2016 Tesla Model X: Road Trip to Big Sur
by Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor on July 8, 2016
When I signed out the 2016 Tesla Model X for the weekend and realized I had no plans, I did what any reasonable car nut would do.
Checked the Supercharger network and headed for Big Sur.
Why? Because a major selling point of the Model X, like the Model S before it, is range. Real, usable, road-trippable range. Pump in a maximum charge and the Model X's battery display says 245 miles to empty, or sometimes a few more.
And the drive along Highway One past Big Sur is pretty much the best road trip in the world, so it just seemed like a sensible idea all around.
My Supercharger-limited itinerary took me from Oxnard to Atascadero, then west on the 46 and all the way up Highway One to Monterey (technically Seaside), then to a friend's place in Fairfax (north of San Francisco), then back to L.A. via San Mateo, Atascadero (skipping Big Sur on the return) and Oxnard.
In terms of range and charging, I'll give you the blow-by-blow in a separate post, like Dan did. For now, I can tell you that I never really came close to running out of juice, and the range anxiety decreased as the trip wore on and I got to know the car. Still, I couldn't do better than 195.3 miles on a single charge despite having thoroughly de-leaded my foot for this experiment, and I had to stop at six Superchargers over the course of 1,000 miles, averaging an hour-plus per charge with one 2.5-hour outlier.
Translation: You can road-trip a Model X up and down the California coast if you feel like it, but I would advise budgeting twice the usual amount of time to be safe.
I'm not knocking it, though. Frankly, I'm amazed that this 5,600-pound jellybean full of batteries, built by a company still in its infancy, can accomplish this mission and also carry three rows of adults in comfort, get you to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and handle more like a nimble sport sedan than a nearly three-ton people hauler. Haters have been heckling the Model X from the get-go, but to me, it's another astonishing achievement by a remarkably innovative American company. The trip had its annoyances, sure. But overall, it's an honor and a privilege to drive this car.
Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor @ 6,182 miles