With less than a year to go before the first production Tesla Model X all-electric crossover utility vehicles are scheduled to roll off the assembly line, the company has confirmed that every Model X will come standard with all-wheel drive.
Previously, four driven wheels were listed as an option, with a base Model X offered with rear-wheel drive only.
That's the setup that now powers the Model S electric luxury sedan, whose platform the Model X will adopt.
Tesla Model X at 2013 Detroit Auto Show
Our reader Cameron Brown noticed that the two-wheel-drive Model X option had vanished from Tesla's website, and wrote us to ask about the reasoning.
We reached out to Tesla Motors, and the company's Liz Jarvis-Shean responded:
This change was entirely in response to early and strong customer feedback regarding Model X showing a decided preference for AWD in a vehicle of this class.
Given that Tesla’s AWD will be unique and offer great advantages in dynamic control and stability of the vehicle--along with efficiency--compared to all other AWD configurations, this enthusiasm is understandable.
By powering all four wheels solely with electric motors, traction and stability control systems can "vector" the torque sent to each wheel multiple times each second.
That allows the vehicle to maintain maximum traction under the individual circumstances for each wheel, an improvement over simple front-to-rear or side-to-side control.
Tesla often makes changes to its available options and configurations, as do all automakers.
It canceled the lowest-capacity version of the Model S, for instance, when too few buyers actually specified the smallest 40-kilowatt-hour battery pack option.
So for those of you who were envisioning a less expensive rear-drive-only Model X, it appears the company won't be offering one after all.