So, we have been very patient with what may be one of the best crossover SUVs ever built: the Tesla Model X.
We were expecting to see the Model X released in late-2013 for the 2014 model year, but things are changing, as they usually do. According to a report by Los Angeles Times, the Model X’s production has been pushed to late-2014 with deliveries happening in 2015.
The reasoning for the delay is that Tesla has been so focused on improving the Model S that it chose to push the Model X back, as opposed to rushing through it. We’ll take that excuse at its face value, but that seems almost like a cop-out, as we haven’t seen any changes to the Model S since it was released, sans a significant price hike. Maybe there is a change to the Model S around the corner that we are not yet aware of.
So, those of you that are excited to get your hands on this crossover SUV that hits 60 mph in under 5 seconds while looking pretty sexy, you’re just going to have to wait a little longer.
Few auto manufacturers would actually find themselves lobbying California lawmakers to pass more stringent zero-emission regulations. Then again, Tesla is not your “typical” automaker, as zero-emission cars is all they do, and that lobbying has put Tesla firmly in the minds of the state’s lawmakers.
With California having a vested interest in the success of the EV world, thanks to its growing number of cars on the road, it needs Tesla to start hammering out a more eclectic line of vehicles. The Model X is exactly the balance that Tesla and California need, but as an up-and-coming business, Tesla’s funds are a little tight. Well, California has upped its faith in the growing automaker, as it the state has issued it a $10 million grant to help the EV manufacturer get its Fremont, California ready for production of the new crossover SUV.
Now before you get yourself up in arms about the government handing out grants to another EV company, please note that per the terms of this grant deal, Tesla has ponied up $50 million toward the project. That $60 million will be used to create 700 new jobs, update equipment and bring in the new equipment that Tesla needs to stamp out the Model X.
This means that we are getting closer and closer to the scheduled 2014 release of the Model X, which will carry with it an MSRP from $57,400 to about $90,000. Models nearer the top end of the MSRP spectrum will boast dual-motor all-wheel drive and a 0-to-60 mph time under 5 seconds. That will put the Model X near the performance level of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo with a lower MSRP and no fuel to purchase. All that remains to be figured out is whether it will boast a 300-mile electric range like its Model S brethren. If so, Tesla certainly has a winner on its hands.
So, for anyone that watched the Debate last night – I did and I am suffering today thanks to the late evening – you saw presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney, hit our sector a few times. One time, he took a direct swipe at two alternative-energy car companies in one statement. If you missed the statement, here it is:
"Now, I like green energy as well, but that’s about 50 years’ worth of what oil and gas receives," Romney said during the first of three Presidential debates. "You put $90 billion — like 50 years’ worth of breaks — into solar and wind, to Solyndra and Fisker and Tesla and Ener1. I mean, I had a friend who said, you don’t just pick the winners and losers; you pick the losers."
Now, we’re not here to debate politics, but to call Tesla and Fisker “losers” is not quite fair. As a matter of fact, Tesla announced on Wednesday – the same day that Romney labeled it a “Loser” – that despite its struggles meeting delivery goals, which are due to supplier issues, it will become “cash-flow positive” by next month and will hit the 500-unit mark in just a few weeks.
Hitting that black in the ledger is a huge step for an upstart company and to see Tesla hitting it this soon is impressive. Musk also announced that despite criticisms of the DOE loan to Tesla, the company has always paid the loan installments on time and has never even given a thought to postponing the payments.
We are not too sure exactly what will come of Tesla in the long run, but it is already prepping the release of its second vehicle, the Model X SUV, and there is a light at the end of the very long upstart tunnel for Musk and Tesla. We’ll keep an eye on the ledger sheet and let you know if Tesla meets this anticipated milestone on time or not.
Click past the jump to read Mr. Musk’s blogged press release.
So many car companies lose sight of the single most important aspect of running a business: keeping cost low and profit high, while maintaining good quality control. This has ultimately landed many start-up companies into early closure and even some juggernauts, like Pontiac and Oldsmobile, into shutting their doors for good.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk really seems to have his finger on the pulse of his business, as they slowly start bringing more mainstream cars – as mainstream as an EV can be – into the market, with its new Model S and upcoming Model X. To help control overhead, each Tesla Model S is built to order, so there aren’t any leftovers on the shelves, but this also poses the risk of not being able to keep up with demand.
At this point, Tesla is manufacturing at its capacity and needs to push out another 5,000 Model S units by December 31st to hit its goal and stay in the black. This is a tall task that will likely not be possible without increasing production, but Tesla’s CEO also knows that increasing production also increases cost, so there needs to be a delicate balance. Musk was quoted saying that “The challenge that Tesla faces over the next few months is scaling production enough to achieve a certain gross margin on our product so we can be cash flow positive. That’s extremely important,” and “If we’re unable to do that, we’ll enter the graveyard with all the other car company startups of the last 90 years.”
Clearly, Musk is willing to take this challenge head-on and he understands what’s at stake. We love the Tesla line and want to see it succeed, and seeing a CEO that is willing to admit the challenges ahead and ready to take them on is a promising start. We’ll keep a close eye on this to make sure Tesla can actually hit its goals for the year and stay afloat.
