Three or four months from now, deliveries of Tesla Motors’ Model X sport utility vehicle will start, according to CEO Elon Musk. This schedule is within the timeline that the company shared earlier this year. Last Tuesday, Tesla had its annual shareholders meeting at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif.
At the gathering, Musk said that “the Model X will be a better SUV than the Model S is a sedan." He also announced that CFO Deepak Ahuja will retire at the end of 2015. The concept was first seen by the public in February 2012. The plan had been for this vehicle to be ready by the end of 2014. Musk said recently that he has been driving the most recent prototype of the Model X.
Just recently, Tesla informed its investors that deliveries will start in the third quarter. Customers have been waiting for this a long time, some for over three years even. Tesla, which is the smallest and newest publicly held U.S. automaker, has been making huge investments for its growth as it prepares to start sales of the Model X.
The automaker has been expanding its production. It has a battery plant east of Reno, Nev., and has been hard at work to diversify beyond cars, with a range of battery products for homes, businesses and utilities. Female drivers are known to be drawn to car-based SUVs.
Last January, Musk told Bloomberg that more than half of the orders for the Model X are from women. In comparison, the phased out Model S sedan and Roadster have a mostly male customer base.
The Model 3, currently in development, is expected to arrive in 2017 and to have an estimated starting price of $35,000. Furthermore, Tesla is looking into soon offering another software upgrade for the Model S, which includes autopilot driver- assist technology. Musk said that early-access buyers may get it by the end of June.
Before becoming Tesla's CFO in 2008, Ahuja had worked at Ford Motor. He had seen Tesla through its initial public offering in June 2010. He said that he plans to pursue other life goals after he retires. At the shareholder meeting, Ahuja told Musk how honoured he was for working for him. By doing so, Ahuja said that he discovered the extent of his potential.
At the meeting, Musk also talked about the company's Tesla Energy push into battery products. There was a bit of confusion between the Powerwall, which is created for residences, and the Powerpack, a bigger product targeted at businesses and utilities.
He said that the economics associated with the Powerpack level is “very compelling” as over 80% of its total energy sales will be at this level to utilities and large industrial customers.
Tesla has been able to boost Powerwall’s capability by a large margin while being able to maintain its price with only around $3,500 (including $500 for labor and installation costs).