Tesla un­veils its elec­tric pow­ered Model X SUV

The China Post - - WORLD BUSINESS -

Elon Musk, Tesla’s charis­matic CEO, un­veiled Tues­day the com­pany’s hotly an­tic­i­pated sport util­ity ve­hi­cle, the Model X, bring­ing an elec­tric-pow­ered ve­hi­cle to a seg­ment known for its gas guz­zlers.

“Any type of car can go elec­tric. We showed you you can do it with a sedan and now we’re go­ing to do it with a SUV,” the 44-year-old South African said at a launch party Tues­day evening at Tesla’s Fre­mont, Cal­i­for­nia fac­tory.

The Model X, which is hit­ting the road two years later than ini­tially planned, com­ple­ments the com­pany’s only other ve­hi­cle, the Model S sedan. With a price tag of US$130,000, the Model X is nearly dou­ble the US$70,000 cost of the sedan.

The X has a sur­pris­ingly rounded and ta­pered pro­file for an SUV com­pared to the more mas­sive frames and rec­tan­gu­lar lines of its com­peti­tors.

This car is full of gad­gets. The wing doors can be opened from a dis­tance, with sen­sors ad­just­ing the an­gle to avoid other cars parked close by, and there is a spe­cial “biode­fense” air fil­tra­tion but­ton.

“We’re try­ing to be a leader in the cat­a­strophic de­fense sce­nar­ios,” joked Musk, who also founded Space X, a space ex­plo­ration com­pany.

Musk, who has a large fam­ily, men­tioned his twins as he high­lighted the SUV’s three rows of seats be­fore an au­di­ence of sev­eral hun­dred peo­ple.

This 4x4 “goes so fast it’s wrong,” he said, boast­ing of its abil­ity to ac­cel­er­ate from zero to 100 kilo­me­ters an hour in 3.2 sec­onds and its 400-kilo­me­ter range on a sin­gle charge.

That ac­cel­er­a­tion beats a topof- the- line Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, which takes 3.8 sec­onds to reach that speed, and costs US$157,000 in the United States.

Tesla ex­pects to sell a to­tal of 50,000 to 55,000 ve­hi­cles this year, and has am­bi­tions of ex­pand­ing sales to more than 500,000 units by 2020.

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