Tesla’s Model X Electric SUV Goes on ‘Autopilot’ Drive in New York City
Entertainment| | By Jason Owen
Hold on to your hats…because when you’re riding in the driver’s seat of Tesla’s all-electric SUV, you don’t need to hold on to the steering wheel.
Elon Musk’s Tesla company has begun a 30-city tour showcasing its long-awaited electric SUV, the Model X, and a reporter with the New York Post got an up-close-and-personal test drive with one of the first buyers to preorder the car more than four years ago.
Last week, the Model X arrived in New York City to show off some of the incredible features and designs on the vehicle, from gull-wing doors, to a “Ludicrous” speed setting – which (for an extra $10,000) rockets the car from zero to 60 in 3.2 seconds – to the car’s driver-less “autopilot” setting.
From the Post:
“Taking the Post for a spin on the West Side Highway in Chelsea, Faust showed off the Model X’s ‘autopilot’ features.
“When traffic got clogged heading south, the Model X slowed down and even stopped and started by itself to avoid collisions with cars ahead of it.
“Likewise, an automated lane-changing feature used sensors to check blind spots before turning the steering wheel.
“’It makes the whole experience of driving much more pleasurable’ — and stress-free, Faust told the Post, as the steering wheel gently turned itself back and forth to negotiate curves along the road.”
While a car on autopilot may scare some drivers, Tesla assures those interested that the technology is safe.
“Model X is designed with safety as the first priority,” TeslaMotors.com states. “The floor-mounted battery lowers the center of gravity so that the risk of rollover is about half that of any vehicle in its class. The battery structure strengthens Model X against side impact intrusions. And without a gasoline engine, the large front trunk acts as a giant impact-absorbing crumple zone.”
Of course, using the “autopilot” feature is purely up to the driver, but in an industry that is rapidly moving toward computer-automated systems, other cars on the road won’t be eating Tesla’s dust for long.
If hands-free driving hasn’t sold you, the Model X boasts a handful of other intriguing features.
The all-wheel drive sport utility vehicle has a 90 kWh (kilowatt-hours) battery for up to 257 miles of range, according to the company website. Its roomy interior seats seven. It also comes with an awe-inspiring panoramic windshield for increased viewability for everyone in the vehicle, even for those sitting in the back. Of course, you may not pay any attention to the windshield, as you’ll likely be mesmerized by the “Falcon Wing” doors you had to climb through to get inside.
“Falcon Wing doors allow easy access to second and third row seats from even a tight parking space, while traditional SUV doors or minivan sliding doors would not grant any access,” it states on the company site.
The Model X also has the ability to park and un-park itself in tight garage spaces where it may be too tight for a person to step into and out of the car, the New York Post reported. For urban drivers, that’s a huge bonus.
Based on the warm reception its received so far, Tesla’s Model X looks like the car of the future is here today.