitted to prevent the doors from striking obstacles.

There’s plenty of leg and headroom for those in the second row, but the third row is better suited to children.

The car comes with an eight-year/unlimited-mileage warranty for its battery and motor, along with a more general four-year/50,000-mile warranty.

Boot space
At the front of the car, a 187-litre storage space under the bonnet can take soft luggage. If you want to lug as much gear as possible, combining this and the boot with all the rear seats folded flat adds up to 2,367 litres of load volume – the same as the far bulkier Mercedes GLS manages. Loading is made easy thanks to a rear boot floor that can be raised for a reduced lip height; there’s also a removable panel for accessing a deep compartment where you can store the car’s charging cables.

Towing
Software is included that monitors trailer sway and applies the brakes to keep car and trailer on an even keel. The braked trailer towing limit is 2,280kg which reduces to 1,588 if you choose the optional 22-inch wheels.

Tesla Model X SUV - Reliability & safety

No evidence of reliability yet, but Tesla’s reputation is encouraging

The Tesla Model X was crash-tested by Euro NCAP in late 2019, earning a five-star safety rating. In 2016, Tesla was the runaway winner of our Driver Power manufacturer survey but since then it hasn’t made an appearance due to too few responses from owners. However, we’ve heard little in the way of complaints from Model X owners, even with the vast array of technology hidden under the car’s bodywork.

Tesla Model X reliability
We can’t compare Tesla’s 2016 Driver Power survey results with those of brands that feature in newer surveys. However, it is fair to say that owners then had mainly positive words for their cars, and we’ve heard little to suggest that things have changed. Owners rated the Model X very highly for reliability, although build quality came in for a little less praise. The Model X is closely related to the Model S under the surface and that car is now well proven. However, some owners in America have reported faults with the ‘falcon wing’ doors.

Safety
When the Model X was crash-tested by Euro NCAP it scored a maximum five-star rating - the same overall score as the Model S and Model 3. The Model X rated highly across the board, including 98% for adult occupant protection and 81% for child occupant protection.

Thanks to its advanced suite of standard safety kit that includes autonomous emergency braking and the ‘Autopilot’ driving assistance system, the Model X scored a highly impressive 94% for safety assistance - a rating only matched in 2019 by the Model 3.

(carbayer.co.uk)

Published in Tesla
Tagged under

The Roadster will be a new addition to Tesla's offer after it enters production, resurrecting the nameplate that was worn by the first generation back in 2008.

It seems that the second generation is not at the top of Musk's list of priorities, considering that it is scheduled for this year, but we have not heard anything since 2017. This is expected considering that this is a special model of a California company with a high price, which is not sold as much as its mainstream colleagues, such as Model 3, writes Jutarnji.hr.

Namely, the 'killer' of super and hyper cars was discovered back in 2017 together with SpaceX's package for improved handling. However, rocket technology has another advantage - insane performance. We expected acceleration from 0 to 100 km / h in about 1.9 seconds, however, no one from Tesla provided a figure after the news of the SpaceX package. It seems that the second generation of Roadster, in addition to rocket technology, will also have rocket acceleration.

The exact acceleration time was revealed without much fanfare, so who noticed. Namely, one individual, who visited the Petersen Automobile Museum in California a few days ago, took several photos of the Roadster prototype, with the following description in the frame: '(...) time from 0-100 km / h for 1 , 1 second '.

To get a ‘bigger picture’, we will state that Rimac C_Two will reach the hundredth in 1.85 seconds, while Lotus Evia will do the same in less than 3 seconds. The second generation of Roadster is not worth comparing with hyper cars with internal combustion. We seem to be expecting a road car with the fastest acceleration in the world.

We learn that the base model will start at $ 200,000, while the Founder’s Series version will be $ 50,000 more expensive. Still, all 1,000 copies will probably be sold with the SpaceX package, for which the price is not yet known, but this tells us that it is worth every dollar.

Published in Blog/News

In 2018, a Dutch company made the first of the planned 20 copies of the Model S Shooting Brake, and this car was even exhibited at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2019, where its design attracted the attention of four-wheeler fans.

In the end, there was nothing from the ambitious plan because the company failed in the meantime, but the first and only Tesla Model S Shooting Brake survived, writes B92.

This car is sold on the site AutoScout24.nl at a price of 224,521 euros, if the buyer comes from one of the countries of the European Union, while the price for clients from other parts of the world is reduced by VAT and amounts to 185,555 euros.

