Tesla Unveils SUV Model X with Falcon Wing Doors

CEO Elon Musk introduces the Model X at the company's Fremont, Calif. plant.
CEO Elon Musk introduces the Model X at the company’s Fremont, Calif. plant.

Tesla Motors launched its Model X SUV on Tuesday night, demonstrating both pizzazz and practicality.

“It’s important to show that any type of car can go electric,” CEO Elon Musk said at the start of the presentation Tuesday night in Fremont, Calif. 

“We showed that you can make a compelling sports car with the Roadster…and we showed that you can do it with a sedan, and now we’re going to show that you can do it with an SUV,” he said. Highlights of the launch — where Musk handed over the first deliveries of Signature versions of the X to select customers — included:

Safety: referring to the five star rating system, Musk said that “hypothetically if there was a sixth star” the Model X would get very close, saying that the X would attain a six and a half percent probability of injury (five stars is 10 percent). He also talked about a feature called Active Safety, in which the Model X continually scans the surrounding roadway with camera, radar and sonar systems to “automatically brake before there’s an accident, and it will use the ultrasonic around the side of the car to steer you away from a side collision.”

Falcon Wing Doors/Auto Sensing Front Door: Musk demonstrated how the Falcon Wing doors allow you to park in a very tight space with only a foot of clearance on either side and still open the doors. The doors can also calculate the height of the garage ceiling to avoid opening the doors too high. He also showed how the Falcon Wings allow relatively easy access to the third row of seats.  Auto Sensing Front Door:  As Musk described it, the car will “triangulate my position and detect that I am moving towards the front door [then] it will open the front door, I will sit down and it will close the door. Like an invisible chauffeur.”

Speed/Towing/Range/Price: A Model X P90D version with Ludicrous Mode can go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds and has a top of speed of 155 mph but it is also capable of towing 5,000 pounds while carrying seven people, according to Musk.  With a top range of 257 miles, the top-of-the-line Signature Series starts at $132,000. The lowest-priced X is expected to start at $5,000 more than Model S, which starts at $75,000.

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