Tesla’s all wheel drive electric crossover
Tesla revealed the all new rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive Model X electric crossover to the public at a customer event held at their Los Angeles Design and Engineering Center. Bold not only for its means of propulsion, but also its gullwing-style rear doors, Model X is based on the Tesla Vehicle Platform, which is also the basis for its Model S sedan. Room for seven adults and all-wheel-drive are the prime differentiators from that vehicle. You may see a video of the reveal here.
Watching the reveal, we were mostly impressed with the spacious cargo area behind the rear seat. Generally, in a three-row vehicle that is not a minivan or a full-sized SUV, cargo area behind the third row is skimpy at best. That we were impressed by this reveals how our needs have changed as our family has grown over the years. As capacious as the rear cargo area is, the rear-wheel-drive model offers an additional cargo area up front, as there is no front motor taking up that space. Yes, it is a dual motor all-wheel-drive system with the rear-wheel-drive motor tucked in under the rear cargo area. Very impressive. The gullwing style doors might be impactful initially, but their slow operation will be less appealing on windy and rainy or snowy days. Too, no matter the marketing spin that they put on rear seat access, as seen in the video, climbing into the rear seat is still cumbersome.
Being based on the Tesla Vehicle Platform, one would expect similar performance to the Model S sedan. According to a conversation that CEO Elon Musk had with the New York Times, the Model X weighs more than the sedan so range will be about ten percent less. This could be why the Model X will only be offered with the two larger (60- or 85-kilowatt hour) battery packs available on the Model S. Also, when loaded with seven passengers and their luggage, range will diminish quickly. All of Tesla’s range estimates on their web site refer to the range when driven at 55 miles per hour. We know of no one on earth that drives 55 miles per hour. Interestingly, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers no mileage estimate for the Tesla Roadster (the only Tesla model sold to date), as they do for the Nissan LEAF and Mitsubishi i.
Mr. Musk said that the price would be similar to that of the Model S. We have to think that his reference applies to the rear-wheel-drive version. Adding an additional motor to the all-wheel-drive model adds cost, so that additional cost will need to be incorporated into the price of the vehicle. This would place the starting price of the rear-wheel-drive Model X at roughly $67,000. The all-wheel-drive Model X Signature Performance model will surely come in at $100,000 plus, as the Model S currently approaches that price point.
In the New York Times article, Musk says “This will be our most important, and highest-volume car, when it comes out.” At prices ranging from roughly $70,000 to $100,000 while this may be Tesla’s “volume” car, we don’t see it being a high volume car by any stretch of the imagination.