With SUV’s being one of the most popular car segments it’s only logical that Tesla would want a piece of this market share, which is why they introduced the Tesla Model X with the first Model X deliveries in Australia starting in late 2016.
With its sleek good looks, its huge cargo capacity, industry leading entertainment, range and autonomous driving capabilities the Model X is a fantastic car. It’s also undergone dozens of tweaks and upgrades resulting in it now being able to do a 0-100 km/h sprint in a ludicrous 3.1 seconds. This is a 2,509 kg SUV that seats up to 7 people and can out sprint a 2014 Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4! That’s just astonishing!
Drive Zero Car Guides are written for people trying to get a feel of the electric car landscape in Australia. We only wrote guides for battery (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) electric vehicles that are confirmed to be on sale in the market in Australia now, or are coming soon.
Our goal is to summarise as much as you might want to know about the different considerations for each of these electric cars and who they may be useful for. That said, we’re not qualified car reviewers, so full reviews of these models, we’ve included the best links and video for reviews that we could find.
What makes the Tesla Model X so special?
To begin with the Model X is an amazing all round car. It can seat up to 7 full sized adults, it has class leading storage space, it has an amazing front windshield that extends right over your head plus it has those very famous and controversial Falcon Wing Doors.
Originally they were designed and built into the Model X to make it easier to get in and out as well manage kids that are seated in the back. For example you could stand fully up right to the side of the car and buckle in a child or put them in their baby seat all without having to bend over and contort your body. They also make it easier for people to get into the third row seats.
Since the Model X’s launch though the Falcon Wing Doors have essentially become the Model X’s signature look. They’re incredibly unique and flashy looking and pretty much always attract attention when used in public. Whether this is a pro or a con for you will of course depend on your personality.
You can operate them – as well as the front doors – automatically from the centre console screen or your key fob. At the press of a button any of the doors will unlock and open out auto presenting themselves. The front two doors can even do this automatically when you approach and will then close once you’re inside.
The huge battery pack set right in the base of the car enables it to have a very low centre of gravity and resist roll-overs even though it’s a much bigger car. It also gives it much better handling than other combustion powered SUV’s and together with its insane acceleration commands some serious respect in terms of performance.-
Tesla Model X key details
Going from 0-100 km/h in 3.1 seconds isn’t the only thing the Model X has going for it, although that certainly is something pretty special considering once again, we’re talking about a 2.5 tonne car here!
Its huge 417-542 km range not only allows you to drive without range anxiety but also means you can use it for any type of holiday style trip. While on your holiday trip you can also tow up to 2,300 kg all while cruising along the freeway on Autopilot.
|Tesla Model X 75D||Tesla Model X 100D||Tesla Model X P100D|
|Table last updated March 2018|
|Price||Base Price (not including LCT): $119,000|
On Road (NSW): $138,930
|Base Price (not including LCT): $142,900|
On Road (NSW): $171,555
|Base Price (not including LCT): $203,600
On Road (NSW): $254,410
|417 km (NEDC Range)||565 km (NEDC Range)||542 km (NEDC Range)|
|0-100 km/h||5.2 Seconds||4.9 Seconds||3.1 Seconds|
|Battery||75 kWh Lithium Ion Battery||100 kWh Lithium Ion Battery||100 kWh Lithium Ion Battery|
|Drivetrain||All Wheel Drive, Dual Motors|
|Seats||4-door SUV, seats 5-7 passengers depending on configuration|
|Vehicle & Battery Warranty||The Battery and Drive Unit for a period of 8 years (infinite kilometre). Limited vehicle warranty of 4 year, 80,000 km.|
You can order a Model X through Tesla’s Australian website here. They also have a number of dealerships and showrooms all over Australia where you can stop by and check out the car in person if you want.
Similar to the Model S, the Model X comes in three variants currently, the 75D, 100D and P100D. The “D” stands for Dual Motor or AWD and the number represents the size of the cars battery. 75 for 75 kWh and 100 for 100 kWh. The “P” in the top tier model stands for Performance and also includes many other upgrades to the car like bigger wiring and fuses to accommodate the increase in power draw of the larger motor.
One thing most don’t understand with electric cars is that as the battery size increases the range isn’t the only thing that benefits. The bigger the battery is the more the maximum power output can be. This then means the car designer can put in a more powerful motor, and the faster they can charge their battery to hold more range too – the last part of battery charging always takes the longest as the charge rate slows the fuller the battery gets.
