Tesla Model X among stars of Morristown electric car show

WHERE DO YOU PLUG IT IN? Zia, 6, and Noa Snook, 8, investigate Tesla Model X at National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin, Sept. 10, 2016.
WHERE DO YOU PLUG IT IN? Zia, 6, and Noa Snook, 8, investigate Tesla Model X at National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin, Sept. 10, 2016.
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Tesla Model X at National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin, Sept. 10, 2016.
Tesla Model X at National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin, Sept. 10, 2016.

 

By Kevin Coughlin

Brett Cohen did not have to ponder long when asked what made his electric Tesla Model X superior to gasoline-power cars.

“Almost everything about it is better,” said the accountant from Short Hills. “The technology is unbelievable. I haven’t been to a gas station in three or four years. This has no tail pipe with fumes that my kids could be breathing. It’s so fast off the line.”

Cohen’s fire-engine red Tesla, with its gull-wing doors and seating for seven, was a big attraction at Saturday’s  National Drive Electric Week  exhibition, presented by the Electric Auto Association’s  New Jersey chapter and Sustainable Morristown in the parking lot of the Presbyterian Parish House on South Street in Morristown.

Slideshow photos by Bill Lescohier and Kevin Coughlin

A 1917 Detroit Electric Model 68 at National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Bill Lescohier, Sept. 10, 2016.
Chevy Volt at the National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Bill Lescohier, Sept. 10, 2016.
BMWi3 at National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Bill Lescohier, Sept. 10, 2016.
Carlos Duarte with his BMW-i8 at National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Bill Lescohier, Sept. 10, 2016.
BMW-i8 at National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Bill Lescohier, Sept. 10, 2016.
Sustainable Morristown table at National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Bill Lescohier, Sept. 10, 2016.
Electric cars on display for National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Bill Lescohier, Sept. 10, 2016.
Smart ED at National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Bill Lescohier, Sept. 10, 2016.
National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Bill Lescohier, Sept. 10, 2016.
National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Bill Lescohier, Sept. 10, 2016.
Electric motorcycle at National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Bill Lescohier, Sept. 10, 2016.
Joe Halkenhauser and friends with his electric VW Golf, National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Bill Lescohier, Sept. 10, 2016.
Joe  Kirdahy with is BMW-i3, at National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Bill Lescohier, Sept. 10, 2016.
Joel Ramseyer and Pastor David Smazik with Tesla S, National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Bill Lescohier, Sept. 10, 2016.
Sal Cameli with his Nissan Leaf, National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Bill Lescohier, Sept. 10, 2016.
National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Bill Lescohier, Sept. 10, 2016.
Two electric car fans at National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin, Sept. 10, 2016.
Tesla Model X at National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin, Sept. 10, 2016.
Brett Cohen explains his Tesla X to Susan Sparks of Sustainable Morristown, at National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin, Sept. 10, 2016.
WHERE DO YOU PLUG IT IN? Zia, 6, and Noa Snook, 8, investigate Tesla Model X at National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin, Sept. 10, 2016.
Navigation system on Tesla Model X, at National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin, Sept. 10, 2016.
Brett Cohen discusses his Tesla Model X at National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin, Sept. 10, 2016.
Stephen Brunskill of the Morristown & Twp Library shows off his folding human-powered bike, at National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin, Sept. 10, 2016.
Stephen Brunskill of the Morristown & Twp Library shows his folding human-powered bike to Cathy Wilson of Sustainable Morristown, at National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin, Sept. 10, 2016.
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1917-detroit-electric-model-68 - A 1917 Detroit Electric Model 68 at National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Bill Lescohier, Sept. 10, 2016.
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This was the event’s third year in Morristown, and about 40 electric vehicles took part, said Chris Neff of the Electric Auto Association.

Brett Cohen discusses his Tesla Model X at National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin, Sept. 10, 2016.
Brett Cohen discusses his Tesla Model X at National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin, Sept. 10, 2016.

A 1917 Detroit Electric buggy returned, at 25 mph. There were shiny Nissan Leafs (Leaves?), along with a Smart ED (that’s Electric Drive, not a form of … Dysfunction), an electric motorcycle that has visited every state in the Lower 48, and an assortment of electric Beemers, including Cohen’s second car, the BMWi3.

Cohen bought his Tesla X about four months ago.  It boasts a remote control feature, so he can summon the car up or down his driveway.

The navigation system tells him where to find charging stations during trips.  He gets around 250 miles per charge.  His only problem so far: Forgetting once to recharge the car battery overnight. A morning trip to the Poconos was delayed for an hour as a result, he said.

One of his favorite features, hands-down, is the hands-free Autopilot system. This crash-avoidance technology has come under intense scrutiny since a Florida motorist was killed in May, when his Tesla S drove beneath a tractor trailer that the system failed to recognize.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says an upgrade to this semi-autonomous driving system will rely more on radar than on cameras, and will limit hands-free driving to reduce risks of this type of accident.

Autopilot is a great stress-reliever in bumper-to-bumper traffic, Cohen said.

“I’m absolutely convinced that it will save lives and avoid accidents as compared to not using it,” he said, comparing Autopilot to cruise control, not “autonomous” driving.  “You can not expect to use it and take your eyes off the road.”

Cohen said he loves relaxing and letting the car “do all the hard work” in stop-and-go situations. He also likes it for highway driving at night, “when it’s hard for humans to see the lines in the road and any obstacles that might be in the way…the car is able to detect them well in advance, and respond accordingly.”

He said it’s hard relinquishing the steering wheel at first. “But once you do, you quickly realize how amazing and truly beneficial it really is.”

Cohen’s model cost about $100,000. Some incentives softened that blow a bit. Cohen received a $7,500 federal tax credit for purchasing the electric vehicle.  And the 7 percent New Jersey sales tax was waived.

No waiting at the DMV, either. No emissions means no inspections.

 

WHERE DO YOU PLUG IT IN? Zia, 6, and Noa Snook, 8, investigate Tesla Model X at National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin, Sept. 10, 2016.
WHERE DO YOU PLUG IT IN? Zia, 6, and Noa Snook, 8, investigate Tesla Model X at National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin, Sept. 10, 2016.
A 1917 Detroit Electric Model 68 at National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Bill Lescohier, Sept. 10, 2016.
A 1917 Detroit Electric Model 68 at National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Bill Lescohier, Sept. 10, 2016.
Carlos Duarte with his BMW-i8 at National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Bill Lescohier, Sept. 10, 2016.
Carlos Duarte with his BMW-i8 at National Drive Electric Week in Morristown. Photo by Bill Lescohier, Sept. 10, 2016.
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