Another week, another couple of major announcements and updates from Tesla, this time of the electric vehicle variety, with the arrival of the first batch of all-wheel drive Model Xs on Australian soil, alongside confirmation that a 100kWh battery pack is now available for both the Model X and Model S. Installed in the Model S, it amounts to “quickest production car in the world.”
The Model X had its official launch in Sydney on Wednesday, which will be welcome news to those who have been awaiting delivery of the sport utility electric vehicle since it went on order more than a year ago, although actual deliveries will not occur for a few months yet.
The sleek-looking SUV, which will sell here for between $A120,000 – $A210,000, features a range of between 542 kilometres (P100D) and 467 kilometres (P90D), three rows of seven seats, and those fancy “Falcon Wing” doors, which caused a few engineering headaches early on.
Taking a slightly new marketing tack, Tesla seems to be pitching the Model X to families, with a focus on features including “convenience”, safety and space. According to the launch release, Tesla says the up-swinging doors offer “unprecedented convenience, entry, and maneuverability,” requiring less space to open, apparently, than the sliding door of a minivan.
“The double hinged doors open up then out, requiring only 30cm of space on the side of the vehicle and make loading a child in the backseat in tight parking spaces simple,” Tesla Australia said in a release on Wednesday.
On safety, the company notes that the battery’s location on the floor gives the Model X an extremely low centre of gravity, reducing the risk of rollover that is commonly associated with other SUVs. The SUV also features automated side collision avoidance and automatic emergency braking, even at highway speeds, as well as parking sensors and blind spot warning.
Tesla also says that the absence of an engine under the bonnet of the car gives it a crumple zone much larger than other SUVs, “to absorb the energy of a front end impact.” According to standard crash testing, the Model X will receive top safety rating in all categories.
Tech specs include regular “over-the-air” software updates, free long distance travel on Tesla’s expanding Australian Supercharger network, maps and navigation with real time traffic information, and a centre console with a quick connection phone dock.
Other features include automatically opening doors; “monopost” seats that give passengers easy access to the third row and plenty of foot room; a panoramic windshield that stretches up and over the two front seats; front and rear trunks; and a 5,000 lb. towing capacity – a first for electric vehicles, according to Tesla.
For those less concerned about convenience and more interested in power and engineering specs, the Model X (P100D) can hit 0-100km/h in 3.1 seconds and achieve top speeds of 250km/h. It also claims to have the lowest drag coefficient of any SUV.