As it is stated, the original Tesla Model S, on which the caravan is based, was made in 2013, and the car has covered 65,000 km so far. The maximum power of the electric drive is 421 hp (310 kW).

Published in Blog/News
Tagged under

But we're still waiting for Tesla's Full Self-Driving feature to materialize.

20,000-Mile Update
With more than a year and 24,000 miles logged with our Tesla Model 3, we're way past the honeymoon phase. Our initial 12 months of included premium connectivity has expired, which means in-car audio and video streaming now only works with a Wi-Fi connection. And since not one of our area Superchargers has it, we are no longer whiling away the time spent charging our car by streaming Netflix.

Our maintenance costs thus far have totaled $313, which is on par with the cost for many gas-powered vehicles. That includes two rather steep charges from Tesla's in-house service network: $103 for a tire rotation and $210 for an unusual service to lubricate our car's brake calipers, which is called for annually on cars that reside in a state like ours that uses salt to rid the roads of ice during winter months. That service is to prevent the brakes from seizing, as they don't get much use when regenerative braking from the electric motors is employed more often to slow the car than the conventional friction brakes. Also unusual, though not expensive, is that the key fob has already burned through a battery. We also spent $1088 to replace a cracked windshield, but that was our fault.

What never gets old, however, is plugging in while out running errands and getting fuel for free. Even 14 months in, that perk still feels novel. We haven't had any other significant issues with our car since the replacement of the rear motor assembly that happened a year ago. The trim on the driver's side B-pillar—the piece you tend to bump getting in and out of the seat—came loose and was fixed under warranty. We noted squeaks and rattles that materialized early on, but those don't seem to have worsened with the additional time and miles.

The spring and summer months substantially improved the Model 3's energy consumption. In the most efficient month, June, we averaged 267 watt-hours per mile (Wh/mile), while in December—with winter tires installed and the average temperature plummeting to 34 degrees compared with June's 81—it increased to 354 Wh/mile. That equates to a 60-mile swing (or 20 percent) in expected range, depending largely on the outside temperature. And that's if it's plugged in overnight. Otherwise, the Model 3 can easily shed an additional 10 or 20 miles of range. Our overall average consumption is 316 Wh/mile, and our average efficiency—unlike consumption, which includes charging losses—has bumped up by 10 MPGe to 84 MPGe.

At the current national average residential electricity rate of 13.6 cents per kWh, it's costing us 5.5 cents per mile to power our Model 3. If we instead relied entirely on Tesla's Supercharger network, the cost would nearly double, to 10.4 cents/mile, almost matching the price of keeping our long-term BMW M340i filled with 93-octane premium (10.7 cents/mile). That may be an extreme example, but it proves the point that having a high-voltage charger at home or at your office is critical if you want to reap the potential financial benefits of going electric.

Although our Model 3 was dispatched to our annual Lightning Lap event at Virginia International Raceway, completing each 635-mile leg of that trip from Ann Arbor and back with three stops to charge, we have still yet to beat our previous best of 221 miles between plugging in. That's partially because, according to the TeslaFi tracking tool we're using, our battery has lost 7 percent of its capacity, or 22 miles, since it was new.

We're still smitten with the Model 3's swiftness. And we're intermittently impressed and befuddled by the varying experiences of its Autopilot feature. Sometimes it seems that fully autonomous driving is nearly upon us. At other times the system bobbles a seemingly straightforward maneuver so badly that we think the promised Full Self-Driving (FSD) capability that we paid for more than a year ago—and are still waiting to materialize—is much further off than Tesla would have the world believe.

Instead of meeting its self-imposed 2020 deadline to release FSD, Tesla deployed a new feature at the tail end of last year, called Boombox, with which we can now assault the outside world with music or various noises—including, naturally, a whoopee cushion—using the car's external speaker. That update also rejiggered the layout of the central touchscreen, giving more real estate to the area that depicts the car's surroundings, which will likely become more important when hands are no longer on the wheel. Both of these are changes that we haven't seen in any other car, proving yet again that the Tesla experience is definitely not car-making as usual, for better and for worse.

 

10,000-Mile Update

The updates on many of our long-term cars, particularly the trouble-free ones, tend to be as much about us as about the vehicles. In the absence of reliability or service drama, the focus instead becomes the places we visit, plus whatever new annoyances we find over the course of 40,000 miles.

But the Tesla ownership experience is as different as the driving experience. A Tesla actually changes over time with the company's steady stream of software updates. In the six months and 10,000 miles since we've taken delivery of our Model 3 Long Range, there have been 12 software updates, or an average of one every 16 days. Not all of them are substantial, however; many are small, follow-on updates to fix issues after a major update is released.

