That new car smell. It’s got to be up there with the smell of coffee brewing in the morning or freshly cut grass. Hard to beat. Little wonder that Magic Tree decided produce a ‘New Car Scent’ air freshener. But if you’re looking for something a bit stronger to mask your ‘Old Car Scent’ we recently came across ‘Elon’s Musk’. Yep, it’s a car air freshener sporting the likeness of Elon Musk – genius!
And yesterday was all about the products that eccentric genius has inspired his company to produce. First order of the day was collecting our brand new Model X from Tesla’s distribution centre in Lyon. We bought our first X back in November 2016. That has already clocked up over 80,000km. Our second was bought fairly soon after during the summer of 2017. Even in that short space of time some things had changed on the car. In particular with relation to its autonomous capabilities, but the day that car’s are permitted to drive themselves on our roads is still a way off so, these adaptions had little impact on our driving experience.
A year and half has since past and in that time the X has continued to move on. The 90D that we had previously bought has been replaced by the 100D. The 100 refers to the battery size – 100kWh (though, as seems pretty standard in the car industry, the figures are a bit misleading as you can only really use 94kWh). This translates to an improvement in realistic range of over 70km (389km range on the 90D, 452 on the 100D – our own figures). On top of this it also gives improved acceleration – 4.7 seconds 0-60mph for the 100D compared to mere 4.8 seconds for the 90D – though to be honest we can’t say we really noticed the difference here!
Outside the car looks the same but inside there are a few changes. Most importantly, the middle row of seats now folds flat – either 1, 2 or all 3 seats as per the norm. This really opens up what was already a cavernous boot. With both rows of seats flat the boot space measures a whopping 2 metres front to back. From our point of view, this means it’s no problem to fit in a full size snowboard or ski bag with one of the middle row seats folded flat and still leave 3 full size passenger seats available.
Elsewhere, the interior chrome trim has been replaced a far more understated, and in our opinion, stylish, gun metal grey. The front doors have concealed lighting inside the pockets and handles which looks very cool at night. The rear door openers have been redesigned and the backs of the seats which previously were covered with gloss black plastic are now upholstered in leather. The layout and style of the huge touchscreen centre console has also been rethought and is now considerably easier to navigate as well as looking more pleasing to the eye.
Essentially it’s a bunch of small things that give the look of the interior a much more polished finish. Worth remembering that while Tesla might be at the vanguard of electric vehicle development, they still lack the depth of experience that most other manufacturers can boast and it’s clear to see they have learnt a lot just in these last few years.
On the road the car was a dream. In reality it probably drives exactly the same as our previous ones did when new but you can’t beat that feel you get straight from the showroom when everything is tight and responsive. Onto the motorway, Spotify on, cruise control engaged and it was just a pure pleasure to be in. I could have happily carried on past the Bourg St. Maurice turning and just continued driving all night!
But first a little stop at the Lyon city centre showroom. The long awaited and much hyped Model 3 has just arrived in Europe and there was one available to view in Lyon for just two weeks. Tesla’s first step into the mass produced car market has not come without its issues. It seemed to take an age for the company to hit their production targets but it appears that this may now be behind them. Best estimates say that they have produced 130,000 Model 3’s so far and the current output is around 4500 per week. Despite this the car has proved so popular that they are still estimating 12-14 months wait if you order one today. Unsurprising when you consider they still have at least half a million preorders to fulfil!
Right now you can only order the top spec version of the Model 3 which features all wheel drive, a top speed of 155 mph and acceleration to 60mph in just 3.3 seconds! And let me tell you, it is a good looking car! It’s 30cm shorter and 10cm narrower than the Model S which is instantly noticeable, giving the car a more compact and sporty persona. The front end doesn’t have the gap below the bonnet that features on the S and X which gives it a unique look. Remember these cars don’t need a grill to cool the engine!
From the side it has similar styling to the Model X and the glass roof runs smoothly down the rear giving it a nice clean line. Inside there’s no display in front of the steering wheel like you would usually expect. Instead everything appears on the large touch screen in the centre. As such, the dash is very minimal as every control you need for the car functions through this screen. Again it’s a different approach that gives the interior a unique look.
All in all its a very tidy looking car. If you’re in the market for something, have a spare 40k to drop and don’t mind waiting a year for delivery it’s certainly the best electric vehicle on the market right now. Other big car manufacturers are still a long way off producing something to compete with it at this price point.