There are 7 current paint choices ranging from the included Solid Black to Metallic ones that add $1,400 and finally Multi-Coat ones that add $2,100 like the very striking Red or Pearl White.
You only get 3 choices of wheels ranging from the included 20″ Silver Wheels all the way up to the absolutely huge and amazing 22″ Onyx Black Wheels for an extra $7,600. Standing next to a Model X with them installed they come up to your waist almost!
There is no roof options as all Model X’s come with the huge front windshield glass piece that we’ll get to later on. The middle roof section is also partly glass too as the Falcon Wing doors have glass panels on the side and tops however it’s not 100% glass as there’s still a lot of metal structure to support the doors themselves.
On the inside they have 5 difference interior colour combinations as well as a Carbon Fibre trim extra if you want it. You can pick anything from the normal plain black, to the Cream Premium shown above or even the more striking White Premium faux leather that is apparently even more stain resistant than the other colours. Reports have been positive that even with the everyday grind they still manage to stay white and look fantastic.
There’s also many other additional extras such Enhanced Autopilot ($6,900), Full Self-Driving Capability ($4,100) and the Premium Upgrades Package ($8,300) which includes things like:
- HEPA medical-grade air filtration system
- Self presenting front doors
- Custom audio system
- Sub-zero weather package
On top of these extras that you can buy all Model X cars come with the following laundry list of included features as standard:
- 5 Star Safety Rating
- Ten airbags
- Electronic stability and traction control
- Collision avoidance and AEB
- UV and infrared blocking safety glass windshield
- 17″ touchscreen control system
- Leather wrapped, three spoke, multifunction steering wheel with tactile controls
- Tire pressure monitoring system
- Smart air suspension with GPS memory
- Front and rear trunks with 2,494 L of storage
- Power liftgate
- Keyless entry with flush mounted door handles
- Ambient interior lighting
- OTA software updates
- WiFi and Internet connectivity
- Maps and navigation with free updates for 7 years
- 400 kWh of free annual Supercharger credits
- Power folding, auto-dimming and heated side mirrors
- Three position LED turning head lights
- High definition backup camera
- Hands free talking with Bluetooth
- Voice activated controls
- FM and Internet streaming radio
- Four USB ports for media and power (5 USB ports in 6 and 7 seat configurations)
- 14-way power adjustable, heated front seats with memory and driver profile
Tesla Model X Pricing
As mentioned above the Model X isn’t a cheap car. However it’s not meant to be, given that it’s aimed squarely at the luxury SUV car market. Starting at $119,000 and not even including any on road costs or even luxury car tax in that price, it can balloon out to almost double that price when you chose the P100D variant.
Depending on which state you’re in the car will cost a different amount once you drive away. As an example, below are the drive away costs for someone living in NSW and these are figures before you start adding fancy paint colours, interior packages or the Enhanced Autopilot.
- Tesla Model X 75D = $138,930
- Tesla Model X 100D = $171,555
- Tesla Model X P100D = $254,410
Hilariously, if you check all the boxes and add all the extras you can get the price all the way up to an eye watering $293,995 (for those in NSW)!
Keep in mind though Tesla are always updating and changing the Model X configuration and pricing. USD/AUD currency fluctuations, changes to the size of the batteries or other updates are frequent and happen many times a year. As such, to get the most accurate pricing for your configuration and your state it’s best to use their online configuration page here.
While the Model X is obviously an expensive car, it compares quite well when put up next to its competitors. Cars like the Audi Q7, Land Rover Discovery, Range Rover Velar or BMW X5 can all be in this price range.
However they often offer slower acceleration times, higher maintenance and fuel costs, far older technology, less safety features, navigation and in car entertainment systems that are sub-par not to mention none of the benefits of all electric power trains. No 100% torque at any speed, no regenerative braking, no remote climate controls, car monitoring and other such features.
What’s the Tesla Model X like to drive?
As the Tesla Model X has been around for a few years there are a number of different versions. While you can currently only buy a new one in either 75D, 100D or P100D configurations there have been the 60D, 70D, 90D and P90D. With these lower battery sizes the charging speed, range and acceleration are all different.
So when looking for reviews be sure to find ones that are recent as otherwise they will likely be talking about a car that’s slightly different from what you can purchase right now. These videos can still be useful to learn general information about the car but some details can be off.
First off we have a Cars Guide review from 2017. It’s presented by Peter Anderson (who also writes here on Drive Zero) and who has already road tested many other Tesla variants, so he knows what he’s talking about and how the car has evolved over the years.