We already mentioned that the update to version 10, a major one, was ready when our car first arrived, and it added Smart Summon and Theater mode, which allows streaming of Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu. It's a great way to pass the time while charging. Since then, we've seen a flurry of changes, such as the addition of true one-pedal driving. (Before the update, the car would slow to about 3 mph but wouldn't come to a complete stop.) There's also Dog mode for maintaining a comfortable cabin temperature while us humans are running errands (and displaying a large message to assuage any window-smashing would-be do-gooders passing by). Dashcam and Sentry mode security features also have been added. Sentry mode stores clips from the array of exterior cameras, either at the driver's behest or when the car detects motion while parked. Just this week, Tesla righted a wrong by adding the ability to view that footage on the car's center screen.

Although the Model 3's acceleration—and particularly its responsiveness—was already garnering universal praise by our staff, one of the updates included a claimed five-percent power bump, which improved our car's performance across the board, including a 0.1-second improvement of its zero-to-60-mph time to 4.0 seconds.

Then, on Christmas Day, disaster struck. While parked in a driveway, a short in the rear power inverter triggered a pyrotechnic fuse, which prevented an even worse outcome. Following a tow-truck ride to the closest service center about an hour away, the entire rear-motor assembly was replaced. We received plenty of emails and DMs from other Model 3 owners sharing similar stories of getting stranded at the hands of a Model 3. But we've had zero reliability issues since, related either to this event or anything else.

 

How Much Does Climate Control Affect EV Range?
Complaints about the automatic wipers have continued despite an update meant to improve them. Given the poor performance we've experienced, we question Tesla's choice to rely on the front cameras to control their operation rather than a rain sensor like every other automaker employs. Print director Eric Tingwall elaborates: "The wipers often lay dormant as the windshield becomes nearly opaque with spray from surrounding traffic. Then you wake them up by tapping the stalk for a single wipe, and they unnecessarily run at full speed for several minutes." Many also have commented on the difficulty in locating the wiper settings in the center screen.

This brings us the most regular logbook refrain: the Model 3's near complete reliance on the center screen to control its various features and functions. "I now know how my grandma felt when we got her an iPad," said staff editor Connor Hoffman after driving our Model 3. "Every time I get in it, I find something new." Road-test editor Becca Hackett admitted to tinkering with the center screen for an hour in her garage as she tried to acclimate herself to the setup when she drove the car home for the first time. And staff editor Colin Beresford asks an existential question: "If a member of Gen Z can't find a feature on the screen, does it even exist?" Some of the few physical buttons that do remain are in odd locations, too, such as the hazard button up on the headliner. Other regular comments include the disconcertingly loud clunking noises that happen while plugged in at one of Tesla's fast-charging Superchargers. Although this doesn't happen in the Model S, it seems to be normal for the 3.

We've also done some experiments of our own. We discovered that the Model 3's plastic wheel covers improve range by up to 10 miles. And although the near-instant warm air blowing from the Tesla's HVAC system is welcome on a cold morning, we found that cranking up the climate control alone can reduce range by 60 miles. We also recently compared the charging speeds on one of Tesla's new 250-kW V3 Superchargers versus the older 150-kW units.

We're still waiting for substantial updates to the full self-driving option that added $6000 to the purchase price. Although Tesla has added more features to the visualization that appears on the left side of the screen while driving—including displaying traffic lights and construction cones—we're waiting for a real improvement in Autopilot's capability that Tesla has been teasing of late.

Not making it easy to keep up with the frequent updates is the fact that Tesla requires a Wi-Fi connection to download software and won't do so through the built-in data connection. Plus, the Model 3 only connects to simple Wi-Fi sources like the typical home router with a network name and password. Anything more complex, such as a network that requires a username and password, or if you need to open a browser window to agree to legal boilerplate, won't work.

So, where have we driven our Model 3? Not very far. We've mostly stayed in our home state of Michigan as we've soldiered through winter. Its logbook is full of anxiety-ridden comments about near misses on range, which we've been chewing through at a rate that's roughly 50 percent higher than predicted. Our farthest drive thus far was a 221-mile run from our office to northern Michigan. Longer road trips with multiple stops—such as Hoffman's recent 520-mile drive to St. Louis—generally don't allow attempts at range maximization since pit stops have to occur where the Superchargers are. And it's not time efficient to wait to recharge the battery all the way to 100 percent.

