We got hold of the Tesla Model X 100D to conduct a formal review of the car. However, we were also interested in showing just how capable electric vehicles can be. The Model X is a prime example as it has the longest range and is the most practical of EVs available at the moment.
We drove the Tesla Model X from Birmingham to the Lake District to explore the wilderness and capture the car in some beautiful scenery. You can read about our trip below:
EV Journey Planning
To make sure I could get the most out of the journey, a little bit of planning was needed. The Lake District is 200 miles from Birmingham, we were staying for three days and planned on doing plenty of driving around. The Model X can do around 250-300 miles per charge.
We found a hotel called Stanley House in the picturesque Eskdale Valley. They have a 22kw charger which is capable of fully charging a car in six hours, ideal for overnight and made the hotel the base for our journey.
We made an early start to maximise our time in the Lake District. The 200-mile drive took around four hours to complete as traffic was limited. It was a great opportunity to test the Autopilot system in the car.
The Tesla Model X is capable of maintaining its lane on the motorway and will keep a set distance from the vehicle in front, up to a fixed speed. When necessary, you can indicate and the car will change lanes for you when it’s safe to do so.
The autopilot is an assistive system and requires you to keep your hands on the wheel. However, you do not need to steer, so you can relax your arms a little.
The Autopilot works really well. To turn it off, you can either touch the adaptive cruise lever or turn the wheel yourself and it will disengage while playing an audible note.
Looking at the picture, you will notice to the right of the speedometer, there is a blue symbol with a white steering wheel inside. This shows that Autosteer is enabled.
Supercharging The Tesla Model X
Before getting off the motorway and arriving at our destination, we stopped for 30 mins at the last supercharger to ensure that we had enough power for our trip. You just reverse in, open the charge port and plug in the cable and the car will start charging.
By the time you have been to the service station, come back out, then checked a few emails, you will be good to go.
Exploring The Lake District
When we left the motorway and entered the unspoilt wilderness that is the Lake District, we knew we had to stop and grab our cameras. We travelled on a single track road from Ambleside to a spot close to Blea Tarn. You can see in the background that the mountains surround the car. The road around the valley takes you on a beautiful tour.
At times on the single track road, the Tesla Model X did feel a little large. Despite this, we were still able to access everywhere we wanted with no trouble. Oncoming traffic often stopped and reverse back without question. This may be because our test model looks menacing to encounter on a narrow country lane, but I couldn’t possibly confirm that!
On the trip to Eskdale from Blea Tarn, every corner you turned, there was a new jaw-dropping backdrop to take in and capture. The roads flow smoothly through the valleys and over the edges of the mountains. It is just incredible.
When you get out and realise that you have parked one of the most technically advanced production cars in an ancient landscape it is a stark contrast between old and new.
The highlight of the terrain was taking on Hardknott Pass. It is a 2.5 miles stretch of road, which is very twisty and steep in places. I can imagine that it will be completely impassable in the winter months.
The Tesla Model X has adaptive air suspension which was very useful in avoiding any damages during the steep hills and turns.
The car’s AWD drive system was essential in making this road passable and gave me the confidence I needed to negotiate this unforgiving terrain safely.
Rest and Charge
Stanley House is situated right on Hardknott Pass, so it was ideally placed for the beautiful scenery.
We checked into our rooms and plugged the Tesla Model X 100D into the 22kw type 2 charger, as shown below. We arrived with around 50% battery life still remaining, so with just under three hours on this charger, we would be back to being fully charged. We then took a break and prepared for our evening photo shoot.
That evening we had planned a trip to Wastwater in Wasdale Valley. This is a three-mile-long lake, with an almost shore level road. We thought it was the perfect location to test the Tesla Model X.
Fully charged and unpacked, we could now relax and enjoy driving a bit more. We carried more speed through the corners and enjoyed that Tesla torque on the straights. The roads were great fun to explore.
After spending a few days with the Tesla Model X, its looks are really starting to grow on me. I understand that its proportions are a little strange but this is worth accepting because it is so practical.
