Musk says Model X SUV will be de­liv­ered in 3-4 months

The China Post - - WORLD BUSINESS -

Tesla Mo­tors CEO Elon Musk said Tues­day that the com­pany ex­pects to start de­liv­er­ies of its new SUV, the Model X, in three or four months.

Musk also told in­vestors at Tesla’s an­nual meet­ing that the com­pany plans to let some driv­ers start testing an au­topi­lot fea­ture at the end of this month.

The Model X will be Tesla’s third ve­hi­cle since the com­pany was founded 12 years ago. Cur­rently Tesla makes one car, the Model S sedan.

Tesla orig­i­nally planned to put the Model X into pro­duc­tion in 2013, but has de­layed it sev­eral times to work on tech­ni­cal is­sues. Musk said he’s test- driv­ing the Model X now and is pleased with its progress. He said the com­pany is fo­cused on mak­ing sure key fea­tures, like the Model X’s wing-like doors and its slid­ing rear seats, are work­ing prop­erly.

“It’s got to be a gen­uine im­prove­ment in util­ity and aes­thetics,” he said.

Tesla be­gan 2015 with 20,000 reser­va­tions for the Model X. The com­pany plans to de­liver 55,000 Model S sedans and Model X SUVs this year.

Tesla’s au­topi­lot fea­ture lets the car drive it­self at high­way speeds. It also is ex­pected to let own­ers sum­mon their ve­hi­cles au­tonomously from a park­ing spot as long as they are on pri­vate prop­erty. Au­topi­lot will even­tu­ally be avail­able through a free soft­ware up­date to cus­tomers with re­cent ver­sions of the Model S sedan. The Model X would likely have the sys­tem as well.

Musk stressed that driv­ers must re­main alert and be ready to take back con­trol of the wheel.

“It is sim­ply meant as a driveras­sis­tance fea­ture,” he said.

Musk said it will be tech­ni­cally fea­si­ble for the driver to fall asleep and let the car do the driv­ing in about three years. But he said it would take sev­eral years af­ter that for reg­u­la­tors to ap­prove fully au­ton­o­mous driv­ing.

“That’s my best guess right now,” he said. “With each pass­ing year, my es­ti­mate for when it hap­pens gets closer. This is both in­ter­est­ing and alarm­ing.”

AP

In this April 30, file photo, Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks with mem­bers of the me­dia at Tesla’s head­quar­ters in Palo Alto, Cal­i­for­nia.

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