Tesla unveils falcon-winged Model X prototype

Article by Anita Panait, on February 10, 2012

Tesla Motors unveiled on February 8 the prototype of its newest car, the Model X, even before selling the pioneer Model S.  Built on the same platform as the Model S, the Model X electric car is powered by two electric motors, fixed at the rear and the front, allowing the seven-seater to accelerate to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said.

Customers could choose between two battery packs that are also installed in the Model S – the 230- and 300-mile power packs. Model X, however, will have a range lower by 10% than the Model S since the former is larger and heavier, Tesla chief designer Franz von Holzhausen revealed.

Model X’s most remarkable feature is not its fast-accelerating engines, but its doors. Tesla built double-hinged “falcon-wing doors” doors on the Model X, resembling the famed gull-wing doors of 1950’s Mercedes coupe.

Musk said the rear door’s upward swing is around the same height as a tailgate on most SUVs. The Tesla CEO revealed that the prototype has yet to undergo computer-aided crash analysis.

He expressed confidence that the model will perform well, even in a side-impact crash. Tesla will commence prototype production in at its Fremont, Calif. site in 2013, and will roll out finished versions of the Model X in early 2014.

Tesla’s latest product will be more expensive than the Model S, which starts at $67,400 for the 230-mile version, before a federal tax credit.

Tesla’s chief designer said that while there is definitely "a familial feel" between the designs of the two cars, the Model X's door system and cargo carrying features set it apart from other crossovers. Tesla aims to sell around 15,000 Model X units annually, the same target as Model S.

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