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Earlier this month at Tesla's Los Angeles Design Center, we got a preview of what's next for the Silicon Valley-based EV company. It's called the Model X and, as its successive name would suggest, X is an evolution of S, sharing about 60% of its content with Model S. Tesla's CEO, Elon Musk; CTO, JB Straubel; and Chief Designer, Franz Von Holzhausen, were in attendance to answer questions and give some insight into what Model X is all about. "Model X has more utility than a minivan, and better performance, much better performance than an SUV," said Musk.



More than just stunning specs, Tesla has gone the route of focusing on practicality. Model X's target buyers are families that want greater cargo and passenger room, require AWD and are eco-conscious. And, in keeping with high practicality, Tesla plans to install super-charging stations along major highway corridors on California's west coast. This will extend their customers' range when taking long road trips and shorten charge times to 45 min--all for free.

Just like the Model S, X owners can choose a 60 or 85 kWh battery option, but the smaller 40 kWh battery offered on Model S will not be available. In addition to the slightly different battery lineup, Model X will be available with an electric motor placed in the front. The added weight, larger profile, and extra motor are said to impact Model X's range about 10-12% under Model S. Expect to see distances from 214-267 miles on a single charge.

After Musk talked about the Model X's distinct design we got a chance to go for a brief ride around Tesla's parking lot. Despite Tesla's claims, we can't say officially that the Model X is faster than a 911--the short straightaway didn't allow for high speeds--but, we did feel the electric motor's massive torque come on instantly and it did feel like it could be quite quick.



As for the driving dynamics, the Model X has all but eliminated the feeling of body roll due to its very low center of gravity. When looking at the diagram below, you can see that the batteries are actually below the motors and axle line. Together, with an advanced air suspension from Continental (similar to those found on the Audi Q7), the Model X's ride can be described as smooth and quiet.

Tesla Model X

The cabin's interior is also a major step forward. In our opinion, material quality surpasses that found on Model S. The wood trim is raw like we've seen in Audi's A7. The stitching feels premium and the metals all feel smooth and permanent. Besides the quality of the prototype's interior, much of the focus is on the massive 17-inch screen.

The 17-inch screen, which doesn't have a name yet, is again the driver's main controller of all functions. However, instead of placing the entire screen flush into the dash, like Model S, designers chose to differentiate by mounting only the lower portion onto the dash. The top is left floating, giving a greater feel of space, much like the new F30 BMW 3-series, except on a grander scale.

Elon Musk Tesla Model X

If that wasn't enough cool tech from the future, the new "falcon-wing" doors will certainly make a scene. Much like the gullwing doors of a Mercedes SLS, the falcon doors are hinged on the medial line of the roof, but unlike the SLS there is another hinge at the lateral edge of the roof. When fully-opened the car looks much like...well, a falcon. The design idea behind the doors are that they allow much easier ingress and egress for rear-seat passengers and also can open in tight parking situations.

With all the momentum Tesla has right now, it seems that Model X will also be a winner. Production is slated to start at the end of next year, and deliveries are expected in the beginning of 2014. Pricing is expected to be the same as similarly outfitted Model S vehicles, but considering the larger battery, you won't likely see a base price anywhere near the $50,000 starting point for Model S.


