Q&A with a Tesla Model X Owner

We recently announced an exclusive Q&A with Philip Barnwell, who has successfully partnered his all-electric Tesla with his Eriba, enjoying trips around the UK in great style. Of course, there are multiple insights that can be learned from Phillip’s experience, and we’re thrilled that he has taken the time to answer a few questions posed by Leisure First members.

How is the range on an electric vehicle affected by towing an Eriba?

I plan journeys with our Eriba 530 based on losing around 1/3 of the range. Range is very sensitive to speed, and winter also takes its toll, but preconditioning limits the impact.

How do you tackle charging your Tesla on route, factoring in having to disconnect in service stations?

We have not yet found a Tesla site where it is possible to charge without unhitching though I suspect travelling at a quiet time we could probably hog a couple of bays and charge without disconnecting. That said it really does not take long to unhitch, though getting back to the van at some sites is interesting!

All the Tesla sites we have used have space nearby to park the caravan but there is a need to check, for example Bristol Cribbs Causeway site is in a multi-storey park so not suitable.

We have never used a non-Tesla charger when towing. Our limited experience using them when not towing would suggest most sites would present difficulties manoeuvring and parking.

Do campsite site owners allow charging of your vehicle on site?

So far we have only encountered one site that said no. Some sites apply an additional cost, others ask you to pay for what is used, most are happy to welcome the future and add no cost. It is going to take an advance in battery technology before capacity will be large enough to meet range expectations for larger units. This is of course is where Eriba owners have an advantage, the smaller profile, smaller overall size and lower weight minimises range loss. These features of the Eriba  are also of benefit when unhitching to park and charge.     

What made you choose your model X over other electric vehicle options? Was there a specific technical reason behind your choice?

Whilst electric vehicle range remains relatively low (at best around 300 miles), the requirements are simple – largest battery on best charging network. Our model X has a 100 kWh battery and the Tesla charging sites are excellent. The sites have multiple chargers, easy access, high availability, easy to use – no codes, cards or fobs, just plug and charge, and to date we have never found a charger that did not work. We would have preferred a car that is not so large but, at the time of purchase, the model Y was not available in the UK, the model 3 has a maximum towing capacity of 1 tonne which is insufficient for our Eriba 530 (1.3/1.4 tonne) and the model S has no towing capability. There are now other cars available that can cut the mustard such as the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the Kia EV6 but of course without the big great benefit of the Tesla Supercharger network.

What are the pros and cons of an electric vehicle in this instance?

Pros:

  • Clean
  • Quiet
  • Easy to drive
  • Smooth, instantaneous and effortless power delivery
  • Cheap to run – especially on overnight charge tariffs
  • Lower maintenance cost, but acknowledging that battery life cost may be higher  than that for cars with internal combustion engines (ICE)
  • Regenerative braking greatly reduces the wear on disks and pads

Cons:

  • Range – and the need to charge en-route for longer trips
  • Cost to buy
  • Longer journeys need to be planned taking into account where en-route chargers are situated
  • Need to unhitch at charging stations