FREMONT, Calif.—At the Tesla factory in the Breezy Bay area, dozens of Tesla owners and enthusiasts gathered under red lighting to get free drinks and hear Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk talk about his company’s third vehicle line— Model X. Musk stopped short to reveal the official price for the standard Model X (Currently we know that only the Signature Edition costs a hefty $132,000 and we the base model can cost around $93,000), but it outlines many details about the vehicle that can cause the benefits of the product.
Tesla seems to be going after the family car market with its latest. “It’s important to show that any kind of car can go electric,” Musk told the crowd.
As he took the stage, Musk dove into an undocumented discussion of the safety features of the Model X. The car apparently has a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Administration, with a 6.5 percent probability of injury. Musk added that because the car’s battery is distributed along the chassis, the Model X has reduced the possibility of a rollover injury. The car also “comes standard with automatic emergency braking and side collision avoidance systems.”
The X model also has a large HEPA air filter system. Musk joked about Volkswagen’s recent emissions scandal: “The third thing, which is really kind of local,” he said with a laugh, “we designed (this filter) well before the recent events.”
The air filter is apparently so powerful that the inside of the Model X even has a “bioweapon defense button,” according to Musk. “When the filter is working, we can’t see any viruses or spores (entering the cabin) at all,” he said to applause and laughter.
Next, Musk turned to falcon-wing doors. The doors are double-barreled and equipped with a specially designed ultrasonic sensor “that can literally see through metal,” Musk said. They only need 30cm of space on either side of the vehicle to open, and Tesla rolled some beat-up minivans to park next to the Model X to show how the Tesla car changes its opening path to avoid nearby cars.
The second row of seats is the subject of the show as well— They can move up and forward to allow an adult to move in the third row of the seven seats. “I have twins and once you put them in the second row, you can’t get into the third row,” Musk mused.
“We have the best second seat,” he joked, looking at the Model X from the middle.
The Model X will be able to tow 5,000 pounds as well, Musk told the crowd as one of the cars rolled up carrying seven people and towing a giant Airstream.
The Signature X model comes with a 90kWh battery that has a range of 250 miles. The Model X P90D can reach 155 mph and will go zero to 60 in 3.8 seconds (or 3.2 seconds with the “Ludicrous Mode” upgrade. The P90D is a performance version of the car — the 90D will go 0 to 60 in just Section 4.8.
The all-wheel drive Model X has two motors, a 259 horsepower one in the front, and a 503 horsepower motor in the back.
It’s no secret that the Model X has been held back by delays. In early February, Tesla said that the Model X would be delayed from late 2014 to early 2015—now here we are at the end of 2015. But now that it’s here, we’ll take a gander at its “falcon doors— wing” (Tesla’s take) on gull-wing doors) and three rows of seats.
An SUV might not seem like the most obvious choice for a luxury car maker, but right now the market for that form factor is hot. According to the Associated PressLuxury SUV sales rose 17 percent in August in the US, “five times faster than the industry as a whole,” AP reports.
For the past few weeks, what the world has heard little about Tesla’s new wheels is from what we can gather from the price of the Model X Signature Edition, which is not cheap. As mentioned, it starts at $132,000, quite a bit from the base Model S sedan’s $70,000 (though that doesn’t include state and federal tax incentives). Of course, there are tons of extras to add as well, from enhancing the car’s performance to allow for a zero “ludicrous mode” to a 60mph performance option.
The Model X is being watched carefully for a few reasons as well. First, it will be the last new car model that Tesla will release until the Model 3 in 2017. The Model 3 is what Tesla calls a “budget electric car,” and it will apparently start at $35,000. Second, Musk has set lofty goals for selling Teslas—he says he wants his company to sell 500,000 cars per year by 2020.