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  • 27 Comments
      jimharvard
      • 2 Months Ago
      i'm not an extension cord car fan and will never own one. the outside of the model x is nice looking but is tesla kidding about the giant flat tablet display? honestly, i would be embarrased to have shown this interior to the press. the flat screen display looks like it is velcrowed to the dash and was a last minute add on. i actually laughed out loud (yes, LOL) when i saw this.
      roleal2003
      • 2 Months Ago
      VERY GOOD AMERICAN IDEA JUST HAS TO BE PRICED RIGHT.
      • 2 Months Ago
      NICE!!!
      Oleksandr Bogdanovic
      • 2 Months Ago
      In the automobile market wait won't wait powerful, comfortable, passable, 4х4 a jeep on electrodraught.
      • 2 Months Ago
      awesome it comes ipad equipped. what a piece of junk
      dkp50
      • 2 Months Ago
      How about the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid? Only $40k uses both EV and $ cycl Gas Motor Can go Forever upto 40 mph on Elelctric and the gas engine Keeps it Charged all the time No Plugging it in! Or how about what they'vbe been using In Europe for Yrs? The NAT GAS For fuel! Cost -35% Less Thats about $2.40 Gal over here.. and it will be only $3.25 gal when Reg Gas Hits $5 Gal. and Nat Gas Gets 25% More MPG! Our Garbage produces Nat Gas! But, it's all about $! They are waiting until they can Make As Much!
      saera
      • 2 Months Ago
      Is this viable comes to mind, and affordable for the middle class? It would be nice to get away from oil, I would love to test drive one myself.:)
        dkp50
        • 2 Months Ago
        @saera
        Middle class? Yeah Right..Try this vehicle costing over $75,000 and ost $100k! Now if that is Middle Class Pricing? Count me out! We're Getting Conned! We subcidized this Outfit, just like that Solar Company! To create Cars for the RICH, not the Middle Class! We run our Fleet of Trucks on NAT. GAS! We pay -40% Less Price per Gal of Reg. Gas and they get 25% Better MPG.. We had to hire a Outfit from EUROPE to do this for us! and tehy Don't allow the USA to Import Nat Gas Autos..Gee, I wonder why?
        HollywoodF1
        • 2 Months Ago
        @saera
        Any new technology is going to appeal to a very thin slice at first. Remember $5000 50" TV's you can hang on you wall? The thing that made them cheaper was the willingmess of early-adopters. They over-pay to finance economies of scale for those who demand a lower price point. WIth something like the Volt, it's a lot more than $5000, and a lot less of an emotional impulse buy than a big new TV. So to catylize the economies of scale, rebates are instituted. That way, in a sense, taxpayers are investing in their later adoption of technology that they can't yet justify economically. They know it will be better and cheaper in the long run, but if they don't give the ball a push, it will take too long for unaided market forces to bring production to viable levels. At 10,000 rebates a year of $4,500 each, the average taxpayer is caughing up $0.58 per year to fund this program. If that means I can be saving hundreds a year on energy costs even one year sooner, then it seems worthwhile to me.
      throwback
      • 2 Months Ago
      I like the design but no way I buy a car with touchscreen only controls. Have these guys driven cars at speed? Well designed buttons and switches are much easier to use when you are driving. That screen looks like a tacked on afterthought, it mars what is otherwise a nicely designed interior.
        • 2 Months Ago
        @throwback
        The final version will have buttons on the steering wheel just like all other luxury vehicles.
      shalebrook
      • 2 Months Ago
      Body weight, manufacturers torque and HP figures? Skidpad, slalom figures, quarter mile times, if any? let's see how well it stacks up as a true sports car.
        Chris M
        • 2 Months Ago
        @shalebrook
        The Model X is a "crossover SUV" class vehicle, not a sports car. The performance and handling are excellent for a CUV, but can't compare to the Tesla Roadster, which was designed as an electric sports car.
      dkp50
      • 2 Months Ago
      Sure, just as long as oyu have $75-$100 K to pay for it! Right? WHAT ABOUT NAT> GAS FUEL? They've been using that in Europe for Yrs! Costing -50% Less than Reg. Gas? BIG OIL has the Influence as does The Auto Makers And I understand? The President and The Dems want Gas Prices to hit $4-$5 gal to sell Us More EV's that are Over Priced as well.. a
      wongtpa
      • 2 Months Ago
      can you spell junk?
        Chris M
        • 2 Months Ago
        @wongtpa
        J U N K But that has nothing to do with this article.
      • 2 Months Ago
      it IS a great vehicle, it has great rear seats accessibility with its "butterfly" doors and flat floor.
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