At long last a select few of the first Model X reservation holders out of more than 20,000 have received personal e-mails from Tesla inviting them to configure their new crossovers.
It’s been three-and-a-half years and three postponements since its February 2012 revelation, and unclear is how many people are permitted now to design their Model X via private access to Tesla’s online interface, but more will soon as it’s ready for production, and the first cars will be delivered Sept 29.
The automaker is however being rather cryptic about things, leaving questions open and online chat rooms like those at the Tesla Motors Club forum speculating for dozens of online pages over major concerns, as well as minutia and miscellaneous questions.
Perhaps this is Tesla’s modus operandi? And, perhaps it’s part of the allure – like a famous star who may or may not talk to you, but whose aloofness is part of the mystique? The effect may keep the fans clamoring for more, or critics grumbling various complaints about lack of full disclosure, or what have you.
But, thanks to the disclosure of some early buyers, more has been learned in recent days.
Some Details Revealed
One thing is that with the heavier crossover that’s less-aerodynamic than a Model S, range for the largest 90-kilowatt-hour battery option is 240 miles. A Model S P90D that has the same sized battery goes 270 estimated, and a base 70-kwh Model S, with superior efficiency, travels the same as the 90-kwh Model X at 240 miles.
Of course the Model X will be able to charge with Tesla’s free Superchargers which globally have transcended a count of 500 and continue to roll out.
Pricing also seems to be just a little more than Model S, though unclear are all trim level prices at this writing. That it’s not much higher has been a welcome surprise to some who figured surely the big seven-passenger family hauler could cost significantly more.
First views of Tesla’s members-only ordering screen are posted by buyers of the elite “Signature” edition available to the first 1,000 paid reservation holders. As of yesterday, some Signature reservation holders were still saying they’d not received their invites.
A Signature with 90-kwh pack starts at “$112,000″ after Tesla assumes a deduction OF $20,000 from the actual $132,000 price – broken out to $7,500 federal tax credit, $2,500 California rebate, and $10,000 in gas savings.
With more options boxes selected, not assuming savings, a Signature can run around $145,000, In the neighborhood of a Model S P90D, but lesser base Model X examples may start at close to half that.
All-wheel-drive is apparently standard, not optional that anyone has determined.
Acceleration is also fast-to-blistering, with quickest being 0-60 in 3.8 seconds, or 3.2 seconds with Ludicrous upgrade. Unknown are 0-60 estimates for lower than 90-kwh models. As a reference, a 328-horsepower Model S 70D is rated 5.2 seconds, and an 85D is rated for 4.2 seconds.
The Model S with 762-horsepower “Ludicrous” upgrade is rated by Tesla to sprint to 60 in 2.8 seconds, so the 3.2-seconds for the Ludicrous Model X is 0.4 seconds slower or 0.1 seconds quicker than a Model S P85D.
In any case, expect a few tenths of a second more for the Model X at various power levels, and it’s otherwise being positioned and marketed like a crossover version of the Model S with a few differences.
Unique for the Model X is what appears to be a panoramic windshield consisting of one continuous arced piece of glass. If this is as it seems to be, it would do a space ship proud, and is a rarity though such a design has been seen also on the Vauxhall Astra and Citreon C3.
It looks to be a clear windshield like any other, but continues to be part of the roof for an unimpeded view from straight ahead to above the front passengers’ heads. The windshield becomes smoke-tinted at the roofline, with no solid roof structure to obscure it. Unknown is whether this smoked coating will be able to electrically be made light blocking, or a retractable sun shade will be employed. There is a visible visor above the side windows.
As a vehicle filling a need others might buy a truck-based SUV for, the Model X is also being offered with a $750 tow package. Capacity is 5,000 pounds, about ordinary for lighter SUVs.
Unknown is what this does to energy efficiency and range, and ultimately this will vary depending on loads being hauled. The 2-inch receiver is also useful for uses like attaching bike, ski, or storage racks.
Another big mystery concerns the middle row of seats. It has not been disclosed how they will fold out of the way, or whether they are fixed in place in Tesla’s rolling piece of modern automotive art.
Forum members and others have gone so far as to contrive a video simulation and drawing to help others understand how they think the seats will tuck flat for lumber trips to Home Depot, or whatever other reason people have for folding a flat open storage space in back.
Fears are the middle row may not fold, and this would mar the utility of the vehicle, but we will find out soon enough.
The reward for those who put money down to reserve first is they get to order first. Though some plunked as much as $40,000 cash down in 2012 when TSLA stock was a fraction of what it is today, no discounts are known to have been offered. Everyone pays full price.
As for opening the configuration process to the depositors further, Tesla has not announced its plan and is simply opening orders to a few at this point, possibly less than 100 and one reservation holder speculated the ones who ordered at the 2012 reveal are being privileged with being first to receive the invite to configure. It may be that Tesla will begin accruing build orders to be sent to its Fremont factory at a pace it can handle.
Buyers configuring their cars are required to sign off on a form stating Tesla may charge them $500 for last minute changes, and if they balk on the order sent to the factory, Tesla appears to leave options open to sue them for “damages” though Tesla’s intent is not entirely clear.
At very least, a document in legalese says buyers agree Tesla has “earned” their initial deposit. In the case of Signature buyers, this is $40,000 or more and if they default, they agree to forfeit this amount because Tesla would have to market the custom car to someone else.
Not quite as exciting – or some may say more exciting – than Charlie’s invite to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, invitation-to-configure e-mails indicate the first Model X deliveries are nearly in sight.
The Model X has long been anticipated by the one company many agree is doing more than any other to push the EV frontier into the world, and in the face of entrenched old guard automakers.
For those without the budget to contemplate a $70,000-plus crossover, this is a major milestone with which Tesla needs to get over the hump so it can get down to business bringing out the $35,000-plus Model 3.
Meanwhile, Model X will make headlines, we may see more drag race videos, people will rave – Tesla hopes – over the avante garde whispery quiet crossover with falcon wing doors that can take the family on vacation cross country on electricity, if desired.
The Model X promises to be unlike anything yet seen. It has provoked at least Audi and others to chase it but as with the Model S, the Model X leads the way for others to follow.