Elon Musk said Tesla only makes the Model S and Model X for ‘sentimental’ reasons. Here’s why I’ll miss them if they go away. (TSLA)

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Tesla Model S sedan and Model X SUV sales have been declining for about a year, and both vehicles are getting long in the tooth by automotive standards. The Model S debuted in 2012, while the Model X arrived in 2015.

Car makers usually refresh or redesign their vehicles every two-to-five years, but in Tesla's case, the updates to the Model S and Model X have been light.

This makes sense because the company's focus is now on its relatively new compact sedan, the Model 3, and forthcoming vehicles such as the Model Y crossover SUV and a pickup truck. Tesla doesn't really want to revamp S and X, so when Musk said last week on an earnings conference call that "they're really niche products," it was understandable.

"I mean, they're very expensive, made in low volume," he continued. "To be totally frank, we're continuing to make them more for sentimental reasons than anything else. They're really of minor importance to the future."

Perhaps, but they were of major importance to Tesla's past. I drove both, in several different versions, and if Tesla sunsets the vehicles, I'll miss them.

Here's a review of my S and X memories:

First up, the Model S.


The all-electric luxury sedan was Tesla's first clean-sheet design. It was named Motor Trend Car of the Year for 2013.

Tesla Motors

Tesla teased a "D" version of the Model S in 2014.

Elon Musk/Tesla

It turned out that the "D" was for "dual motor" — an all-wheel-drive version of the sedan.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

With AWD came "Insane" and later "Ludicrous Mode" acceleration. The latter, in the top-spec P100D Model S, could outrun some supercars 0-60 mph.

Mark Ralston/AFP

When I visited Tesla's factory, I was treated to a few laps around its test track in a Model S.

Matthew DeBord/Business Insider

Read all about it.

I also drove the car myself, a number of times.

Matthew DeBord/Business Insider

In a P90D, I made an ill-fated trip to upstate New York …

Matthew DeBord/Business Insider

… Where I basically ran out of "gas." It was all my fault.

Matthew DeBord/Business Insider

Read all about it.

I also experienced Tesla Autopilot for the first time in a Model S. I don't advocate taking your hand off the wheel.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

On to the Model X!


The Model X was actually unveiled when I still lived in Los Angeles …

Screenshot via YouTube

… Several years before the 2015 launch. Yes, those Falcon Wing doors were a near-disaster for Tesla. Even Musk admitted that the SUV was too complicated.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

I sampled the Model X for the first time in Manhattan.

Matthew DeBord/BI

Later, I used it to take my family on a 700-mile road trip.

Matthew DeBord/BI

Read all about it.

Let's just say I had to nurture my patience with the recharge times, even at Tesla Superchargers.

Matthew DeBord/BI

The cargo capacity of the Model X is staggering …

Matthew DeBord/BI

… The front trunk, or "frunk," holds as much as the rear trunk in some cars.

Matthew DeBord/BI

The white interior is really something special. No wonder its so popular and coveted by Tesla owners and wannabe owners.

Matthew DeBord/BI

Both the Model S and the Model X have enormous central touchscreen infotainment systems.

Matthew DeBord/BI

I even checked out the Model S and Model X assembly line at Tesla's California factory. That's an engineer who designed a robot to help build the Model X.

Matthew DeBord/Business Insider

Read about Sheena Patterson.

If I had to choose, I've say I personally have the deepest sentimental attachment to the Model S. It was Tesla's first real car, and to this day, it's a triumph.

Maurizio Pesce / Wikimedia Commons

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This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author(s).


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