Is The Tesla X Really A Business Vehicle?

My X now has 10,400 miles old in 7 weeks. Actually 44 days of driving or 236 miles per day. It has gone from FL to VT and back then returned to driving all over Long Island NY. It is setting in a parking space at the moment as I fly to TX for a meeting. Which brings me to the biggest drawback of driving. There often isn’t enough time in the week to get everywhere. However the good news is that there are some parking lots with EV connections that will charge your vehicle while away. My car will be charged AND cleaned when I return on Thanksgiving day and head back to work.

In the weeks I have had my X it has had several things that have had me question it’s ability as a work vehicle. Let me list them here:

  • The firmware (or software as some call it) was not installed properly from the beginning. It took a service call to reconnect the car and download it so that all the fancy stuff worked - like auto steer and traffic aware cruise control.
  • An air conditioning valve stopped working. Not so great in Florida but this has also happened in my GMC (but not when it was new).
  • My software updates failed to load several times.
  • There was an unexplained clicking noise from my left dash speaker which a computer reset seemed to get rid of.
  • When the temperature dropped to 27 degrees F with a wind chill factor my driver door failed to open against the wind. In my effort to get out, the window lost its ability to go down when closing the door. The window remained outside the door frame rattling against the metal and letting in cold air in the gap. Support couldn’t help but a service call was able to “recalibrate” the window.

A big shout out to Roger and crew at the Syosset, NY service center who took in my vehicle squeezing me in-between scheduled appointments once he found out I was on business and traveling for work. This is my second visit to a service center and honestly, these are really good guys. However in my travels to over 50 Supercharger stations I have found that Tesla drivers are NOT my kind of people. Their social skills are absent or dwell within the pompous area of the entitled which prevents me, a cowboy and former truck driver, from relating. I’m not really a snob, but I just don’t want to talk to many of these drivers. I really cannot imagine dealing with them on a daily basis in a service center and I think the service personnel may also feel as I do. Anyway, if you need some emergency service, just be nice. It will really be appreciated.

As a business user, I love the X for the following:
  • Its powerful and smooth.
  • Its comfortable for a 6 foot 2 inch 220 pound man. Easy in and out. I’m flexible when I get out after 3 hours.
  • The driver door opens and stays open making the action of me putting up my foot to stop the door from closing on a hill or in a gentle breeze a thing of the past (along with the boot print).
  • The traffic aware cruise control is the deal maker and a “Can’t live without” feature.
  • The auto steer, when used within its limitations, is a relaxing way to drive.
  • The auto lane change works when used within its limitations.
  • The auto park is very cool to use, but after driving 18-wheelers, I can do the job myself just as easily.
  • There are no blind spots now that I have 2 ¼ inch convex mirrors mounted on both side mirrors.
  • I feel very safe inside.
What I hate about the X:
  • My bluetooth phone automatically starts to play every time I get near the car or open the door. I am turning OFF my Bluetooth connection and will use USB only. I HATE this.
  • My speaker makes an annoying noise related to my iPhone when placed in certain spots in the cabin. It’s the cellular radio connecting noise. Maybe it will disappear when I turn off the Bluetooth, but I don’t think so.
  • My Bluetooth connected phone disconnects and reconnects on its own even when I am on a phone call. I turn off the music and in a few minutes, the music starts playing again. I turn it off again. It starts playing again. Frustratingly annoying.
  • The auto steer works only on wide open roads and only when my hands are completely off the wheel and I’m not fighting it. As I pass a vehicle (especially a semi), the car feels like it is drifting into the vehicle. I compensate which breaks the auto steer. I reconnect and try to trust the car to pass safely. The icon is always between the 2 blue lines on my dash. I guess it’s me trying to hug a side of the lane.
  • The auto steer does not recognize another vehicle merging from the right into a tightly packed lane in traffic. We almost crashed into it as we blissfully followed the car in front. Do NOT trust TACC in heavy traffic such as the Long Island Expressway (6 lane freeway - 3 lanes on one side).
  • The auto braking sees invisible things that are not there in traffic below 50 MPH. For no reason it will hit the brakes for a moment. Only a quick response from depressing the accelerator will resolve this without becoming rear ended. Very scary and requires driving attention at all times.
  • When someone in front of me slows down to make a right or left hand turn and I am using TACC, the car slows down too. However, after the car has made the turn and I would be normally accelerating, the X just remains there setting close to zero MPH as traffic behind assumes I will be accelerating. Why the delay? I’m not sure but I am sure of the cussing both me and Melissa do as we stomp on the accelerator to avoid a rear end crash.
  • The auto lane change works when on an interstate but not so well if at all when on a multi lane highway at low speeds (<45 MPH). This is a 4 lane highway with a grass and tree medium with dashed lines between the lanes. My blinker goes on and nothing. I need to overpower the auto steer and manually make the change. I don’t know why.
  • The auto change lane is slow to pull out when someone has just passed on my left. Often when the vehicle in front of me has slowed and passing into the left lane is appropriate the move must be made rapidly to merge into the flow of traffic in the left lane. However, the auto steer will wait until the vehicle that has already passed me has traveled as far as the vehicle in front of me before starting the pass. In the mean time, another vehicle is starting to pass me from behind on the left. With this delay, the X starts to pull out in front of the overtaking vehicle apparently oblivious of the oncoming and potentially car crashing vehicle. This is rude and makes me look like a jerk. Again, in heavy and fast moving traffic, just drive the X like a regular car.
  • Using auto lane change when moving from the right lane into the left lane requires you to look first because the X does not really care if a car is coming on fast. It will not, however, move to the left if there is a car next to you - I think. I just always look first before turning on my blinker. BUT, when changing from the left to a right lane, the X seems to know when the coast is clear and I have had no problems with this.
10,400 mile conclusions

The Tesla X is a safe and enjoyable car to drive and when used for long distance travel, the use of all its computerized self driving features is a joy. But when driving where there is heavy traffic or limited visibility, realize you are driving just a car so drive like it. Avoid using auto steer and lane changes and use TACC with caution.

The additional time for recharging the battery has not been a problem for me. Others I have talked to say that it would bother them and that they like to drive for 5 to 6 hours straight. What I have noticed is that I always have something to do during the stops. Like talk with approaching pan handlers wanting my money as well as writing these blogs.

One last thing. The constant electric charge that is around me I think makes me a little edgy. I often lose patience when on the phone with people I care about. I am monitoring this. I listened to a blog about mitochondria in our bodies and the effect of wi-fi on them. The researcher and blog host were against having any light or wi-fi in the bedroom when sleeping and advocated to eliminate other things that are electromagnetic or light emitting such as a computer screen glaring at us before we sleep. Then the researcher admitted she owned a Tesla and her measurements of the electromagnetic radiation of the vehicle was within limits of safety. I’m not so sure. Tesla owners will deny anything that places their decision to purchase this machine in jeopardy. After all, we are an entitled bunch.

More to come as I add the miles. Doc T

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