Future Models - Tesla 2014 Model X
Tesla set to unveil electric SUV
Smooth: This teaser image of the Tesla Model X suggests it will be much more stylish than rival SUVs.
Innovative gullwing-door electric Tesla Model X to be revealed on February 9
30 January 2012
ICONIC electric car-maker Tesla will reveal its third model – an all-electric SUV called Model X due for release in late 2013 or early 2014 – at a function in California on February 9.
Said to be “revolutionary” for an SUV, the Model X reportedly features innovative gullwing-style doors that not only open upwards from the roof but also fold for better access.
The invitation to the unveiling included a teaser photograph that shows Model X to have the sleek styling of the company’s forthcoming Model S sedan with which it shares its underpinnings.
Media, investors and owners have been invited to “the most exciting vehicle premiere of 2012” at Tesla’s Design Studio in the Los Angeles suburb of Hawthorne, where a group of young stylists work under 43 year-old former Mazda designer Franz von Holzhausen.
The function – which will be webcast live from 8.00pm on the Tesla site – coincides with the opening day of the Chicago auto show on the other side of the country.
CEO and founder Elon Musk is reported to have claimed that the Model X will be faster than a Porsche 911 and roomier than an Audi Q7.
Left: Tesla Model S. Below: Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk.
“Most cars are pretty blah,” said Mr Musk on Twitter. “This is not.”
In a conference call to investors, Mr Musk is reported to have said Model X is “pretty revolutionary for the SUV segment”.
Tesla plans to start producing the Model X at the rate of 15,000 units a year alongside the Model S at its newly established plant in Fremont, California, which was the ill-fated NUMMI joint-venture plant run by Toyota and General Motors.
Toyota invested $50 million in Tesla almost two years ago, saving many jobs at the Fremont plant and leading to Tesla providing the drivetrain for an electric version of the next-generation RAV4.
The Model X will be built on the same aluminium platform as the Model S sedan that is due to go on sale in the US in July, when the Lotus-based Roadster that established Tesla around the world will be discontinued.
The Model S is scheduled for an Australian introduction in 2013 priced from at least $120,000, although there are at least four variants including a BMW M5-rivalling high-performance model claimed to accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 4.5 seconds.
The forthcoming seven-seat SUV – which is expected to be slightly more expensive than the sedan – will feature four-wheel drive, but entry-level models could make do with two-wheel drive.
Official Tesla documents describe Model X as having “the functionality of a minivan with a design as cool as an SUV”.
Theo O’Neill, a ‘cleantech analyst’ with Memphis-based financial services company Wunderlich Securities who has seen photos of the Model X, told the San Jose Mercury News of the innovative gullwing-style doors.
“The doors of the Model X lift up and fold – like the wing of a bird,” he said.
“You can walk right up to the edge of the seat (so) it’s an ideal solution for disabled children, or any parent who has to lean over to buckle a car seat.”
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