2013 Tesla Model X crossover teaser

2013 Tesla Model X crossover teaser

Electric-car fans have waited eagerly for more details—or even a picture—of the third vehicle from EV maker Tesla [NSDQ: TSLA]. Aand now the time has arrived.

Tonight, at 8 p.m. PST, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is expected to pull the wraps off the Model X, the company’s upcoming all-electric luxury crossover, at an event that also formally marks the opening of the company’s southern California design studio.

Smooth, rounded exterior; luxurious and vanlike inside?

The Model X, which is expected to be a sporty utility vehicle, with an almost van-like interior—thanks to the wonders of EV drivetrain packaging. And, some sources have confirmed, it will offer seating for seven—not in small, rear-facing jumpseats like in the Model S, but in a true third row. Another analyst called it fast and roomy, with faster acceleration than a Porsche 911 and 40 percent more space than an Audi A7.

And the report from Barclays analysts noted market availability by the end of calendar-year 2013.

We still haven’t gotten a proper look at the Model X, but we will tonight. Just a couple of weeks ago, Tesla released a teaser photo that confirms the type of vehicle and the design direction—showing the Model X silhouette as rounded, with broad arcs for both the hoodline and for the windshield and roofline.

Falcon doors?

One of the many mysteries of the Model X is its so-called ‘falcon doors,’ which “lift up and fold--like the wing of a bird,” said an analyst who had gotten an early top-secret preview of the new vehicle.

While part of Tesla’s original business model was to start building a sub-$30,000 electric car within five years—and Elon Musk has indicated that it’s still on schedule for 2015—the Model X will likely have a much higher price—perhaps in the vicinity of the Model S, which will start at around $57,000.

Tesla already plans to build about 20,000 Model S sedans a year at the Fremont, California facility. The Model X is expected to share its platform with the Model S, but offer all-wheel drive as either a standard feature or an option.

More than a year ago, CEO Elon Musk gave away a few more details about the Model X at the formal opening ceremony for the former NUMMI (GM/Toyota) plant in Fremont, California, that the company is now using to assemble its Model S. Now padded with cashflow made possible by the company’s initial public offering, raising $210 million last year, the company has been pushing forward with development of the Model X.

By the end of the evening, some of these questions will be answered—especially those about the powertrain the battery, and the range, all of which are important both to repeat EV owners and those ready to make the leap. Watch the debut, live, on teslamotors.com, then check back to Green Car Reports for our own live pictures of the Model X, and our own first assessment.