4 Things To Know About Tesla’s Model X

Tesla's_Mode-XMuch-awaited SUV rolls out of Tesla factory Tuesday

It’s almost here. After delays and much hand wringing, the first Tesla Motors Inc. all-electric Model X vehicles will roll out of the company’s Fremont, Calif, factory door on Tuesday.

Tesla will mark the occasion with an event scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Pacific. The press invitation was quite simple (a shadowed Model X with its falcon wings up); the event is unlikely to be so subdued.

Tesla wanted to make an SUV for some time, and even expressed that wish before the first Model S sedans were on the road.

When Tesla executives were making the rounds ahead of the company’s 2010 initial public offering, their slide show presented four body possibilities based on the same car platform: a sedan as well as an SUV, a cabriolet, and a van.

While the cabriolet and van never materialized, the SUV concept was spot on. SUVs, including compact SUVs, have been gaining ground over other car body types in the last few years.

The Model X is more than a year behind schedule, but investors don’t appear to mind. Tesla shares are up 18% so far this year, and have gained 6.2% in the past 12 months. They have lost some grounds in the past three months (down 2.5%), but that performance compares with losses of 5.5% for the S&P 500 index. So far this year losses of 1.1% the last 12 month, and a crushing retreat of 7.5% for the index in the past three months.

Patience is a virtue

Buyers reserving their Model X now can expect to get the car in early 2016, according to Tesla’s website. They also have to shell out $5,000 to reserve the car, which is double the amount for buyers looking to reserve a Tesla Model S (such buyers are looking at a November delivery date for their sedans.)

The wait was even longer for the early adopters, who made the first reservations in 2012. Think the $5,000 reservation deposit is pricey? Those who wanted fully loaded “signature” version had to put down $40,000 to reserve their car.

Its a pretty price

Which takes us to price. Tesla has not disclosed base prices for the X. When the owners of those first “signature” models received their invitations to configure their cars, however, it became known that those one-of-a-kind founders’ cars would cost at least $132,000 ($144,000 with add-ons such as the “ludicrous” speed mode and other accessories.)

Cheif Executive Elon Musk took to Twitter earlier this month to defend the price disparity between a Model S (which starts at $75,000 for a base model with a less powerful battery)  and X.

What you get for that money

During Tesla’s second quarter earnings call in august. Musk called the seats in the Model X “a sculptural work of art.” those were harder to figure out, he said, then the falcon wings, which have been a distinct characteristic of the Model X from the get-go

Musk has said the Model X is “maybe the hardest car in the world to build.”

From the early invitations to configure the cars we know the seats in the Model X will be “independently operable,” although it is not clear what that means.

The X, like the top-of-the-line Model s P85D, can also be upgraded to the “ludicrous speed” mode, which makes the cars faster – they can go 0-60 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds rather than 3.1 seconds.

How it affects Tesla

With the Model X, Tesla is targeting families and hoping well-heeled household will have both Model X and the Model S in their garages.

The Model X is a continuation of Tesla’s goal to churn out attractive, fast electric cars on its way to achieve its ultimate goal – to produce an electric car for the masses and to reach production of half a million cars by the end of this decade,

The Model 3, that mass-market car, is expected to come to market in two to three years.

There have been hiccups: In august, Tesla dialed down its own prediction for 2015 deliveries, from 55,000 to a range of 50,000 to 55,000 cars. Deliveries are Tesla’s proxy for sales.

On the same day Musk tweeted about the pricey X, saying that Tesla will be taking orders on the model 3 in March 2016 and that car will cost $35,000

That’s in line with cheaper electric cars such as General Motors Co’s Chevy Volt, which is scheduled for redesign, and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.’s Leaf. These are already available – but come without Tesla cachet



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