However as mentioned above, due to Tesla always changing and upgrading things since the review originally aired, some of the things quoted are now out of date. Things such as the options pricing being completely different and the 0-100 time being quicker now at 3.1 seconds.
Next we have another full review by Robert Llewellyn (the actor behind Kryten in Red Dwarf) and his fantastic show Fully Charged. In it he goes through a number of use cases that you’d normally find driving an SUV including driving in dense urban traffic and even doing a full school run. Lots of quite funny moments too.
For a review by someone who’s had the car for over a year we have this one by TechnoBuffalo. They also address the white seats option as well as how it performs with Autopilot.
Finally there’s also this quite hilarious head to head video by Motor Trend where they pit the Model X against a 2017 Bentley Bentayga. The second drag race they do against the Alfa Romeo Spider is especially amazing, worth the watch!
Overall though most seem to agree that it drives very well for such a big car. The lower centre of gravity, super quick acceleration and air suspension really give it a smooth and powerful experience. Beyond that the technology also adds a huge amount to the picture that other cars just simply can’t match.
Tesla Model X – Battery, Charging and Power
As a pure electric vehicle it’s important that potential owners understand the options for charging the Tesla Model X. While the battery size has changed over the years currently you only have two options. A 75 kWh one or the bigger 100 kWh one.
For most of the time, drivers of EV’s charge exclusively at home overnight. Just like you would charge you phone, you come home, plug the car in and go inside. The next morning it has a full “tank” and you can drive where ever you want.
The Model X has either a 417 km, 565 km or 542 km NEDC range depending on which model you purchase which is certainly a huge range. However always keep in mind that this is the range you get every morning. Each morning you wake up the car is fully charged so you almost never need to use charging station.
If you do end up driving for more than the total range in one single day – for example if you’re driving interstate – then Tesla also has you covered with their excellent Supercharger network. These are super fast charging stations that are dotted along main highways in between states and in major cities.
You can get all the information on where they are and how they work here. Currently you can charge to around 80% of a Model X in just 30 minutes. This is usually a good time for people to have something to eat, go to the toilet or stretch their legs as you would have been driving for a good 3-4 hours at that point.
As the Model X is their more luxurious model you also get 400 kWh of free annual Supercharger credits. Given Tesla currently charges $0.35 per kWh at its Superchargers that’s $140 of free juice every year.
If you drive modestly that will get you around 2,000 km’s before you’ll need to start paying for Supercharger use. If you know of someone who owns a Tesla already you can also get a referral code from them which allows you to get unlimited free Supercharger use with a new Model X purchase.
Tesla also have their lesser known Destinations Charger Network which is made up of hundreds of already installed charging points all around Australia. These are at locations that are considered “destinations” such as hotels or shopping centres. Charging at any Destination Charger is currently free.
What does the interior of the Tesla Model X look like?
The star of the show when it comes to the Model X interior is the central 17-inch (43 cm) touchscreen control panel.
It’s with this central 17″ touchscreen that you do virtually everything in the Model X. From opening the Falcon Wing Doors to changing the AC Tesla have had their software built and refined over almost a decade now and it’s considered one of – if not the – most advanced infotainment system out there.
Beyond the main touch screen there isn’t much else up front. The entire design is an exercise in minimalism giving the whole car a very futuristic and even as some describe, spaceship like feel.
With the touchscreen you can access FM and online radio, USB audio devices, car settings, high def backup cameras, phone contacts and calendar details, a huge, full screen Google Maps interface, locations of charging stations and more.
One other very unique thing that is almost as noticeable as the huge touchscreen is the front windshield. This enormous sheet of glass is apparently the largest single piece of glass on a production car. Giving you an amazing helicopter like interior and view you can see directly up without any type of cross member getting in the way.
It’s so big they had to redesign how the rear vision mirror and Autopilot camera systems were integrated as well as the front sun visors! Reports seem to be a bit hit and miss on how well it does to shield you from the Sun’s rays though. Some claim that they get quite hot whereas others don’t seem bothered at all.
Tesla claims it has UV and infrared blocking coatings on it plus as you can see in the picture above there is a very heavy tinting on the roof section of it that also helps cut down on heat. Speaking with a friend that’s owned a Model X here in Australia for over 6 months (over the Summer period) he reports that it hasn’t really bothered him much and on the times it has, he just puts the AC on a bit higher and it’s not a problem.
