Tesla unveils electric car Model X SUV

Electric car maker Tesla unveiled its latest vehicle last night, the Model X, a cross-over that offers more space than the company’s Model S sedan. Model X is designed from the ground up to blend the best of an SUV with the benefits of a minivan, as only an electric car can.

Tesla’s goal is to accelerate the world’s transition to electric mobility with a full range of increasingly affordable electric vehicles with lithium ion batteries.

The most distinguishing feature, the so-called falcon doors hinge in the middle to enable them to open in a snug parking space. Dimensions have not been released, but assuming the wheels are about 22 inches, it appears the Model X rides on a similar 117-inch wheelbase as the Model S. It therefore stands roughly 62 inches tall and the doors extend to about 82 inches.

Like the Model S, the Model X has a large, flat battery pack under the floor. It comes in two sizes: The base, 60-kWh battery should give the car a range we estimate to be about 150 miles. The larger, 85-kWh battery pack, should amount to just over 200 miles, depending on the motors.

2014-Tesla-Model-X-doors-open.jpgThree drivetrains will be available. The base model will be rear-wheel-drive with a motor on the axle. All-wheel drive models will have an additional motor on the front axle. The fastest version will be all-wheel drive and use more powerful motors to achieve 0-60 mph acceleration in less than 5 seconds, Tesla claims.

The flat chassis and electric drivetrain will allow space for a trunk in the front, in addition to limited cargo space behind the third row of seats.

The Model X will also use the 17-inch flat-panel control screen from the Model S, along with its digital instrument cluster, creating a screen-intensive dash.

Prices are said to mirror those of the Model S, which starts at $57,400, and steps up to more than $80,000 with its largest battery pack and options. Both cars will be eligible for the federal $7,500 tax credit.

Tesla will begin taking reservations today at noon Pacific Time, with a $5,000 deposit. The car is scheduled to go into production at the former General Motors-Toyota factory in Fremont, Calif., at the end of 2013.