Generally speaking, Tesla makes impressive vehicles. The Roadster redefined what an electric car could be, the Model S redefined what an electric luxury sedan could be, and the recently arrived Model X is trying to redefine what an electric crossover SUV can be.
Tesla, however, has always dropped the ball on one essential feature of modern motoring.
These days, it's almost impossible to find a vehicle that doesn't have numerous cupholders. Minivans are jammed with the things. European cars resisted cupholders for a while, but they've all given in. Even exotic supercars have 'em, though they're frequently tucked away in difficult-to-reach spaces.
The Model S barely has cupholders, and the two it does have are awkwardly located (maybe CEO Elon Musk doesn't like to chug coffee or soda on his commutes). In the Model S, a rear-seat folding console with a cupholder was added only after the fact. Other automakers had innovated on cupholders, but Tesla, an innovation-driven company, lagged far, far behind. Its cars had the cupholders of the past (even though they could be had as a heated-and-cooled option).
In a car like the Model S that was otherwise pretty sensibly designed, its terrible cupholders were a glaring problem, and I wasn't the only one to point it out. Tesla owners have frequently complained.
But boy, did Tesla listen!
This week, we spent about an hour driving a top-of-line, fully loaded Tesla Model X P90D (with Ludicrous Mode acceleration) around Manhattan, and one of the new features that representative Alexis Georgeson highlighted was the wildly improved cupholder setup.
Yes, the old Model S cupholders are still in the picture:
But then there's this!
It's a reconfigurable cupholder compartment. The lovely curved dividers can be slipped in and out to create a typical dual cupholder arrangement, or you can customize the dividers to accommodate a HUGE beverage.
The two rows of rear seats also have abundant cupholders, befitting Tesla's case that the Model X is a combination of a minivan, an SUV, and a sports car.
In fact, the new cupholders (which can be concealed with a softtouch panel or removed), are of a piece with the Model X itself, a car that inside and outside truly does function as a piece of rolling sculpture. Tesla pushed the envelope with the Model X, though not always in ways that made it easy to build and launch the vehicle. In execution, however, the Model X is an impressive accumulation of well-thought-out details.
Right down to the groundbreaking cupholders!