FRESH FROM delivering its first Model S cars to UK customers, Tesla has contacted customers in the US to tell them its next new model will be ready for those who have reserved one early next year.
The car, called the Model X, is Tesla’s second and like the Model S is pure electric. Unlike that car, however, it is an SUV rather than a saloon, while its chassis is four-wheel drive.
Tesla’s email to customers who have reserved a Model X says the new crossover will exceed the promises it made when it first showed the concept car in 2012. It says prototype production will begin in autumn at a newly expanded production line in the company’s factory in Fremont, California. The first customer cars will be delivered in early 2015.
One of the features Tesla hopes will inspire those early adopters are the car’s falcon-wing rear side doors. They are so called because, says Tesla founder Elon Musk, they open more upwards, rather than upwards and outwards, as gull-wing doors do.
The company claims that even in narrow spaces, passengers can get in and out of the Model X without stooping. It says that in combination with second-row seats that slide, access to the optional third row is made much easier. To aid practicality, it adds that the seats in both rows can also be folded flat.
The Model X is powered by a 65 or 85 kWh battery and, says Tesla, sits lower than conventional SUVs to sharpen handling and enhance what it says is the car’s sporty performance.