2014 Tesla Model X revealed

Lifting the curtain on the next all-electric vehicle that will be produced by his pioneering Tesla Motors operation, CEO Elon Musk displayed  a prototype of the 2014 Tesla Model X at the company's design and engineering studio outside of Los Angeles, California. Combining room for seven in an innovatively styled and configured package, the Tesla Model X melds SUV, crossover and minivan character traits into a unique transport module that Musk believes will strike a resonant chord with buyers looking for sustainable transport that also offers an extra measure of comfort and practicality.

The new Model X will share basic platform architecture with Tesla's Model S sedan, which is set to arrive in showrooms this July. However, the slightly larger and heavier Model X gains about four inches of wheelbase and will only be available with the top two lithium-ion battery packs offered in the Model S: a 60kWh battery that offers a 230-mile per-charge range and an 85kWh pack capable of 300 miles when fitted in the Sedan. In addition to its standard rear-motor/rear-drive configuration, the Tesla Model X with 85kWh battery also will be available in Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive form that features a second front-mounted power module. Fitted with Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive, Musk says the Model X will be able to sprint to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds, 0.2 ticks quicker than a Porsche 911 Carrera. He did not indicate if that spec applied to the basic Model X Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive or only the "Performance" version, which also will be offered.

While retaining the basic design language seen in the Model S Sedan, the new Tesla Model X adds a decided measure of aggressive edge to the mix. But the show-stopping elements in this package are its unique "Falcon Wing" rear-side doors. A conceptual homage to the signature portals of the classic Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing, they gracefully raise up to allow step-in access to the second- and third-row seats. In addition to permitting the Model X to be parked in surprisingly tight confines, Musk says their upward swing height is no greater than that of the liftgate on a typical SUV.

Like the Model S, the cabin appointments on the Model X will be highlighted by the massive 17-inch Tesla Touchscreen that provides easy access to all infotainment functions. On the functional front, the two rear rows of seats in the Model X can be folded completely flat to augment the capacity of its huge rear cargo bay. And it also offers a second storage area up front under the hood.

Production of the new Tesla Model X is slated to begin in late 2013 and the first deliveries will start in early 2014 with a limited-run of premium Model X Signature Series vehicles. While pricing has yet to be finalized, the standard Model X is expected to start slightly above a comparable Model S, which opens at $67,400 when fitted with the 60kWh battery package and $92,400 with the 85kWh battery, both before the $7,500 federal tax credit and/or any other incentives.

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