Update 2PM EST: Conference is supposed to start right now. Our live blog with all the details can be found at this link.
Tesla Motors Inc has invited members of the press to an event at 2 PM EST today Friday July 17. All we know is the time and that Elon Musk is going to be there, but we can guess a lot more. The Model X, Tesla’s upcoming SUV, is likely the subject of the meeting according to most commentary, but there’s something else the firm has been working on.
Tesla Motors has repeated on more than one occasion that it’s going to get the first Model X units out the door in the third quarter. Before he does that, he’s going to have to open the online Tesla Motors design studio to those who have already reserved their car. We might hear some news about that today.
Has the first Model X been delivered?
Elon Musk has said in the past that we won’t hear the exact specs of the Model X until the car is ready to hit the roads for the first time. That may mean that a symbolic number of the cars are set to be delivered very very soon, and that could be announced at today’s meeting.
That’s only if Tesla Motors is ready to bring the Model X out into the open on Friday. The press conference is phone-in only. That means that it’s not likely to feature the reveal of the Model X. Tesla has already said that the Model X won’t be launched with a major event like the Model S was.
The lack of photos from the event means that if it is about the Model X, it will likely only include basic info about the car. The date on which the design studio will appear, the power cell sizes and the price of the car might be released, but that’s about all Tesla will be able to do without photos being taken.
The major sites that are reporting the Tesla press events are all tech-focused. If Tesla were to show off the Model X, the firm would likely bring a wider range of people along to cover the car. That’s another mark against the Model X being shown off today.
In case you still really think the Model X will appear on Friday, here’s a look at what we already know, and what we’ve been able to guess, about the specs of the car heading into the launch.
Model X specs
We know a lot about the Model X already, because many people have seen the cars on the road and we know it is going to be based on the same tech and drivetrain as the Model S. The SUV will be about 10 percent heavier than the Model S. That means that the same battery will have 10 percent less range in the Model X than it has in the Model S.
70kWh will likely get you about 220 miles and 85 kWh will bring you 240 miles without a charge in your Model X. Tesla Motors may have a bigger 100 kWh cell ready for the Model X, but that hasn’t been confirmed.
The car is also going to be fast. Musk said the car can go “zero to 60 miles an hour in about 4.4 seconds.” While keeping that speed, the Model X is also going to be huge. “The Model X offers ample room for seven adults, and their luggage,” Mr. Musk said of the car at an event to launch it in 2012.
The Model X comes replete with Falcon Wing doors, an addition that likely caused some of the delays in the release of the car. Mr. Musk wants to show that they’re going to be useful. Right now he’s talking about how easy it is to get in and out of the car in a tight spot, but he may need to work a little harder to prove the doors aren’t just there for their looks.
That’s about all we know about the core of the car, but if you’d like to get a feel for how the Model X looks, you can see it appear on the road all over Southern California.
Tesla Motors might have something else ready
There’s always a chance that Tesla Motors is set to reveal something else this afternoon, though the Model X might be the fan favorite. Tesla Motors only started producing the car toward the end of June according to Brad Erikson of Pacific Crest. That makes it seem like a Model X reveal seem less likely, though Tesla could open up the design studio some months in advance.
There is another, press conference-worthy, event that Elon Musk has promised the world. Tesla Autopilot was supposed to come to the Model S this Summer after a simple software update. Today might be the day when that update finally starts rolling out.
Tesla’s autopilot will allow a car to stay between lanes while driving, a feature that many cars are already able for. The real trick the car allows for is fully automated driving on private property. When he announced the feature, Elon Musk said that the car will drive to you when summoned, and go and park itself in the garage after dropping you off at the door.
Self-driving Tesla’s were promised to fans of the firm in the Spring, and it had a certain effect on demand for the firm’s Model S. It seems likely that Tesla Motors would want that feature out the door rather than down the line when the Model X finally appears.
Self-driving seems the most likely result of today’s event, though the Model X may make a surprise appearance. The bottom line is that we don’t know what Tesla Motors is going to show off on Friday afternoon. What we do know is that fans of the firm are excited heading into the big reveal.
Waiting on the Model X
Today’s reveal is not likely to be the Model X, but there’s thousands of people out there still waiting for the car to be launched. The last official number said that there were more than 20,000 units of the Model X already booked with $5000 cash down.
Adam Jonas of Morgan Stanley expects the 5000 units of the Model X to be shipped by the end of this year. That means, if you live in the right part of the country, you may begin to see the car sooner rather than later. It’s not likely you’re going to get your hands on the car before January, however, even if you’ve already put money down for it.
Tesla Motors is likely better at ramping up production than it was when the Model X was launched, but the firm will still take a couple of quarters in order to get those 20,000 orders out of the way.
Now, it’s time to while away the long hours until Elon Musk appears on the phone this afternoon.