Tesla Motors Inc is getting its Model X SUV EV ready to ship, and the 20,000 people who have already put money down for one are bound to be getting excited. At some time in the next few weeks Elon Musk should open up the Model X design studio for all to see, but until then we’re still piecing together facts about the car.
From the statements of Mr. Musk, the educated guesses of Wall Street and sightings of the car being tested on the road, we’ve got a lot of details about the Model X already. Here’s what we know, and what we don’t about the new big release from Tesla Motors, and when we’re likely to see it.
Model X has a blurry release date
Elon Musk has been pretty clear on this front, by his standards at least. The first Model X will roll out of the factory in Fremont on its way to its owner in the third quarter. That puts the shipment before September 30. There are, as always with Tesla Motors, factors that limit this.
Tesla Motors isn’t going to be able to make the Model X en masse right away, so the Model X release date is a sort of a soft target. If you’re number 20,000 on the list, or you haven’t booked one yet, whether the first delivery comes tomorrow or in September won’t really matter all that much.
Adam Jonas at Morgan Stanley reckons that Tesla Motors will ship just 50 Model X SUVs in the current quarter. That means that the release date will be very soft. What matters to those with shares in Tesla Motors is that Mr. Musk stays true to his promise and gets the first SUV to its owner in the next eight weeks or so.
What matters to those that have booked their own Model X is that Tesla Motors ramps up production quickly in order to get their cars to them as quickly as is feasible. The firm’s website says that if you book a Model X today you should get it by early next year.
Tesla Motors doesn’t strictly define early, but Baird analyst Ben Kallo, one of the most bullish Wall Street voices on Tesla, says that he expects Tesla to ship 7,000 Model X SUVs this year.
Dan Dolev of Jeffires says that Tesla will be making 2,000 cars per week by the end of 2015. That means that the firm should be able to clear the Model X backlog by the end of the first quarter.
Because of slow production, and hurdles likely ahead, the Model X release date is blurry. That said, expect the first delivery, followed by the open of the online Design Studio, to come in the next few weeks.
Model X specs get clearer
With the Ludicrous Mode reveal, the Specs of the Model X have become clearer. As Tesla Motors is now making the Model S with 70 kWh, 85 kWh and 90 kWh power packs, the Model X is likely to follow suit.
It’s not clear how long Tesla is going to keep the 85 kWh pack as an option. As soon as the firm can get the cost of the pack down, it’s likely to drop the option. The 90 kWh battery pack is a $3,000 upgrade for the 85 kWh Model S right now. That’s likely going to stay the same once the Model X design studio opens up.
Range is likely to be similar to that of the Model S, but 10 percent shorter because the 10 percent greater weight of the Model X. That means range of just over 200 miles for the 70 kWh version, and around 270 miles for the 90 kWh version.
All of the Model X units are likely to be all-wheel drive, though there is a chance that the less expensive versions will offer that only as an add-on.
Ludicrous Mode will also be available on the Model X, a performance upgrade that will soon roll out in the Model S. Elon Musk says that the upgrade will bring the SUV from 0-60 in 3.3 seconds, ahead of the stodgy 4.4 seconds he’s promised for the standard version.
The Model X comes with falcon-wing doors that have divided the Tesla Motors fans and auto enthusiasts. The doors will open vertically and allow Model X passengers to get in and out of the car in the tightest of spaces according to Musk. He says they’ll be the best vertical doors ever, but he won’t tell us why until the car gets to its first owner.
The Model X will have a pretty big capacity, even for an SUV. It “offers ample room for seven adults, and their luggage” says Tesla boss Elon Musk. That includes a trunk, another where the engine would normally be, and three rows of seats. The middle row is going to be great according to Mr. Musk, but as with the falcon wing doors, he hasn’t exactly explained why.
The Model X will have a tow bar that will allow it to bring a trailer behind it for when a driver needs extra capacity. The Model X is also likely to have a spoiler to reduce the drag from anything it might be towing.
What will the Model X look like?
Though the final design for the Model x has not yet been shown off, we have seen a lot of photos of the car in testing across southern California. Here’s some of those images so that you can get a feel for the design of the next release from Tesla Motors .
This is the original design of the Model X that Elon Musk showed off at an auto show. More recent images have emerged in a more clandestine manner.
Credit for this image goes to Jersey Girl from the Tesla Motors forums. The Model X is going to be sleek and lower to the ground than most SUVs, and the car is likely to have a different nose cone from the Model S we’re used to.
Many of the leaked pics have shown different designs for the front of the Model X, and we’re really not sure what Tesla is going to go for in the final version of the SUV.
Waiting on the Tesla Motors
For now that’s about all we really know about the Model X. The car is going to have a less than dramatic release according to Elon Musk, and if his recent pattern holds up it’s likely that Tesla Motors will surprise us with the first delivery.
After the first Model X arrives we’ll finally be able to get into the online design studio and see what the SUV really has to offer. Wall Street is betting that reviews for the car are going to be great, and Elon Musk says that it should double sales at his car company.
In the next few months we’ll be able to see how well those forecasts hold up, and what direction stock will head on the back of the Model X.