Monday, June 20, 2016

Top Gear reviews the Model X P90DL

Top Gear is known for its petrol heads fan base, ever since ex-Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson reviewed the Roadster in 2008 claiming it can only do 55 miles and pushing it back to the garage to recharge it, Tesla went back then on a libel case for almost 3 years to clear its name. Unfortunately it had to pay £100,000 to the BBC as it lost the case in London. In a related interview, Elon Musk acknowledged he used to enjoy watching the show sometimes, but was always surprised it was on BBC:
I am actually a great fan of the BBC. I was surprised to learn that Top Gear was even on the BBC. Clarkson's show is more about entertainment than about the truth... He can be very funny and irreverent, but he does have a strong bias against electric cars and in particularity he seems to hate Americans. His two pet peeves are American cars and electric cars. And we're an American electric car. So we're in the worst possible situation for someone like Clarkson... I don't think there will be any converting of Jeremy Clarkson.
The BBC show has since not reviewed the Model S. That changed yesterday when the new presenters of the show finally decided to feature a 10 minute review of the Tesla Model X while testing it in the state of New York.
Rory Reid - a 36 year old former car reviewer on Recombu and Fast, Furious and Funny - recently joined the new team of Top Gear, alongside Matt LeBlanc, Sabine Schmitz, Chris Harris and Eddie Jordan, after submitting a very impressive online audition tape to the executive producer Chris Evans. Reid is known for his unusual reviews, such as his slow rap review of the Rolls-Royce Ghost, his seatbelts lifting a Vauxhall Cavalier experiment, and the Boeing Stearman plane.
Reid went to New York to test drive the Model X P90DL. And he was impressed to say the least.
Welcome to the future. It's an electric car that might just do to petrol and diesel what the Ford Model T did to the horse. Here I am in a spacious, luxurious six seat SUV that aced every single crash test it's ever been in. I don't have to worry about changing gears because there isn't any, there's no engine.
Reid's fact checking came close to accurate as opposed to previous reviews of electric cars on Top Gear. He went on to highlight Tesla's Supercharger network as "free to use if you can find one" while failing to mention the abundant destination charging network in the New York state area . Luckily a 290 miles capable Model X P90DL can cover most of the commuting in the Big Apple and its suburbs.
Reid praised the electric SUV's very low center of gravity despite the extra weight due to the battery, making it heavier than a Range Rover.
As a result it doesn't roll around and - in bends - stays surprisingly flat. There's really not an awful lot of feedback from the steering wheel but because it has no engine and it's silent, you can hear the tires as they approach the limit of grip. It's like driving with your ears, a very strange sensation but I like it.
He was impressed by the instant torque the car can deliver, something he claims many people are not used to, but can be very addictive. When it came to the Falcon Wing doors, Reid called them "Not only cool but practical too," pointing out the irony of having them only at the rear as one has to jump from the back to the driver seat in case they find themselves blocked in a car park.
In addition, he mentioned the HEPA filter - or better known as Bio Defense Mode - by fitting two surgeons in the back praising how sterile it is. While his reaction to Autopilot seemed a little too freaky.
His review didn't stop there. According to Reid, the biggest test the "family van" faces is converting a group of petrol heads by performing a drag race with a 6.2 L supercharged V8 Dodge Challenger Hellcat. In Ludicrous mode, the Model X ended up winning the race by a long shot and Reid was seen bragging about how fast it was while still able to maintain some range for the rest of the day:
I've nearly done 200 miles driving all around New York state. I've done a drag race, which I won, and I've still got 21 miles of range to go. That's unreal.
While concluding his review, Reid questioned whether the Model X has all the answers to the world's environmental problems. "Oil is running out, so something has to give" he said.
Of course there are no emissions from the Model X itself, but its only as green as the energy you put into it. If your power company making its juice by burning rain forests and puppies, then you can't exactly claim the moral high ground.
This theory has been debunked as of late since 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal and legally binding global climate deal to reduce CO2 emissions during the Paris summit in 2015. Furthermore, there has been many reports of countries like Germany, Denmark and Norway shifting away from fossil fuels as primary source of energy production and consumption, while a recent BBC article reported investments in renewables during 2015 were more than double the amount spent on new coal and gas-fired power plants.
Unfortunately LeBlanc was not convinced, claiming "the future for me is the Aston Martin DB11, the Bugatti Chiron and the new Ford GT," Reid went on to clarify that, while he still loves petrol cars, he thinks they are compromised:
Forget cylinders and super unleaded. Because the future is cells and super capacitors. There's no point trying to fight it because you can't stop it. The future is here. And it's electric... Electric power gives you no compromises, You don't have to choose between performance, practicality and eco-friendliness, you have all three things in one package.
If you live in the UK, uou can watch a rerun of this episode on BBC iplayer. Folks in the US have to wait till tonight to watch it on BBC America. In the meantime here's an edited video a fan put together of the best shots of the Model X in the show.


  1. Is it so difficult for ICE folks to grasp the point, which is not to "claim moral high ground"? It's to accept energy from ANY source, and to add zero emissions, so that when clean energy sources are developed, there will be very little emission of anything harmful. After the grid is cleaned up. your ICE will still emit just as much emission as it does today, and nothing can ever change that. Is that so difficult to grasp?

  2. "When it came to the Falcon Wing doors, Reid called them "Not only cool but practical too," pointing out the irony of having them only at the rear as one has to jump from the back to the driver seat in case they find themselves blocked in a car park."

    One can use remote control to have the Model X start up and drive out of a tight parking situation by itself, then open the front door and get in comfortably, can't one?