Amidst the joy and endless possibilities surrounding Tesla’s Great Patent Giveaway of 2014, it’s easy to forget that Tesla is preparing its second mass-produced electric car — the 2015 Model X — for launch early next year.
Naturally, those with a reservation for Tesla’s new electric crossover SUV haven’t forgotten. More than a year behind schedule, those waiting for their Tesla Model X to arrive are always eager to hear any news from the Californian automaker on the progress of their new car, even if it’s not the news they’re hoping for.
Yesterday, they got an update.
Mailed out to all of Tesla Motors’ [NASDAQ:TSLA] Model X reservation holders, a short email spelled out some revised Model X production timeframes as well as a few tweaks to the Model X specification.
First and most importantly, Tesla says it will ramp up a pre-production run — which it is calling ‘prototypes’ — of the Model X this fall on a ‘newly expanded and integrated production line’ at Tesla’s Fremont facility. While these vehicles won’t be for sale, these vehicles will be used by Tesla to iron out any production line problems and tweak the production line ready for the start of official production early next year. While Tesla may be blazing new pathways in the automotive industry in other areas, carrying out a pre-production run is still the best way for an automotive factory to ensure everything is working correctly before customers’ cars are built.
While Tesla is careful to not name estimated delivery dates for Model X customers, it does say the first reservation holders can look forward to having their cars made some time early next year. We’d expect the first few deliveries to happen a few weeks after that.
Second comes news of Tesla’s iconic Falcon Wing doors, which replace the traditional second-row doors of most cars with upward-hinging, folding doors.
As Tesla CEO Elon Musk admitted two weeks ago at the Tesla annual shareholder meeting, the Model X’s Falcon Wing doors have been causing Tesla a few headaches during its prototype phase. To put minds at ease, Tesla used yesterday’s reservation-holder email to reiterate that the Falcon Wing doors will feature in the production version of the Model X, despite several rumours to the contrary.
Next comes news of the Model X’s drivetrain and charging capabilities. Although the Model X was initially offered in both two or four-wheel drive versions, Tesla’s email yesterday confirmed that all Model X cars will come with four wheel drive capabilities.
In a similar way, Tesla confirmed that all Model X cars will ship with Supercharger capability built in, meaning they will be able to charge from empty to 80 per cent full in around 40 minutes at Tesla’s growing network of Supercharger stations.
Finally, Tesla confirmed that reservation holders who haven’t specified a third row of seats will be given the option to do so, raising the Model X’s seating capacity from five adults to seven adults.
More information about the Model X, we’re told, will be released in the coming months as Tesla brings it ever-closer to production. We’ll bring you more as we have it.
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