Stealing some thunder from the Tesla Model S, even before it arrives at showrooms, was the reveal of the Model X at Tesla’s Los Angeles Design and Engineering offices.
Fastback designs, such as the Audi A7, Porsche Panamera, and Acura ZDX, are becoming more popular with buyers. Tesla now has its own fastback model with a few differentiating features.
In an attempt to make it minivan-easy to load the rear passengers and cargo, the aft "Falcon Wing" doors lift and fold upward, not unlike Ralph Macchio's arms during his celebrated crane kick at the end of The Karate Kid. Inside is room to fit seven full-size adults.
In front is what some people would call a trunk, but Tesla calls Model X’s front storage compartment a “frunk.”
Since the Tesla Model X shares almost 100 percent of its powertrain and chassis with the Model S sedan, it promises to be a smooth and sporty performer. It might even be smoother. While the Model S is rear-wheel drive only, the Model X can be ordered with second electric motor to drive the front wheels, hence the all-wheel-drive-evocative X in the name.
Only a few technical specs were released because the X won’t be officially launched for two years. The Tesla Model X can be configured with one of two battery packs -60 kilowatt-hour or 85 kilowatt hour battery pack.
Since the X weighs 10 to 12 percent more than the sedan, depending on whether it's rear- or all-wheel drive, it will suffer a 10 to 12-percent range penalty. That translates to 260 to 270 miles for the 85-kilowatt-hour battery and 200 to 210 miles for the 60-kilowatt-hour battery.
Tesla says the X's 0-to-60-mph time is 4.4 seconds, the same figure as the lighter and theoretically just as powerful sedan. Someone needs to do an independent test of their own.
Pricing should be similar to the Model S, too, Tesla execs said. The Model S retails for $67,400 with the 60-kilowatt-hour battery and $77,400 for the 85-kilowatt-hour pack. Don't forget to subtract the $7,500 federal tax credit from that, or about $10,000 if you live in a state such as California that offers an additional incentive.
Model S deliveries will start in July, while the Model X goes into production in 2013. Some Model Xs will be delivered in 2013, but most will go to owners in 2014.