But we'll certainly be trying to improve upon that that as the winter tires come off, the temperatures continue to warm, and we're once again free to roam the country.

Months in Fleet: 6 months Current Mileage: 10,626 miles
Average Fuel Economy: 74 MPGe
Battery Capacity: 75.0 kWh Observed Fuel Range: 236 miles
Service: $0 Normal Wear: $0 Repair: $0
Damage and Destruction: $0

One of the most interesting things about the Model 3, and Teslas in general, is just how much it deviates from the norms of autodom. Unlike other automakers, which often wind up creating very similar entries by carefully tracking and matching features and equipment relative to the competition, it's refreshing—and occasionally annoying—how Tesla simply does its own thing.

As we're embarking on a 40,000-mile evaluation of a 2019 Model 3 Long Range, our second long-term Tesla after a 2015 Model S P85D, it's impossible not to notice this electric vehicle's vast differences compared with other compact-luxury sedans that exist at a similar size and price. There's no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto here, although the feature has become nearly ubiquitous among its luxury-sedan peers, nor even a gauge-cluster display in front of the driver. However, there are lots of wowing tricks up the Model 3's sleeve to win over people coming into contact with a Tesla for the first time, such as Emissions Testing mode, with six different fart-noise options, and Dog mode to keep our furry friends comfortable. And its phone-as-key feature works completely seamlessly, unlike more recent attempts by traditional automakers, such as Hyundai, that require awkwardly getting out a phone and holding it to the door handle. Plus, there's the very capable suite of Autopilot driver-assist features, which is now standard and generally works impressively to reduce the amount of steering, braking, and accelerating the driver needs to control.

Quick and Enjoyable
Especially when viewed from the front, we wouldn't call the Model 3 attractive, but the low cowl and large glass area make for an expansive forward view. And that is one of a flurry of positive comments about driving the Model 3; it's extremely quick, with direct steering and even a willingness of our all-wheel-drive model to rotate under power. We're suckers for its instant response and forceful acceleration—at 4.1 seconds to 60 mph, this latest 3 is 0.9 second quicker than the initial Model 3 Long Range we tested, which only had a rear motor, and it's also just 0.3 second off the pace of the swift BMW M340i. What's more, the Tesla's power delivery sets itself apart by its instantaneousness, which is demonstrated by our 5-to-60-mph rolling-start test. The Model 3 nails it in 4.2 seconds, whereas today's highly boosted gas engines often have a significant gap between their standing-start and rolling-start metrics (the difference on the M340i, for example, is 0.9 second).

The Model 3 stacks up less well in other areas against the usual luxury players—BMW 3-series, Audi A4, Mercedes C-class—where its plasticky seat material, fixed and narrow headrests, and ultracheap, cardboard-like cover for the large bin under the trunk floor don't live up to its luxury price point. The Model 3 also isn't as hushed over the road as the traditional players; there's a lot of wind noise at 70 mph, and at 70 decibels, it measures one to two decibels louder at that speed than the segment norms. And that's not including the way it clomps loudly over lateral pavement seams, which is partly a result of its high, 42-psi tire pressures that help manage the Model 3's 4038-pound curb weight (that's 141 pounds heavier than the rear-drive Model 3 we tested in 2018) and boost its range.

Among the oft-discussed issues on early Model 3s were panel gaps and overall build quality, and in that area, this latest car is far better than our earlier example. However, the hood wasn't quite level on our car when it arrived, so we adjusted the hood grommets to make it so. We're already noticing some squeaks and rattles emanating from the instrument panel, particularly in the cold weather that has descended on our Michigan HQ.

Data Tracking
We're using third-party software called TeslaFi to corral a staggering amount of data streaming from our car, including its whereabouts, mileage, charging and charge efficiency, temperatures outside and inside the vehicle, and climate-control usage. In our first two months, we've spent 85.5 hours behind the wheel of our Model 3 over 280 drives and a total of 3867 miles. However, partly due to an average outside temperature of 43 degrees, we've used nearly 50 percent more rated range than miles actually driven. That has led to complaints that the main range readout does not adjust downward when using up the battery at a quicker rate than its EPA rating suggests. However, there is a running average figure based on recent driving, found on the Energy screen. We've also noted that the battery's state of charge can drop by 5 percent or so when the Model 3 sits outside overnight in 40-degree temperatures without being plugged in.

