Tesla Introduces First All-Electric Model X SUV


Photo: Tesla Motors Inc.

The Tesla Model X is finally here.  Chief Executive Elon Musk launched Tesla Motors Inc.’s first all-electric SUV, the Model X sport-utility vehicle, on Tuesday at an event held at the company’s factory in Fremont, California.

Addressing a huge crowd present at the launch, Musk revealed the features that make the Model X one of the safest SUVs available in the market. He said that the Model X was the first SUV to get five stars in every category in the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S.) crash tests.

Through a series of illustrations, he explained the features that differentiate the Model X from its competitors and will help avoid accidents and rollovers. These included absence of a gas engine in the front, the floor-mounted battery, an automatic emergency breaking system, and an “active safety” system, which used camera, radar and sonar systems, to warn about collisions.

Interestingly, the manufacturers have included a “bioweapon defense mode” button and two filters to maintain the quality of the air and protect against bacteria, allergens, smog, and viruses. It has two air filters. The first one is 10 times bigger than the standard size used in cars.

The other unique feature is the falcon-wing doors, a facility that uses ultrasonic sensors to raise the doors up from both sides.  The doors will automatically adjust their height according to the distance from the roof or the space available on the sides. The doors need only 12 inches on each side to open and can be operated in less than seven seconds by just pressing a button, according to wired.com.



Photo: Tesla Motors Inc.

Other unique features include the facility to enter automatically without keys and daytime running lights. The sleek seats arranged in the middle row provide more storage space. Model X also provides boot space both in the front and the rear of the car. The rear cargo area has enough room to carry bigger items like bicycles, skis, and snowboards.

The all-wheel-drive vehicle is available in two models — Model X 90D and Model XP90D. Model X90D can run 257 miles on each charge and can cover 0 to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, while the P90D can go 250 miles between charges and can cover 0 to 60 miles in 3.2 seconds, with a top speed of 155 mph.

During the launch, Musk handed over the keys of the Model X SUV to six owners. The company is yet to reveal the price of the vehicle. According to Reuters, the Model X SUV, launched at the event, is from the Signature Series priced between $132,000 (Model X 90D) and $144,000 (Model X P90D). These models can be booked on the company website with a reservation payment of $5,000 USD. The new reservations will be delivered by the second half of 2016, the company said.

Tesla first unveiled the Model X SUV in 2012 and was planning to start production in 2013. The company began manufacturing only in 2014.

Though the Model X has many features that make it safer than its competitors, critics have already started questioning the long-term reliability and huge cost. Moreover, the SUV is only available with an all-wheel drive feature and is completely dependent on a 90-kilowatt-hour battery, according to NBC Bay Area.



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