The road ahead

After years of reading about electric cars and feeling guilty about being a two-car family, we decided to sell both cars, and purchase just one electric car.

After thorough research, the Tesla Model X emerged as the ideal choice. A seven-seater car with its distinctive falcon doors and enough gadgets to keep my husband content.

Now, after six months of ownership, here’s what we’ve discovered:

Sustainability of Electric Cars

It produces zero tailpipe emissions, so driving the Model X means contributing to reduced air pollution and a decreased reliance on fossil fuels. 

Without the noise of the tailpipe, you have to be extra careful driving out of car parks/driveways, as people don’t hear you the same way they would if you had a gas car.

There has been controversy with electric vehicles with regards to their sustainable practices, in particular with:

  • the awareness of embedded carbon – the total carbon footprint throughout a product’s lifecycle
  • potential supply chain issues – relating to the extraction and processing of materials required for batteries, such as lithium and cobalt
  • dangers of lithium batteries – many news reports about them causing fires

have raised concerns about social and environmental sustainability.

Tesla, acknowledges the significance of these challenges, and continually seeks innovative solutions to minimise its environmental footprint and address potential supply chain issues but still concerning.

Cutting-edge technology 

Tesla is synonymous with cutting-edge technology, and the Model X is no exception. Its advanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD) capabilities claim to redefine what’s possible on the road. These features enhance safety, convenience, and overall driving enjoyment.  

It does have an over-reliance on Technology, the touchscreen interface can be distracting and potentially unsafe.

Moreover, software glitches (or updates) can sometimes cause unexpected issues e.g. you can’t always just jump in and drive off, you have to wait a few minutes until the interface warms up – not ideal if you are trying to make a quick getaway from a traffic warden!  

Fine on electric car
Near miss

Also, I don’t trust autopilot and full self-driving modes, although the children think this is “awesome”.  It does have quirky features, from farting noises to Christmas mode, great to entertain children and impress teens.

Impressive Performance 

The Model X can go from 0 to 60 mph in just a few seconds.  If I am honest, I drive like an old lady, so this doesn’t really matter to me.

Spacious Interior

It really is super spacious and has luxurious interior with seating for up to seven passengers. 

The distinctive falcon-wing doors add an element of drama (loved by all Batman/Back to the Future geeks) and convenience when entering or exiting the vehicle – no more fighting over who sits in the middle, as all the seats are the same size and can be heated (very practical for living in Scotland).

Winging it

In saying that, the falcon-wing doors can be problematic in certain situations. They require ample clearance on the sides, making parking in tight spaces a challenge.

Moreover, the sensors that control these doors, can sometimes be overly cautious, causing unnecessary delays when opening and closing.  I once had an issue when the falcon-wing door wouldn’t close manually, touchscreen or key…I thought I was going to have to drive it home open!

Long Range and Supercharging Electric Cars

It offers impressive mileage on a single charge, and Tesla has an extensive Supercharger network that ensures you can find a charging station on long journeys, minimising any inconvenience.

Charging electric car
Fully charged

However, I found I got range anxiety,  long road trips require meticulous planning and multiple charging stops, which can be a hassle. Even short road trips can cause anxiety like driving to A&E on 10% charge in rush hour traffic!

Although the UK charging infrastructure for EVs is expanding, it’s still not as ubiquitous as traditional petrol stations. Finding a Tesla Supercharger can be relatively easy in some areas, but can be challenging in others, especially in rural locations.

I have spent a lot of ‘45 mins’ in a charging car – a minute over and you get charged a fine of £35.  If no Superchargers or Fast chargers, then you could have to wait up to 4 hours to charge the car, and it depends on how many other cars are using the chargers beside you.

Lower Operating Costs

While the upfront cost of a Model X can be (eye wateringly) high, its lower operating costs compared to traditional gas-powered vehicles can offset that expense over time. 

Some Tesla owners have reported issues with build quality and reliability. This includes problems with body panels, paint quality, and electronic glitches. 

In the six months, we have replaced five tyres, had an issue with the suspension – although Tesla can run diagnostics remotely, you still have to book an appointment (for us 3 days wait) and then take it into the Tesla garage.

Money, money, money

So yes, charging has been significantly cheaper than petrol, but we have spent more on maintenance than we did on our previous two cars in years!

Safety Features

Tesla prioritises safety, and the Model X is equipped with an array of safety features.

These include:

  • Collisions avoidance systems
  • automatic emergency braking and
  • advanced driver assistance features

all contribute to a safer driving experience. 

It can be distracting when you are driving, as sometimes it anticipates you might crash when you are nowhere near another car…but you could crash from the loud warning sound it gives off!

Limited Third-Party Support

While Tesla offers a comprehensive ecosystem of services, including Superchargers and service centres, it’s not as open to third-party support as traditional carmakers. This can limit options for repairs, upgrades, and customisation.

Our Conclusion

While we enjoyed being part of the electric car movement, and the fun aspects of owning a Tesla Model X, we decided after six months, that it’s not the right fit for our family.

Good news is it sold very quickly, bad news is we are back cycling in autumn, while we explore other environmentally friendly car options – possibly a hybrid vehicle this time.

For more information on sustainable transport on please contact Jayne Saywell, one of our Business Advisors. Her knowledge, experience and ideas can help your company thrive in a wellbeing economy, and find joy in a sustainable future.

Categories: Blog