Tesla released the third model in their automotive line up in September of 2015. It’s called the Model X and it brings a familiar, yet refreshing design. The Model X is a full size crossover SUV that was built off the platform of the Model S. Tesla was originally going to release the Model X back in early 2014 but wanted to reach the Model S production target of 20,000 cars for the year, so pushed it back yet again. To the surprise of no one, November 2014 came around and Tesla announced they would once again push back the release date of the Model X until Q3 2015. Sales began in September and 208 lucky owners received their Model X by the end of the year.
The first exterior difference that stuck out to me was the Model X’s lack of a grille. The Model X is an electric car, meaning it has no need for a front air intake to cool the combustion engine. That being said, I believe the Tesla design team did an excellent job making the front of the model X aesthetically pleasing, even while opting out of an artificial grille. The most distinct design feature the Model X offers its occupants are the falcon wing doors. These doors rise upwards and out rather than gullwing doors that only open outward. The advantage of falcon wing doors is that the opening radius is only 12 inches. That means when you find yourself in a tight parking spot, no need to worry about getting trapped in the back seat. Additionally, these falcon wing doors allow occupants to stand in the second row, allowing easy access to the third row when loading heavy objects like booster seats. Lastly, the Model X uses the largest piece of glass in a production vehicle. The Model X windshield extends over the driver of the car and concludes at the B-pillar. This gives a convertible-esque feel to the Model X and removes the need for a sunroof, which the falcon wing doors would prevent.
The Model X interior is a direct representation of all the bells and whistles you would find inside a Model S. Once you step inside you will be greeted by the beautiful 12-inch digital dashboard display located behind the steering wheel. It might be hard to keep your eyes on the puny 12-inch display when you glance to your right (left in the UK) to find a 17 inch display that controls every aspect of the car.
At first glimpse, you might not expect the Model X to be the most powerful SUV on the market, but never judge a book by its cover. The Model X comes in two different configurations the 90D and the P90D. Both configurations have the same battery and both are all wheel drive. The 90D has two electric motors that when combined do 520 horsepower. The P90D takes things a step further and bumps that rear electric motor to 503 horsepower. At the end of the day, the P90D brings to the table over 700 horsepower and 713 lb-ft of torque. You better get used to seeing the P90D badge on the rump of the Model X.
The Model X only offers a 90kWh battery. Equivalent battery sizes are offered with the Model S but due to the Model X’s heavy weight, it takes a toll on the overall range. The P90D has an EPA rated 250 miles of range, while the 90D has 257 miles of range. The difference of range between the Model X is roughly 10% less than the Model S.
Safety has always been the forefront at Tesla Motors. One risk that all SUV’s face is rollover during an accident. This is due the majority of the weight being above the wheels. Thankfully, Tesla use large battery packs that keep majority of that weight under the floor. This creates a low center of gravity making the Model X exceptionally more difficult to rollover. With no engine in the front of the car, the nose of the vehicle can absorb more head on impact without crushing the main cabin. Aside from an incredibly well built structure, the Model X has a litany of add-on safety features from emergency breaking systems, autopilot functionality, and lastly, but not all, the Model X offers a cabin air filtration system. This keeps the occupants inside breathing fresh air while the apocalypse is occurring outside.
If you are someone considering purchasing one of these elite vehicles, you’ll have to be patient. Tesla currently has more than 20,000 reservations for the Model X and you may have to wait for new order forms in 2017. That’s the first thing to consider when purchasing a Model X, the second being the price. The 90D configuration goes for a cool $132,000 and the P90D is $142,000. Not an inexpensive car but Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla says a 70DkWh battery is on its way which begin at $80,000. Still…not that inexpensive.
The Model X plays a large role in the expansion of Tesla, helping them get 50,000 cars a year up to 75,000-100,000. The Model X will help better situate Tesla in the future when they reveal the Model 3, their base line model starting at $30,000 that will appeal to a larger audience. Only time will tell if the Model X will do its part for Tesla.