 

Tesla Smart Summon Feature Is Looking Reckless
The only options on our test car are its $1000 Midnight Silver Metallic paint and the $6000 Full Self-Driving Capability, bringing our total sticker price to $57,690. While the latter feature—currently priced at $7000—promises at some point in the future to actually fulfill its name, for now it enables advanced Autopilot moves such as Smart Summon, where the Model 3 will drive itself to the location of the owner's smartphone in a parking lot, and automatic lane changes around slower traffic on the highway. Our car has the base 18-inch wheels with all-season tires and the aero wheel covers, and we tested just how much slipperier those covers are through the passing air than the better-looking aluminum wheels hiding beneath.

What has become a Tesla trademark is continual upgrades, and in the two short months we've had our car, we've downloaded Version 10 software, which added Smart Summon, and built-in Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and Spotify streaming. Very recently, we updated to 10.1, which promises a 5 percent bump in horsepower. We'll be headed back to the test track to see how much that improves the already very quick acceleration numbers. No doubt there will be lots to talk about.

Source: caranddriver.com

Published in Tesla

 The only thing more volatile than a Tesla fanboy's mood swings is the company's share price. But away from Twitter and Instagram devotees, the Model X cuts an imposing, whale-shaped hole into the electric car chasm. We'll leave it to you to make puns about it serving a porpoise...

Falcon doors (more on those later), an iPad-like cockpit screen, fart sound effects, and an unholy 0-62mph time of 2.6 seconds for the fastest model help the Tesla stand out from the crowd. But the crowd is circling, and growing.

In case you've missed them, Audi, Mercedes, and Jaguar all have electric SUVs now in the shapes of the i-Pace, EQC, and Audi e-Tron. While BMW's effort, the iX3, is now beginning to trickle into showrooms.

Sure, they're all more compact than the Model X - closer in size to the forthcoming Model Y in fact - but in these early days of manufacturers fleshing-out their electric ranges it's fine to combine the choices together.

Best electric cars: the CAR guide

With that pressure mounting, is the Model X still the car to go for if you want something that's flashy, huge, and green?

 

More like Tesla Model XXL...
Tesla has matured since the days of the original Roadster, and now Elon Musk’s EV company has a distinct design language. Featuring a minimal grille with no air inlets – a benefit of not having to cool down the byproducts of combustion in a traditional engine – the Model X looks like the updated Model S – but unlike anything else on the road.

The Tesla Model X is just as distinctive from the reverse angle, but those clean lines betray just how huge it is. And it really is vast, so you can get it in five-, seven- or six-seat configurations.

Those Falcon Wing doors
Tesla’s Falcon Wing doors set the Model X apart from the Model S, as well as every other vehicle – and they get their own section in this review. While they appear to be a gimmick – and often feel like one – they’re sometimes genuinely useful.

To begin with, you can’t help but feel they’re made for early-adopters to flaunt at Superchargers like peacocks. The whole process seems to take a while, and the doors don’t always unfurl in a smooth or uniform way, giving the impression they’re rather flimsy.

That’s a shame, because there were times when the doors really came in handy. When parked close to other cars, for instance, they allow multiple passengers to hop in and out, where other doors would require a squeeze. Tesla says they’re invaluable for elderly passengers too, and you can see why.

But the doors can also be a nuisance, and there were times we’d try to avoid using them. Forgotten a bag in the back? Can’t stretch round and get it from the driver’s seat? Nope. Moments later, seconds later, you’ve got your bag, but onlookers think you’re trying to show off.

Are they cool? Debatable. Are they useful? Sometimes. Perhaps a Tesla Model X with one conventional door and one Falcon-wing would be a suitable halfway-house - although this presents problems for building cars for right- and left-hand drive markets.

Is the Tesla Model X practical?
Whatever you think of the doors, they’re part of the Model X’s focus on practicality, and that design ethos is evident inside the car, too. Three seating configurations are available, and seats can be electrically folded and moved like parlour tricks: lightly press a hidden button and headrests fold down, for example.

With the rear two seats folded away the boot isn’t small, and if you’re still not happy, there’s always the froot (front boot to those allergic to naff portmanteaux). However, all that empty space doesn't always translate to spaciousness; when specified with two seats in the middle row, they're positioned close to the rear doors with an overly large gap between them, rather than adding elbow room for the outer edge. Even the front seats offer a more balanced amount of elbow room on either side.

Seven-seat fully-electric SUVs are few and far between. The e-Tron, iX3, i-Pace and EQC are all strictly five-seaters. The Model S can do you seven-seats, while if you're really not bothered by SUVnes, there are always the Mercedes EQV and Nissan e-NV200 car-derived vans.