We always see new little wrinkles in automotive dealerships to try and make the car-buying experience seem less stressful and forced. Two key examples are the “No-Haggle” promise offered by now-defunct Saturn and the “Sign-and-Drive” deals offered by several manufacturers now, but started by VW. These are less about making the process easier for the consumer and more about increasing the dealer’s profits while displaying the illusion of an easy-going sales force, which is an oxymoron for any commissioned sales job.
Tesla appears to be going into a realm where car buying is a simple and stress-free environment. How they are achieving this is by beginning with the elimination of the traditional dealership and replacing it with smaller stores in local malls. The second step is to eliminate all commissions and pay the employees a salary. The third step is to not require car sales experience as a prerequisite for hiring, which eliminates the high-pressure “Sell now or sell never” mentality. To get a good picture of what to expect, walk into an Apple store in a local mall and see how laid back it is. You can walk in and play with all of the gadgets without a single sales person bothering you until you ask.
You may be wondering about the floor models and demo models. Keep in mind that all Teslas are built to order, so stores only need a handful of models on the floor and a few test vehicles in the mall’s parking lot. The biggest focus of these stores is to simply educate the customer about Tesla models, and what better place to get plenty of people to educate than a traffic-heavy mall?
Our hats go off to Tesla in its new approach to vehicle sales, but we have a sneaking suspicion that we will see Tesla dealerships and commission-based sales in the near future. Especially if sales start taking off and more models have to be kept on hand for the I-want-it-now customer. So we’ll see exactly how long Tesla can hang onto this low-pressure buying experience before converting into your typical high-pressure dealership.
Tesla has yet to officially launch its latest EV, the Model S, and already the upstart automaker is setting up some pretty lofty goals. In an interview with CEO, Elon Musk, it was made clear that the company is confident that it will achieve 20,000 total models sold in 2013. With the Nissan Leaf eclipsing just 9,500 total sales in the U.S. in 2011, those are some pretty stratospheric goals.
This is especially difficult considering that Tesla is not expected to infiltrate the European and Asian markets until mid-2013. We do see the logic behind this though, as the base $57,400 price is relatively affordable, considering what you get at that level. Also add in the fact that the Model S is more stylish and ego-massaging than the very odd-looking and soft-feeling Leaf, and Tesla just may be able to hit those numbers.
Once Tesla debuts the Model X SUV, the automaker anticipates a huge upswing in sales at the tune of 75 percent. Yup, Tesla anticipates 2014 sales to eclipse the 35,000 mark thanks to its newest EV SUV, which means the Model X’s sales are expected to hover around 15,000 for the year.
Overall, these are very high goals to achieve for an automaker that really has no reputation or customer base to attach its wagon to yet. However, there are tons of enthusiasts out there that would love nothing more than a 300-mile-per-charge supercar that hits 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and still hauls the family around. So, if Tesla remains true to its promises with the Model S, we could all see this new automaker well exceeding its projected goals.
We’ll be closely monitoring the sales of the Model S to see if the demand is there and if this upstart can provide ample supply if the demand is high.
The long-awaited revelation of the Tesla Model X has finally arrived. And we gotta admit, the hype and all that wait was definitely worth it.
As the third model of Tesla’s company automotive portfolio, the Model X Crossover carries the same design architecture of the Model S. As expected, the front end of the Model X is similar to the Model S while the sloping roofline exudes an aura of coupe-like aggressiveness and downright awesomeness. We gotta give props to Tesla on the design of the prototype crossover because it looks amazing!
But the biggest talking point of the Model X are the so-called "falcon doors"on the rear, allowing the passengers a rather unique access to the car. These rear doors are complete with a hinge in the middle of the door that allows it to be folded and opened in tighter spaces. Say what again?
Inside, the Model X was designed to carry three rows of seats, providing enough space for - at the most - seven adults while also having ample room to carry some extra luggage. Another unique feature of the Model X is that it has two storage areas - one in the front and another in the back - that was made possible because the crossover doesn’t carry a combustion engine.
Speaking of the engine, Tesla announced that the Model X will carry the same batteries that are currently being used on the Model S, particularly 40-, 60-, 80-kWh battery packs that allow a variety of powertrain options for prospective customers. The expected range for the Model X is expected to be 145 miles for the 40kWh batter pack and up to 275 miles for the much more powerful 80kWh model.
Considering that Tesla waited a while to unveil the Model X, the crossover’s mind-blowing design has made the wait worth every second. Here’s to hoping that the production version remains the same as the prototype!
It wasn’t that long ago when Tesla was on shaky ground in the industry, but now that they’ve regained their footing, the American automaker has suddenly become a little more aggressive in reworking and expanding their line-up. We already know about the Tesla Model S succeeding the Roadster as the company’s flagship model, but now we’re getting a first look at Tesla’s other new vehicle, the Model X.
The crossover is scheduled to make its debut next month so Tesla decided that now would be a good time to release the very first teaser image of the Model X.
We love a good teaser any time we see one, and this teaser of the Model X is no different. Taking a close look at the image, the Model X appears to bear some design similarities to the Model S, particularly the distinguishable hood lines, the aggressive fascia, and the headlamp configuration.
According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the Model X will make its official world debut on February 9, 2012, which is less than two weeks away. We’ve waited a long time for the Model X to finally come to fruition so you can say that our excitement for it has been building up for a long time.