Furthermore if you’re still having issues and the AC also isn’t helping they also include an attachable shade piece for the top section of the windshield. This completely covers the top part of the roof giving you extra layer of protection however my friend hasn’t ever bothered to use it even with summer temperatures pushing over 40 degrees!
The seats come in a number of different configurations from the included 5 seater all the way up to a full 7 seater setup. There’s also the option to have a center console in the second row in between the two seats. This provides extra cup holders and even more storage space.
One of the other main advantages of the Model X being electric is that the interior is extremely quiet. There are no ancient combustion engines making noise up front so all you’re left with is some minor road noise.
Moving into the back section the Falcon Wing Doors also seem to stir up a lot of emotion in people. In some reviews people greatly praise them, saying they work fantastically and really help when putting children in the back as you don’t have to twist your back at all while doing it.
Others think they’re overly engineered and unnecessary. They say that all the benefits of them can be had by simply buying a minivan instead although I must admit, a minivan doesn’t have nearly as much class as the Model X!
Many are also quite concerned with the doors hitting other cars, roofs or even people but this is actually one part where everyone seems to praise Tesla for doing a great job. The doors have inbuilt ultrasonic sensors as well as two bend points allowing them to open up in even the tightest situations.
They never hit other cars, garage roofs and even sense if a child or adult is in the way when closing and stop appropriately so as to not… you know… slice their head off! There’s also plenty of room in the back third row mostly due to the floor being completely flat.
With the Premium Upgrades Package you get even more unique features inside such as the HEPA air filtration system which removes at least 99.97% of particulate exhaust pollution and effectively all allergens, bacteria and other contaminants from cabin air. The Bioweapon defence mode also creates positive pressure inside the cabin to protect occupants.
What other features does the Tesla Model X have?
Being a Tesla it of course has a rear and front trunk with loads of space. It also has a very unique key fob that looks like a miniature Model X. Besides being very cute it’s also practical too as to open the boot or front trunk you simple push that area of the mini car.
As well as all the features we’ve covered already the Model X also includes the option to buy their Enhanced Autopilot upgrade. The features involved are meant to be similar to an aeroplanes autopilot which is where the name originated from. Enhanced Autopilot or “EA” is a paid for upgrade that costs $6,900 AUD (or $8,300 AUD to upgrade after the car has been delivered).
With this extra upgrade you unlock additional features. These include having your Tesla match speed to the car in front of you. It will keep within a lane (often called Autosteer) and also change from one lane to another without requiring any driver input.
The system can also exit the freeway you’re driving on when you’re approaching your destination. It’ll also self-park itself which many other cars do already. On top of all these features there’s also “Summon”. This allows it to go in/out of a garage or parking spot while you’re not even in the car.
There’s also even more unique features such as the ability to tow up to 2,300 kg of weight meaning you could take a trailer or caravan with you. This makes the Model X perfect for those that want an all electric car but that also want to go camping or tow a boat for instance.
And finally there’s the future promise that the car will one day be fully self driving. Although this isn’t quite ready just yet, it will be rolled out via an OTA update when it is. Whether Australia will have the legal regulations ready by that point is anyone’s guess though!
Summing Up – The Model X is an SUV like no other
In Australia or even the world you don’t have a huge choice for an SUV assuming you want an all electric one. The Model X came out and has set the bar extremely high. Jaguar is soon to release their I-PACE which also looks like a fantastic car too but that’s not out yet and the Model X also has a number of other advantages over it such as the more advanced technology.
With Tesla constantly iterating and improving all their cars it’s rumoured there might even be an interior refresh coming up for both the Model X and S to bring them more in line with what the Model 3 has shown. Whether that’s true or not though is anyone’s guess.
For now though the Model X is a fantastic – albeit expensive – luxury SUV. It’s also the only all electric SUV available for Australians to buy which will no doubt make the buying decision quite easy for anyone with those two specific requirements.
There’s also even more aspects of the Model X that we haven’t discussed as there are just too many. The infotainment system is the leader in virtually any car and is near universally praised. There is also the dash console which adds even more functionality and also the very high quality voice controls for music.
Servicing of the Model X is also more and more being done by mobile service repair centres meaning they come to you at work or home. There is even a huge online following that uses Tesla Model X cars to go camping with as you can put all the seats down, lay out a bed and sleep inside it. As it has no combustion engine in it the huge battery can keep the cabin nice and warm all night long while you look up through the glass roof at the stars.
Truly the Model X is a great feat of engineering and it will be super exciting to see how Tesla further pushes it now that more and more luxury car makers are beginning to release their all electric SUV’s and compete.