Tesla Model X useless long distance?



Like all things in life and all methods of transport it’s all about compromise.

Electric cars like the Tesla Model X are near perfect for commuting and 90% of journeys.

The compromise however with an electric car is that you’ve got to find charging points and wait if you want to go long distance anywhere.

Nothing is perfect and chasing perfection is just an excuse to never do or try anything new.

On this vlog we travel to Milton Keynes for a business awards event and although the trip down is easy enough, with just one 30 min supercharger stop, the return trip is much more challenging.

We have to find a charging point straight away on our return trip and a police road block means we risk running out of charge.

31 Replies to “Tesla Model X useless long distance?”

  1. madmotorcyclist

    Wonder when there will be a switch from batteries to capacitors? Actually, I get along just fine with my 2011 Leaf's range. Out of my drives, probably have to hit the charger maybe 5% of the time at most. Electrics are a godsend when it comes to maintenance cost in comparison to fuel vehicles. Less moving parts, less things to break down.

  2. Edwyn Corteen

    You stayed in Milton Keynes and did not charge overnight in the EV charger capital of the UK? Unbelievable! Instavolt and Shell garages already have tap your debit card and charge charging, all the rest will move to this in the next few years. I regularly do long journeys in my 24 kW leaf with no issues, just takes two minutes checking on where the chargers are.

  3. Chris Terry

    It is about compromise – the right tool for the job at the right time. Thanks for sharing a pragmatic view. I know there is a large investment with a Tesla but in 7 months last year a friend of mine spent £2.79 on energy using a Tesla and he does a lot of miles. Timing the stops for lunch etc and working whilst charging he couldn't be happier.

  4. Geoff Shelley

    I agree with Ben Sullings of Teslanomics. More range is an important feature that our next-gen cars should have. While quicker charging times would help (and may come to be in the future) having an EV with 400 miles of total range would make a huge difference. That would mean only one stop in a day of driving (and charging while you sleep). While driving say 1000 miles in a day is humanly possible, there are very few times anyone would want to do that.

    The challenge to making 400 miles of total range is deciding how to make that possible. There are two possible ways to choose from. One is with a very large battery. Thanks to advancements in battery technology having a battery capable of giving 400 miles of range is possible. However such a battery would cost a lot. The other way to get that 400 miles of total range is to use a range extender. http://www.liquidpiston.com, http://www.libertine.co.uk, http://www.cerespower.com
    I think for many of us, that is the smartest way to go. Give me an BEV that has just 90 miles of battery range with an on board range extender that adds another 300 miles of range (when I want it), and I'll be very happy with that.

  5. Dean Cade

    Why not just hire a car than put up with having to waste time charging. I own a BMW 225xe m sport. The vehicle runs at 74% battery running after 33,000ks. I wouldn't bother changing to a full EV for 20-30% saving in using petrol.
    I suppose if you want your whole trip about finding chargers then go for it but not for me.

  6. Sean Z

    I have driven out of state many times in my Model S. Yes it does take slightly more planning for long trips. But for around home, it takes less work than a gas car. So I’d rather have a better experience for 95% of the time. And the long trips are more fun. But if you are a road warrior that has to drive 12 hours straight with no or super short breaks, then an EV will not work for you.

  7. Gary Nelson

    We have had our Model X for a year. Many long trips (>500 miles). It is an excellent long distance car! The autopilot shines on long trips. We do plan our trips with the charging requirement in mind. We tend to stay where we can plug in to a destination charger or regular outlet. We plan our first meal stop while we charge. We find a second place to top off mid stream (a few minutes while we take a bathroom break), then plug in at our destination. No extra time. Just a different plan. So put us down as a polite “disagree”. Our Model X is the finest car we have ever driven, especially on long trips.

  8. Alan Friesen

    I think a few minutes of planning would have helped. Like plan on having dinner near a supercharger or breakfast the next morning (I usually find this works, obviously it doesn't sometimes). I find the model X perfect for long distance journeys, it's one of the reasons we bought ours. Having to wait an hour each way on a trip you take twice a year is just sort of part of it though. You've saved stopping at gas stations all year and now you need to wait. I find supercharger breaks are 99% of the time, just perfect.

  9. Jeff

    On a long trip what would happen if the Tesla charging station was not working when you got there? I live on the East Coast and there aren't many charging stations unless you are on a major highway. They are putting in a new Tesla charging station near my work and it has taken 2 months to install and it still isn't active yet. Unless a utility company decides install them I don't see lots of charging station density for quite a while in the U.S.

  10. tigertoo01

    I don't think you tried very hard to find a destination charger. There are literally 100's in the uk and you could have stayed in a hotel which had even a wall socket which you could have charged from the time you pulled up till the time you left then you would not have had an hr wait at any SC. seriously man this is weak

  11. Tesla Driving Dad

    This is a bad take. I love your Cirrus videos! What you essentially did is fly the plane, picked an airport without jet fuel, and had to waste time doing a short hop to do a long fueling. I’m not critical of your experience, it happened to me also in early ownership. Like you said, life is about compromise. EVs are different than ICE cars, and require different habits. When roadtripping, always leave with 90% to 100% charge. Use hotels with destination chargers. You do that, and all this could be avoided.

  12. MK KM

    Basically doesn't work if you don't have destination charging. On the way there was fine, wasn't it? So it'd be the same on the way back. What really needs to happen (for all EVs) is hotels, parking lots, etc having low speed overnight chargers. That way you can continue on your route. It'll definitely get better though, not worse!

  13. michael carden

    The image isn't as good but golf GTE seems like a good real world compromise at the moment and it would seem that Tesla will certainly have issues if they start to sell large numbers of model three

  14. Mark Martin

    Come on 'There is an empty charger, Oh dear what happens WHEN there aren't any? Maybe Tesla will put in more chargers…..??? Seems like a pretty straight forward solution. The problem is NOT the car, it is the driver. Long distance driving needs 2 minutes of planing and problem solved. 250 – 350 mile range means that worse case scenario you would need an 1 1 /2 stop to charge every 4-5 hours. I am more than happy to stop for a break (lunch or dinner) and spend some of the the money I am saving for the privilege of driving a car that knocks the socks off everything else on the market. The internal combustion engine is ancient technology ( it's over 100 years old), the idea that it can not be improved upon or replaced is ridiculous, rather than knock Tesla (who are quite literally changing the world) how about supporting the positives, which (even if the negatives you outline were realistic) are far, far more relevant.

  15. Mark Martin

    I have had a Model S for 3 1/2 years and this representation is ridiculous. You have a car with a full charge at the beginning of a journey (from 250-350 miles depending of KW motor) which means you can pretty much get to Milton Keynes from anywhere in the country without a need to charge. I have never had an issue on ANY journey and do a 220 mile round trip just about every weekend and have driven to Wales and Scotland on a few occasions. btw – if you are low on fuel and driving to a garage and there is a road closure it is far more of a problem then in a Model X which tells you exactly what charge you have left and how to deal with the situation – an empty patrol tank tells you NOTHING – until you run out.

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