Tesla Motors Inc is all set to get its next car, the Model X EV SUV, onto the road. We all know that the Model X is aimed at women, but that doesn’t mean the car won’t be able to drive off-road. It seems that Tesla Motors has been testing its more extreme abilities in recent weeks.
Tesla Motors has closed its factory in Fremont to tour groups in order to get the lines up and running, and Elon Musk has said over and over again that the first unit will hit the road before the end of the third quarter.
Making sure the car is able to do anything drivers might want it to is a big part of getting it ready for release. It turns out that Tesla Motors has been testing it for just that in recent weeks. Have a look at the leaked pics below to see the new EV get down and dirty with the best of them.
Going off road with the Model X
Because the Model X isn’t quite an SUV, and because it’s electric, many people think it won’t be able to compete with ICE SUVs off-road. We don’t really know how it’s going to match up, but we do know that Tesla Motors has been testing to see exactly that.
A Youtube user shared the above video on July 20. It shows the Model X being brought on trailer along a highway in Arizona.
For those of you who can’t watch video, here’s a screen grab of the footage. The leaked pics come from Teslarati.com.
It shows the Tesla Motors Model X in Arizona for the first time. Up until now the EV SUV has found a home in California. Tesla seems to have decided to go somewhere with a lower population in order to test the off-road chops of the Model X.
The video seems to show that Tesla gave the Model X a rough time. The unit is likely on its way back to the factory in Fremont so that the firm’s engineers and designers can give it a going over and see what it can take out in the wild.
Tesla Motors is going to try and hit a number of vehicle categories at once with the Model X. If drivers can’t take the car off-road, many are going to turn their back on the car in favor of another SUV. Off-road driving is a selling point of SUVs, even if drivers never use the capability.
Hauling with the Model X
People like SUVs because of how much they can do. The Model X is promised to be a “better SUV than the Model S is a sedan” according to Elon Musk. That means not only being able to go off road, but also being able to drag a lot of weight behind it.
Teslarati.com caught another piece of Model X goodness on July 30 when it published the picture below.
That’s a test version of the Model X towing a massive trailer behind it on the freeway. Hauling is going to be a big part of the appeal of the Model X because the falcon wing doors mean that nothing can be stored on the roof. Sporting gear or any other big load will have to be kept in a trailer behind the SUV.
Jim Chen, VP for regulatory affairs at Tesla Motors , said in speech back in April that the Model X “will have Class III towing capability. That means over 5,000 pounds, actually close to 10,000 pounds of towing capability.”
Not too many drivers are going to need 10,000 pounds of hauling from the Model X. As with the off-road abilities, however, it’s going to be a major selling point. There’s a reason that SUVs have names like Escape, Rogue and Journey.
It’s the same reason that the Hummer, and now the Wrangler, enjoyed such a massive fan base. People like to think of an SUV as sturdy, a car that can do almost anything. If the Model X is able to show, even in just a few videos, its ability to haul and go off-road with the best of them it will endear car buyers to the EV cause.
Watch the Model X drive
Though off-road and hauling will be big selling points for the Model X, most users won’t use those features too much, even if they think they will when buying. What most people will get from the Model X is simple city and highway driving.
Those who already have the Model S know what a pleasure it can be to go cruising in. There’s been a lot of leaked pictures of the Model X in action on the road. They’re not as exciting as the above reveals, but they do give insight into what the car will actually be like for a normal driver.
The above is a picture of the Model X on the road. It’s not doing anything much, but it’s right there beside the tram, waiting in traffic. These are the moments in which Tesla Motors car buyers are going to really going to appreciate, or hate, the car for.
Though driving the car at Ludicrous speed may appeal to some, to most it’s just a headline feature that won’t change the real experience of the car.
Tesla Motors sells cars that people really love. They may point to certain features when people ask them why, but when it comes down to it it’s the whole package that’s important.
The firm hasn’t yet released the final specs of the Model X and for all we know it could be a truly awful car. That’s not the way Wall Street is betting, however. Tesla fans who have seeded a cult-like appreciation for the work of Elon Musk don’t think that’s going to be the case either.
The Model X needs to be a great SUV in order to make Tesla sales head toward 100,000 cars next year. If the firm fails to grow those numbers massively, it will have trouble making it to the production of the Model 3, and the future of the electric car.
We’ll see in the coming weeks just what Elon Musk meant when he said the Model X would be a better SUV than the Model S was a sedan. By almost all accounts the Model S was one of the best sedans ever made.
With the testing going on around the Model X, it might fall into the same end of the league tables when it arrives later on this year. Those with cash behind Tesla, either in shares or a Model X deposit, will certainly be hoping that’s the case.