Thampy Antony is well known among Malayalis as an actor and writer. Through his characters in films and his poems and plays, Thampy Antony engages his readers with his wit and views on topics that deal with contemporary issues. A Malayali settled in the US, he is also an auto lover. Here, Thampy Antony shares his ownership experience with his favourite vehicle, the Tesla Model X90D, the all-electric luxury SUV.
Thampy Antony bought the SUV Model X for his wife. There are not many vehicles around that have successfully used latest technology like this Tesla. In a single charge, the car can cover 400 km, which is the biggest USP of the vehicle. Moreover, charging stations are plenty in California. During long journeys, if you run out of battery, it is easy to recharge. Thampy Antony zeroed in on Tesla looking at these factors. The Model X90D that he owns could easily cost about Rs 1 crore in India.
"The vehicle is really powerful. Before buying it, I was concerned about its power. But I soon understood that it has enough power that all my concerns vanished. Besides, the vehicle also gives great importance to safety. Small hits and brushes won't affect neither the vehicle nor the passengers. Five to seven people can be accommodated comfortably in the car. Above all, emissions are low which does a lot of good for the environment. For our cities, this is an important factor."
“Tesla is a completely safe vehicle. Auto pilot and automatic braking facilities increase the safety aspect of the car. The sensors present on all four sides of the car keep accidents away. Compared to petrol and diesel vehicles, the NVH is very low. Since there is minimum NVH while the car is running, passengers can enjoy music better. The journey is as noise-free as a plane. Since the car is fast, lane changing is pretty easy on express highways. Besides, the handling is respectable and the ride quality is also great. Another plus point is that luggage can be stored both in the front and the back.”
At Thampy Antony’s garage, the Tesla has a BMW M6 for company. They also have a 1985 model Jeep, which is used by his son. He wants to buy one more Tesla - possibly the Tesla Model 3. It could cost around Rs 28 lakh to Rs 30 lakh. He has decided to buy another Tesla mainly because of the safety and convenience it offers. The only shortcoming could be the need to recharge during long journeys. In such conditions, while one stops to eat, the 40-minute fast charging option could be used to recharge the battery.
From California to Las Vegas
"The first long journey in the Tesla was to Las Vegas. The 1000 km distance from California in the Tesla car was enjoyable. We took frequent breaks during the trip and utilised the time for recharging."
Low on maintenance
“Another advantage of Tesla compared to other vehicles is the low maintenance cost. Other vehicles need regular oil change and other such care. But the Tesla car doesn’t need them. If there are any issues with the brake, it could pop up on the computer in the vehicle. You need to change the brakes then. Besides, the vehicle needs to be serviced once in a year. The company claims the battery has a life of 10 years. That means no need to change it frequently.”
Tesla owners frequently get alerts on software updates that are needed to upgrade performance. If the software is updated, you could see a marked difference in performance. There are applications that be can be used to control the vehicle. From a different location, one could move the vehicle. Uninterrupted internet connection is needed to effectively use the apps though. The apps will also display information such as the temperature inside the car, where it is parked, and the location of the car, among others. In short, the vehicle can be compared to a running computer.
Tesla is fast becoming a popular car in the US. Its cars now have a waiting period of about two months.
220V plug-in charging
“Since the US uses 110V plugs, a 220V plug adapter is required for charging. While supercharging can be done in 40 minutes, in regular charging an hour's charging can only give you 40 miles. Fast charging is used only during long journeys. In four hours, the battery is fully charged. If you drive sedately, the battery will last longer. Hence, the vehicle is good for city driving.”