Electric cars. No? That phrase didn’t cause a tingle of excitement somewhere in your crotch? We don’t blame you – the term ‘electric cars’ registers between ‘Christmas jumpers’ and ‘cold chips’ on the Excite-O-Meter.
But getting people jumping out of their seats and into electric cars is a battle Tesla is committed to winning and there’s enough sparkling tech in its flagship Model X SUV and Model S saloon that you can forgive the sound of champagne corks popping over at Tesla HQ.
From practical considerations (quick public charging) to cool features (wireless upgrades) to here’s-something-to-brag about stats (Model S sports the same 0-60 time as a Porsche 911 Turbo S), there’s a lot here to love. But what’s really going to get people gasping with awe rather than pointing and laughing at your electric car is that you can remotely control your Tesla via smartphone. At last, remote control cars for grown-ups!
Airbags don’t just exist in your steering wheel to explode in your face if your driving isn’t on point. In Tesla’s Model S, they also exist on the axles of the wheels. “But that isn’t going to save any lives!” you cry in confusion. Indeed, and that isn’t the point. When prompted by touchscreen menu controls, the airbags by the wheels lower or raise the chassis of the car, enabling you to tackle steep hills, enhance the car’s performance or you can even pretend it’s the world’s slowest low-rider by raising and lowering your car in the driveway. Oh come on. It’s what we’re all thinking.
The touchscreen that serves as the nerve centre for the entire car is a work of art. Imagine a giant iPad Pro with features such as internet browsing, Google Maps navigation and even music streaming through Bluetooth. It’s designed to be easy to operate while on the move, though perhaps it’s best not to use it to catch up on last night’s X Factor when driving home after work.
Technology dates quickly and what is today’s must-have gadget is tomorrow’s think-of-a-convenient-excuse-for-still- owning-it ordeal. Imagine owning an out-of-date smartcar! That’s double embarrassment. Fortunately for us, Tesla is one step ahead of these social faux pas – you can wirelessly update the software powering your motor, ensuring that you get the latest technology in your car as soon as it becomes available.
Taking your foot off the accelerator isn’t just a way of slowing down in the Tesla; it turns you into a modern-day magician. Not only will the brakes automatically (and softly) reduce the vehicle speed, the energy from this action gets put back into the electric motor, extending how far you can drive before needing to charge. It’s the sort of sorcery that would make Harry Potter put his flying Ford Anglia on Auto Trader without a second thought.
When you want to drive your car, Tesla does so much work for you that you’ll almost feel redundant as a driver. The doors will automatically open when it detects your keyfob nearby and once you’re inside, the car will do its best Transformers impersonation as the door handles sinks into the car’s body and reshapes the Model S to reduce drag. Oh, and the car starts automatically too, doing away with the need for a start button. Optimus Prime is no doubt nodding with approval.
‘Bioweapon defense mode’
If you want to survive a biological terrorist attack, you might want to buy a Tesla. The Model X has an air filter ten times the size of any other car. With the tap of a button, you can engage the ‘bio-weapon defense mode’, which will ruthlessly filter the air to medical-grade quality. The company claims it’s 300 times better at filtering bacteria, 500 times better at filtering allergens, 700 times better at filtering smog and 800 times better at filtering viruses.
‘Falcon wing’ doors
Straight out of Back to The Future, the Model X has double-hinged doors that use sensors to help clear obstacles, such as garage ceilings, walls and parked cars. Retro chic aside, Tesla says these doors will make it easier to put young children in car seats without hitting their heads.
Rear parking camera
There’s a huge 17-inch touchscreen in the Tesla’s dashboard, which gives you a clear view of what’s happening behind your car at all times via a discreet camera just above the rear licence plate. Think that magical hovering rear-view mirror in Gran Turismo, only here you don’t have to worry about online players smashing into the side of your car.