Tesla unveils ‘falcon door’ Model X electric SUV

“Minivan functionality, SUV style and sports car performance”

By Will Dron on February 10, 2012 5:32 AM

Tesla Motors has just unveiled its long-awaited pure-electric Model X crossover SUV, and rumours of “falcon doors” were bang on the money... but they’re not at the front, they’re for the rear passengers.

The Model X shares the same chassis platform as the Tesla Model S saloon, which starts deliveries in July this year and hits the UK in 2013. However, the body is radically different – for a start, it’s larger, with three rows of seats for seven adults, plus two optional child seats in the back.

And then there are those rear doors, which don’t just open out, like a ‘gullwing’ Mercedes, but also fold inwards. This eliminates the problem of not being able to open the doors in a tight space – when parked next to a wall or close to another car, for example, due to the outward swing.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said, “If you can fit between the Model X and another car, you can open the door.” Musk also said the Model X has the largest door opening of any car available.

But, as is the way with Tesla, performance was not overlooked. The Model X has a dual motor drive system – one in the front, one in the rear – and adaptive four-wheel drive, and Musk promised Porsche-beating acceleration

“What if you can have a car with more functionality than a minivan, more style than an SUV and more performance than a sports car? That’s the Model X,” said Elon Musk before the car rolled out on stage. You can hear his full presentation in our exclusive audio recording here:

There was one snag during the presentation, however. When Musk attempted to show off the ‘Frunk’ – or front trunk – which offers more luggage space, the bonnet would not open. When the Model S was unveiled, a Tesla employee jumped gingerly out of the load space, so we’re left to presume someone was trapped in there this time around. Fortunately for Tesla, with a long time before production begins there’s plenty of time to iron out any such niggling issues. And extract any employees.

Reservations will be handled in the same way as Model S, with a premium ‘Signature’ model available first, before a mass roll-out. Deliveries begin next year with bulk production 2014. Reservations go live on the Tesla website at noon Californian time (8pm GMT) on Friday 10 February.

We’ll be posting more info on the car later today, so be sure to come back for all the details.

So, what do you think of the Tesla Model X? Let us know below.