Colbert: Exploring Tesla’s Model X, Aspen showroom

Tesla Motors recently opened an Aspen showroom, seen here, on Cooper.
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The Tesla Model X’s “Falcon Wing” doors seem a bit gimmicky and out of place, even in 2017, but they sure do stand out.

A few weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to drive the Model X, Tesla’s crossover SUV that starts at a modest $85,500. Tesla Motors, co-founded in 2003 by Elon Musk — the same extraordinary individual who created SpaceX and is worth a pretty penny himself — opened a showroom in both Vail and Aspen last month.

The Aspen showroom — located at 422 E. Cooper — is a quaint little shop, and looks more like an art gallery than a dealership. Inside is a lone, white Model X, which in reality looks more like your standard sedan than a true sport utility vehicle. However, when you open the second-row doors — imagine the famed “gull-wing” doors from the DeLorean DMC-12, the “Back to the Future” car — you start to get a sense of the roominess and versatility it can offer.

So what exactly is Tesla and why is it such a big deal? The company, named after noted engineer, inventor and physicist Nikola Tesla, has a “mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy,” according to its website. In short, Tesla Motors makes electric vehicles, which corresponds with Musk’s desire to better the world through technology.

Tesla’s most notorious vehicle is the Tesla Roadster, produced from 2008 to 2012, a slick sports car with Lotus Elise inspired aesthetics. The Model S, Tesla’s all-electric sedan, came out in 2012 and is one of three vehicles currently available (you’ll need a cool $68,000 to get in the door of the Model S). Outside of the Model X and Model S, Tesla also will begin offering the Model 3 later this year (at the earliest), which with a starting price of $35,000 is within reach of your “average” person. Although, you’ll have to get in line — Tesla said it received more than 325,000 reservations for the Model 3 in roughly the first week of it being announced last spring.

The car I drove, the Model X, is billed as “the safest, fastest and most capable sport utility vehicle in history.” I’ll take their word on the safety, and unfortunately I wasn’t able to test its speed (Tesla claims the Model X can go from 0 to 60 in a ridiculous 2.9 seconds) with Aspen’s crowded, icy roads all that were available to me. I can say driving it was impressive, and its all-wheel drive handled the slippery surface without a hiccup.

The Model X is impressive on paper (for $85K, it should be), claiming a 289-mile range on a single charge of its 100 kWh battery, which above all else, is what Tesla most wants you to know about. Clearly, Musk doesn’t see much of a future in fossil fuels, and his companies push the idea of sustainable energy like the future depends on it (and I agree it does).

I was able to drive a Tesla, and it was pretty cool. The Model X isn’t quite as cool looking as the Roadster, but from a technology standpoint I hope more car companies follow suit with what Tesla is trying to do. The only downside right now is the average person, like myself, can’t afford one, so it’s going to be a long time (barring me winning the lottery or completing — well, starting — my Pulitzer Prize-winning novel) before I’m rolling around Aspen in my own Tesla.

Until then, maybe I can see about getting modified “Falcon Wing” doors on my Kia.