Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

More Than 3 Years Later, It's Finally Here: Model X Debuts

By Daniel Sparks – Sep 30, 2015 at 12:59PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Will Model X live up to all the hype?

"The X sets a new bar for automotive engineering," Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in a press preview just before the Model X launch event on Tuesday night. "There's nothing like it in the world. There never has been."

Musk's words were backed with substance. The Model X truly is unlike any other car.

Tesla Model X.

Tesla went all out
In February 2012, Tesla Motors (TSLA 1.70%) announced its Model X SUV for the first time. Still just a prototype, Tesla's plan was to officially begin producing the vehicle by the end of 2013 and start deliveries in early 2014. This didn't happen. But after spending some time with Tesla's production version of the vehicle unveiled on Tuesday, it looks like it was well worth the wait.

Step into a Model X and it won't take long to realize Tesla didn't hold anything back. Beyond all the attributes from Model S that made it such a success, such as its mind-boggling acceleration, low center of gravity, unparalleled safety, a fully electric experience, a 17-inch touchscreen, advanced autopilot hardware, and industry-leading software updates, Model X also boasts some new key features.

The main attraction for Model X, of course, is its double-hinged falcon-wing doors. Key to these doors' functionality, they move up before they move out. This allows for easy access to the rear doors even when there is very little space between the Model X and another parked car. The doors require only 30 centimeters of space on the side of the vehicle to open.

And here is where the doors really get interesting. Thanks to capacitive, inductive, and ultrasonic sensors to monitor the doors' surroundings, occupants won't have to worry about the doors hitting another car, person, or ceiling. The falcon-wing doors automatically sense ceiling heights and side obstacles to compute the necessary opening arches.

The list of noteworthy features for Model X beyond its falcon-wing doors is quite exhaustive, including:

  • An enormous windshield that extends to where the back doors begin

Tesla Model X' expansive windshield. Image source Tesla Motors.

  • Auto-presenting doors
  • A row of three individually adjustable and maneuverable "monopost" second-row seats, which creates extra space under the seats
  • 257 miles of EPA-rated all-electric range
  • Zero-to-60 times between 4.8 seconds and 3.2 seconds, depending on the model

Wielding its pricing power with customers and taking advantage of pent-up demand for Model X, Tesla is initially only taking orders for 90 kilowatt-hour battery variants of the Model X, which is currently the largest battery offered for Model S. While Tesla hasn't announced specific pricing for the base model yet, it will start at least at $93,000. Over time, however, Musk says the company will introduce lower-cost versions of the SUV -- perhaps the same 85 kWh and 70 kWh battery variants that are available as Model S configurations.

Tesla's next big bet
It would be difficult to overstate how important Model X is to Tesla.

Elon Musk demonstrates falcon wing doors on Model X.

With Model X, Tesla is aiming to double its addressable market and eventually sell as many Model X as it is selling Model S. Based on Tesla's recent quarterly sales and the company's third-quarter and full-year guidance, a doubling of vehicle sales would put Model X shipments at about 50,000 annually once Tesla ramps up production.

Further, Musk reaffirmed during a question-and-answer session with press before the event that Tesla still views Model X as a critical stepping stone in helping the company generate the cash flow needed to fund its investments in development and production of Model 3, Tesla's planned lower-cost car. The Model 3, which Tesla plans to unveil by March next year, is supposed to begin production by 2017 and be launched in conjunction with the Gigafactory, or the world's largest battery factory.

On Tuesday, the company only delivered about five Model X units to customers. Tesla will need to ramp production quickly to begin to help it finance its ambitious growth plans.

Daniel Sparks owns shares of Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool owns and recommends Tesla Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Tesla, Inc. Stock Quote
Tesla, Inc.
$280.00 (1.70%) $4.67

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 09/26/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.