Tesla Unveils Exceptional and Expensive Model X
The Tesla Model X was unveiled this week at the company’s Fremont, Calif. factory. Since the prototype of the stylish all-electric luxury SUV was unveiled in February 2012, there have been numerous teasers from the company, and (depending on who’s counting) three or four production delays. The event on Tuesday night put that period to an end by confirming the first deliveries and reiterating basic specifications. The company also showed off a set of very cool and highly unusual luxury features, which might explain the reason for the X's production delays.
Elon Musk, the company’s celebrity chief executive, told reporters that he was concerned that the Model X is perhaps too painstakingly designed.
Tesla offers two Signature models for the time being, both with a 90 kilowatt-hour battery pack and all-wheel-drive. The 90D can reach 60 mph in 4.8 seconds and drive for up to 257 miles on a single charge. It's offered for $132,000 before incentives. The more powerful P90D slices 0-60 time to 3.8 seconds, but increases the starting cost to $142,000, and reduces driving range by a few miles. The Model X is the only pure electric seven-seat SUV on the market in the United States, for at least the next year.
Tesla expects its latest offering to ace every safety crash test standard. In fact, according to Musk, the Model X would remain intact and end up on its wheels if it were to roll off a cliff. That’s because, like most electric vehicles, the Model X has a low center of gravity with very little of its weight distributed above the floorboard.
Musk went even further when he championed the Model X’s “Bio Weapon Defense” mode, which he said would make the SUV very safe during a biological attack. When the windows are closed, the SUV is completely sealed, with the only air coming in or out of the cabin passing through the first high-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filter system available in a mass-produced automobile.
Other awe-inspiring feats of engineering and design noted by journalists include the falcon doors, panoramic windshield, and self-opening doors:
USA Today: "Some things about the new Model X borders on overkill. One of the most spectacular elements of the Model S sedan was the way that the door handles present themselves to owners by pulling away from their flush positions. The Model X takes that idea further. The front doors can open as the driver approaches. It's cool, but it is an answer to a question that no one asked."
Truck Yeah!: "There are seven and a six-seat options. Leg room is ample in the back, and the view through the panoramic windshield from the center-rear seat is like watching real life in IMAX."
Wired: "The doors make it easy to get in and out of the vehicle. No gymnastic contortions to get into the (standard) third row seating...No more playing Tetris trying to get your stuff in. Just throw open those doors—actually, push a button and let the doors lift automatically, in 6 to 7 seconds—throw in your groceries and bags and whatnot, and climb in after it."
Tesla said that it plans next year to reveal details about a less expensive base model of the crossover that is expected to sell closer to $80,000, before incentives. No details about space-age features, or basic specs like driving range, were available about the upcoming less expensive version of the Model X.
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