What’s it like to drive?
Imagine a Model S with more height and weight, and you’re pretty much there. Just like the saloon, the Model X offers a relatively firm ride and swift linear acceleration, but only really reminds you of its 2.3 tonnes when you brake or turn. The performance is fun on slip roads and genuinely useful on the motorway, but don’t think this is a Stelvio Quadrifoglio rival. It just happens to be whisper-quiet and quick.

If acceleration is too fast for you, putting the car in Chill mode will make the performance a little more laidback - and handily extend the battery range too.

Like its siblings, the Model X’s steering is more of a switch than a precise instrument. Changing it to a sportier mode certainly helps, but not much. It may be a family car, but it’s an area where Tesla will need to improve on to compete with the work of more experienced chassis engineers if it wants to appeal to drivers who well, enjoy driving.

Of course, Tesla's ultimate ambition is that you won’t be driving in the traditional sense all the time anyway. Our Model X was fitted with Tesla Autopilot, and it remains one of the best driving assistance packages on the market today. Once the system decides the road is suitable, Autopilot is engaged with two pulls of the dedicated stalk, and that’s pretty much it. Just twist the stalk to pick the distance between you and the car ahead.

Traffic jams, motorway lane changes and sliproads are handled swiftly and smoothly, though, perhaps reassuringly, it errs on the side of aggressively cautious when confronted with cars that wander around their lanes too much. Outside of the motorway network, the usual parking assistance and ability to just let it creep at urban speeds following the car in front is enough to lower the heart rate somewhat.

European legislation currently limits the level of autonomous driving allowed, more than the technology in the car. In America, Autopilot can be seen handling long drives, albeit with the driver present - in Britain, the Tesla's Autopilot is suitable for taking the strain out of long motorway drives but still requires a constant hand on the wheel, and clear input to show someone other than the computer is paying attention. This also limits Tesla's ability to self-park and summon in the UK - for now.

 Even when Autopilot isn’t engaged, the Tesla continually advises you on your proximity to other vehicles, and will even identify lorries and motorcycles in your path. That small detail helps to build an element of trust between you and the car, and means when you do use Autopilot, you’re aware the Tesla has it covered.

But it’s not without faults. Lane changes are a little awkward when using Autopilot (nudge the indicator, and it'll swap lanes for you), as they seem to take an age, and often result in you doing the steering yourself. What’s more, road users with loose lane-discipline can also scare the Tesla into dramatically slowing down.

But will I be able to charge my Tesla Model X?
The charging experience will largely be determined by where you are in the country and what you do with your Model X. The Tesla Supercharger network is growing and using one is how all electric car charging should be; plug it in and within seconds you can see the range increasing as it gets a full 120kW up its socket. Filling from empty takes less than one hour - and most users will typically be topping up rather than 'brimming' their batteries.

While you can get chargers installed in your home, we were able to complete trips between Peterborough and London – along with local errands – by just using the Superchargers at Bishops Stortford on the way up or down. Throw in the ability to charge at home and at work, and unless you're venturing very far, and into an area of lower charging coverage, range is hardly worth thinking about. It just works.

When you do have to charge, though, the experience is painless. After plugging in, you can either hang around and follow the charging progress on a smartphone app, or just wait in the car – though fan noise during charging can get quite loud.

One tip though. If you’re able, it’s best to charge to full capacity even if you don’t need to. That way, when you arrive at your destination, there’s still juice to make it to another charger on the return leg.

What else do I need to know?
Adding in the six- or seven-seat options costs extra but is definitely worthwhile, otherwise you might as well stick with the more conventional Model S.

And the Tesla Model X UK price? Starting at £87,980 for the long-range model or £102,980 for the Performance - with 'ludicrous mode' and a slightly reduced WLTP range - it's far from an enabling technology that will change the world; for that, you'll need the smaller, more conventional Model 3.

Tesla Model X: verdict
Four years on from launch, the Tesla Model X isn’t the leap ahead it used to be, but it’s still a quirky, intuitive SUV – and one that’d probably suit some families well. The Model X is still disruptive, and from the sci-fi panoramic windscreen to doors that open for you, the Tesla still gives you some things that other cars just don’t have.

At the time of writing, the Tesla Model X wins by default in this sector. But the Jaguar i-Pace, Mercedes EQC and Audi e-Tron are all close. What these cars lack in range, they make up for in dynamics and build quality.

Source: carmagazine.co.uk

Published in Tesla
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