The auto world is buzzing today about Tesla‘s highly-anticipated Model X family-sized vehicle, which was unveiled just last night. Built for parents with a need for speed, this car breaks the mold for crossover vehicles with “falcon wing” doors, a completely web connected digital interface, an ultra-performance dual motor all-wheel drive, and room for seven passengers. All of this comes at a price though since the car starts at around $50,000, but from the looks of this sexy all-electric crossover, it will be money well-spent.
The signature element of the car is the double hinged “falcon doors” that fully open in tight spaces, even when they only have a foot of clearance. The doors hinge up and then out, providing enough space for a 6ft tall adult to stand in the back seat with the door open. This really helps if you need to stand while strapping in the kids, or unloading gear from the back. Because it doesn’t have a gas powered engine, and conceals the electric batteries within the chassis, the Model X finds room for seven passengers.
Elon Musk told the NY Times that “because it is an electric car, and we don’t have to package a traditional internal combustion engine powertrain, we have available to us much more packaging opportunities.” In fact this car actually has two trunks – one in the rear which also doubles as seats for two rear-facing children, and another in the front where a typical engine might normally be found. Because kids can ride backwards at the rear, Tesla also strengthened the back frame of the car in order to make it extra safe for rear impact.
The Model X console has a bank of touch screens allowing for updates on everything from GPS directions to checking new articles online. Although it is quite dangerous to surf the net while driving, the interface works with voice control to help you keep focused on the road. The prototype of the Model X has also removed exterior mirrors and replaced them with a system of cameras accessible from the console screens. Limiting the exterior features improves aerodynamic performance, but Tesla will likely not get approval from a safety standpoint to go to protection sans rear-view mirrors.
Pricing for the car is in line with their Model S, starting around $50,000 after a federal tax credit for green vehicles. The price goes up as the car’s battery range increases, bringing the fully loaded model to about $100,000. Although this may seem like a huge splurge, Tesla has already sold out of their first production run, and will start taking orders for delivery next year. There were so many fans trying to gain access to the first look at the car, unveiled on the Tesla website Thursday evening that it crashed their servers.
So who is Tesla targeting with this car? Chief Executive Elon Musk says that they are trying to capture part of the mini van and SUV market. Tesla is also directly comparing their specs to surpass the Porshe 911 Carrera, so it is clear they are also targeting the buyer with an appreciation for performance engineering.