For years famous Silicon Valley resident heated up interest for its Model X, and tonight the carmaker finally demonstrated the world the novelty and then handed six customers the keys.
“The mission of Tesla is to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport,” CEO Elon Musk said at the car’s reveal, held at the company’s factory in Fremont, California. “It’s important to know that any kind of car can go electric.”
Musk confessed that “the all-wheel drive Model X – with two electric motors, the ability to travel about 250 miles (about 400 km) on a single charge and seating for seven people – was “the hardest car to build in the world”.
The unveiled car will be continuously improved due to software transmitted “over the air”. A highly anticipated update expected within the next month will allow for an auto-pilot function, in which cars can be driven hands-free on freeways.
The launch of the electric crossover marks a milestone for the loss-making automaker during a period of high spending and modest growth, as it can now boast a second model in production beyond its Model S sedan, launched three years ago.
“I think we got a little carried away with the X,” Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk shared with reporters beforeof the launch near the company’s Fremont factory, where luxury Model Xs have been moving down the production line in recent weeks, nearly two years behind the company’s original schedule.
Tesla Motors CEO went on, adding that 25,000 customers had pre-ordered the car online or in its stores and explained it would take from 8 to 12 months to ship all the the SUVs.
In retrospect, the company may have done less, Musk said. “There is far more there than is really necessary to sell a car. And some of the things are so difficult, they make the car better but the difficulty of engineering those parts is so high.”
“The Model X shares a platform and motor with the Model S, which is made at the same factory. But unlike the S, which has several battery options, the X only has a 90 kilowatt-hour battery and only comes with all-wheel drive. The 90D version will go 257 miles on a full charge, while the P90D performance version will go 250 miles. Tesla’s high-speed “ludicrous mode” is offered on the P90D; it goes from 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds,” NBC News describers the car.
The Model X is the third vehicle the company. The crossover follows the Roadster — which was discontinued in 2012 — and the Model S. The Silicon Valley resident believes that the novelty would attract new customers — particularly women — to the brand.By the way, U.S. luxury SUV sales were up 17 percent through August, five times better than the industry as a whole.
“If Tesla’s going to be a more significant player, they need more products, and SUVs are what the market is demanding,” said Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst with the car buying site AutoTrader.com. Musk said Tesla expects about half of its sales to be SUVs.