Tesla Model X
February 10, 2012 by staff
Tesla Model X, Tesla Motors is helping destroy the notion that electric vehicles are green cars with unfortunate compromises.
The company last night unveiled the Model X, a sleek-looking cross between a minivan and SUV with clever “falcon wing” doors and a new electric all-wheel drive system. People can start placing reservations tomorrow for the Model X, which is expected to be available late next year with prices in the $55,000 to $75,000 range before tax incentives and rebates.
Beyond making an attractive crossover, Tesla has shown how electric vehicles open up new design possibilities. The Model X isn’t just an electric version of competing SUVs, it’s a luxury vehicle that has useful features its internal combustion or hybrid cousins couldn’t have.
The key to Tesla’s cool design is the powertrain, built around a flat battery pack that extends from the front to rear wheels under the car. This provides a low center of gravity for good handling, but also allows for substantially more interior space than a vehicle with a transmission running under it.
In demonstrations with journalists this week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk stood up inside the car to show the ample available space, a feature that makes loading or entering and exiting easier. The Model X has three rows of seats and is able to hold seven adults and their luggage, something other SUVs makers could not claim.
The electric powertrain is also behind another key feature of the Model X–its optional all-wheel drive system, built around one motor for the front wheels and another for the back.
The precision and instant power the motors provide, which can be adjusted thousands of times a second by the car’s computer, will make it a very functional all-wheel drive vehicle capable of driving anywhere, according to Tesla.
The falcon wing doors, meanwhile, don’t benefit from the Model X being electric, but they help make Tesla’s cars distinctive and appeal to the luxury clientele.
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