Tesla Delivers Model X, Its First Sport Utility Vehicle

30 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Behold Tesla’s very smart, very fast and very pricey SUV.

Clearly, the Model X isn’t yet ready for broader consumer deliveries. Electric-car impresario Elon Musk unveiled his long-awaited crossover SUV at a splashy presentation late Tuesday, showing off a slew of nifty features including computer-controlled “falcon-wing” doors.Tesla’s Model X — one of the only all-electric SUVs on the market — was officially unveiled Tuesday night near the company’s Fremont, Calif., factory.Telsa Motors delivered the first of its long-awaited Model X electric sports-utility vehicles on Tuesday, a product investors are counting on to make the pioneering company profitable after years of losses.

Tesla founder Elon Musk likes to push the boundaries when it comes to the new technology his companies create, and the new Model X car is no different. Three words come to mind following Tesla’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model X launch party — the second such launch party, as the first one took place on February 9, 2012: Ouch, ouch and ouch. The doors to the vehicle — whose price tag will top out at $130,000 — use ultrasonic signals to compute their opening arc depending on ceiling height and side obstacles. that may have been the flashiest feature in the late-night event, which started nearly an hour late and lasted little more than a half hour. Musk estimated that 25,000 customers had pre-ordered the crossover online or in its stores and that it would take 8-12 months for those ordering from now to receive the SUV. “There is far more there than is really necessary to sell a car. The cutting-edge all-electric car — Musk’s latest in a line that strives to be powerful, sexy and environmentally friendly all at once — also boasts a windshield so massive that it almost doubles as a sun roof.

And some of the things are so difficult, they make the car better but the difficulty of engineering those parts is so high.” Between 4,000-6,000 guests filled a cavernous space for the launch. There is actually a button on the dashboard that activates a bio-defence mode, and when powered up, Musk claims the Model X’s filters will be able to get rid of the sort of toxins released by biological weapons.

According the Associated Press the fully loaded the luxury vehicle is priced at $142,000 – a little bit higher than the equivalent Model S at $93,000. “My brain is basically unable to mathematically comprehend how a car of this width, height, and girth is able to hustle like that. ” Chris Ziegler of The Verge wrote of his test drive. “I’m not exaggerating: with Ludicrous turned on, the X will hit 60 miles per hour as quickly as a Porsche 911 Turbo.” According to Tesla, the all-wheel drive vehicle can accelerate from 0-60 in 3.2 seconds, with what they call a “Ludicrous Speed Upgrade.” The car tops out at 155 miles per-hour and sports a battery that has a range of 250 miles between charging sessions. U.S. luxury SUV sales were up 17 percent through August, five times better than the industry as a whole. “If Tesla’s going to be a more significant player, they need more products, and SUVs are what the market is demanding,” said Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst with the car buying site AutoTrader.com. The stakes couldn’t be higher for Musk, who recently backed off a forecast for Tesla to produce 55,000 cars this year, sending the company’s shares tumbling last month when he admitted the number could be as low as 50,000. Priced as high as $144,000, it features so-called “falcon-wing” doors that open upward rather than to the side – controlled by sensors that can modulate the height to clear garage ceilings—seats that can be adjusted separately and a panoramic windshield that extends overhead.

Musk said the biggest challenges were making the doors open in a graceful “balletic” manner, the expansive windshield – which he said was the largest piece of glass ever used in a car – plus its sun visor and the moveable seats, which he said were deceptively tricky. But in Tuesday’s event, Musk kept mum on the crucial question of timing as he handed off keys to the first five Model X owners, including Silicon Valley venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson. It is betting that high-performance and stylish offerings will boost acceptance amid a sea of alternatives, such as hybrids or electric vehicles powered by hydrogen. Again, that doesn’t sound life-changing, but the sense of being outdoors, of having the interior of the car basically disappear, is pretty incredible.” Tesla predicted its SUV would receive 5-star safety ratings in all categories, based on data from its crash tests, due to its low center of gravity, which helps reduce rollovers.

Those included top safety ratings for head-on collisions, doors that are twice as resistant to side impacts as the competition and a broad, low-seated battery that prevents rollovers. The buzz surrounding Tesla’s Model S sedan – whose P85D variant won a top score of 100 from Consumer Reports magazine in August – has managed to preempt high-end German rivals such as Volkswagen’s Audi and Porsche, BMW and Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz. At the Frankfurt Auto Show earlier this month, Audi unveiled its e-tron quattro sport-utility vehicle, and Porsche showed off its first battery-powered sports car, although neither will be available before 2018.

CNBC’s Phil LeBeau tweeted by quoting Elon as saying that “In retrospect, if we’d known the true engineering costs, we would have have done far fewer new things.” In other words, this project is going to take too long, and cost way too much money. In August, Musk said Tesla would make between 50,000-55,000 Model S and Model X vehicles this year, with the capacity for 1,600-1,800 vehicles per week on its production line next year. Tuesday’s unveiling showcased the top-of-the-line “Signature” Model X, priced between $132,000 and $144,000, with optional add-ons such as acceleration upgrades, packages for subzero weather package or towing. The doors — and the Tesla-designed second-row seats, which all move independently — were among the reasons the Model X’s launch was delayed several times.

With this Model X disaster on his hands, could Elon have at least tried to sprinkle at least some hope to the financial community, dangling any carrot at all in order to give financial comfort? This time, one quarter later, I am assuming Tesla will approximately meet its 3Q guidance of 11,532 cars delivered in 3Q, but on balance the risk is looking more on the downside than it did two months ago. Some people who are into risky features may be attracted to it, at least as long as there aren’t too many other people in town who can show off the same thing when they park outside the restaurant/club.

I agree that the car looks great, is a good package in a solid SUV body size (although would have been better with conventional doors), but those aren’t sufficient reasons for the car to sell well beyond the first 20,000 enthusiasts, after the first year.

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