Because it’s an electric vehicle, there is no engine, so the bonnet is now called a frunk (front trunk) and gives additional storage on top of what it is offered by the large boot. The boot is opened by an electric tailgate and is perfect for transporting bags of camera equipment. Passenger space is also generous, so the Model X is ideal for family holidays.
After Wastwater, we had one more location in mind before calling it a day. We travelled to Devoke Water to take a look at the lake. However, on arrival the road had been closed, so we walked the last half mile.
We got down to the waterside knowing there was an old building down there that could look good in a photo. As we couldn’t drive down, we thought we would just take a picture anyway as the light was fading.
After sunset, we walked the half mile back to the car by torchlight. Our drive back to the hotel was in pitch darkness. It was a great test of the Tesla’s headlights. The Model X has dazzling white headlights that illuminate the road but also when cornering, the car has three-position dynamic LED turning lights, which was perfect as there were no street lamps. So even when cornering tightly, I could still see far enough in front of me. We returned to the hotel and charged the model up overnight. However, only one hour’s charge was required.
Day 2: Buttermere Lake
We headed out at 4.30am to travel to Buttermere Lake. It is about 1.5 miles long, 0.75 miles wide and 75 feet deep. The lake was bordered by a single-track road on one side. The weather was overcast, but still, it was a great opportunity to show that the Tesla Model X is an SUV capable of a lot more than just being an urban runabout. The vehicle did feel large on these roads, but at 5.30am there was no traffic in sight, so we had free rein!
The Falcon doors on the Model X are a memorable innovation. The picture below should give you a good idea of how spacious and practical they make the car. Some people may think they are too showy but others will love them. But they certainly make climbing into the back a damn sight easier.
Something else I learned on this trip was that the front and middle tiers of seating have a three-dimensional view of the surroundings because of the canopy glass windshield and the unobstructed windows in the roof of the Falcon wing doors. So whilst driving along, you could easily take in the stunning scenery without squashing your face against the glass.
Nethertown Village – At The Seaside
On the way back from Buttermere, we skirted around the edge of the Lake District and using the sat nav, we realised that we were only three miles from the coast. So we changed direction to see what we could find. We weren’t able to drive close to the beach, but we did find plenty of country roads to explore and sights to see.
Comfortable In Extreme Weather
For the rest of the day, the weather took a turn for the worst with downpour after downpour. We had planned an evening shoot, but we knew that we weren’t going to get a decent sunset. However, we did have plenty of opportunities to play in the rain.
Of course, the Tesla Model X comes with automatic lights and windscreen wipers, so you can just focus on driving.
However, even after we had been in and out of the car a few times in wet clothes, the windows stayed completely mist free, which was very impressive. I can’t think of another car that keeps the air quality inside as stable as this one. This is good to know and made driving in these condition with limited visibility much easier.
We took on some very wet roads with difficult inclines and descents. The Model X coped with all of them and having the ability to raise the ride height at these times meant that the chance of damaging the car was reduced.
The more complicated and difficult roads that I took the Tesla Model X down the more I learnt about what was possible. The Michelin Latitude Sport 3 tyres must take some of the credit for being able to pull a 2.5-tonne vehicle up a slippery road safely, but the motors and electrically-simulated limited slip differential ensure that the car has the grip it needs when the going gets tough.
Inside the car, everything was calm. I was perched on a comfortable heated seat with the temperature in the cabin at exactly 21 degrees Celsius. Outside the wind was blowing, the rain was lashing down and the mist was getting thicker. I felt like I was in the comfort of my armchair. The Model X is definitely the place to be.
These pictures look a little eerie, like a lone car in the wilderness. The picture below was taken at the top of a mountain road, where the car managed everything you would expect of a combustion engine AWD SUV and more. It did it without any drama, in not very pleasant conditions. Even after all the inclines, there was still enough battery life to travel a good distance. We were also within range of superchargers if we wanted to return home there and then. You’re not as limited as people make out with electric cars and hopefully this article will start to open people’s minds on the subject.