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2013 Tesla Model X Crossover: What We Know Before Jan Reveal

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2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

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Tesla would like all eyes to focus on its 2012 Model S electric sport sedan this week.

But there's a second model lurking in the background: the 2013 or 2014 Tesla Model X crossover, the next vehicle to use the platform that underlies the Model S.

A lot of information has emerged in bits and pieces over the years about the Model X. We chatted with Tesla executives and staff about their next vehicle, and here's the list of what we know--and what we suspect:

[UPDATE: Tesla Motors says it will officially unveil the Model X crossover in the first quarter of 2012 2013, and show off its new southern California design studio at the same time. CEO Elon Musk has been quoted as saying the company will show it to a select audience--presumably owners and strong prospects--before the end of the year. ]

We know for sure that ...

  • The 2013  or 2014 Tesla Model X crossover will be unveiled in the first quarter of 2012 at the Los Angeles Auto Show in mid-November
  • Tesla will show the Model X to an invited audience before the end of this year
  • The vehicle will carry "seven full-size adults" in three full rows of seating, unlike the optional pair of child-sized jump seats in the rear of the Model S hatchback sedan
  • The Model X will have the same level of luxury as the Model S
  • Tesla hopes to sell up to 15,000 Model X vehicles a year, as Musk said in an August earnings call
  • The Model X will "incorporate the functionality of a minivan with the consumer appeal of a sports-utility vehicle," according to Tesla's SEC filings
  • In June, Tesla raised an additional $210 million to fund Model X development and related projects

2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

Enlarge Photo

We suspect that ...

  • The Model X will cost as much as, or more than, the Model S
  • Its platform will have a longer wheelbase than the Model S sedan
  • The Tesla crossover will offer all-wheel drive, though we can't say whether it will be standard or optional

Speaking at a Cleantech summit in February, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the Model X was destined to be the “coolest SUV” on the market. Given that most Tesla buyers likely have three or four cars in their household, it seems a logical line extension.

Tesla IPO presentation via Retail Roadshow

Tesla IPO presentation via Retail Roadshow

Enlarge Photo

The first hints of the Model X's existence came in June 2010, with the release of slides from the company’s IPO presentation. Soon afterward, Musk confirmed that an electric SUV, dubbed the Model X, would arrive for 2014.

The Model X and other derivatives of the Model S platform, including a convertible, will be followed in three or four years by a new, higher-volume electric car that Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] hopes to price around $30,000.

The Fremont, California, plant has oceans of assembly space available for that vehicle and others, which might forego the aluminum construction of the Model S--at least in parts--for less-expensive pressed steel.

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Comments (20)
  1. You have to admire the "swing for the fences" attitude of Tesla. Anyone of these projects might bring down a lesser company, but Tesla is going to do them all. Impressive and scary.
     
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  2. I wonder why Tesla is in such a hurry to focus attention on the Model X. The Model S is still almost a year away so why already distract the public with new models that are even further in the future? Wouldn't it be smarter not to reveal it until after the launch of the Model S so it won't steel attention and sales away from this model? Also it seems to me that by the time this reaches the market years after it's unveiling it will seem like old news.
     
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  3. @Chris: Just for context, Tesla is FAR from "in ... a hurry to focus attention on the Model X". They didn't particularly welcome questions about it yesterday, said nothing on the record, and generally steered Model X-related topics back to the Model S that was the point of the press event. FYI.
     
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  4. I guess Tesla is already experiencing the downside of unveiling cars years before their market introduction then as the Model X is already spoiling the Model S' moment in the sun.
     
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  5. I reckon it was just too difficult to ask Tesla for a photo.
     
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  6. @James: Since Tesla hasn't released the Model X or shown it to anyone on earth, why would they give us a photo when we asked? You may want to read the very first bullet point in the article.
     
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  7. And your not strong enough to push upon someone and threaten them a little bit? ...or maybe smack them around a little.
     
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  8. @James: LOL. If you were a journalist (which I sense perhaps you are not), you might have learned that threatening sources is not a productive way to get what you want. But your sense of humor may be improving.
     
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  9. There is another angle to the early announcement. I have doubts that the Model X would rob Model S sales to any great extent. I think the announcement is sound because it may kill prospective sales of competitor SUVs from MB and BMW and Caddy and re-route them into Tesla showrooms. Right now the Model S is sold out
    probably up to the time the Model X goes to market, so in effect, no actual sales of Tesla cars have been lost due to this early announcement. Tesla doesn't care which model they sell.
     
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  10. I only own hatchbacks (for utility), so the Model S is of no interest. I’d have a LEAF except for the slow charger, poor telematics, and dowdy interior quality. The S looks to improve on all of these, and now the Model X, meets the hatchback criteria. So Hatchback/ Station Wagon/ SUV/ Minivan/ Shooting Break/ whatever, It is on my short list. Do they plan to take reservations as with the Model S?
     
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  11. @Kei: The Model S is a five-door hatchback. Look through the photo gallery here:
    http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1066856_2012-tesla-model-s-photo-gallery
    and you'll see photos of the car with the rear hatch open.
     
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  12. Well since you are Kei Jidosha, the Mitsubishi i must be the car for you.
     
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  13. With 100 mi US06 range and a 6.6kW charger it would have been :)
     
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  14. "UPDATE: Tesla Motors says it will officially unveil the Model X crossover in the first quarter of 2013, ...
    We know for sure that ... The 2013 or 2014 Tesla Model X crossover will be unveiled in the first quarter of 2012.."

    So which is it 2012 or 2013?
     
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  15. @Doug: The Model X will be unveiled by the end of Q1-2012. We don't know yet whether it will be designated a 2013 or 2014 model-year vehicle, although at the moment, I think 2013 is more likely.
     
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  16. You missed the error I was pointing out. In one sentence you said it will be unveiled Q1-2013 and then in another you said Q1-2012.
     
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  17. @Doug: Oh, OK, now I get it. Thanks. I fixed the typo.
     
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  18. "Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TLSA] hopes to price around $30,000" I am not only a pre-order holder for the Model S, I am also a stock holder and the ticker is "TSLA" and not "TLSA"

    FYI
     
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  19. Thanks for catching that. I've fixed the incorrect ticker symbol.
     
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  20. If Tesla can spin off an attractive Sport utlity cross over from their Model S chassis I feel that they could really grow their brand especially if they can price it attractively at about 50 to 60 thousand dollars for the base model at 160mile range. They took a big chance comming up with their own chassis design and hopelly all that work will pay off for them since they could have an attractive sport Utility with the lowest center of gravity out there since all of their vehicles spun off the Model S will use the floorpan battery designs that should allow for awesome interior space and great handling in one attractive package. Kudos to Tesla I hope they can get it to market soon. Tesla has the right idea since they are making roadworthy EVs
     
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