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Tesla X

Jarvis Smith: will this model go down in history as the electric car that changed the game?
Jarvis Smith tests the Model X's off-road capabilities

This article appears in the summer issue of Magazine, distributed with the Guardian on 14 July 2017. Click here to read the full digital issue online.

Jarvis Smith tests the Tesla Model XIf you believe electric cars are only good for nipping round cities, and you think you have to stop for an overnight charge before you’ve got anywhere remotely close to ‘away’ for the weekend, think again.

The Tesla X is the holy grail of SUVs – and just happens to be fully electric. Its off-road stealth is frankly astonishing and its incredible range means you can get out into the wilderness and enjoy a silent drive through remote landscapes without dropping a gram of carbon behind you. So we did just that.


We collected the Tesla X from Edinburgh and drove straight up to the Findhorn Foundation, the pioneering eco and spiritual centre (which, of course, has an electric car charger) in Forres, not far from Inverness. The route skirted round the edge of the Cairngorms National Park before taking us through Aviemore and up to the coast. It was just over 150 miles through some of the UK’s most beautiful and rugged land, but there was no need for range anxiety in this machine.

The Tesla X has a minimum range of 250 miles; the car gave us no reason to stop, but the charging station in a car park in Aviemore gave us an opportunity to stretch our legs, order a bag of Scottish chips and enjoy the novelty of eating them en terrace in one of the UK’s best ski destinations.

Likewise the return trip could have been uninterrupted, but we decided to stay at the beautiful Fonab Castle, a stunning five-star hotel and spa in Pitlochrie, to try out its Tesla Destination Charger.

Our room was so peaceful and the food was so good (the vegetarian haggis was the best I’ve ever had!) that by the next morning, after a deep and rejuvenating rest, I was ready for an adventure. We decided to take the scenic route back to Edinburgh, and found ourselves testing the Model X’s off -road capabilities in the middle of Tay Forest Park.

I have to admit I was a little nervous at this point; we were in the middle of nowhere, it was raining and the already risky tracks were getting more perilous by the minute. Check out the X’s 4×4 prowess out for yourself: you can see a video of our off-road adventure at

Click here to find out why the Tesla Model X is a Hero


This car really does put a stop to any nonsense about range anxiety; if you’re the sort of person who would want to drive for over 250 miles without stopping for a break, then you clearly don’t have kids – in which case this seven-seater would be wasted on you anyway. We were travelling with our 15-month-old daughter and were keen to test the Model X out as a family car as well as a luxury SUV.

There are up to seven seats; the two in the third row fold down to provide extra boot space if you have a smaller family (though there’s also bags of room under the bonnet – another bonus of not having an engine!). The falcon wings lift up like, well – a falcon, providing unbelievably easy access to any child car seats you need to put in the second and third rows.


Prices start at around £75,000 for the 75D and the top model (P100D) commands around £135,000. There’s no getting round the fact that these are eye-watering price tags, but business incentives are the best on off er: the Tesla X brings major benefits to your bottom line as well as to people and planet.

This car completely changes the game – here’s why. It’s a fully electric vehicle that you can charge up at any Tesla Super Charger (which will charge you up in 30 minutes – just time for a pit stop and a coffee) and Destination Charger (longer charge times, but perfect if you’re parking up for a while at a hotel, restaurant or shopping centre, where these chargers are typically located).

The HEPA air filter system means medical-grade air can fill the cabin, no matter what’s going on outside. There’s even a bioweapon defence mode, which creates positive pressure inside the cabin to protect occupants. I hope we don’t need it, but these days – well, all I’ll say is that it’s there just in case!

The huge, uninterrupted windscreen meant we could all enjoy breathtaking panoramic views as we travelled across this stunning part of the world and drove in pure luxury into the heart of its enchanting glens – even if at times I’d have preferred to have closed my eyes!

Click here to find out more about the Tesla X and to book a test drive.

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