Tesla delivers Model X electric SUV to take on luxury carmakers

Wed Sep 30, 2015 2:57pm EDT
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By Alexandria Sage

FREMONT, Calif. (Reuters) - Tesla Motors delivered the first of its long-awaited Model X electric sports-utility vehicles on Tuesday, a product investors are counting on to make the pioneering company profitable after years of losses.

The launch of the Model X represents a milestone for the loss-making Silicon Valley automaker during a period of high spending and modest growth, because it can now boast a second model in production beyond its Model S sedan, launched in 2012.

"I think we got a little carried away with the X," Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk told reporters ahead of a launch event near the company's Fremont factory, where luxury Model Xs have been moving down the production line in recent weeks, nearly two years behind the company's original schedule.

Musk estimated that 25,000 customers had pre-ordered the crossover online or in its stores and that it would take 8-12 months for those ordering from now to receive the SUV.

In retrospect, the company may have done less, Musk said.

"There is far more there than is really necessary to sell a car. And some of the things are so difficult, they make the car better but the difficulty of engineering those parts is so high."

Between 4,000-6,000 guests filled a cavernous space for the launch. Invited to the event were Model X reservation holders, Tesla employees and Model S and Roadster owners. The Roadster sportscar, which is no longer in production, was the company's first vehicle.

Musk has said the all-wheel drive Model X - with two electric motors, the ability to travel about 250 miles (about 400 km) on a single charge and seating for seven people - was "the hardest car to build in the world".   Continued...

A Tesla Motors Model X electric sports-utility vehicle opens its falcon wing doors on stage during a presentation in Fremont, California September 29, 2015.  REUTERS/Stephen Lam