Driving with Dan

Text and photography by Dan Cutrona

There I was, queasy, sipping on Ginger Ale, struggling to organize my thoughts.

Was this feeling from chasing bluefins 30 miles offshore? Did I just take a ride in the Zipper at the Barnstable County Fair? No.

I had been doing repeated 0 to 60 launches in the new all-electric Tesla X. If you have 3.2 seconds to spare, you too can rocket to 60 mph in a more than 5,000 pound, seven-passenger SUV. To put it in perspective, a Porsche 911 gets to 60 in 3.5 seconds, and you have to spend $400,000 on a Ferrari F12 to beat it by a tenth, at 3.1 seconds. The Tesla X starts at $80,000 (although the one I test drove costs $130,000). This is seriously mind-bendingly fast, and can only be done when this fully optioned vehicle is set in “Ludicrous” mode. Yes, that’s what it is really called.

Cape Cod is generally considered a very traditional area. And the word “ludicrous” is usually uttered only by members of the historical board when trying to get your not-gray house color approved. In general, the “experienced” population of this region cherish familiarity.

Many of our positive experiences in life are rooted in nostalgia. Even the joy of driving is deeply rooted in the physical feelings that we are familiar with. The rev of the engine, the satisfying shift from first to second gear and the calming pleasure of coasting through the scenic turns on 6A.

With the Tesla X, you can take all that and throw it out the window.

This is the future. Elon Musk and Tesla are changing the experience of what owning and driving a car means. Oil change? Never. Gas stations? Nope. If you didn’t charge at home, you can pop into one of the free Tesla Superchargers at the Sagamore Bridge, where you can gain 80 percent of your 250-mile range in 30 minutes. Just a little more than you would normally wait to fill up, pay for gas, and wait in line at Dunkin Donuts. That’s not enough range for you? Well, 250 miles can get you from Woods Hole to Provincetown and back: Twice. And from the Sagamore Bridge, you can make it to New York City no problem. With just a little extra planning, you can take advantage of 685 of these stations strategically placed so you can make that summer cross-country road trip.

The Model X even changes the way you get in your car. With the “key” fob in your pocket, the door pops open automatically, and when you step in, the A/C is on and music is playing. Kinda like a fancy hotel room when you first arrive. Push button start? Psssh, how passe. In the Tesla, you simply put it in drive and go in complete silence, with the acoustics of a NASA space capsule (presumably—I haven’t been to space…yet. Mr. Musk is still working on that one). The “Falcon Wing” rear doors take a few seconds to open, and when you’re running errands with three kids in tow, it’s a bit cumbersome. But the awe factor and ease of access to the third row make it worthwhile (sort of). This vehicle is as planted on the road as it is in the future. With all the batteries in the floor of the vehicle, the low center of gravity gives an unfamiliar, yet satisfying feel while navigating a rotary. I don’t think you could flip this car if you tried.

If you’re a traditionalist and can’t live without the roar of a gas-guzzling V-8, this car may not be for you. But if you want to feel like you’re stepping into the future, then Tesla may be your time machine.

Dan Cutrona is a photographer, wannabe writer and car enthusiast. A Tesla test-drive can be arranged at their Mashpee Commons location.

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