Tesla takes wraps off "falcon-winged" Model X SUV
By Edwin Chan
HAWTHORNE, California (Reuters) - Tesla Motors Inc on Thursday showed off a prototype of its Model X, a battery-powered SUV that represents the company's bet that consumers will buy a range of electric vehicles spun from a common platform.
The Model X, which features what the company calls "falcon-wing" doors and faster acceleration than a Porsche 911 -- it goes from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.4 seconds -- will start production late 2013 and begin delivery in 2014.
Tesla begins taking reservations at noon on Friday for the characteristically sleek vehicle resembling a taller version of its Model S sedan, but with a folding door hinged on the roof.
CEO Elon Musk touted his latest electric vehicle as cramming in more space than a typical sport utility vehicle. It seats seven, with ample storage.
"Minivans and SUV have been trying for years to overcome these problem," the entrepreneur told a rowdy crowd. Musk didn't lose his cool even when the front trunk -- or "frunk" -- stubbornly refused to open in the middle of his demonstration.
Tesla -- which has never made a profit -- hopes to create a buzz with Thursday night's event, which featured a smattering of lesser-known celebrities, a buffet spread and an open bar, with hundreds of guests milling across a hangar-sized space at the company's California design engineering offices.
The well-heeled guests were offered a chance to be first in line for the Model X, sales of which will follow a reservations-and-delivery template much like the preceding sedan.
While flashy car debuts are a staple of the auto industry, nine-year-old Tesla tracks and reports the number of reservations for upcoming models as a benchmark for investors. Continued...