The all-electric Tesla Model X crossover was unveiled at a red-carpet, velvet-rope style event at the Tesla Design Studios in Hawthorne, CA tonight, with company co-founder Elon Musk confirming that the Model X will start production late next year and that full production is expected in 2013.
With luminaries such as California Gov. Jerry Brown in attendance and a post-announcement concert by Foster the People, Musk presented a CUV that, as rumored, has so-called "falcon-wing" doors that are similar to those of the old gull-wing vehicles but bend in the middle, allowing them to be opened in tight spaces while offering better access to the rear and third row of seats. Musk said the Model X, which is expected to be priced similar to the $57,500 Model S sedan set to debut this summer, can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.4 seconds, or 0.2 seconds quicker than a Porsche 911. The vehicle, which Musk says can seat "seven real adults," actually has front and rear electric motors that instantaneously shift power from one to the other to maximize traction, Musk said. He added that the CUV's turning radius was comparable to that of a Mini Cooper.
Musk, speaking to an enthusiastic crowd of about 1,000 people, touted the Model X as having, "more room than a minivan, more style than an SUV and more performance than a sports car." Indeed, with no internal combustion engine, the vehicle has substantial rear cargo space behind the third row of seats as well as a "frunk" in front of the car (which provided the evening's only glitch with a sticky latch. See video of that after the jump). Musk said that the "frunk" has the same storage space as the rear cargo area of an Audi Q7. Musk should know, since he owns one.
Musk also said Telsa will start deliveries of the Model S sedan – upon which the X is based – "no later than July" and will start taking online reservations for the Model X at noon Pacific time Friday. Tesla is expected to produce between 10,000 and 15,000 Model X units a year starting in 2014.