Tesla Motors, the groundbreaking electric car company born in Silicon Valley that aspires to compete with Detroit, just unveiled the Model X, a design prototype of its latest entry. The newest entry in the electric vehicle revolution is a cross between an SUV and a minivan and has a sporty, round look. Tesla says they have designed the vehicle “around the driver.”
The Model X will, Tesla promises, “be priced competitively with premium SUVs.”
Tesla says it will “refine” the design through “Alpha and Beta development phases” in the next few months, so there may be some new styling yet to come.
The vehicle is made to accommodate up to seven adults in its three seating rows. Access to the third-row seats comes by sliding the second-row seats aside. The vaunted Tesla battery, which can be 60- or 85-kilowatt-hour sized in the Model X, lays flat under the vehicle’s floor, allowing for cargo space and a trunk under the hood.
The big EV will have “Dual Electric Motor All-Wheel Drive,” which, Tesla says, “detects slippage and immediately redirects torque and power to maintain stability.” With this feature, according to Tesla, the car gets good traction “without sacrificing efficiency or acceleration.”
Tesla says the Model X will have a “panoramic roof.”
The side doors, which Tesla calls “Falcon Wing doors,” raise up and out. This is meant to allow for extra space and convenience during loading and unloading. “The Falcon Wing doors allow an adult to stand in the middle row, for convenient positioning of a child seat,” Tesla touts.
The driver will have a 17-inch in-dash touchscreen display with driver controls, apps, and a web connection.
The SUV will be built at the Tesla Factory in Fremont, CA., beginning at the end of 2013. Tesla says deliveries will start early in 2014, but Tesla production -- as Elon Musk has himself acknowledged -- has not always been on schedule. Many of those who drive Tesla vehicles, however, say they are worth waiting for.
Here's a recent write-up of a test drive of the Model S.