The Tesla Model X isn’t in production yet, nor has a production model even been revealed, but the all-electric SUV continues to be the focal point of many discussions. One of the latest comes from seekingalpha, a research website for investors (that requires an email subscription), in which a recent article suggests that Audi’s launch of the 2016 Q7 e-tron quattro plug-In hybrid could put Tesla’s third production vehicle in a hole.

This argument is centered on the waiting list where an estimated 23,000 potential buyers have laid down their refundable $5,000 deposits. The author seems to think that if the Q7 and its combination of a diesel engine and a plug-in hybrid powertrain arrive before the Model X, people will opt for the seven-passenger hybrid over the seven-passenger electric vehicle. More so, he believes that the price difference between the two vehicles, which he estimates to be around $35,000, people will buy the Q7 PHEV now as well as the proposed $35,000 Tesla Model III that is scheduled to debut in 2017.

Only time will tell if this theory plays out, but our best guess is this will not be the case. Sure, there might be a handful of customers who put their name on the list just looking for an efficient, three-row SUV, but at the same time, most of these people are probably looking for a fully electric vehicle rather than just the 35 miles of electric range the Q7 diesel PHEV is expected to deliver. On top of that, it would seem that Tesla buyers are willing to stay on their “invisible leash” (aka Tesla’s Supercharger) in order to enjoy zero-emission driving.

Regardless of which scenario plays out for the Tesla Model X, this is definitely an exciting time for SUV drivers where a variety of advanced plug-in utility vehicles are preparing to hit the market.

Click past the jump to read more about Audi’s future Q7 Plug-in Hybrid.

Why it matters

As most automakers seem to be on the defensive when it comes to an answer for the Tesla Model S, the 2016 Audi Q7 e-tron quattro will likely be on sale before the all-electric Tesla Model X SUV hits the scene in 2016. Not only that, but it is expected to come with a considerable price advantage as well. The true test will be when both seven-passenger SUVs are on sale to see if buyers prefer the go-anywhere convenience of a diesel plug-in hybrid or the zero-emission capability of the Tesla.

Audi Q7 Plug-in Hybrid

2016 Audi Q7 Plug-in Hybrid Exterior Spyshots
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Source: seekingalpha

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